New student section altered
Student sections are normally the most notable part of a college basketball arena, but at the Prudential Center, the students are overshadowed by a tarp that covers first three rows of the section creating a buffer between the students and the opponent’s bench.
“The Big East asked for a three row buffer in the front of the section,” Associate Director of Athletics for External Affairs Jamison Hannigan said. “It creates a clean buffer but there are still interactions with the students and opponents which is great.”
During the non-conference portion of the Pirates schedule, there was no tarp in front of the student section which had students in the row behind the opponent’s family seats. Against Longwood on Dec. 13, the Big East sent an official to the game to “walk through” the issues they had with the new placement.
“I wasn’t happy with the change,” Hannigan said. “The students didn’t do anything that would force something like that.”
The first game that a tarp was used was against the University of South Florida on Dec. 28. For that game the tarp was three separate Seton Hall banners that had previously been hanging around the arena. These were used for one game until a permanent one with a Gatorade logo could be made.
“The tarp is not necessary,” junior Bobby Humphrey said. “The family and friends of opposing teams can still hear if anyone says something so being three rows up makes no difference.”
Students being able to interact more with the opposing team was one of the key aspects that Hannigan wanted with the move in the first place. Even with getting pushed three rows back has building can be louder at times.
“If anything (the tarp) makes it louder,” sophomore Joey Pergola said. “Some students are banging on the tarp to make more noise.”
Along with not quieting the students the buffer has not stopped the support for the Pirates during Big East games, even enough to have players thanking the fans on the Hall’s Hecklers page on facebook.
“The students have been great all year,” Hannigan said. “We are overselling tickets to the games showing that students are excited about the team and are creating an atmosphere in the building and encouraging other fans.”
Students still feel however that more can be done to create more of a home court advantage at “The Rock.”
“Students should be given more rally towels or same color shirts at games to create more of a home court advantage at games,” Humphrey said.
So far this season the Pirates’ record at home without the tarp is 4-2 while with the tarp their record is 2-3, with all conference games being played with the tarp.
According to Hannigan, he would not like to move the section next season but, “we are not going to do anything until we have meetings with the Big East.”
Like it or not, the tarps are staying for the rest of the regular season games the Pirates play at the Prudential Center.
Stephen Valenti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.