Virginia Commonwealth University has a loyal following.

Look no further than VCU fanbase for school spirit personified

It's said that behind all great sports teams, there's a great fan base. Whether on the field or on the court, fans support their teams through and through. For the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams men's basketball team, this too holds true.

Stretching back to the early 1980s, the Rams of VCU have been making regular appearances in the NCAA College Basketball Tournament, including in 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, and 1985. The black and gold went through a rebuilding process in the 1990s, but they've reassumed their upper echelon status in the Atlantic 10 Conference for the majority of the past decade. From making it to the first round of 32 teams three times out of the past five years, to reaching the highly coveted Final Four in 2011, the VCU Rams have certainly made their mark in world of NCAA basketball. The unexpected ascendancy led many college basketball analysts to pinpoint VCU as the tournament's Cinderella story come to life.

Rowdy Rams VCU's 'sixth man'

VCU Rams' fandom is clear to see and hear, for whenever there's a home game, VCU fans pace the Stuart Siegel Center – seating north of 8,000 people, often leaving standing room only once March Madness arrives. And while cheerleading squads and pep bands occupy the perimeter of the court, the Rowdy Rams students section is a stadium staple as well, pumping up the crowd as VCU's starting five pound the rock up the floor.

In fact, what the "12th Man" is for the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL when they're playing at home, the Rowdy Rams are for VCU's basketball club. Think of them as the "Sixth Man." For instance, when an opposing shooter steps to the free throw line, the noise produced by the fans in the stands often leaves the player a little rattled. Additionally, the overall enthusiasm and excitement from the roaring crowds provides a boost of motivating energy to the entire stadium.

There's always room for more among the Rowdy Rams as well. In addition to getting into every home game free charge, members of the Rowdy Rams are also eligible for exclusive perks as well. These include priority access to tickets as soon as they become available – both at the box office ticket counter and online – an official Rowdy Rams tee shirt decked in black and gold, $1 fountain drinks, and discounts at food fare stomping grounds like Buffalo Wild Wings, Red Eye Cookie Company, and Baja Bean.

Of course, not every game can be spent within the fan-friendly confines of the Siegel Center, as VCU takes their business on the road throughout the season to rival universities like George Mason, Saint Louis, Fordham, and St. Bonaventure. But VCU's devoted following can go along for the ride if their schedule permits it, as Rowdy Rams membership affords them this opportunity.

However, with college life being what it is – inherently busy, chock full of classes, meetings, and study sessions – students have to balance their time wisely to avoid falling behind. This often makes it difficult to be on hand for every VCU game.

Fan House app keeps students informed

This doesn't prevent fans from staying in the know, thanks to the handy VCU Fan House app, sponsored by Elephant Auto Insurance. With this useful app, VCU fans can check in on what's happening live not only with men's basketball, but any other game that's underway as well. The features also enable Rams fans to connect with other through the message boards on the Fan House app's Fan Forum.

Whether it's The Peppas pep band that paints the perimeter or the Rowdy Rams who relish the rambunctious Siegel Center atmosphere, there's no denying that VCU lives and breathes what it means to have school spirit.

If you're looking for a way to score some free tickets to an upcoming home game, make sure to check out Elephant's VCU page!