BYU sports’ fans went at it again, flocking in droves to the Marriott Center Jan. 18 to support the BYU men’s basketball team against Santa Clara. There was no shortage of blue hair, face paint and signs with enthusiastic fans’ messages scribbled in bold letters.
The Cougars may not be able to totally attribute their win that night to the incessant stomping and earsplitting shouts, but they can guarantee they provided some uneasiness for their opponents.
To any team visiting the Marriott Center, BYU fans may seem like any other university student section, but it does not take long for opponents to see there is something different about the BYU student section. Commonly known as the “ROC” they bring the energy, chants and loud roars, all with the common goal of distraction.
“What’s fun about the (BYU) fans is the visiting team’s players will come up to us after the game and tell us that we were hilarious and got into their heads but we weren’t vulgar, which is new for them,” said ROC student committee president Chad Burton. “Our goal is to be quirky BYU fans.”
BYU has always tried to uphold good sportsmanship standards when it comes to students participating as spectators at school sporting events.
After a Marriott Center mishap in 2012 when BYU fans threw objects onto the court and shouted foul language at the referees, athletic director Tom Holmoe made a statement asking students and any other fans to show better sportsmanship.
“I love the passion and enthusiasm of our student section and appreciate the support our team receives from fans in the Marriott Center,” Holmoe wrote. “But we simply cannot engage in poor sportsmanship.”
Since that event, the student section has been transformed into the ROC (Roar of Cougars) and has been finding unique ways to continue to be passionate spectators. The energy the ROC displays game after game has most certainly provided a unique home court advantage for the BYU men’s basketball team.
“Anytime we can come home and get wins you definitely feel better about yourself,” basketball star Tyler Haws said. “The fans are great, and we definitely feed off their energy. They have given us a great home court.”
On Nov. 20, 2013, the men’s basketball team faced its first ranked opponent of the season — No. 21 Iowa State. The game was not only a big night for the team but also for fans, who hoped for a big win for the Cougars in a tough match-up.
The Cougars came up just short in a 90-88 loss, but thanks to the fans, the energy in the arena was forceful and relentless, making the win a tough and hard-earned one for Iowa.
The crown brings unsurpassable liveliness to the Marriott Center and it doesn’t stop at men’s basketball. The “ROC” has been showing up in many other sports, including football, men’s volleyball and women’s soccer.
“We are trying to get into other sports on campus as well,” Burton said. “So far we have been mostly at basketball and football, but we definitely want to get other sports involved. We get it loud in there and its just really fun.”