The dawn of a new school year brings forth the resurrection of many yearly traditions. One of the most popular athletic traditions for students is the Purple Pit, the student rewards program for K-State volleyball. The Purple Pit is now entering its sixth year, and it has helped provide the Wildcats with one of the most vibrant and noticeable volleyball student sections in the nation.
“We have an unbelievable student section,” Wildcats’ head coach Suzie Fritz said. “They’re just awesome. They’re rowdy and get involved with what is happening on the floor.”
K-State has long been known for their student’s ability to fill a venue with rowdy fans. The Purple Pit has had a significant impact on spreading that effect from the gridiron and hardwood to the volleyball court at Ahearn Fieldhouse, where the volleyball team plays its home games.
“We love playing in Ahearn,” said Fritz. “The Purple Pit makes it an ideal volleyball environment, and that is one where the students are right up on the floor, close to the action where they are able to disrupt our opponents. I remember a game against Texas where (the Longhorns) were actually affected by their presence.”
The Purple Pit is a program designed to reward students with prizes corresponding to how often they attend games. This year, five matches earns a member a free T-shirt, seven matches earns entry into a drawing for a $50 gift card to the K-State Online Store, eight gives students a Powercat Aluminum sport bottle, and 10 earns students an entry into a drawing for a $100 Varney’s gift card.
“The students are great,” Fritz said. “Their presence is really felt and the program tries to reward them for that.”
For drawing prizes, the number of entries into a drawing correlates to the number of matches a student has attended. Those prizes help motivate the students to keep attending the games as the season progresses.
“I definitely like free stuff,” Devan Zwygart, sophomore in chemical engineering, said. “I feel a lot of people go to the games, though, just to support the team and those are the true fans.”
Zwygart was a member of the Purple Pit last year.
Another aspect that motivates the students is the appreciation the players give the members of the Purple Pit.
“They always sign volleyballs for us, and that keeps me coming because I know they appreciate it,” Zwygart said.
“I know they really appreciate their support,” Fritz added. ” The girls don’t necessarily see everything they do, but we definitely hear them and feel their presence. They’ve really made Ahearn a great environment and have helped establish a great tradition here at K-State.”
The Purple Pit, along with the rest of the volleyball program, makes their home debut on Tuesday, Aug. 30. Students can sign up for the Purple Pit as they arrive at Ahearn Fieldhouse, where students will receive their punch card that keeps track of the number of matches the student attends. Registration is free to students and only requires a student ID. First serve on Tuesday’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m.