July 18, 2019 | 78° F

This season, themed football games will become the new norm for Rutgers Athletics

The jacuzzi may not be permanent, but Rutgers Football has more surprises in store

Photo by Griffin Whitmer |

Rutgers kicked off its 2017 season with a "War Before the Shore" themed game, complete with jacuzzis, giveaways and boats. The Athletic Department plans to continue creating themed games for the student body. 

The Scarlet Knights made a splash during their 2017 season opening game by rolling out a hot tub for the student section to enjoy. On Friday, Sept. 1, Rutgers football battled No. 7 Washington in what was deemed the “War Before the Shore.”

Rutgers Athletics opened High Point Solutions Stadium to all fans in hopes that residents from across the state would flock to the primetime game honoring the “New Jersey tradition to head to the shore for the final weekend of summer.”

“Everyone from across the entire state is invited to come out to enjoy the action and cheer on your Scarlet Knights," said Senior Associate Atheltic Director for External Affairs and Strategic Communications Rick Thorpe. 

In hopes of attracting more attention from the Rutgers student body, Rutgers Athletics offered student fans the opportunity to watch the first football game from “the best seats in the house.” Those seats were none other than twin jacuzzis with a lifeguard on duty.

As part of the “War Before the Shore” theme, many additional promotions and activities were scattered inside and around the stadium. A select amount of lucky fans were able to win the opportunity to watch the game from boats placed on the field in the north end zone.

The giveaways only continued, as the “War Before the Shore” also celebrated the launch of Rutgers’ new partnership with the apparel brand Adidas. The first 5,000 or so fans into the stadium received a limited edition “War Before the Shore” beach towel while the first 2,000 Rutgers students entering the student section were awarded Adidas brand football tank tops and complimentary sunglasses.

"We are excited to kick off the start of college football in a big way," Thorpe said. "From hosting a showdown with a top-10, Pac-12 power in front of a nationally-televised audience, coupled with enjoying all of the shore-themed promotions that we have planned for the entire game day, and you have a fantastic way to start off the long holiday weekend.”

Just outside of the stadium, The "Block R Party" raged throughout the day. Lifeguard stands and volleyball nets were set up along the way, overshadowed by a 10-foot-tall sandcastle that stood adjacent to High Point Solutions Stadium. 

To complete the ambiance, the “War Before the Shore” festivities featured a local band from the Jersey Shore, Good Noise.

Bringing the entire theme together, the city of Piscataway was decorated in homage to a stereotypical town on the Jersey Shore. Games prominently featured on the boardwalk made an appearance alongside an entourage of more boats placed about on Scarlet Knight Way. Jersey-themed food trucks filled the area, providing featured sandwiches and other shore-inspired dining options.

Cara Lubin, a Mason Gross School of the Arts senior, attended the game on Sept. 1 and said she was one of the brave few who dared enter the now-famous hot tub. She said the experience was extremely different from what she expected.

“I’m going to be honest, when I first heard about it I was a little skeptical,” Lubin said. “It turned out to be a magical experience. I watched the game from a hot tub and even made a new friend! It was like a once in a lifetime experience and I really hope they bring it back at future games.”

Even with the hype before the game, some students still had reservations about making the plunge into the jacuzzi during the game. 

Jordan Drinks, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said he still is skeptical about the hot tub even now, after the game.

“I thought this whole thing was just a joke at first,” Drinks said. “The hot tub was actually there and it was pretty crazy. People actually got in it, even though it was freezing outside. It definitely brought a lot of attention to the game, but doesn’t Rutgers have anything better to spend their money on than a hot tub in the student section for like one game?”

While “War Before the Shore” made lasting waves with its featured hot tubs, Rutgers Athletics is not retiring game day themes just yet. 

Nearly every home game throughout the duration of the 2017 football season will have a theme.

There have been no guarantees that students will see the jacuzzi again.

Some of these upcoming promotions include events like "Outstanding Student Day and Summer Reading Day." The two celebrations share a date and will headline the theme for the Sept. 9 game against Eastern Michigan.

The hot tubs might not be returning to the student section, but there are still plenty of festivities awaiting Rutgers student fans throughout the football season. 

The next football game is on Sept. 9 at 3:30 p.m. at High Point Solutions Stadium.

Daniel Israel

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