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Varsity athletes sell orange T-shirts to inspire student basketball fans

Cameron Crazies, eat your heart out. Here comes the Jadwin Jungle.

A new plan by the Varsity Student Athlete Advisory Committee hopes to clothe everyone in the student section at men's basketball home games in orange – something akin to the rabid blue-clad student section at Duke University basketball games.


Starting at tonight's game against Brown at Jadwin Gym, members of the VSAAC will be selling bright orange T-shirts to students. The shirts, which have a small "Go Tigers" logo on the front, will be sold near the entrance to the student section, and they will be available exclusively to students, and not the general public.

The VSAAC is charging $5 per shirt in the hope that all students will fork over a little cash to become part of the exciting atmosphere at Jadwin. Should a significant number of students embrace the idea and purchase the shirts, the VSAAC plans to create a more vocal and energized student section, one commensurate with other nationally ranked basketball programs.

'Deserve a lot of support'

"Basically, our goal as a committee is to increase the athletic experience," VSAAC president Jon Hess '98 said. "For the basketball team, they've obviously been doing very well, and I think they deserve a lot of support and attention from the students. Hopefully, we can do something like this to show our appreciation."

Hess, who said that improving school spirit has been one of the VSAAC's objectives since its inception several years ago, came up with the idea for the T-shirts while watching a college hoops game between the University of Kentucky and Vanderbilt University. The Commodore student section was awash in dark gold T-shirts, Vanderbilt's color, and the sight inspired Hess to try the idea at Princeton.

Hess added that while students could bring their own orange T-shirts, the uniformity of 1,000 identically dressed fans would look much more impressive. In addition, students would get a new T-shirt at an inexpensive price.

'One group'

Mitch Henderson '98, a starting guard on the men's hoops team and vice president of the VSAAC, thinks Tiger fans will embrace the idea, and that the VSAAC will have no trouble selling the 1,000 shirts they bought.


"I think that once everyone is wearing the shirts," Henderson explained, "and they stand, look around and see everybody else wearing orange shirts, you're in a uniform. Basically that's what you're wearing – it immediately unifies you as one group."

One of the most vocal Princeton fans, Chris Decker '98, who, along with Dan Sarles '98, regularly wears face paint and an orange wig to Tiger games, is skeptical but hopeful about the plan's success.

'Orange Fuzzy'

"It's good to see that people are actually taking an interest in the team. It's sad if it's just because they're ranked," Decker, a self-described "Orange Fuzzy," said. "Granted, I will be fired up and rowdy, but it's good to see more people taking an interest in it."

The success of the VSAAC's plan, however, depends on enforcing the "student" part of student section. According to Hess, students' PUIDs will be required for entry into the section, which the VSAAC hopes will become louder and more supportive – like in the University of Pennsylvania's Palestra – creating a more intimidating arena for Tiger opponents.

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"(Vocal support) has a very dramatic effect," Henderson said. "It gets under the skin – people hear what you say to them, especially in the league . . . If you were to create some kind of a hostile environment, I have no doubt in my mind that teams would come in a little more intimidated than usual."