Some media will remain at floor level, west of the student section, but most will move to a north side suite previously used by Vanderbilt Chancellor Gordon Gee.
"We wanted to create a better game atmosphere and so did our student body," said Vice Chancellor David Williams. "Our biggest obstacle was finding a suitable location to move our media. When Chancellor Gee learned of the dilemma, he volunteered to give up his booth and move into the stands. That allowed the process to happen."
The courtside section allows several hundred more Vanderbilt students to see the action at close range. The reaction from student leaders and Commodore coaches is positive.
"Last season was outstanding for both of our teams and this year there is a lot of excitement once again," says Kathryn Givens, president of the student spirit group Vanderbilt Fanatics. "This is a great opportunity for our student body to get behind our teams. It was ambitious for the Chancellor to take the first step by giving up his own box. The restructuring of athletics last year carried a goal to better unite our student community and this is a great step in that direction.
"If Vanderbilt is to make strides toward increasing spirit," the Lebanon, Tenn. senior continues, "this is a way to do it. I think more students will attend. I've been working with the freshman class and I can see a lot of interest."
"Our team gets charged up to play at home," Stallings notes. "Our student crowd has always been great and with more of them located courtside they will be even louder."
"Much of the home court advantage in college basketball comes from an enthusiastic crowd," Balcomb says. "We are looking forward to having more students at courtside. They will improve the game atmosphere and hopefully give our team some extra energy when we need it."
Mark Halling, a junior from San Francisco and president of the Memorial Maniacs is obviously pleased. He was part of an e-mail and petition campaign to demonstrate student interest to the administration over the summer.
"This is a very exciting development for Vanderbilt student basketball fans," Halling says. "It will add so much atmosphere to Memorial Gym. "You hear the stories of Memorial Magic decades ago -- this move will be an evolution back to those glory days. We will try to bring the great atmosphere of the big games last year to every game this season.
"This is our gym," Halling continues. "It is a great move on the part of Chancellor Gee and David Williams; student support is important to improve the student experience."
"SGA applauds the University for their decision and thanks the Chancellor for generously giving up his luxury box," said Andrew Maxwell, president of the Student Government Association. "For too long, student fans have been unable to truly feel the "magic" of Memorial Gym because they were unable to get close to the action on the basketball court. Now, all of that will change, and students will be as close to the floor as possible. We look forward to seeing lots of black and gold in the stands for the first basketball game. SGA is very proud to have worked with the Division of Student Life and Memorial Maniacs in securing this victory for the student body."