SHSU is getting into the “March Madness” spirit with various activities planned to promote the men’s basketball conference championship games, scheduled for Wednesday, and with a win, on Friday. With wins on both of those days, the Bearkats will have the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament.
“President (James) Gaertner asked the Student Government Association to coordinate all of these activities to make sure that the students of Sam Houston State University know about the games and are coming to the games and are excited about the wonderful accomplishments the men’s basketball team has made,” said SGA President Helena Banks.
“We’re doing this to show our full support for the Bearkat men’s basketball team and to set a precedent on this campus of how fun and exciting Bearkat basketball and Bearkat athletics period can be,” she said.
Activities started yesterday with the cheer and dance teams distributing flyers in the LSC Mall Area.
Other groups, such as Orange Keys, Freshman Leaders, Student Activities, Program Council and fraternities and sororities will also be in the Mall Area today and Thursday at 10:45 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. and on Wednesday at 10:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Basketball team members are also slated to promote the games in the Mall Area whenever they are available.
SGA is also doing what is being called “Campus Crusade”, “which is Operation Orange, except in the spring. We’re going to wrap all the trees in orange,” Banks said.
Wednesday will kick off with a golf cart parade at 10:45 a.m. in preparation for the Southland Conference Tournament game against McNeese State.
“President Gaertner is really excited about the golf cart parade,” Banks said. “We’re just going to drive around up and down the hill and around, led by President Gaertner. The people who will be participating in that will be Program Council; IFC; NPHC; Panhellenic; RHA; IHA, hopefully; Student Government; Dean (Mary Ellen) Sims wants to participate; and maybe Dr. Douglass’ office will be participating.”
There also will be a 15-minute Kat Kall, at 11:45 a.m.
“The Kat Kall on Wednesday is going to be 15 minutes of insanity,” Banks said.
Members of the dance team, the cheerleaders and possibly members of the Bearkat band will make an appearance. SGA members will also be handing out the newly designed “Orange Crush” T-shirts for the student body to wear to the game.
“To end our 15 minutes of insanity, Boomer the cannon will sound in the Mall Area,” Banks said. “It will be a big deal.”
The activities will not end there, Banks said.
“We are going to give wiggle sticks. They’re really cool, and they are going to look so good,” she said. “It’s going to be fun, we’re going to have a good time out there and there’s going to be lots of free stuff. Papa John’s has probably already starting baking because we’re going to have pizza for days.”
Pending a Wednesday night win, activities are also being planned for a Friday afternoon game, which will be against the winner of the Stephen F. Austin and _____ game, which also occurs on Wednesday in Nacogdoches. The game will be at 3:30 p.m. in the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum and will be televised on ESPN-2.
“At the game, we are working on doing a free tuition raffle, so whoever it is will get tuition–not tuition and fees, not tuition and room and board–tuition, 12 hours, paid for at the game on Friday,” Banks said. “The first 250 people through the door will get a (Orange Crush) T-shirt.”
Pre-game activities will also include a tailgate party, if the weather allows.
“We don’t want to look silly on ESPN-2. I saw a game where half the school was there and half the school wasn’t and it just looked gross,” Banks said. “The reason why students should participate in these activities and in the basketball games period is to show your support for your school, to show your support for the basketball team, to go out and just have fun and start your spring break off right.”
While the university is giving students plenty of reasons to attend the Wednesday night game, and the pending Friday afternoon game, standing behind the basketball team is what is important, according to Banks.
“The ‘Big Dance’–that’s what important. It’s awesome, baby. Our basketball team, they get hype when there are people there. Then they get to showing out and that’s when the game just gets out of control,” she said. “They are dunking all over the place and they’re doing cartwheels and back flips. That’s why it’s important.”