Atlanta, Ga., (March 6, 2013) – As the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship® approaches, VCU has already earned one national title this season. The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), an affiliate of IMG College, and the Atlanta Tipoff Club today announced Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) as the winner of the second annual Naismith Student Section of the Year Award.
A total of 158 schools representing 25 conferences submitted entries for the award, which was launched nationally on Jan. 17. The VCU basketball student section was selected after two rounds of public Facebook votes, combined with a scoring of finalists by the Naismith Awards Board of Selectors. Selection criteria for the top eight finalists included the student section's name and attendance, photos, video, a write-up submitted by the nominating school, a weighted score based on the public vote. VCU led the way into the final round of scoring with the highest vote tally throughout the first and second rounds of the public vote.
The Rowdy Rams outlasted the remaining candidates including Gonzaga, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Pitt, Purdue, and Saint Bonaventure, the Board of Selectors said, noting the 2,000-seat student section's unique traditions, including a the Rowdy Rams student section membership, screaming for the black and gold alert, the "Let's Go VCU" chant, and students waiting in line all day prior to tip-off.
"We have the best students and fans in the country, and we are thrilled to now have national recognition of what we have always known," said VCU Head Coach Shaka Smart. "Our student section stands by our team and is loud the entire game, giving us an unbelievable home-court advantage. We thank the Naismith Awards organization and CLC for establishing this unique award and selecting our VCU students."
The Naismith Student Section of the Year Award is dedicated to celebrating fans who love college hoops and provide support to their college basketball team with devotion and passion.
"In just the second year of the award, we are thrilled to have doubled the number of basketball schools that nominated their student section to be named the best fans in college basketball," said Eric Oberman, Executive Director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. "We applaud VCU fans for displaying such passion, and we look forward to adding VCU Basketball to our storied Naismith Awards family."
"College basketball student sections love college hoops and bring the emotion, energy, and spirit that define the home court advantage, and we want to celebrate that," said Catherine Gammon, Senior Vice President of Brand Development for CLC. "We are proud to recognize the VCU Rowdy Rams as the winner of the Naismith Student Section of the Year Award and congratulate them on a tremendous effort to rally their fans to vote in this competition."
The award comes with a $10,000 cash prize, which VCU will donate to the University's general scholarship fund. A formal presentation of the award will take place at a home men's basketball game at the beginning of the 2013-14 season.
Complete details on the selection process can be found at facebook.com/ilovecollegehoops.
About The Collegiate Licensing Company
CLC is a division of global sports and entertainment company IMG. Founded in 1981, CLC is the oldest and largest collegiate trademark licensing agency in the U.S. and currently represents nearly 200 colleges, universities, bowl games, athletic conferences, The Heisman Trophy and the NCAA. The mission of CLC is to be the guiding force in collegiate trademark licensing and one of the top sports licensing firms in the country. CLC is dedicated to being a center of excellence in providing licensing services of the highest quality to its member institutions, licensees, retailers and consumers. Headquartered in Atlanta (Ga.), CLC is a full-service licensing representative, which employs a staff of more than 80 licensing professionals who provide full-service capabilities in brand protection, brand management, and brand development. For more information on CLC, visit: www.clc.com or www.imgworld.com.
The Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club, founded during the 1956-57 season, has presented the Naismith Trophy every year since UCLA's Lew Alcindor first won the award in 1969. Kansas' Danny Manning won the award in 1988. Old Dominion's Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women's Naismith Trophy in 1983. The Naismith Award has become the most prestigious award in all of college basketball, recognizing the Men's and Women's College Basketball Player of the Year, Men's and Women's College Basketball Coach of the Year, as well as awards for outstanding achievement in high school basketball, officiating, and contribution to the game.