For a senior on the basketball team, playing on your home court can be one of the most special memories you have in college.
The roar of the students cheering, their energy fueling the team to push forward and win. For students and players alike, basketball games in the Wolves’ Den are a school spirit staple.
Unfortunately for our basketball teams, a contract was signed earlier this year by former Sonoma State University President Ruben Armiñana that will temporarily close the gym from Nov. 21 until the first week of January in order to replace the bleachers, displacing 13 home games to be played in either Santa Rosa or Marin.
Timing could not be worse for the university to give the gym its long overdue upgrade.
Though it’s appreciated that Sonoma State is providing new bleachers, upgrading restrooms and a fire alarm system and installing a hearing assistance system, why could this not have been done sooner?
Though the university’s first choice was to make these changes over the summer, it “didn’t work out,” according to Bill Fusco, the director of athletics. The reason could be the university offers summer youth basketball camps, which take place in the gym. These camps cost $125 to $195 a day to attend, bringing in a lot of revenue for the campus.
In comparison, tickets to home games during the season cost $7 for general admission, $5 for visiting students and are free for Sonoma State students, staff, faculty and those involved in the Alumni Association. Though they promote and encourage school spirit, they do not bring in the revenue that summer camps do. It seems the summer camps might have taken priority.
To some, 13 home games being moved to another school seems small and insignificant.
But what if Weill Hall was closed down for renovations in the middle of a concert season?
What if 13 concerts and shows were cancelled or moved to a different venue 10 to 30 miles away?
This would be unthinkable. It would be ridiculous for the university to decide to start renovations on something so crucial to the community in the middle of its season.
How is basketball season any different? Weill Hall and the shows offered there bring in more money.
Students and faculty are the main attendees of basketball games, while people from all over Sonoma County pay to enjoy the shows at the Green Music Center.
So is it money first, students and school spirit second?
Whatever was behind this decision, the university should know the turmoil it’s put the basketball teams in.
From coordinating travel to the new locations to practicing in the rec center, which is not the same as a college-level court, these teams have a right to feel disrespected.
Sonoma State lacks school spirit already. By taking away most of the basketball team’s home games, will it suffer even more?
As college students, we only have four or five years to be involved in our college community.
Events like basketball games bring the students together and encourage school spirit, building this community stronger every year.
The 13 home games lost this year will take away from this community, especially for the seniors who will be graduating in the spring.