By David Pavlak
Lights, cameras, action and possible embarrassment. That is what Rider is facing as the Broncs’ basketball team’s date with Drexel on Tuesday quickly draws near with each passing day.
This game for the Broncs is different from the rest of the season because it will be televised on ESPN at 6 a.m. as part of the ESPN College Basketball Tip-Off. The Broncs are hoping to see a packed Alumni Gym ready to cheer, shout, holler and heckle as the Broncs play in their third game of the season, but that may not be the case come game time.
Rider, along with the athletic department, has made it clear that students are expected to attend their morning classes no matter if they decide to show some school spirit and attend the game or not. This will drive a wedge into the plan of having students actually attend this game.
So what happens if the gym isn’t packed? With the national exposure comes the chance to be nationally embarrassed. There is nothing like turning on the TV and seeing an empty gym. Having this game nationally syndicated thrusts Rider into the spotlight. A poor turnout for the game would make the school and athletic program look foolish. Of course there are going to be fans who get up and go regardless, but nothing looks better than a packed Alumni Gym on top of the opposing team as it tries to inbound the ball.
Here is the solution to this problem: cancel the day classes. This answer seems obvious to me as a sports fan; however, it seems to be a fact that the administration clearly overlooked.
Many other Rider students agreed with this solution when the question was posed to them on Facebook.
“Definitely, otherwise the 6 a.m. turnout is going to be awful and it will be humiliating to have our game broadcasted on television without a crowd,” freshman Samantha Lukas said.
Talk about hitting the nail on the head.
Having an empty gym that morning will most likely exclude Rider from being invited to play in the Tip-Off special again, and that exposure is something that the school can’t afford to lose.
If students skip the game to sleep in because of early morning classes, we can also forget about the planned white-out. Instead, it will look as if we strategically placed Q-Tips in the stands.
For one day, with a lot riding on the turnout, day classes should be canceled so that the students can all come together in one complete act of community to cheer on the Broncs and prove that playing in the Bronc Zoo is still one of the toughest gyms to play basketball in.