By: Brendan Burris ~Staff Writer~
As the new Xavier basketball season begins, Musketeer fans are looking forward to a year filled with great victories, intense rivalries and so much more.
However, during the offseason, Cintas Center staff was hard at work making some significant changes to the arena for the upcoming season.
These are aimed at enhancing the overall fan experience.
The most notable of these changes is clearly the resurfacing of the court, complete with the Cincinnati skyline below the arena’s signature “X.”
Over the summer, the Xavier athletic department was accepting fan submissions for a new court design for the 2014-15 season, many of which featured the city’s skyline.
The final product was a collaboration of all the fan submissions and made it easy for the athletic department to decide on a theme.
The skyline image was also featured in the free T-shirts given to students and fans at Musketeer Madness.
The highly-publicized NBA preseason game between the Cavaliers and Pacers marked the court’s first national exposure.
Early reviews of the design have been overwhelmingly positive, according to Director of Basketball Administration Mario Mercurio.
Another major change for all Division I sports this year is the so-called “Shabazz Effect.”
Former UConn point guard Shabazz Napier claimed that while his team was en route to a national championship, there were times during the season where he struggled to get enough food to support him.
The NCAA promptly passed legislation during the offseason that allows for schools to provide unlimited meals and snacks to Division I athletes throughout the year.
With this rule in place, the Xavier athletic department has created a “Fuel Station” for student-athletes, who are now able to be fed by the university at any point.
Overall, according to Mercurio, changes to the NCAA rules happen frequently, and the athletic department must be able to keep up with those changes to provide the best possible situations for student-athletes while staying within the established guidelines.
Some other notable changes have been made to Cintas Center in the past months, such as improvements to the concourse.
As the new basketball season gets closer and closer, Cintas Center is prepared to provide the home court advantage that Xavier fans love.