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Support your team and earn gear with Category 5

An autographed mini-football, T-shirts and flat screen televisions can all head your way by supporting Hurricane athletics. The catch? There is none.

Developed by Category 5, Student Government and the University of Miami Athletic Department, Hurricane Force is an all new incentive-driven program designed to attract students to a variety of sporting events at UM. The program is arranged around a point system that awards students for simply being a devoted Hurricane fan. By swiping their Cane Cards, fans will be automatically registered into a database that will keep track of their game attendance during the entire academic year.

“We realized that student attendance wasn’t as high as it should be considering the rich tradition we have at our school,” said Brandon Mitchell, chair of Category 5. “It’s a one-of-a-kind program in the country. There’s none quite like it.”

“We realized that student attendance wasn’t as high as it should be considering the rich tradition we have at our school,” said Brandon Mitchell, chair of Category 5. “It’s a one-of-a-kind program in the country. There’s none quite like it.”

As students accumulate points, they are given the opportunity to win free prizes and are entered into raffles. Each athletic event is of different point value; football games are worth one point, while two points are granted to men’s basketball, three for baseball and four for women’s basketball.

“Because it’s the first year of Hurricane Force, we are focusing on four sports. If we have a rivalry game in volleyball or soccer, then we’ll announce that opportunity,” Mitchell said.

At games played in a smaller venue, students will not swipe their Cane Card. Instead, a Category 5 incentives committee member will be present to facilitate the process.

According to Mitchell, different point plateaus suggest competition and provide a chance for committed fans to receive prizes of true value. The plateaus are set at 15, 25, 45, 65 and 85 points. Students that reach the 15-point plateau, for example, will receive an exclusive Hurricane Force T-shirt and will be entered into a raffle for courtside seats to a men’s basketball game. Other prizes include a shopping spree at All Canes, a barbecue with coaches and players and a raffle for box seats at a Miami Heat basketball game.

UM Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt is in full support of Hurricane Force.

“Student attendance makes a significant difference on our athletic events.  The energy, the environment and the atmosphere they create can be a deciding factor in winning,” Hocutt said. “Our ultimate goal is to compete for championships and to do that we have to work together as a team. The student body is a significant part of our team and we look forward to a great year in front of us.”

At the end of the year, the top-five students with the most points accumulated will be entered into a raffle to travel with the football team for a 2011 away game. Additionally, each of those five students will receive a new, flat screen television.

“We can market games any way, but with this program we get a chance to give back,” said Christina Farmer, president of Student Government. “I want students to have everything be more convenient.”

Category 5 has begun to promote Hurricane Force in every part of campus life. At Thursday’s football game against FAMU, all students will be congratulated for being registered with Hurricane Force. According to Farmer, students are eager to begin racking up points and cannot wait to receive their prizes.

“It’s a great opportunity to have students be rewarded for supporting our team, and once you get students to the game we can focus on tradition and bringing people together. Athletic events make us a cohesive unit; it makes us the U,” she said.

Jonathan Borge may be contacted at jborge@themiamihurricane.com.

September 2, 2010

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Jonathan Borge Assistant News Editor


ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Support your team and earn gear with Category 5”

  1. Steve says:

    This should be expanded to other cultural events around campus…concerts, art shows, exhibits, etc. Even though they are VERY important the U is about more than sports…

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.