Calling all UCF fans far and wide: I've made it to the lion's den with a raw steak to tell you to break out your black and gold for the basketball team — because they deserve it.

Although UCF's football season has come to a close and a few key players are moving on to the next level, don't feel down because basketball season is in full swing, and it would be nice to see die-hard football fans take their passion from the gridiron to the hardwood.

Imagine yourself in the stands when an opposing player fouls out. You're part of a crowd that roars over the loudspeaker with a "left, right, left, right" chant. Or two consecutively made tries from UCF's charity stripe that result in a rumbling of the floor as fans stomp twice before a "swoosh, UCF, ballin'" ruckus that reminds opposing players just whose house they came to.

In a facility that's at max capacity when there are 9,465 seats filled, UCF is only managing to bring an average of 3,841 fans per game through the turnstiles. That puts UCF ninth out of 12 teams in the American Athletic Conference for attendance, and means almost 60 percent of the seats in the CFE Arena are cold as ice at the end of the night. That number is unacceptable for the second-largest university in the nation, which boasts more than 60,000 students.

Oh, did I mention athletic games are always free for students? Yes, I said free. Who said nothing in life is free?

The only exception to the average attendance is when the school realizes you've paid far too much for textbooks and decides to give away free T-shirts to students with a valid ID. In that case, students show up in full force to get their hands on another one of life's free marvels.

The triple overtime winner against a tough Tulane team, which happened to coincide with a Knightmare T-shirt giveaway, drew in 4,503 fans and had the student section mostly filled. Coincidence or fan motivation?

Even if there are no shirts given away at the door, you could be one of the lucky few in the crowd to catch a shirt from a cheerleader. You'll have to be loud for that one, though.

So when it comes to fan chants, trade in first down for a UCF free throw, third down for an opposing free throw or a kick off for a tip off.

I'll close with a partial quote from arguably the most famous poster in American history: "I want you for the Knightmare student section."


Jarrod Heil is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future. Find him on Twitter at @JHeil11.

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