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Kansas Athletics welcomes fans back to Late Night in the Phog

Pandemic prompted 1st virtual event in 2020
Kansas Late Night Basketball
Posted at 3:24 PM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 16:24:36-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Kansas Athletics will host its 37th Annual Late Night in the Phog on Friday, Oct. 1, at Allen Fieldhouse.

In 2020, the event signaling the official start to the men's and women's basketball seasons went virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One thing about last year’s pandemic was it took away from fans being able to attend events, but it also took away some fun opportunities for us too,” KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self said. “We probably tip off the season as well as anybody in America with Late Night in the Phog, and we are glad it will be back. It will be the first chance for our fans to see the large number of newcomers that we feel is a terrific recruiting class.”

Late Night started in 1985 and features music by the KU pep band, routines from KU’s spirit squad and dance teams, skits by both men’s and women’s basketball teams, video highlights from KU’s award-winning Rock Chalk Video department, coach and player introductions, scrimmages and more.

“We could not be more excited for the return of Late Night in the Phog,” KU women’s basketball coach Brandon Schneider said. “This annual kick off for the basketball season is something our players greatly look forward to participating in. We can’t wait to see Allen Fieldhouse back to full capacity.”

Late Night in the Phog at the University of Kansas continues to be one of the most well-attended "midnight madness" events in all of college basketball. Each year, more than 16,000 fans pack into Allen Fieldhouse to catch a glimpse at the newcomers.

The event began as an afterthought. Just 6,000 fans, mostly students, gathered in Allen Fieldhouse at 12:01 a.m. on an October Tuesday in 1985 for the inaugural “Late Night with Larry Brown.”

Since 1988-89, the Jayhawk women’s basketball team has taken on a greater share of the Late Night load and shares center court with the KU men’s team.

Prior to the 2005-06 season, the NCAA decided to change the season-opening scrimmage time from midnight to earlier in the evening to create a more fan-friendly experience. Now fans of all ages can watch the festivities.