Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Student Section Chronicles: IPFW

Since IPFW entered The Summit League three seasons ago, they have won some and lost some. Pertpetual .500-huggers, the Mastodons have neither amazed or embarrassed. For a school with very little basketball history and a program still in its first decade of Division I existence, this should be looked upon as an accomplishment. By all means, IPFW has been a solid addition to The Summit League. Over the past three seasons, coach Dane Fife has brought stability to the team's roster and respectability to an institution often frowned upon because of its alphabet soup-inspired name. Most importantly, the Dons have improved every year on thecourt. And that is a trend which will surely continue.

Not only are these positive developments for the conference, but also for Oakland University. Due to The Summit League's unusual geography, Oakland does not have any rivalries born out of close proximity. IPFW is as close as it gets, something The People With Pockets have recognized as OU has sent many buses full of students to Fort Wayne for the annual OU-IPFW match-up at The Coliseum. Seeing The Blue Crew go at it against The Grizz Gang is the type of sight one would normally only see at conference tournaments, yet it comes to fruition each year in the middle of the conference schedule. The two fan sections likely despise one another on those occasions, but as we find out in the following interview, they actually have a lot more in common than might be expected. Ron Clark, who advises The Blue Crew organization, was kind enough to field our questions.

Name of the student section: The Blue Crew

Does your student section require/recommend a certain shirt (or shirt color) be worn?

We do ask students to wear their official Blue Crew T-shirt yes, but not required unless it is a special promotion. Additionally, we draw one Blue Crew Member to have a suite at an upcoming game. I have a friend who owns the suite and he donates it to us for about 4 games per year, so we do that as an incentive to get students there. We put up the sign, give them a freebie backpack and food. We try to pick double-header games so we can do two groups.

How long has The Blue Crew existed in its current state?

This is the second year.

How are tickets allocated for students in the student section?

We have a list of members. Student tickets are free. When they arrive they indicate they are students and in the Blue Crew and they get a ticket for that section.

Where are you located at in the arena, and what is your favorite part about such placement?

Location is by the Pep Band and Cheerleaders on the end of the court, near the visiting team. (Ed Note: This is an area OU fans who have been to the IPFW roadtrips will surely remember. The back-and-forth banter between the IPFW students and OU students takes on a life of its own at this game.)

What are the two to three biggest games for your student section each year?

It depends. Michigan State and Notre Dame are always big, and the Oakland or IUPUI series.

What struggles does your student section face every year?

Consistent attendance. We play off campus, and although we have a shuttle service that takes students to and from the games every 15 minutes, students still are not engaging, unless it is a special promotion or game.

Describe your most original chant, or a memory of a particular experience in the student section?

We took about 55 students down to IUPUI when we played them at Conseco Fieldhouse. Their students were a bit rude so our kids basically took their chants and made them their own and completely drowned out their student section. It was a great game and our students were really involved all through the overtimes.

Do the students at your school have any unique rituals performed before big games? Or do you have a specific experience to share if it is not something customarily done?

We are working on getting them to create their own unique rituals, not forced, so they will feel more involved.

- Many thanks to Ron Clark for taking the time to provide answers for this Q&A. Our next installment will arrive in the coming days.

Other reports from the Student Section Chronicles:


  1. Reader note: Rudeness was both ways, and both sections were equally as loud.

  2. IPFW is a joke. Go back the dumbest city in the US and enjoy the Comets or should I say the Komets. And your school is a waste of 9500 dollars a year

  3. I love seeing the Grizz Gang vs. The Blue Crew every year. The tension is always growing.