Nearly a thousand people will have to find transportation to attend a home game for Sonoma State University basketball this season.
At its peak attendance for ‘Pack The Den,’ the energy in the gymnasium gave a spark to the struggling men’s basketball team, who needed the momentum.
“I think when we have the support of the school behind us like that, we’re a hard team to beat,” said Senior guard Topher Taylor. “We definitely feed off of the energy they give.”
However, the feeling of a home court advantage this year was quickly lost during the men’s basketball meeting at the beginning of the year.
Last year, a contract was signed by former Sonoma State President Ruben Armiñana that would temporarily close the gym from Nov. 21 until the first week of January in order to replace the bleachers.
However, speculation is it would be extended until the end of the month, forcing all home basketball games to be played at a farther location such as College of Marin or Santa Rosa Junior College.
Head Men’s Basketball Coach Pat Fuscaldo hasa strong opinion about the topic, especially in regard to his upperclassmen players.
“I’m very excited about the bleachers, just not about the timing,” Fuscaldo said.
Other faculty believe that postponing the bleachers until March or April in order to secure the home court advantage would be the best idea.
The timing itself is questionable because of how it only affects the basketball teams at Sonoma State.
A feeling of disrespect could be felt in the environment around the gym.
A student-athlete who wished to remain anonymous chimed in their perspective with some interesting questions.
“I feel like basketball has never really got the respect it deserves around here. I mean why would they choose to redo the bleachers in the middle of basketball season? Why not over the summer? Also, why is it that volleyball gets to play their full season and not be affected?”
The feeling of attachment is real for the coaching staff.
Of the six seniors, three players have been apart of the program for five years.
“I have six seniors this year, so I feel their pain the most. Not just our team, but the women’s team suffers as well,” Fuscaldo added.
Senior point guard Ronnie Harris was especially frustrated about the situation.
“Our players are all here to get an education, first and foremost,” Harris said. “Second, we are here to play basketball. If we have to practice in the Rec Center, which isn’t the same as a college level court, it could throw off our game.”
A meeting is scheduled for next week with Sonoma State President Judy Sakaki in order further discuss the situation.
If worse comes to worst, the basketball teams are confident that students will still come out to support them throughout the season, wherever the home games are held.