With the leaves changing color on the campus of Murray State, the wait for college basketball is almost over. Most in the region have been counting down since the final buzzer of the loss in Louisville to Marquette, a new season is upon RacerNation. What made last season so special was the environment at the CFSB Center (The Bank) and things might be changing based on the feelings around campus, and not in a good way. Before the night of Racer Madness, the general student fan, those who went to games because the team was so good, they couldn’t wait just like the typical college fanatic. However that night a video was posted online showing a player, Zay Jackson, using his vehicle to run over two people. While it was mostly kept quiet this past week, with help to social media that same video is making noise, a lot of noise. I consider myself a passionate follower of basketball and since I attend Murray State I will be going to the games, even if it wasn’t my job. However those regular fans helped add to the excitement and craziness of the atmosphere at the Bank last season.
I’ve been sitting in class and regular students that weeks before the video was released and knew of what had occurred based on reports seemed to still want to go to basketball games and cheer on their school. However just like the temperatures, those feelings have changed. Those same fans who went to Racer Madness are now saying they won’t attend a game if Jackson is suited up. I’ve personally been expecting this backlash as the video has gotten a lot of comments complaining of the sentence and how the athletic department has reacted. Keep in mind the official student section, The Stampede, is said according to a recent tweet to have over 750 students signed up. Most of those enrolled I would classify under the general student fan.
While the athletic director Allen Ward says “that Zay’s still a very big part of this program.” There are ways for him to be a part of the team and miss time. I’ve talked to numerous fans and they said they would go if Zay was redshirted this year. While some just thought what he had done were grounds to be off the team. It seems from what I’ve felt that Murray State and its students are willing to give Jackson another chance but it would have to be next season if it was their call.
While this is still a developing story that could change any day these things need to be thought of and I’m sure athletic department has. However keep in mind that student tickets don’t make the athletic department money as they are given an allotted amount for the students that wish to attend. We won’t be able really to see the impact of these regular fans however til the Racers the home game in late November against Old Dominion who should draw a very large crowd given the name of the team and their success recently in the NCAA tournament. Will the atmosphere be the same however if the craze of the student section is missing or not completely full, that we will have to wait and see.