Athletic Department, SGA collaborate to draw students to basketball season opener

Students who attend Oklahoma Christian University’s maroon-out basketball doubleheader against the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) Tuesday night could walk away with prizes up to $1,000 and money toward their club’s spring banquet.

SGA Vice President Chaise Lucero said the athletic department and the SGA will combine to foot a bill of over $3,000 for the festivities. The athletic department will provide $1,000 for a half-court shot contest. In addition, they will award $1,000 to the club with the most overall spirit and highest percentage of member participation, to be used toward the winning club’s spring banquet. The SGA will use additional money from their budget to provide free pizza, T-shirts and prizes to students in attendance.

Lucero said the idea for the night came after speaking with Athletic Director David Lynn and senior Coby Poole, who works with the athletic department. She said both the SGA and athletic department have been searching for ways to increase interest and attendance at sporting events on campus.

“David Lynn wants it to be a bigger deal on campus when it comes game time,” Lucero said. “The SGA was thinking about how we could get students excited about a basketball game. UCO is one of our big rivalries because they’re right up the street. We asked David, ‘How about $500 towards spring banquet?’ And he said, ‘What about $1,000?’ When people hear $1,000, they get super excited. So we decided on $1,000 towards spring banquet, which is coming from the athletic program.”

Undisclosed judges will monitor the noise level, unity, creativity and chants of all clubs throughout both games and determine the winner of the $1,000 spring banquet prize by the end of the night. In order to accurately determine total participation, club members will be required to check-in with their student ID at tables in the lobby of the Payne Athletic Center at halftime of the women’s game and before tip-off of the men’s game. Clubs will be disqualified from winning if they choose to disparage another club through posters or chants.

According to Lucero, the reason for having attendance check-in during halftime of the women’s game is to provide an incentive for students to watch the women’s basketball team live. She said the Lady Eagles’ season has the potential to be very successful, and the game against UCO is a prime opportunity for students to see how good the team really is.

“Some of the sports on campus sometimes get overlooked,” Lucero said. “Our women’s basketball team is really good, but some people don’t know because they just come for the men’s game and call it a day.”

Lucero said she is confident there will be a high turnout at the games because there are no intramural games happening at the time. She said the only potential barrier to student attendance would be jobs and off-campus obligations.

“I’m pretty confident people will come, because most of the people in clubs spend their time playing intramurals at night,” Lucero said. “The only thing I’m worried about is jobs and stuff, but I’m pretty sure there won’t be any problems. The check-in won’t be until 6:30 and there will be free dinner.”

SGA member and Head of the Spirit Committee Darion Dalton said advertisement for the event has been scarce thus far because students forget about events if they hear about them too far in advance.

“Something we have found out is if we advertise. like we send out an advertisement a week or two in advance, we have to make sure we’re very consistent,” Dalton said. “If it’s right there in the moment, sometimes we have better attendance.”

Both the Eagles and Lady Eagles will look for their first regular-season victories of the year on Tuesday night after dropping their first two road games of the season over the weekend.

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