JBU Toilet Paper Game Packs Arena for 40th Anniversary
SILOAM SPRINGS, Arkansas (Oct. 27, 2023) - The tradition started on Nov. 12, 1983, when a group of J. Alvin Brown Hall residents and members of the rugby team decided to encourage students to sneak in rolls of toilet paper and let them fly when the Golden Eagles men's basketball team scored the first field goal of the season-opening game.
Jeff Berggren ’84 was serving as the sports information director during the game and admitted that students weren't sure what head coach Curt Pickering would think about their technical-foul inducing stunt. Luckily, the team won the game and a tradition was born.
"Of course, we paid the price the next day with no toilet paper in J. Alvin until the janitors replenished the supply," Berggren said.
It still took several years before the tradition was embraced wholeheartedly by the school and became the students' most-loved tradition.
Students no longer have to raid the school TP supply thanks to a partnership with Kimberly-Clark who has donated 4,000 rolls of toilet paper for the game for the last seven years. Fans exchanged canned food items for a roll of TP to toss, and the other 2,000 rolls will be donated, along with the canned food items, to the Manna Center, a local food bank in Siloam Springs.
This year's game against Barclay (Kan.) was no exception with a packed-out crowd at Bill George Arena.
When junior guard Drew Miller sunk the first basket from 3-point range 47 seconds into the game, the crowd let loose and sent a cascade of toilet paper streaming onto the court from all sides.
"It's such a special small college tradition, and every player gets excited about the first game," said Jason Bescheta, head coach of the men's basketball team. "It builds an incredible energy throughout the entire JBU community."
JBU's TP game is hailed as "the best technical foul in all of sports" by USA Today, was featured on CBS's March Madness Fandemonium special in 2016, and received coverage by ESPN multiple times.