Swoop Madness to begin basketball season

Spinnaker

The third annual Swoop Madness will kick-off the UNF men’s and women’s basketball seasons Oct. 17.

The event will start with the UNF volleyball team facing off against Campbell University at 7 p.m. After the game, fans will have a chance to meet UNF’s basketball teams and win plenty of prizes.

Swoop Madness will also offer fans a chance to see players in scrimmages, 3-point contests and dunk contests.

Oct. 17 is also the first day college basketball teams are able to practice. UNF joins teams across the country in giving their fans an up-close opportunity to look at the team for the upcoming season.

Last year’s event attracted more than 1,000 fans, and the UNF Athletics department is hoping some of the new additions to the event will help attract even more.

“It’s getting bigger every year, and thanks to a lot of help from the community, this year’s should be bigger too,” said Elliot Darkatsh, director of marketing for UNF Athletics.

One change in this year’s event is the community showcase of free food from area vendors offered during the game from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“Originally the showcase was scheduled during the Week of Welcome, but we had to postpone the event due to Hurricane Fay,” Darkatsh said. “With UNF’s Family Weekend falling on the same weekend as Swoop Madness, we thought it would be a great idea to add the showcase to the events schedule.”

There are more than 21 local sponsors participating in the event including Applebee’s, Sticky Fingers and Gold’s Gym.

Besides food, several of the sponsors will be donating items to be given away as door prizes. The grand prize for the evening is the “The Ultimate Sack” – a two-seater bean bag chair covered in UNF insignia.

UNF’s mascot, Ozzie the Osprey, is hoping to help make this season better than ever by introducing a few new things of his own during Swoop Madness.

Ozzie will be sporting a new look during the event as well as unveiling a new trick.

“I’m learning to fly, sort of. Just like my friends in the NBA, I will be dunking during the basketball games,” Ozzie said in his Oct. 1 Spinnaker column. “Take all the pictures you want because this is going to be quite possibly the most amazing thing I have ever done, let alone attempted.”

E-mail John Weidner at [email protected]