Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57
Butcher Athletic Center 478 W Campus Drive Shepherdstown, WV 25443
Year Opened: Unknown
Shepherd University is a small college located in Shepherdstown, West Virginia in the extreme eastern portion of the state. Shepherd’s athletic teams are known as the Rams and compete in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) at the Division II NCAA level. The Butcher Athletic Center is the on-campus home of the Rams’ men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Food & Beverage 2
There is one small concession stand located on the second floor of the Butcher Athletic Center, serving only the most basic options. Your only options for main courses are pizza ($2.25 for a slice of cheese or $2.50 for pepperoni) and hot dogs ($3.25). Sometimes Chick-fil-A sandwiches will be available for sale as well, for $5. Snacks include chips for $2 and candy for $2.25, while drinks include water for $3 and soda or Gatorade for $3.25. A frozen lemonade vendor from a local company will sometimes be present as well, either on the upper concourse or in the corner at floor level.
Unsurprisingly for the Division II level, a Shepherd basketball game is a barebones experience. Although they will play music over the loudspeakers during timeouts and offer occasional giveaways, there isn’t that much going on here. The one good thing is the PA announcer, who tries to get the crowd revved up, but it can be hard to hear him at times since the sound system is so bad.
There are scoreboards at each end as well as over center court that show only the basic information, and seats on both sidelines. One side is chair backs while the other is general admission.
Shepherdstown is a friendly town but is not a particularly large one. There are a few restaurants and such in the immediate vicinity, but ultimately this is a sleepy small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains with not much to do.
That being said, there is a lot of natural beauty in the area. Despite the popular John Denver song, the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River are mainly associated with Virginia, not West Virginia, but Jefferson County, where Shepherdstown is located, is the one place in the state you can actually experience them. Civil War buffs can also take a short drive across the Potomac River to visit the historic battlefield at Antietam, Maryland.
Shepherd Fans do not turn out in good numbers for Rams basketball games, averaging only a few hundred fans. However, those who do show up tend to be fairly involved, cheering on their team throughout, staying for the whole game, and not feeling afraid to hassle the referees or opposing team. It would be nice to see more fans show up, but at this level, that may be too much to ask.
Shepherdstown can be tough to access and will require at least some travel on local roads. State Route 9 and U.S. Route 340 can get you close, but then you will have to do some driving on back roads to get to campus. Once you’re at the arena, free parking is available in the lots near the arena, but additional restrictions may be in place on weekdays if you arrive early for the first game of a doubleheader. Be sure to follow all posted signs so you do not receive a ticket.
Once you get in to the building, you will enter the gym on the ground floor, but will need to go up to the second floor to access concessions. This just seems needlessly confusing, and depending on where you’re sitting, may require going down to floor level and back up. After scanning your ticket once, you can return through the entrance on either floor.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets are just $6 for a single game or $8 for men’s and women’s doubleheaders. Concessions are affordable as well. However, there just isn’t enough offered here for it to receive the maximum rating.
There are free programs available at the entrance which show the rosters and stats for both teams.
The Shepherd University Athletic Hall of Fame is located in the lobby on the second floor and honors great Rams of days gone by.
There is also a trophy case in the lobby honoring Rams athletic achievements in all sports.
Shepherd Rams basketball is a far cry from the Division I experience you can get across the state in Morgantown. However, if you’re looking for no-frills basketball at an affordable price without having to trek through the Allegheny Mountains, a visit to Shepherdstown may be for you. While it certainly won’t impress anyone, the ability to see a whole afternoon of basketball for just $8 a person makes it worth checking out.