The Scoop Deck

Beat goat, win tix: Navy hoops makes headlines with rock-paper-scissors promotion

Bill the Goat, left, poses with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus -- who appears to have chosen "rock" -- in this 2009 photo. (Navy photo by MC2 Kevin S. O'Brien)

Bill the Goat, left, poses with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus — who appears to have chosen “rock” — in this 2009 photo. (Navy photo by MC2 Kevin S. O’Brien)

For most media outlets outside the Annapolis, Md., area, intense coverage of the Naval Academy athletic program begins sometime in early December and ends immediately after the ritual gridiron-based thumping of a rival service academy of note.

But a promotion by the school’s athletics-marketing arm has earned national attention in recent days: Fans who beat the school mascot, Bill the Goat, at rock-paper-scissors before a Feb. 5 men’s basketball game against Boston University will earn free admission.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Fans can throw hands with the mascot from 6:15 to 6:45 for the chance to win a $10 general-admission ticket ($5 for children). Already have a ticket? You can win one for a future game if you crush scissors, cover rock or cut paper.

Writers at CBSSports.com, The Washington Post, SB Nation and The Sporting News love the concept, with Jeff Eisenberg at Yahoo! Sports even interviewing the athletic department’s associate director of marketing, Chris Grosse, who came up with the idea.

Heading to the game? Here are a few tips, culled from this extensive report by the folks behind the World RPS Society and this handy strategy guide:

1. “Rock is for Rookies,” according to the report, and since it’s unlikely that a goat has regularly engaged in rock-paper-scissors events in the past, the smart play is clearly paper.

2. However, Bill could play dozens if not hundreds of games before you line up against him, which would make him a wily RPS veteran. In that case, the experts recommend scissors.

3. However, if everybody else is playing paper or scissors against Bill, expect the goat to adjust his strategy accordingly. So the smart player would select rock.

4. However, the RPS folks, using an extensive analysis of tournament-level matches, say scissors get thrown the least number of times. So, “When all else fails, go with paper.”

That should just about clear things up.

The Mids (7-12, 2-6 in the Patriot League) visit American University tonight.

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