From garish purple floors, to trails of paw prints, to submissions drawn in colored pencil or magic marker, James Madison officials received some outlandish designs when they sought fan input on how the school's new basketball court should look.
The one they eventually selected this past weekend isn't as outrageous as the most wild submissions but it's far from tame too.
James Madison's new floor features the Duke Dog logo covering half the inside of each 3-point arc and extending beyond the baseline and sideline in two diagonal corners. The final design also includes a JMU block lettering logo at mid-court, a replica of James Madison's signature in two places on the floor and advertising for the school's official athletic site behind both baselines.
The look of the new floor is based on a submission from longtime James Madison fan Becky Taylor, whose original design featured the giant Duke Dog logos, the JMU center logo and the two-tone purple and gold baselines. School officials incorporated the James Madison signature from another fan submission and added branding to the baseline and sideline.
"The final design, for all of the work that went into this, meets all of my expectations," James Madison men's basketball coach Matt Brady said in a statement. "I think it embodies the original vision, which is a perfect blend of a modern or hip look combined with something that still has dignity and respect. We’re very appreciative of everyone who participated in the process to make this new court a reality."
Reaction to the new floor among James Madison students and alumni not surprisingly has been mixed so far.
Wrote one fan on the popular James Madison-themed site, The Dukes' Domain, "In my opinion, it doesn't look too bad."
Countered another, "Do 400-pound women not look too bad to you?"
James Madison's new floor is now one of more than a dozen distinctive court designs to be unveiled since Oregon launched the trend three years ago with its colorful fir tree-framed floor. Schools believe the unique floors stand out more to TV viewers and are popular with recruits.
If James Madison's design is hard to stomach for some fans, they should take solace that it's far from the most non-traditional. In an era of blacktop courts and beach towel-esque floors, two giant Duke Dog heads are almost normal by comparison.
- James Madison