New student section layout for men’s basketball games

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Hate sitting in the upper level of the Bank United Center during basketball season? After some changes were made to the layout of the student section, that might no longer be a problem.

Beginning with last Wednesday’s exhibition game against Barry University, changes have been made to the layout at the BankUnited Center. In order to accommodate more students, the student section has been expanded to include all of the lower sections at their end of the arena.

“After last year, (Category 5) tried to figure out ways to improve the student section,” said Brandon Mitchell, Category 5 Chairperson. “Our goal was to increase and better the experience of going to a UM basketball game.”

After being called out by ESPN last season for not giving off any kind of home-court advantage, Category 5 aimed to change that as well. Along with the additions to the seating, the band will also be moving, sitting right alongside the students.

To top it all off, the Hurricanes and visitor’s benches have been switched for the remainder of the season. No longer will students be as close to their team, but it will give them the opportunity to put visiting teams at a disadvantage, with both the band and the students giving them trouble.

“I feel like having more bodies on our side of the stands gives our team a sense of home court advantage, so I like the move,” said junior Ponciano Gari. “Hopefully it will pump up our players and get us more wins this season.”

Even before the proposed changes, Miami fans have been known for trying to irritate their opponents during games, and succeeding at it at times. Last years Duke-Miami game will forever live in infamy as the game where Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski got frustrated at a Miami student who was blowing a conch in the stands, frustrated enough to the point he complained to stadium officials, who took the conch away.

The changes will only be seen for men’s basketball games as of now. Although Miami fans always have their own creative ways of backing their team and provoking the opposition, many hope these changes can help give that extra advantage in the stands.

“We really wanted to make it so that students attending the game don’t just watch the game; we want them to feel like they are actually a part of the hurricane force,” Mitchell said.

Ernesto Suarez may be contacted at esuarez@themiamihurricane.com.

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