When the schedule was announced for this season, and it was revealed that the Tar Heels would head to Spokane after the school had closed for the Winter Break, well....
Now, it has been confirmed. As the Gonzaga Bulletin reported earlier this week, all resident halls on campus will be closing on Saturday, Dec. 14, four days before the UNC game. Not even Corey Kispert could make a difference here.
The news isn’t too surprising. Of course, it isn’t as easy as just leaving the dorms open for students until Dec. 19. There is security to think about. There is food to think about. There are a whole host of other complications, which, from the university’s perspective, it is understandable to not leave campus open.
That said, this is also a situation that seemingly should not have happened. Scheduling is obviously tricky. It isn’t the most simple task to get a basketball team across the nation whenever we see fit—but at some point, perhaps this could have been avoided. You’d like to think that the Gonzaga athletic department would be able to say, hey, UNC, we’d like this game to take place when our student body is there. Maybe, instead of playing Wofford on Dec. 15, UNC could have played at Gonzaga. It isn’t that easy, of course, but it is a bit frustrating that we are here in the first place.
Now, before anybody spouts off the sentiment about how “if you truly want to be there you would find a way,” let me tell you a story about my freshman year at Gonzaga. I went to every single home game possible. I also left Winter Break for home with approximately $50 (if that) in my bank account. For many students, staying an extra five days in Spokane is not financially possible.
When the UNC/GU game rolls around, The Kennel is still going to be absolutely jam packed, mashed full of energy, and ready to rock and roll. There is no question about that. Although you can tell a vastly different energy when the students are gone, that is against WCC opponents such as Loyola Marymount. We should expect the crowd to be nutty.
Most of all, this seems like a situation that just should have been avoided, and it is unfortunate for the underclassmen who live in resident halls on campus that this game became incredibly hard, if not impossible, to attend.
We used to raise and shake an angry fist at the WCC when it seemed to relish scheduling the Gonzaga/Saint Mary’s contest in Spokane over Winter Break. But at least in that scenario, instead of two balls up in the air, there were 10.
Hopefully, this can be a learning opportunity. This probably won’t be the last time a team of UNC’s caliber rolls into The Kennel, and next time, hopefully, the whole campus will be able to join in on the party.