How Crimson Chaos creates a home-team advantage

Anyone who’s ever been to a University of Alabama basketball game for the first time is sure to take notice of students and fans wearing hard hats in the stands, serving as a symbol to encourage players to compete with a ‘blue-collar mentality.’ Just one of the many ways Crimson Chaos feeds energy to the players at home games, the hard-hats send a message and help fuel excitement to others in the stands.

Following increasingly successful seasons for the Alabama Men’s Basketball team, loyal Crimson Tide fans are excited for the promising future that lies ahead. Players and fans alike are hopeful that head coach, Nate Oats, will continue to change the program for the better.

 An integral part of Alabama Basketball culture, Crimson Chaos is the official student pep-squad for all of Alabama Athletics. Members attend games and cheer on athletes, creating one of the strongest home advantages in the country. The current Crimson Chaos president, Blake Bullock, plays a crucial role in rallying students and bringing the energy to Alabama Basketball games.

“Alabama was the only place I was ever going to go to school,” Bullock said. “I always knew Crimson Chaos was something I wanted to do.”

Bullock can be found front and center in the stands of every game, decked in his infamous attire of a suit jacket and sunglasses. With style and enthusiasm, he leads Crimson Chaos into creating an environment of pandemonium.

“It takes an atmosphere,” mentions Bullock, “it helps when the students are there being loud.” 

Bullock adds that good energy from fans also helps keep players at peak performance, explaining that “we just try to help them feed off of us, energize them, and hopefully it helps us get some wins.”

Bullock is a senior at UA and was able to find belonging and comradery through his involvement in sports.

“Some of the best friends I’ve met in college, I’ve met through going to basketball,” Bullock said. 

“If you had told me my freshman year coming in here that I would be in charge of anything or talking in front of any amount of people, I would’ve said you’re nuts,” Bullock said.

The previous president of Crimson Chaos, Luke Ratliff, tragically passed away in April 2021 due to complications from COVID-19 virus. His passing left a hole in the spirit of Alabama basketball fans this season. 

Ratliff is remembered as a dedicated fan who played an enormous role in raising student spirit. He brought much-needed energy in the stands when the players needed it most, and attended almost every single basketball game while he was in school at UA. Ratliff was an integral part of the Crimson Chaos, and is considered a legend to all of the Alabama basketball fandom.

His memory will forever live on in Coleman Coliseum where a plaque in his honor is placed at the same spot he sat in every single game: section S, row one, seat seven.

“He just made it more fun,” Bullock said. To be filling those shoes, “It means a lot,” he explained.

The future of Alabama Men’s Basketball is bright, and the past few historic seasons serve to echo this sentiment. The students and fans who pack the stands bring spirit, energy, and noise, and are vital to furthering the intention that UA is, in fact, a “basketball school,” or really, an every-sport school.

“Like Nate said last year when we won the SEC tournament, it’s really just a championship school,”  Bullock said. “I think they’re going to be incredible next season, it’s really exciting.”