Men’s basketball nonconference schedule disregards fan experience


Nathan Brewer ’25 is a business analytics major and data science minor. He is a member of the Men’s Club B soccer team and Baptist Collegiate Ministries. Around campus, he can be found playing IM sports or drinking chocolate milk. Contact him at

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

Aug. 28, the College of William and Mary men’s basketball nonconference schedule was released on the Tribe Athletics website. It consists of 13 games featuring five home, five away and a three-game multiple-team event at the United States Air Force Academy that the Tribe will participate in for the third consecutive time. Other highlights of the schedule include short trips east and west on I-64 to Norfolk State University and the University of Richmond. The Tribe will aim to win their second consecutive game against the Spiders Dec. 2. Another feature of the schedule is a cross-country trip to Malibu, where the Tribe will take on Pepperdine four days before Christmas. I’ve spent a lot of time covering the features of the away games, but not as much on the games taking place at Kaplan Arena. Ultimately, that’s because the home slate of games leaves much to be desired. 

My main point of contention with the Tribe’s nonconference schedule is that it only provides two opportunities for most students to watch the Tribe play fellow Division I competition. Two of the five home games are against members of the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association. Those games include the season opener against Regent University on Nov. 6 and the last home game before winter break against Virginia University of Lynchburg Dec. 10. However, these schools’ teams are not evenly matched to the Tribe’s level. 

For instance, Regent lost to the Mid-Atlantic Christian University twice last season, the latter of whom the College had already beaten by a 76-point margin of victory, so the outcome of the College’s upcoming game against Regent seems already clear. As for Lynchburg, they won only one game last season. 

This leaves three games against fellow NCAA Division 1 schools at Kaplan Arena during the fall semester. The Tribe will host American University Nov. 9, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Nov. 25 and Old Dominion Dec. 6. Keen-eyed readers of this article (or those counting down the days until a home-cooked meal) will notice that the UMBC game is taking place over Thanksgiving break, leaving only two home games against similar caliber competition that most students will be able to watch before heading home for winter break. 

This lackluster nonconference schedule, paired with our winter break being a week later than most other institutions, limits the number of games students can watch. I do want to be clear that I don’t pin the later winter break on the athletic director, head coach or whoever makes the schedule, but it is another important factor in making the College’s basketball schedules less accessible to students. 

Also, I recognize that creating a schedule is tough, especially while trying to balance the need of other teams to use Kaplan. However, I only need to go back to the 2021-22 season to find a nonconference schedule that’s better for students. That schedule also featured five home games; four were against Division I competition while the fifth game was against Randolph College (Division 3). However, that game against Randolph was scheduled over Thanksgiving Break, leaving that as the only game where most students would be unable to attend. All four home games against Division I competition were played at a time where most students could have the opportunity to cheer on the Tribe. Accessibility was not the reason keeping students from attending games in the 2021-22 season.

I’m not explicitly against scheduling non-Division I caliber opponents. In fact, I think playing teams below our level can provide the Tribe with a tune-up game and an opportunity to bank a win, which was proved even more necessary when the Tribe only won four games against Division I opponents in that 2021-22 season. I just don’t think two of those games are necessary, especially if one of the three games against Division I competition is during Thanksgiving break.

At the end of the day, I realize there are probably not many basketball fans at the College and even fewer Tribe fans. However, as one of the few and not always proud, I believe other students would be much more likely to show up to Kaplan if the schedule featured better opponents rather than prioritizing early wins against the Mid Atlantic Christians and Regents of the college basketball world. A schedule that catered more to students could potentially lead to a renewed interest in Dane Fischer’s team. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here