I’m sorry, Prof. Zaubi. I won’t be in your Spanish class on Tuesday morning.
For the good of the College of Charleston, I’m skipping class to go to a basketball game.
On Tuesday morning, the College of Charleston’s men’s basketball team will be playing the Morehead State Eagles. At 8 a.m.
The game is part of ESPN’s third-annual Tipoff Marathon, to celebrate the first full week of basketball season.
But, more importantly, the game – and hopefully a full and raucous pajama-clad student section – will be broadcast into more than 100 million homes in place of the normal breakfast-hour SportsCenter.
I don’t know how much the College of Charleston spent on marketing the school last year. I also don’t know how much it would cost to buy a 120-minute advertisement for the school, targeted to every parent and high school student who turns on the television to check sports scores over their cereal in the morning.
But I do know that when my 16-year-old niece came to the College for one of the schools’ open houses, seeing the Cougars demolish Queens University in an exhibition game, even in a not-a-third-full TD Arena, was one of the highlights of her trip.
In a football-less school, our men’s basketball program is one of the unifying events on this campus. A thousand-plus students crammed into the endzone of the arena, screaming their heads off, is one of the things that is the College of Charleston. It is part of what makes this campus so extraordinary. It’s part of why many of us could not imagine going anywhere else.
Athletic director Joe Hull acknowledges that the time may be difficult, but he would also like to see The TD packed from the time the doughnuts and drinks start getting passed out about 7:15 Tuesday morning. He knows that academics will also come first on this campus, and even though some overtures were made about canceling classes, he was not surprised they were rebuffed.
“The campus operates a certain way,” Hull said. “Once they give up that (two hours of class), they can’t get them back.”
“I’m not aware if anything has been canceled, and we’re not pushing for that,” he continued. “But they are well aware that we are playing at eight o’clock in the morning.”
As far as packing the house, Hull wants to be able to accommodate any student who shows up.
“I wouldn’t characterize it as ‘throwing the doors open,’” he said, but he is confident that a greater than normal number of seats will be available to students than for most regular-season games.
There are people who will be seeing the College of Charleston for the first time on Tuesday. There will be prospective students who think the idea of going to a basketball game in their pajamas is just crazy enough to be fun.
For the good of the school, let’s pack the house and show them what it means to be a part of Cougar Nation. Class will still be there on Wednesday.