Sunday, June 27, 2010

Student Section Chronicles: North Dakota State

If there is anything we learned from North Dakota State's magical run to the NCAA Tournament in 2009-2010, it was that they had incredible fans. For me, the lasting images of that season were of the droves of Bison fans who supported their men's basketball team. While the Oakland fan in me cringes at the sight of hundreds of fans rushing the court after Ben Woodside's conference championship clinching shot, the Summit League fan in me was happy to see the league represented so well on national television. People around the country were infected with Bison Fever, as replays of green and yellow-clad fans hoisting Woodside played on television and the web leading up to the beginning of the Round of 64. Then, NDSU was awarded a first round game against Kansas in Minneapolis where over 10,000 members of Bison Nation gave the team an imposing home-court advantage. While they lost that game, we learned once and for all that this was a school with the support of an entire state.

I have long-respected the Bison fans, especially after showing their dedication and loyalty in 2009. My desire to learn more about the NDSU fanbase is one part of the inspiration behind this feature, The Student Section Chronicles. For this installment, I caught up with TheBisonator (BN) and NorthSide (NS), two members of NDSU's fan forum, Bisonville. They have each provided a quality look into what the student section in Fargo is all about.

Name of the student section: The Herd.

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

Yellow, with some exceptions. In 2007 we did wear green when we played football at the University of Minnesota because the Minnesota student section is yellow also. (NS)

Describe the history of your student section. How long has it existed in its current state?

There used to be a group called the "Bison Brigade," but that faded away by the mid-2000's. From 2004-2006 a lot of the section was me and some football players, and it could get pretty rowdy. In 2007-2009 it involved me and a usually quiet, stoned student section filled with kids who were just there to be a warm body. Now it is known as "The Herd." (BN)

How are tickets allocated for students in the student section?

Students get in free with student ID. Their activity fee pays for the cost of a ticket. (BN)

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

The student section for basketball is located on the whole side of the court where both away and home teams are. Personally, I usually get a seat behind one of the benches. Gotta love hearing the coaches screaming during the game, and make the refs and away team know you are there! (NS)

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

We were playing a transition schedule from 2004 to 2007, so there weren't many teams that came regularly during that period. I can tell you that the most intense game was when Kansas State came to town in December 2006 (when we crammed 6,000 fans into our arena for that one). Second most was probably Colorado State in December 2007 (during winter break, yet a good 600-700 students showed up). In the past three seasons we have been in the Summit, I can say the top three in-conference games each year are Oral Roberts, South Dakota State and Oakland. (BN)

What struggles does your student section face currently?

From 2008-2009, I was literally one of only maybe 4 or 5 students who would come to every single game and cheer their asses off. I remember a game against IUPUI in 2008 where I was yelling and clapping and begging the student section to get on their feet and make some damn noise, cause we were down by 10 at one point and trying to make a comeback. I was literally a single soul standing and cheering my ass off, and everyone else was just sitting there looking sick, or something. Last year, there started to be a large influx of (I believe freshmen) who came to most games and were rowdy. I graduated this past year, so I have to trust those kids. (BN)

Over winter break everyone leaves to go home. I have been one of the few that is still in the stands over break. (NS)

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

At the game against Kansas State when we all made fun of Bob Huggins for his DUI the whole game. Also, at a women's game against South Dakota State in 2004 when we scored the final winning shot at the buzzer, and me and the football players were jumping on the first row of the wooden bleachers, and we broke them! (BN)

I can't think of many really good ones off the top of my head, but one of the players of SUU looks just like McLovin from Superbad. He isn't on the team anymore, but it was pretty funny calling him McLovin! Its all for fun! I am not a fan that swears at the refs or players but I will give them a hard time every once and while to get into their heads. (NS)

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?

I can't think of anything that NDSU does that no other school doesn't do. We use a similar hand gesture to the Texas long horns hodling it upward during the national anthem, and at the end some students say "and the home of the BISON!" (NS)

Why do you ultimately choose to be a part of the student section at your school?

I loved college basketball, and I was proud to be a member of a school that featured competitive Division I basketball. Also, the winters in Fargo can be brutal, and this was one way for me to forget about them. (BN)

NDSU has a great athletic program and is very competitive is all sports. We have won the Summit League in softball, volleyball, track, and basketball, along with great personal performances in track and golf. (NS)


  1. Even though this is the first post of many on this topic, I can tell we all face the same problems across the Summit League.

  2. You are spot on, Michael. General theme running through most of the Q&As. Will have more on that at the end of them.

  3. I'm excited to read that. Out-manning UMKC AT UMKC kinda showed me we're not alone in our problem.