John Brown University takes pride in its tradition of throwing toilet paper on the court in celebration of the first home bucket of the year.

Making a Mess on Purpose

One of the most surreal traditions in sports happened last month, on Halloween no less. It involved 2,000 rolls of toilet paper at John Brown University.


ne of the most surreal traditions in sports happened last month, on Halloween no less, when students and fans at John Brown University tossed 2,000 rolls of toilet paper onto the court during the 35th annual Toilet Paper Game presented by Charmin.

After JBU scores its first basket, fans toss toilet paper onto the court, which results in a technical foul and two free throws for the visiting team.

The tradition began in the late 1970s with a few rogue students tossing toilet paper onto the court and has grown into something much larger, although it wasn't originally embraced by the university, a private, Christian liberal arts school in northwest Arkansas. Many students would raid dorm storage units for toilet paper rolls and sneak them into the game. After several years, school officials started to recognize the toss as a JBU custom.

There has been some confusion in the past with fans making the toss after a made free throw instead of a field goal. This led to friendly reminders from the public address announcer to wait for the proper time.

This year, senior Luke Moyer, a transfer playing his first game for JBU, drained a 3-pointer 55 seconds into the contest against visiting Barclay College (Kansas).

After hitting the shot, Moyer raised his arms up and ran toward his team bench.

"Honestly, time just stopped," he said. "Then all the TP came down. It was surreal.

"I was just thinking back to my [recruiting] visit. My coach was showing me around the gym saying, 'Yeah, I can just see you hitting that shot now.' So I went to my coach and smiled and put my arm around him and said, 'Who would have thought?'"

Moyer and coach Jason Beschta shared a smile before Beschta told Moyer to help clean up the mess he created.

Cleaning up the court took just less than four minutes, then Barclay attempted two free throws on the technical foul.

The free points were inconsequential as JBU routed Barclay 103-52.

John Brown University students march into the gym armed with toilet paper prior to tipoff.

Leanna Ngo, a mechanical engineering major, arms her fellow students with rolls of toilet paper. Charmin was a first-time sponsor for the event, providing 2,000 rolls of toilet paper for fans at the game. Another 2,000 rolls were donated to a local food pantry.

Kent McDonell, a junior mechanical engineering major at JBU, dances in the student section dressed as a roll of toilet paper. "Just to clarify this for the public, I was not naked inside," said McDonell, who was quizzed by many friends and fans. "I'm not just a homeless, naked guy in a barrel."

Just to clarify this for the public, I was not naked inside. I'm not just a homeless, naked guy in a barrel."

Kent McDonell

Souvenir rolls of toilet paper from previous years decorate a storage room used by the student-run video production team.

This year, the annual Toilet Paper Game landed on Halloween. Several JBU students use some of their toilet paper supply for a last-second costume.

Easily the most popular game of the season, attendance at the Toilet Paper Game usually exceeds the 1,800-seat Bill George Arena. On Saturday, the official attendance was 2,039.

Nearly a minute into the game, JBU senior guard Luke Moyer hits his team's first basket, a 3-pointer, which triggers the annual toilet paper toss.

Rolls of toilet paper drop on players from both teams as they walk off the court.

Honestly, time just stopped, then all the TP came down. It was surreal."

Luke Moyer

A 3-pointer by JBU guard Luke Moyer (15) triggers one of the most spectacular technical fouls in sports.

The JBU student section celebrates the team's first basket with the annual toilet paper toss. There is plenty of anticipation for a tradition that lasts all of five seconds.

Players for both teams walk off the court in a surreal scene of streaming toilet paper.

The court is quickly covered in toilet paper before students rush to clean it up.

Students do snow angels on the court after the toss. It took just under four minutes to clean up the mess before play could resume.

It starts just raining down on the court. I got hit in the head by three or four rolls of toilet paper. And it's just kind of chaos. And it's awesome."

Jason Beschta, JBU men's basketball head coach

Student Ethan Penner, left, joins the Golden Eagles mascot in cleaning up the court. Play resumed in just under four minutes.

After hitting the 3-point shot that triggered the annual toss, JBU guard Luke Moyer (15) helps with the cleanup efforts.

Needless to say, remnants of the toilet paper toss are visible throughout the game. It wasn't until after the game that janitors could clean up the entire mess.

JBU cameraman Zach Koym records the rest of the basketball game covered in toilet paper.

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