memo to iupui students: own the red zone.

A night in The Jungle, from my seat on Press Row. Empty seats suck. We need to pack the house every night.

For as long as I’ve been working as the PA announcer for IUPUI Jaguars basketball, I’ve longed to see the students really and truly come around and make our home court a raucous joint for games. Our home court, affectionately called The Jungle, is unique in its intimacy. When you’re at a game in The Jungle, you are practically on the court. That means a loud, rowdy environment in the stands is most definitely felt on the floor. And we love our fans when they make their presence known to opposing teams.

Over the years, we’ve had some really special games against our rivals where our students stepped it up. I can think of at least three different games against Oral Roberts, a couple against Valparaiso and maybe one or two against Oakland. But that’s the problem: I can count on my hands the games in the past 12 seasons when students showed their stuff. Bedlam should be the norm, not the exception.

The 2012-13 basketball season is already underway, but it’s not too late for you to be a part of the excitement. Here’s what we need from the students:

1. Ownership. YOU own this program. Not the athletics department or the chancellor’s office. It’s YOU. And you can make a huge difference. On a campus of more than 25,000 students, all we really need is a 2 – 3 percent turnout to make a difference. With 500 of the loudest, rowdiest basketball nuts on campus in The Jungle, I promise you will make a difference. We need the students to own and patrol the Red Zone. We need the students to build, cultivate and grow the on-campus support and pass it to the next generation of students. It’s your Red Zone. Make it happen.

2. Wear the Colors. When you’re in the Red Zone, you must represent by wearing the school colors. The biggest party foul is wearing another school’s logo on your chest. Go to the bookstore and buy a Jags T-shirt and wear it to the game.

3. Let ‘Em Have It. This is NCAA D-I college basketball, not a golf tournament. Your team is playing for a shot at getting to The Big Dance. Your role as a fan is to make some noise. My advice: steal ideas from other schools. Watch a Duke game some time. What are the Cameron Crazies doing? Emulate that. There’s no shame in “borrowing.” You’re only in college once, so you won’t have many more opportunities to dress and act like this in public. Take advantage of that.

Bottom line: we need the Red Zone to be the loudest, nuttiest bunch of knuckleheads in the building. Whatever you do, the rest of the fans will feed off your energy. The team will feed off your energy. We already have a Pep Band, cheerleaders and a pretty fun basketball team. All that’s missing is you, students. The next men’s home game is Tuesday, 11 December vs. IU Northwest at 7:30 p.m. This is another warm-up before the conference schedule begins. Consider this a dress rehearsal. We need you there.

Your team will be there. Will you?

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Filed under college basketball, IUPUI Jaguars, the summit league

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