Duke University’s “Cameron Crazies” fill one of the most visible student sections in all of college basketball. Miles away at the University of Kentucky, the “eRUPPtion Zone” torments opponents on a nightly basis. And now, the student section at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum finally has a fitting moniker: Purple Haze.
The TCU Student Basketball Committee announced the name last week. They also introduced a point system that will award one dedicated student two tickets to the NCAA Final Four, to be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington this year.
Head men’s basketball coach Trent Johnson said Purple Haze would give students a chance to build relationships with the players.
“College basketball is about students, whether you’re a student-athlete or a regular student,” Johnson said. “The more student involvement there is, the more there is a relationship with players. I don’t know if there’s anything more important.”
The point system is only open to members of Purple Haze and is based on attendance. Members can receive six points for attending home games and as many as eight points for away games.
Social media interaction will also give members a chance to earn points. A member can earn one extra point per game if he or she creates a post and includes the phrase #purplehaze.
For home games, member attendance will be counted using the swipe-in system at the entry of the Coliseum. For away games, students who join Purple Haze must tweet a picture to @TCUPurpleHaze, the official Twitter account for the committee.
Members who join the committee not only earn access to points but also receive a Purple Haze t-shirt and get a chance to win prizes during in-game raffles
The committee is currently coordinating shuttle bus service to and from the American Airlines Center for students who want to attend the Horned Frogs’ game against cross-town rival SMU on Nov. 8.
Junior finance and sports broadcasting double major Andrew Felts said the committee has already given out 50 student tickets to the SMU game. He said they are hoping to obtain another 25 to 50 tickets to award to interested students.
Purple Haze members also earn prizes for reaching certain point levels. At 15 points, students will receive a personalized TCU socks; at 30, a TCU Nike Dri-FIT shirt; at 45, a TCU polo and at 60, a TCU sweatshirt.
At the end of the season, the member with the most points will win tickets to the NCAA Final Four. The 10 members with the next-highest point totals will receive personalized TCU basketball jerseys.
Felts said the committee hopes to make tailgating available for basketball games, but he does not know when that would take effect.
Last season, TCU lost 21 of its 32 games and only averaged 4,854 fans per game – less than half the Big 12’s overall attendance average. Johnson said while TCU’s current basketball tradition may be nonexistent, students now have the opportunity to grow with the program.
“There’s nothing like being able to sit back and watch something grow from the ground up like we did at Nevada,” Johnson said. “The most exciting thing for us here is that it’s going to grow. That’s what’s fun.”
Johnson said he envisions the basketball program growing like the football program has since the LaDainian Tomlinson era.
“I was the head coach at Nevada when he came up there and played,” Johnson said. “To see how that thing has grown – that’s what is neat.”
Sophomore business major and committee member Abby Gensch said she grew up watching basketball at the University of Kansas, a team that finished 10th in the nation in attendance with 16,438 fans per game.
“Their fan support is unconditional,” Gensch said. “I really thought TCU deserved that. I thought I could bring some of my ideas to the table.”
Amie Yoshida, a junior biology major, said she joined the committee to help a program whose efforts often go unnoticed.
“I feel like the basketball team is working really hard, but no one is coming to their games,” Yoshida said. “They put in so much work and people need to come support them and actually see what they’re doing.”
Johnson said his only job is to help the committee from a financial standpoint. Other than that he said he wants the students to “take the bull by the horns and run with it” to generate excitement about Purple Haze.
Members can receive a sweater vest, exclusive giveaways, priority seating and a discount on tickets. Students interested in joining should contact Assistant Director of Athletics Marketing Julie May at firstname.lastname@example.org.