Last updated on Nov 1, 2018
By Charlotte Gelfand and Myles Goldman
Each fall, the Pratt Recreation Center hosts both the men’s and women’s basketball teams for Midnight Madness, a night of exhibition as players showcase their skills in anticipation for the start of the 2018-2019 season.
On Thursday, Oct. 25, students made their way to the Pratt Recreation Center to attend the event. Along with the chance to preview the programs and cheer on the players, students can also compete in contests for a shot at winning various prizes. However, since the controversial announcement of OneLIU, the “Madness” had trouble staying in bounds and trickled off the court.
The tradition continued as doors opened at 10 p.m. Access to the event was free to students with LIU ID cards. The evening kicked off with a performance from the dance team. Afterwards the basketball teams were introduced, with pairs of teammates performing small dance routines to their chosen walk out songs.
The women’s side of the court proved strong in numbers, as each player came dancing out fully dressed, while the men’s side only had six players suited up. The remaining players were seated on the sidelines, wearing their regular clothes in protest to the evening’s festivities. While the men’s program has yet to formally address the issue, the crowd seemed fully aware of the dissent and privy to the circulating talk around campus of several players forfeiting the season to remain eligible next year.
While the loud music and bright lights attempted to distract the audience from the controversy of the OneLIU merger, the night was noticeably affected by it, as evident by the visible disunity among the men’s team. The players who protested also declined to participate in the contests throughout the night, leaving both the 3-point shooting contest and free throw contest bare.
Every year, the event welcomes back basketball alumni who get to join in celebration of the current teams while reminiscing on their own times playing as a Pioneer.
Alumnus Aary Bibbins (‘18) reflected, “I hope that there is more spirit than ever and think people will embrace it because it seems as if people have come together in a sense.” He cautioned his take by saying, “I could be wrong, but hopefully.”
Winners of the shooting contests and raffles got to take home some of the night’s big prizes. The $10,000 worth of prizes included a Nintendo Switch, PS4 Pro, 55″ Flat Screen TVs, a MacBook Air, Airpods, Beat Solo 3 and more.
Following the “Madness,” both teams gear up for the start of the regular seasons. The women’s
season commenced on Saturday, Oct. 27 against Coppin State University in a close loss of 84-80.
The men’s basketball season officially kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 10 as they head down to Baltimore, Md.
to face Post University. Before then, the team will have to confront its own internal struggles between the program and its players. While rumors of players transferring and sitting out for the season continue to remain unconfirmed, the division is palpable around campus and on display Thursday night.