Nationers ignite change in the student section #GameDaySigns

Meaghan McCann

Nationers everywhere can attribute the recent approval of signs, fatheads and rollouts in the Pavilion to a student-led effort. 

The Augustinian Army, the three-year-old student spirit group and the “face of the student section,”sought to bring signs back to the Pavilion last semester. Willy Annan, a senior and a member of the Augustinian Army, is passionate about Villanova school spirit. “I’ve loved [watching Villanova men’s basketball] since I was 12 years old, and it’s been awesome being here the last four years and watching the team grow,” Annan said. 

Annan reported that the Augustinian Army, led by President Jake Echoff and Vice President Emma Taylor, is always looking for ways to engage fans creatively. Last semester, “actually, during the snowpocalypse,” Echoff, Taylor and Annan decided it was time to bring televised cheering to the next level. “Villanova has national status,” Annan said, and that realization motivated the trio to draft a petition to allow men’s basketball game day signs in the Pavilion. 

The Augustinian Army created the petition and posted it on, garnering widespread support among students and alumni. They collected 836 signatures, enough to get the attention of athletic director Vincent Nicastro. “We were granted a trial run and signs were allowed at the Butler Game Feb. 26, 2014,” Annan reports. 

The trial run went off without a hitch, and signs were officially approved by the Athletic Department for the 2014-2015 Basketball season. Students are now encouraged to tout signs in the Pavilion, including at this Sunday’s game vs. Temple. The latest men’s basketball lottery email detailed the do’s and don’ts of student section signs. 

Thomas Mogan, Director of Student Development, encouraged students to “arrive [at the Pavilion] one hour before tip on Court 1 to make signs! Don’t have a chance to buy supplies ahead of time? We have everything you need.” The email also promoted using Bartley iPrint Graphic Services to create “fatheads, rollouts, or head on a stick.” Students report that signs must be approved before entering the student section, and you are required to arrive at least 30 minutes early. 

VUhoops Livetweet, an active MBB twitter account, tweeted about student section signs at the St. Joe’s game last Saturday. “Cutouts in the student section include Andy Talley, John Robertson, Jay Wright, Ryan Arcidiacono and Harry Perretta (and tiny Rollie Massimino).” Sophomore student Samantha Schafer was in attendance on Saturday, and said “I loved [the signs]! I thought they were a great way to get students involved and show school spirit.” Schafer added that “they said things like ‘nova nation’, ‘the hawk is dead’ and ‘the holy war’.”

Annan believes that signs “add another dimension to the student section.” Undeniably, signs are engaging student fans and entertaining spectators. “Our student section should grow with the team,” Annan said, adding that “we have a duty to represent [Villanova] to our national audience just as much as the team does. Let’s do it in a creative and funny way.”