UNF Athletics Department making changes


Game day viewing parties when your team is away are routine for most schools, and it seems like UNF is finally catching on to the excitement.

At the Boathouse in the Student Union Jan. 18, UNF fans who couldn’t get into the sold-out game at Jacksonville University’s Swisher Gymnasium poured onto campus to watch the men’s basketball Atlantic Sun Conference match-up against JU. The event attracted a fairly decent crowd of about 50 people or so, more than I was actually expecting, and it seemed like people were really getting into the game instead of just enjoying away-game specials like $2 draft beers. Fans comprised of alumni, Greek life members and just general UNF students gathered around TVs for a pretty easygoing night, but they did get pretty rowdy when head men’s basketball coach Matthew Driscoll appeared on the screen for the first time.

This was a good start to making UNF Athletics feel more like a legitimate university program instead of just a really big high school. I mean we’re no Orange and Brew like the University of Florida has in Gainesville just yet, but we might be on the right track.

UNF should consider hosting more events like this, and they might even be able to draw more fans if they offer a full appetizer menu instead of a mini one. I mean let’s face it, we’re in college, and we pay a lot of money to go here. I don’t cheap out on tuition, so please don’t cheap out on the full appetizer menu. I’m not trying to crack the whip or anything. Just consider it some food for thought.

I will say being at the Boathouse was a nice change of pace from being wrangled like cattle at the UNF basketball home games in the UNF Arena. I actually had my pick of seating around the restaurant and at the bar instead of having security ask me 20 questions before they squeezed me in a row full of fraternity boys who are louder than the pep band.

Having a student section at home games adds to the excitement of yours peers surrounding you. But do we really need to be crammed into a small section with no backs to the seating where the pep band takes half of it up already? If the whole Arena was full, I’d understand, but there are empty seats all over the place. Can I please sit on a cushion? I don’t want to bring an inner tube to sit on anymore.

All of Driscoll’s energy and excitement is becoming contagious. UNF students and fans are latching on to school spirit more and more with every game, so let’s give them more opportunities to show it. The away game party at the Boathouse was a great start, and I hope to be a part of more events like it in the future.

Some students like FSU fans in Tallahassee, for example, tailgate before every home and away game, even if they are just going to head back to watch the game at home afterward. We could do things like that for our school, as well.

The men and women on the basketball teams put themselves on the line for their school and their fans every week. We could put ourselves out there for them as well by showing more support and coming out to more events. The athletic department has made many improvements and have set up new events that have been way over due. Lets hope they keep it up and don’t pat themselves on the back for coming up with a few new ideas and stop there.