Florida Atlantic Kicks Midnight Madness Off a Night EarlyPosted by rtmsf on October 14th, 2010
As we wrote in our piece earlier today listing the biggest “Midnight Madness” events planned for Friday evening, it’s really not appropriate to refer to these things as “Midnight” any more than it is appropriate to call Jennifer and Scott Petkov “humans.” Neither entity has any semblance to the word regularly used to describe them. Imagine our surprise, then, while researching some of the various Madnesses around the country that we came across relatively unknown Florida Atlantic’s notice for their extravaganza.
Notice anything out of the ordinary here? Well, first of all, they tout the event as “Midnight Madness” but as discussed above we know that nobody actually has their event at the witching hour anymore. It’s a little odd that they didn’t call it something else to make that clear ((Mike) Jarvis Jaunt? Owl Madness? Hoot n’ Holler?), but that’s not the biggest item that jumped out at us. No, look at the date — FAU is having their Midnight Madness tonight. As in, a few hours from now.
Last we checked, Florida Atlantic was still a member of Division I men’s basketball, so our immediate reaction was that we were uncovering a case of a clear NCAA rules violation; but cooler heads prevailed, and after calling the FAU media relations folks for confirmation, we quickly realized that tonight’s Basketball Kickoff will not actually be a practice as much as a promotional event where fans can meet players/coaches, sign autographs and win various prizes throughout the evening. How are they allowed to do this? Well, it’s right there in the rulebook under Section 126.96.36.199.1 (yes, we had that memorized) –Team Promotional Activities.
So this begs the question — is FAU ahead of the curve on this or is this just a meaningless outlier from a school trying desperately to drudge up interest in its basketball program in a difficult place to do so (South Florida isn’t exactly a college hoops hotbed)? Considering we’re writing this story about Florida Atlantic and Florida Atlantic alone, it could represent a crafty strategic marketing move on their part; although their hoops SID said that the primary reason for the school having it tonight was that they didn’t want to interfere with the football stadium’s ground-breaking tomorrow. So there’s that, too. Still, we wonder if some other enterprising school in future years might try to jump the gun a little by having a heavily-marketed “first” Midnight Madness in a similar manner as this one. It’s well worth watching, and if Billy Clyde Gillispie ever gets another head coaching job in D1, we think we already know who the candidate will be to try this.