The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

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The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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A section for students is a concept that is long overdue

Hey Satan, better check the thermostat.

And all you farmers can expect a phone call from air traffic control about your missing pigs.

The unthinkable, unfathomable and unimaginable has happened – a student section has been created for men’s basketball games.

A sea of red wigs, white face paint and basketball beads were on display for the two National Invitational Tournament games held at Alumni Hall in the past week.

The entire lower section of the bleachers across from the benches was reserved for students only – five bucks and a student ID let you watch the Red Storm with 1,000 of your closest friends.

But with the decision to introduce a student section comes a lot of questions along with it.

To start:

Why in the name of Lou Carnesecca did this take so long?

Why decide to do this for the very last games of the year, and for all intensive purposes, games that in the grand scheme of things, don’t mean that much?

And the most asked question of the week: Do they plan to make this a permanent fixture at home games, or was this just a tease to get student’s hopes up?

“After the season is done, we will analyze what would be involved in such a move like that,” said vice president for Development and Athletics David Wegrzyn. “It could be a part of next year’s season ticket package.”

The coach liked it. The players like it. The administration liked it. But is there a chance that this is a one-time deal, a passing fad that will become a distant memory once Midnight Madness rolls around next Fall?

St. John’s Head Coach Mike Jarvis hopes that isn’t the case.

“I think it’s great,” Jarvis said. “Anytime you have an opportunity to get students actively involved in the athletic programs, it’s really what should happen.

“I hope that it does continue.”

But the question is, will it?

It seems to be such a simple task to accomplish – just let the students sit in the lower bleachers for every home game.

But when you’re a few decades late in implementing this not-so-new idea, there will be some upset season ticket holders.

Like those who have sat in the same seat since Alumni Hall opened.

Students have been getting the shaft for years when it comes to where they sit. Take members of the current senior class.

Most of them have been in four different seats – one for each year.

They went from having seats near the court to sitting in the third-to-last row from the ceiling. Talk about backwards.

By their junior year, students don’t buy season tickets, and that’s a shame.

The whole college basketball atmosphere is about the student body supporting their school. You can’t help notice the student sections around the country

And it wouldn’t be so bad here at St. John’s, except that some of the alumni don’t feel the need to do things like cheer or show emotion. Students care. They want to get involved.

They want to razz opponents and enjoy the glory of victory, be it over Stony Brook or Seton Hall.

“No disrespect to a lot of the season ticket holders and a lot of the fans that have been coming for a long time,” Jarvis said, “but a lot of the folks are starting to get up there in years and some people come to a game like they’re going to a concert. They sit and they watch and they don’t get involved. Students get involved.”

The student section certainly involved themselves against Boston University or Virginia.

They were loud and St. John’s proud.

They proved that a student section would work, if they would just give it a chance for an entire season and make it a permanent part of the Red Storm experience.

Players feel the same way.

“I don’t want to tell people what to do around here, but I think the students should be there [in that section] for all Alumni [Hall] games,” freshman forward Tim Doyle said.

Atmosphere is the key. These last two games have been the loudest on-campus games in recent memory and it was far below capacity.

But what plan will benefit all St. John’s fans?

“I would like to hope that we’ll someday see a new Alumni Hall and at that point in time, if not sooner,” Jarvis said, “where you would have a section, maybe bleacher-type seats where the students sit and then you’d have really comfortable, modern-type seats for the other folks maybe up a little higher.”

That might be a bit of a stretch for the time being, but there’s no reason why the displaced alumni cannot be moved to the other side of the lower bleachers behind the benches.

Might some people have to be moved out of the lower section? Probably.

Will they be upset? Most definitely.

“I don’t know how politically they’re going to go about dislodging people now,” Jarvis said. “I don’t know if they can. There must be a way in which they can.”

This is for the greater good of St. John’s basketball.

Had a student section been created years ago, then alumni would understand about a student section, because they would have been a part of it.

Instead, they were robbed of that chance when they were at St. John’s.

There’s no reason to let current and future students suffer the same fate.

Jason Della Rosa is a senior journalism major who wishes a student section had been made years ago. Send comments to [email protected].

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