In recent years, Rowdy Ram memberships have become a hot commodity, due in part to the increasing popularity of VCU sports. These memberships are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis and as a result can be difficult to obtain. For the 2014-15 school year, the Rowdy Ram memberships have already sold out, although specific figures were not available by press time. Last year, the estimated 1500 membership tally sold out in just under one day. In the 2012-13 school year, the RR memberships sold out in less than 12 hours.
The Rowdy Ram program originally was established as the support unit of the VCU Athletics department due to the program’s growing popularity over the years. It is currently deemed the official student support organization of VCU Athletics and also serves as a branch of the Ram Athletic Fund. Rowdy Rams spiked in popularity in response to the elevated success of the men’s basketball team, namely the team’s remarkable run to the Final Four during the 2010-11 season.
Undoubtedly, the largest congregation of Rowdy Rams fans attends the men’s basketball games. The Rowdy Ram fans and The Peppas, VCU’s pep band, are granted designated seating in the student section on the east side of the Siegel Center.
The culmination of the The Peppas and the exuberant energy from the RR fans established it as one of the strongest student sections in the nation. According to a press release by RVANews, the university was awarded the Naismith Student Section of the Year Award last year. In short, the Siegel Center is one of the most challenging places to play in the nation due to the astounding energy from the student section.
Despite the success and popularity of the RR program, Ryan McLane, the assistant athletic director of marketing here at VCU, believes there is still room for improvement.
“Every year we try to incorporate new and fun ideas that can enhance the student atmosphere,” McLane said. “Getting more students involved in a structured leadership committee is something we are working on this year.”
Students who participate in the Rowdy Rams program receive far more benefits than the average student. Participants receive free admission to all VCU Athletic events, an official T-shirt, a membership card, priority access to student tickets, and also discounts from several local businesses. Additionally, students receive discounted postseason tickets for all sports. The only expense required is the $35 membership fee, which is valid for the entire school year.
Ultimately, the $35 memberships fee serves as a donation to the Student Ram Athletic Fund, SRAF. The purpose of the SRAF is to raise the money to purchase equipment and to fund travel and recruiting purposes for all VCU sports. Rowdy Rams president Kevin Woods feels the funds not only benefits VCU athletics programs but it also allows participating students to support their team directly.