ABILENE, Tex. — In today’s basketball world, smaller schools are always looking for creative ways to get more fans to come out and support their men’s and women’s programs.
From throwback nights and cheap concessions, to rivalry games and Cyber Monday deals, institutions are always looking for new and innovative ways to get fans into seats on game days.
The same can be said for the Abilene Christian Wildcats, who issued a challenge to the university in advance of their men’s and women’s double-header on Wednesday night against the Incarnate Word Cardinals.
Wednesday marks the last home game of the season for both programs, and the university wants to pack Moody Coliseum. On Monday, the school announced their incentive to pack the Coliseum on Wednesday, at the expense of the President of the university, Phil Schubert.
If the Moody Coliseum is sold out for both games, then President Schubert will have to don a new look, which will perfectly embody his love for Abilene Christian.
Moody Coliseum has a capacity of 4,600 for basketball games. For a smaller school, that is a high number to achieve. The university set a goal of 2,000 fans for both games on Wednesday, and if that is achieved, then their President will look a little different in the coming days.
All that stands between President Schubert and a new hair colour is 2,000 fans.
In a group conversation between himself, men’s basketball coach Joe Golding, Director of Athletics Lee De Leon, and a member of the ACU Board of Trustees, the idea came up. They got the ball rolling, and now it’s official.
“My motivation was they asked me to do it and we would love to see more fans at our games.” Schubert said in a release posted by the ACU Optimist about the event.
The idea also coincides with Senior Night, and having the largest crowd of the season in attendance would be the proper send off for the graduating players of both teams.
To add even more incentive, if the number of fans in attendance reaches the 3,000-mark, then De Leon will also dye his hair purple.
This season, the men’s basketball team holds a 9-4 record on their home court. They’re averaging just shy of 1,270 fans per game at Moody Coliseum.
Their biggest crowd was at their home opener back on November 11th, as 1,750 fans saw the Wildcats kick off the 2016-17 season with a win over Schreiner.
Both the men’s and women’s programs aren’t eligible for the conference post-season tournament due to becoming a Division I institution back in 2013. However, if the men’s team wins their final two regular season games, they will be eligible to receive invites into the 2017 CollegeInsider.com Tournament and the 2017 College Basketball Invitational.
As for the women’s team, if they win their remaining two games, they would be in the conversation for a berth into the Women’s NIT for the second straight season. Both of these scenarios put a premium on Wednesday’s contests, and a packed house would only add to the Wildcats’ home court advantage.
If you’re in the area of Abilene, Texas on Wednesday night, be sure to make your way to Moody Coliseum and help the university reach their goal of 2,000 fans for their games against Incarnate Word.
– T. Bennett