by Erick R. Schmidt // Spring 2011
The UMKC men’s and women’s basketball teams didn’t have to travel far to find a new location for home games. The teams previously played most home games at Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City, Mo. UMKC officials had considered moving the teams back to campus since the start of the 2007-08 season and made it official this year.
Athletic director Tim Hall said the change was popular with everyone from students and fans to the coaches and players themselves. Hall credited the leadership of the Division of Student Affairs with putting an emphasis on undergraduate student life on campus and improving the student experience. “It makes the most sense to have our signature sport playing on campus,” Hall said. “As our teams continue to improve, we’ll continue to enhance the experience so people will choose to spend their discretionary time with us.”
The move treated the two teams well. The men traded in a 7-24 overall record in 2009-10 for a 12-4 conference record at Swinney. The women also played strong at home, finishing 9-5 in the conference. Hall said playing on campus allowed coaches and players to prepare for games more easily, which contributed to the teams’ success.
Fans and students embraced the new home of the Roos as well. Attendance in the 1,500-seat gym averaged 1,200 people per game. By the fifth game, Hall said the total student attendance surpassed last season’s total. “We’re in Big 12 country, so there’s always competition for people’s time. You’re better off playing in a smaller venue with fewer people. There’s more energy, there’s more enthusiasm. The fans are right on the floor. There’s a definite home court advantage,” Hall said.