On Sept. 13, the Virginia men’s basketball team will celebrate the first national championship in program history by raising the new national championship banner and giving members of the program their championship rings during “A Night with the National Champions” event at John Paul Jones Arena.
Coach Tony Bennett and several players will speak and highlights from the Cavaliers’ championship season will be shown before the John Paul Jones Arena rafters welcome their newest and most high-profile tenant.
Here are five questions — and answers — about the upcoming event.
1. Is the timing of the event normal?
It is. The conventional wisdom is that championship basketball teams raise their new banner at their home opener the following season, but men’s college basketball teams have moved away from that trend in recent years.
Virginia will be the sixth consecutive men’s basketball national champion to raise its banner prior to the start of the next season. Villanova (twice), North Carolina, Duke and Connecticut all raised their national championship banners in preseason events.
The last national championship team to raise its banner during a pre-game ceremony in its home opener the following season was Louisville in 2013. The Cardinals raised their national championship banner prior to their 2013-14 season opener against the College of Charleston on Nov. 9, 2013. Louisville later had to vacate the national championship due to NCAA infractions.
2. Are banner-raising events usually ticketed?
It varies. Villanova unveiled its national championship banner in both 2016 and 2018 at its “Hoops Mania” season kickoff event. A Villanova school spokesperson said Thursday that the event is ticketed but most of the tickets are distributed to Villanova undergraduate students free of charge.
The school also held a pre-game banner raising ceremony at Wells Fargo Arena in both 2016 and 2018. Villanova plays several home games a year at the arena, which is the home of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.
In 2017, North Carolina raised its national championship banner during its “Late Night With Roy” season kickoff event. A UNC school spokesperson said on Thursday that the event was not ticketed and was open to the public.
Duke raised its 2015 national championship banner just a few weeks after cutting the nets down during its team banquet at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The event was ticketed. The Duke players received their national championship rings at a separate ceremony in September of 2015 at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. prior to the team’s trip to the White House.
3. How many people can attend?
John Paul Jones Arena seats 14,593 people and the school is selling general admission tickets for those seats for the “Night With the National Champions.” Tickets for lower bowl seats will cost $50, while upper bowl seats will cost $25.
There also will be tables on the arena floor. Each table will seat eight guests as well as a member of the Virginia basketball program.
The school has two separate sales packages for the tables, with one package costing $3,000 and the other costing $5,000.
4. Will there be student seating?
No. A University of Virginia school spokesperson confirmed on Thursday that all fan seating for the event is general admission and any University of Virginia student that wants to attend the event will have to purchase a general admission ticket or be a guest at one of the tables.
5. Will the event be broadcast?
No. A school spokesperson said on Thursday that there will not be any live television or online broadcast of the event.