The Florida Gators are set to face the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles Friday night in the Sweet Sixteen, as you may have heard. If you've turned on ESPN at any point in the last few days, you've seen the little school in Fort Myers covered ad nauseam. FGCU's story is what makes March Madness so special: A No. 15 seed defying the odds, slaying the mighty behemoth Georgetown and advancing to the NCAA Tournament's second weekend after defeating San Diego State.
There have been great tidbits about the gap between FGCU and the big boys of Division I basketball, further illustrating how improbable their run has been:
Florida Gulf Coast does not get its Nike gear for free. They pay for everything.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) March 27, 2013
What's not cool about FGCU? A whole lot of stuff circulating around the Internet this week about them. So let's recap the Eagles' social media week shall we?
Two FGCU fans remixed an already awful rap song, sprinkled in some clips of real dunks with ones of them dunking on a Nerf hoop, and got 500,000 views in five days. Behold the train wreck that is "Dunk City":
And then they added a take on Drake's "Started From the Bottom" on Wednesday.
It gets worse. ESPN ran video of an FGCU pep rally live on the 6 p.m. SportsCenter Monday evening. I thought the pep rally was actually a pretty good idea, because FGCU should celebrate this team every chance it gets. Unfortunately, the FGCU student body went about things the wrong way:
Instead of school spirit, the fans showed an unbelievable lack of class, as they drowned head coach Andy Enfield out with expletives. An event like this could have been used to show off Eagle pride and support for the team; instead, that pep rally won't be remembered for what it was supposed to be about. What started as a celebration by their student body morphed into an indictment of it.
To their credit, FGCU's student government issued an apology to the University of Florida:
On behalf of Florida Gulf Coast University's Student Body, we wanted to take a minute to send you and your students an apology for the negative reaction yesterday during our pep rally. In no manner do the words that were passed yesterday reflect upon this institution of higher education. Often times, excitement and a new experience can cause rash and hasty decisions to be made. In this moment of excitement for our young school, we hope that you will accept our expression of regret.
With that being said, we are definitely looking forward to some healthy competition in Arlington, this Friday.
The right move to make, without a doubt, but what is done can't be undone.
Maybe the most disturbing part of Gulf Coast's Internet antics this week are those of a fan account that trolls with the best of them, including this gem:
Is it Gaytor or Gator? #FGCU— FGCU Fans (@FGCU_Basketball) March 26, 2013
Do you get it? "Gaytor," like...GAY! Isn't that hilarious? Don't worry though, the snarky "apology" makes up for it, so it's all good:
The University of Florida even took notice and wasn't amused when the FGCU fan account changed its avatar to one of UF's logo for a bit on Tuesday:
@fgcu_basketball Please remove our registered trademark from your Twitter account immediately. Thanks!— Univ of Florida (@UFlorida) March 27, 2013
Not all Gulf Coast fans tweet ignorant, homophobic things or scream profane things at a pep rally, but those that do ruin it for the rest of you. By all means, be excited about one of the most unprecedented runs in NCAA tournament history.
But, just maybe, express your school pride by doing things like this...
...and consider acting like you've been there a bit more, even though many things bouncing around the Internet this week show you clearly haven't.