By Amelia Kibbe, Editor-in-Chief
and Ethan Kibbe, Sports Editor
ST. BONAVENTURE—If you happened to be scrolling through gobonnies.com last Friday afternoon, you might have seen a press release about new seating in the Reilly Center.
If you weren’t, you might have missed it.
But a few hours later, it would be harder to miss as reposts of the release and angry comments began to take over student and alumni social media accounts.
The release, although not directly, said a new row of $710 per-person seats would now occupy the immediate courtside of the student section.
And that’s prime real estate.
In an interview, Athletic Director Tim Kenney said the new courtside seats would only move students back one or two feet. When considering the size of the RC, this isn’t a whole lot.
But it’s a lot when it’s THE one or two feet.
The one or two feet that allows Bonnies to rush the court in less than a second, sometimes at the end of games and sometimes during them. The one or two feet that makes the Wolfpack the sixth man on the court for the Bonnies.
Kenney said the decision stemmed from pressure in the conference to improve player safety. This put him and his staff in a tough spot, because even though the conference made no requirements, something had to change soon. This solution allowed the university to likely bring in some much-needed revenue if the school plans to continue to compete at the Division I level.
And it’s no secret that the Wolfpack is one of the most rowdy, and often vulgar, student sections in the conference.
But moving students back two feet won’t stop the language or the noise. It will slow down potential court storming, but it will also allow the language and the noise to be heard by the highest-contributing donors to athletics.
No matter if the decision had to happen or not, the nearly 2,000 season ticket holders in the student section deserved a seat at the discussion table. That’s at the table, not one or two feet from it.
And that would have been easy. Talk to students about it, email them, tweet it, post about it on Facebook or hold an open forum.
Kenney’s willingness to discuss this topic and his statement that it would be evaluated is to be commended. However, this discussion should have taken place with students prior to the decision being finalized. The decision may have been about player safety and court control, but it still impacts the students.
Kenney said he doesn’t think this decision will lead to fewer students at games or make them less rowdy.
He’s right. It likely won’t.
Because we’re Bonnies. We will adjust to change, and we will probably force the alumni in front of us to get out of their $710 seats and scream just as loudly as we do.
But did anyone consider what might happen when it’s pizza giveaway time?
Let’s hope the alumni don’t wear white.
The above piece is the opinion of its authors. Amelia Kibbe is the editor-in-chief and Ethan Kibbe is the sports editor for The Bona Venture.