It all started on January 16th. The West Virginia University men’s basketball team took on national powerhouse and currently the number four team in the country, Syracuse Orangemen. Our student section decided to throw items on the court and garnered one Syracuse blogger to urge fans for the upcoming game against Georgetown to refrain from littering on the court saying, “Let’s stay classy. We’re not West Virginia fans, right?”
Next I decided to attend the next home game, Saturday January 23rd, against the number 21st team in the land in Ohio State. I must say a team I have hated since my father graduated from Penn State. I was in the second row of the student section when students around me decided to throw f-bombs around the Colisuem like they were free shirts flying from the cheerleading team. Chants of “Asshole, faggot and F*ck you Turner,” (Evan Turner is there best player and a contender for national player of the year)were only a couple of ridiculous chants that were flying around the basketball arena. I have heard it all being in college and being at the Coliesuem, but even these chants were heard very clearly on CBS as it was broadcasting the game live.
I remember being in the middle of the madness as the Mountaineers ended up making a much needed comeback against a top 25 team. This win finally gave us a win against a credible oppenent. I must say this was probably due to the half-time shot by Hot “rod” Hundley which sent the crowd into a frenzy, but no one remembers this moment as they remember the way our student section conducted themselves on national tv.
This past Saturday, January 30th, WVU took on Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals. WVU won 77-74 thanks to a clutch Da’Sean Butler shot, again. However, what overshadowed the game was the behavior of the student section. One of the main goals of the revamped student section this year was to create a top-tier atmosphere that would rival the legendary “Cameron Crazies” of Duke. This new type of student section has not lived up to the Cameron Crazies, but we above them in controversy, that is for sure. Students decided to chant “Karen Sypher” at Rick Pitino. This was directed at him because of his affair with the women back in 2003.
I do think this chant was bad, but in all honestly it is fair game. Is the student section supposed to back down and apologize when this information is common knowledge? Pitino has long been a well-known sports figure before he put his personal life under the public’s microscope. He needs to and has to deal with the decisions he made just like Kobe Bryant, Lance Armstrong and yes, Bill Clinton. I must say, when Bob Huggins was hired at WVU a few years back people were calling him a drunk and I don’t remember any backlash then.
Before everything we do is considered evil let’s not forgot the positive moments we have had at WVU. In particular, three months ago, WVU earned widespread praise for its fans’ outpouring of support toward Uconn’s football team at a game following the shooting death of Huskies players Jasper Howard.
Now. The level of heckling and antics at college arenas is a diverse as team colors. And the tolerance for such rowdiness varies from place to place, too.
I read an article from James Eakins, he was a guest column for the Daily Athenaeum and a physics major at WVU, where he stated, “It has gotten to a point where I will occasionally avoid mentioning I’m from WVU when people talk sports, just so I don’t have to go into a conversation about how horrible the students are to other teams or how they were treated at a game because of some moronic student.” Ok, good point. But James, if you were not the one chanting or doing these horrible things you speak of then why are you so ashamed to be apart of WVU. Something I find hard to understand. He also stated. “As a person who has lived in Morgantown his whole life, an a WVU student through and through: I would rather see “Pitt Win” than anything to do with our poor sportsmanship.”
First off, you are not a true mountaineer fan if you say something like that. Does he forget so quickly back in 2007 when the football version of the Backyard Brawl destroyed the Mountaineer’s hopes of a national title game when Pitt won, in our place, 13-9. You can’t even listen to this guy and think he is from WVU! I think mabye he should drive 66 miles up the road and sign up for the Oakland Zoo.
Tonight we play our backyard brawl rivals: The Pittsburgh Panthers at 7 p.m. WVU’s Coliseum is one of the more intimidating venue’s in college sports, let’s not neuter it. I expect to hear “Eat Sh*t Pitt” echo thunderously throughout the Coliseum and I will be most definitely be joining in the cheer.
My professor once told me, “Bad press is good press. As long as people are talking about you then you are doing something right.” I couldn’t agree more!