WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — The College of William and Mary recorded the first ever sellout of a home basketball game in its 325 year history Monday night after offering extra credit to students in attendance. 5,217 students who were in dire need of a few extra points packed Kaplan Arena for the midseason conference contest against the College of Charleston.
“We prepared for this night like the Super Bowl mixed with Burning Man,” said W&M athletic director Sam Silver, noting that additional staffing was in place to ensure radical academics would not ruin the occasion for moderate seekers of scholastic excellence.
“We realized we need to stop playing around with small giveaways like hats or T-shirts and give our base what they really want,” he added.
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Many students brought their laptops to continue their studies during the game, creating what was described by W&M president Raynor Seveley as a “very electric atmosphere filled with a few casual basketball fans surrounded by a desperate student body.”
“Lackluster attendance at home sporting events is a time-honored William and Mary tradition,” Seveley said, “but we wanted to do something to shake things up.” The president’s office collaborated in printing brochures explaining the rules of basketball and the expectations of conduct (face the court, cheer for the home team, etc.) to be handed out at each entrance.
“This is like Christmas,” said junior Lydia Jalepso, who, like many thousands there, stepped into Kaplan Arena for the first time that night with the hopes of getting enough points to possibly earn a B in her Psychology 101 class she is only taking to fulfill a general education requirement.
Most were glad to finally discover what goes on inside the gigantic building in the middle of campus. “I heard it was either, like, a server database or the old PIKA house,” said freshman Justin Winslow of the 8,600 person stadium.
Across the university, many felt a sense of validation for this historic moment.
“It was so weird looking up from the bench and actually seeing faces,” said a stunned Coach Henry Frasier after the game, adding that opposing teams should no longer call Kaplan Arena “The Morgue.” “We should have done this a long, long time ago, even if most of the fans were just here because they can’t afford to fail core classes.”
Most professors knew to expect the entire student body plus a few recent alumni still hoping to change a letter grade or two on their transcript to show up. “Do not take these kids lightly,” classics professor Paul Longford said. “They are as relentless about Athenian democracy and Plato as Duke fans are about actual basketball.”
The turnout was refreshing to players. “Make it a class,” said senior forward James Drewby. “Then no one will ever miss a game.”
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