Three days after becoming the first No. 15 seed ever to win two NCAA tournament games, America's favorite underdog Florida Gulf Coast is discovering the perils of the national spotlight.
The school endured its first cringeworthy moment Monday when students launched into a "F--- the Gators" chant aimed at Sweet 16 opponent Florida seconds after ESPN cut live to coach Andy Enfield's speech during an on-campus pep rally. Tuesday's embarrassment stemmed from derogatory tweets from a group of fans whose twitter handle "FGCU_Basketball" made readers erroneously assume it was the school's official men's basketball account.
And the unsatisfactory explanation:
Since more than 13,000 people now follow the FGCU fan group account and the original tweet received more than 500 retweets, the school itself felt compelled to respond. In a tweet sent via the actual FGCU men's basketball twitter account Tuesday evening, the school said, "This is the OFFICIAL @twitter account of #FGCU men's bball. All other accounts (FGCU_Basketball, FGCU_Hoops, etc) are not affiliated w/ FGCU."
It's silly to be too critical of Florida Gulf Coast over the ill-timed chant and the ignorant tweet because this kind of stuff is certainly not unique to the school.
Attend a pep rally before any big-time rivalry game in the country, and you're likely to hear an off-color chant break out. And all it takes is one idiot with a keyboard to send out an insensitive tweet.
At the same time, Florida Gulf Coast fans should be more conscious that the eyes of the nation are upon them this week. How they handle that impacts the school's reputation.
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