Brian T. Chan, Sports Editor

Already one of the largest universities in the state of Virginia and the school with the largest attendance in the Colonial Athletic Association at the men’s basketball games, George Mason University has renewed its competitive rivalry with Virginia Commonwealth University to a whole new level: to obtain the most new Facebook fans.

In a span of 22 days, the two schools will partake in the first-ever Facebook Face-Off, a contest to bring in the most new fans.

The contest, which began at noon last Tuesday, will conclude at the same time on Saturday, Feb. 9.

The winning school will be revealed at halftime during the men’s basketball game between Mason and VCU.
The idea for the Facebook Face-Off originated from a contest between Louisiana State University and Texas A&M University for football, which led to Tammy Berwanger, the project manager in the VCU Department of Marketing, introducing the competition in the CAA last November. Both schools got on board with the contest.

“Late last year, someone from the marketing department at VCU contacted us about it,” said Tara Laskowski, manager in the Office of Media and Public Relations.

“They’ve been doing work in social media and on Facebook. They thought because George Mason and VCU are the two largest schools in Virginia, it might be fun to have a friendly competition between the schools.
“We thought it was cool because we are trying to use Facebook more as well. We already know most of our students are on Facebook, and it’s a good way to get information about Mason.”

Fans who participated in the Facebook Face-Off will also have the opportunity to four premium seats at the Homecoming game on Feb. 20.

To enter for free tickets to the Homecoming game, fans will also have to write their favorite Mason tradition on the contest’s Facebook wall.

Participants will have until noon on Feb. 9 to provide their answer. The winner will be randomly drawn and notified by Feb. 15.

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia reported 32,067 enrolled at Mason and 32,434 at VCU last semester.

Both schools received recognition in the U.S. News & World Report for 2009.

Mason was ranked as the top national university to watch while VCU School of the Arts received a #1 ranking for public university school of arts and design in the country.

As of last Friday, Mason exceeded the 10,000-fan mark while VCU had over 15,000 fans. Mason brought in approximately 2,000 new fans, but VCU has doubled its lead since the competition began last week.

Even though Mason still trails VCU, the school is using a number of tactics to attract more fans.

“We are providing the information on Facebook and trying to encourage the fans we have now to share it with their friends,” said Laskowski. “We are also handing out flyers at the Johnson Center and at the home games.”

Information regarding the Facebook Face-Off can be found at or