Jones pulls men's team from Midnight practice

Men's basketball coach Jeff Jones and the Student Confederation have revamped the schedule for this year's Midnight Madness rally, citing concerns regarding the event's late hour.

Jones, who became head coach of the team this spring said while he recognizes the value of school spirit and appreciates the enthusiasm shown by students for the team during Midnight Madness, the late-night event could affect players' abilities the following morning at their first full practice.

"I'm not opposed to Midnight Madness, but we intend to have a practice the following morning. If the team is up until 2 a.m., it doesn't make for a good practice," Jones said. The team has a practice scheduled at 10 a.m. the following day.

Midnight Madness, which will be held this year Oct. 13 in Bender Arena, is seen as the official kickoff of the men's basketball season. In years past, the basketball teamhas held a quick practice consisting of drills and lay-ups in the gym at midnight before a cheering crowd as part of Artemas Ward Weekend.

Jones said he would be interested in exploring the possibility of other pep rallies at different times. Following a meeting with several SC officials, including the organizers of Midnight Madness and SC Vice President Jackie Vorhauer, a tentative agreement has been made to change the scheduling of events as well as the overall focus of the evening.

"There will definitely be a Midnight Madness, we've just made an alternative schedule," Vorhauer said. There are "a lot of different events" scheduled for the evening, some of which will involve the men's basketball team, just at an earlier time, she said.

The focus of Midnight Madness will also change to include all the sports of the fall semester. Instead of spotlighting the men's basketball team, as Midnight Madness has in previous years, the events this year will involve AU athletes in other sports, Vorhauer said.

Vorhauer said such events are difficult to coordinate.

"[Pep rallies] are something that we've seen dying across the country these past few years," she said. "Unless you go to a big sports school, many are opting not to have them anymore. It's just so expensive."

Vorhauer and Jones also stressed their desire for greater attendance at basketball games this season as another display of enthusiasm for the team.

"We all want to make sure that students will come out and support the team not just at Midnight Madness, but at the games during the season, too," Vorhauer said. "We're talking to the athletics committee to advertise and promote the games more, and we hope to see more students there," she said.

Men's basketball guard Damek Adams, a sophomore in Kogod, said he feels that Midnight Madness is secondary to winning games.

"As long as we win, Midnight Madness doesn't affect me," Adams said. "A majorityof the time, the people that show up at Midnight Madness don't come to the games. We'd like to see them there, too"

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