Top Ten Things to Know About Athletics at UVA
By Kathryn Owen
With Special Thanks to Paul Wiley
10. Even if you aren’t an all-star athlete, you can still play and compete by signing-up for an intramural recreational team, such as soccer or basketball.
9. Football coach Al Groh and his $1.875 million salary are sore subjects for many students.
8. UVA’s official mascot is the Cavalier, and teams are referred to as the “Cavaliers.” Cavman, a man fully dressed up as a swashbuckling cavalier with an orange and blue cape and sword, comes charging into Scott Stadium on horseback at the beginning of football games. UVA players are also often referred to by students and fans as the “Wahoos” or the “Hoos” because at sporting events at the turn of the twentieth century, fans took to screaming “WAH-HOO-WAH!” for unknown reasons. There is a rumor, however, students earned the nickname for drinking like the Wahoo fish.
7. If you are a soccer fan, join the Wahooligans, an enthusiastic student group with its own chants and traditions. Members wear matching scarves they wave in support and enjoy heckling the opposing team. According to some, they are the loudest, most passionate sports spectators on Grounds. You haven’t experienced true UVA fanaticism until you’ve cheered with them.
6. The best team at UVA is men’s lacrosse. The team has won two national titles in the last five years and three in the last ten. Men’s lacrosse consistently brings in the best recruits in the country, including the Bratton twins who were the top two ranked players when they graduated high school and are second-years this year. Steele Stanwick was the number one recruit last year and is now a first-year. This coming season is expected to be another great one.
5. One of the biggest problems facing UVA athletics is legal entanglements. Cavalier Daily sports columnist Paul Wiley explained, “Ten football players were arrested and/or kicked off the team for academic problems between the end of last year's regular season and the start of this year. Since the beginning of this year, quarterback Peter Lalich was kicked off as well. Just the other day, fullback Rashawn Jackson was arraigned on charges of breaking and entering and grand larceny. The team has managed to eke out a few impressive wins recently, but the character questions still remain. Will the Hoos become the new Criminoles? The new Hurri-cons? Unless things turn around in a hurry, it looks like the answer is yes.”
4. The Athletic Department has a tendency to attempt to formalize the fan experience. For example, this year the Department tried to enforce a ban on signs and hand out “Power of Orange” rally towels instead. The sign ban was eventually repealed due to vociferous student protests. Wiley noted, “Very few traditions have grown organically, since they're continuously being stifled by the Athletic Department.”
3. There is an ongoing debate about appropriate dress for football games, generally referred to as “guys in ties/girls in pearls” versus the “sea of orange.” UVA had a longstanding tradition of dressing up for football games, the guys in ties and girls in sundresses. Recently, however, the Athletic Department led by the initiative of Al Groh has tried to encourage people to dress down and wear orange t-shirts. Each side of the debate has its adamant supporters, but most students simply dress for the weather.
2. According to many, the best game experience is a men’s basketball game at the relatively new Jon Paul Jones Arena. Wiley described the experience: “When the flamethrowers start going off in pregame, with AC/DC blasting over the loudspeakers and the student bleachers registering a 6.5 on the Richter Scale, the JPJ gets to rocking. Might be a slight down year for the team this upcoming season, but the fan enthusiasm won't wane one bit.” In order to get good seats at the game, it is necessary sign up for ‘Hoo Crew. The more games a student attends and the bigger fan a student is, the more Saber points a student earns. The more points a student has, the more likely they are to get a ticket and the earlier they are allowed in the arena.
1. “The Good Old Song.” You just have to know it. When the UVA football team scores a touchdown, students put their arms around each other and belt it out.
That good old song of
We'll sing it o'er and o'er
It cheers our hearts and
warms our blood
To hear them shout and roar.
We come from Old Virginia,
Where all is bright and gay.
Let's all join hands and give a yell
For the dear old UVa
Ray! Ray! U-V-a