What makes basketball games at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium so special? What about the noise at Florida's O'Connell Center? How about games at Michigan State and Stanford?
The answer is the students.
Throughout college basketball, the student section often acts like a sixth man for the home team. As for Tennessee games at Thompson-Boling Arena, the student section is often the only section that shows emotion.
For that reason, the Athletic Department at The University of Tennessee is holding a Name that Section contest in order to give you, the students, a nationally-recognized name. Duke has the well-known Cameron Crazies, Florida has the Rowdy Reptiles, Michigan State has the Izzones and Stanford has The Sixth Man Club.
So what will Tennessee's student section be called? That's just the thing, you will decide.
It's simple. Get on your computer and go to www.utsports.com/namethatsection.html and fill out an entry form. Links from the Athletic Department Web site as well as The Daily Beacon Web site are available. Students will also have a chance to fill out ballots at all home basketball games for the month of February.
The contest runs through Feb. 28, and a winner will be announced at halftime of the men's game against LSU on March 3. The winning entry will be selected by the Name that Section committee, which consists of athletic department and student representatives. Speaking of winners, the student who has the lucky entry will win two round-trip airline tickets to any destination within the continental United States, a gift bag of Tennessee gear from Adidas consisting of shoes, warm-ups, a pullover and hat, and a textbook scholarship for one semester from Rocky Top Books.
Students can enter as many times as they like. However, if an entry is posted more than once, the first official entry will be counted.
So what's the point of this contest?
Well, as you all know, Thompson-Boling is far from a college-like atmosphere when it comes to basketball games. The atmosphere feels more along the lines of a ... morgue, so to speak.
This is where the contest comes in. Although the winning entry will be announced at the last men's home game, the promotion of the new name will swing into full effect next season. That means free T-shirts galore! It also means a sea of orange flowing from the floor to the ceiling of Thompson-Boling.
As for better seating, that may not change. However, don't think the Athletic Department doesn't want it to. All of the court-side seats belong to lifetime ticket holders who assisted in the building of our beloved arena. At the same time, the Athletic Department is looking to do everything it can to support the students and their interests (this includes the new baseline seat extension).
Let's try to look at the bright side. There are 7,000 seats reserved at each home game for students alone. I'll say that again, 7,000 seats! Cameron Indoor at Duke only seats 9,314. That means our student section is nearly the size of Duke's facility! It also means you can have an impact on a game if you're loud enough.
Log onto the Web site, submit an entry, and become part of history. This is your chance to make a difference.