FAU Sports for Dummies

Rolando Rosa

As you walk through the blue double doors inside FAU Arena, a sea of red engulfs The Burrow. It’s Saturday night, the Owls home opener, and the student section is filled with thousands of fans in red shirts. Chants of “Ray-mond Tay-lor” are growing louder.

The buzzer sounds and the frenzied crowd rushes the court. Out comes the victory bell from the doors near the basket and players, coaches, and faculty take their turn ringing it.

This overwhelming sense of school spirit won’t be felt every time you go to a basketball game or any sports game at FAU for that matter. But the possibility of moments like those is reason enough for a new student to check out FAU sports.

For basketball and baseball, students get in free at the gate with their Owl Card. For football, students get free tickets in advance with an Owl Card. Tickets can be picked up at the Wally Sanger building, east of the Tom Oxley Athletics Center.

Here are three FAU sports to check out:

 

Photo by Melissa Landolfa.

Basketball:

The basketball team shoots hoops at The Burrow, on the west side of campus, behind the Oxley Center. Last year the Owls went 11-19 under head coach Mike Jarvis, but this year six players from the squad are gone. The annual game against FIU is a traditional red-out called “Bury the Burrow in Red”, with a red T-shirt giveaway.

Every year there’s an event called “Midnight Madness” at the arena. Fans kick off the season with free giveaways, contests, and a chance to interact with the players.

The student section is on the east side. Right as you enter, it’s across from the team benches. Before the opening tip-off an owl flies across the court. Whenever an FAU player makes a free throw, students stomp, clap, and yell “F-A-U whooo!”, then throw up their Owl Fingers. To throw up the fingers, you make the “Ok” sign with each hand and raise them to the sky. Salute the Hoot is the other sports signal, only now the arms are crossed when throwing it up.

After the Owls win, players and coaches celebrate by ringing the victory bell.

There’s typically 12 players on a basketball team. For the 2012-2013 season, There’ll be eight new players on the squad, making the Owls pretty much brand new:

Dragan Seikelja 7’0 C Transfer (Baylor)

Chris Bryant 6’8 F Fishburne Military School

Stefan Moody 5’9 G Poinciana HS

Cavon Baker 6’1 G New Hope Academy

Javier Lacunza 6’8 F Hudson Falls HS

Devonte Thornton 6’7 F Marietta-Osborne HS

Jackson Trapp 6’4 G Fishburne Military Academy

Justin Raffington 6’9 C Transfer (University of San Francisco)

 

Photo by Michelle Friswell.

Football:

You’re new and so is a lot about FAU’s football program. There’s a new stadium, a new coach, and new traditions being developed. The team had a 1-11 season in 2011 but still had something to enjoy: its $70 million dollar new home.

And a new leader to guide the team in the new stadium. FAU hired former Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini as the second coach in school history. FAU Football Stadium opened last season. It’s located at the intersection of North University Dr. and FAU Blvd. The student section is in the south end zone and is covered with fans decked out in red and blue body paint.

As for tailgating, check out The Rat’s Mouth on the south lawn of the stadium. Tailgating starts four hours before gametime. Set up is allowed one hour before tailgating and there’s a drop off zone available. Drop off is five hours before the game starts. Students and tailgatewrs can drink alcohol but only in areas monitored by university police.

Once the action starts, that’s when school spirit begins.

Whenever FAU makes a big play, fans chant in unison: “That’s another Owls[…]first down!”

After the Owls win, players and coaches celebrate by ringing the victory bell.

The fifth Annual Bonfire is Aug. 23. Students set fire to the mascot head of the the team’s first opponent. The Misfits are performing this year and 1,000 T-shirts will be given out.

The first home game of the season is Aug. 31 versus Wagner.

Aug. 31 vs Wagner(8:00 p.m.)

Sept. 29 vs North Texas(TBA)

Oct. 27 vs Troy(TBA)

Nov. 16 vs FIU(8:00 p.m.)

Dec. 1 vs ULL(TBA)

Photo by Michelle Friswell.

Baseball:

Owls baseball might not be as popular as football, but it’s the lone program at FAU to produce powerhouse results. FAU’s baseball team won the Sun Belt regular season title last year. Five players were signed by MLB clubs, pitchers R.J Alvarez and Ryan Garton (114th pick by LA Angels, 1,052 pick by Tampa Bay Rays), Kyle Newton (588th pick by Colorado Rockies), Alex Hudak (signed as free agent by Kansas City Royals), and Mike Albaladejo (free agent signed by Washington Nationals).

They’ve been to nine NCAA regionals and have won three regular season conference championships. Historically, FAU baseball has been the most successful team on campus.

Despite their success, the baseball team’s stadium is in desperate need of renovations. This year, FAU Baseball Stadium turns 21 years old. Located across from the Burrow, the home of FAU’s best team has no bathrooms. Yes, you read that right. Fans, players and coaches use port-a-potties during the games. Current and former players have all complained about the stadium.

Bring an umbrella or poncho, because rain delays are typical. Students have their own section on a grassy knoll along the first base line. Oh, and one more thing — bring lawn chairs, because the student section has no seats.

[Ed.Note: The original version of this article incorrectly called the home opener a “Bury the Burrow in Red” game, which is reserved for FAU’s annual game with FIU. The location of  The Burrow, its student section and  FAU Stadium have also been corrected.]

[Ed.Note: In a previous version of this article, the description of a student cheer, “Owl Fingers”, was incorrectly named.]