Mayor: Student fan behavior is ‘unfortunate,’ vulgarity overheard on T.V.
Published: Sunday, January 24, 2010
Updated: Sunday, January 24, 2010 20:01
"F-bombs" were dropped on national TV by West Virginia University students during the WVU vs. Ohio State basketball game Saturday.
Broadcast on CBS, the WVU victory was tainted because of fans in the student section screaming vulgarities at the rival team, said Morgantown Mayor Bill Byrne.
"F--- the Buckeyes" and "F---eyes" were overheard by fans watching the game on TV.
Byrne called students' behavior "unfortunate" because it reflected negatively on the University.
"I speak for all adults that think it's time for the immature behavior to be spoken to and not tolerated," Byrne said. "It is a concern that should be addressed by the administration."
Vulgarities do not reflect the good characteristics of the University and its people because it is actually setting them back, he said.
This is not the first WVU game in which vulgarities were used. Byrne said he hopes the behavior of the student section does not stop people from attending.
The actions of the student section reflect all students, faculty and the 170,000 WVU alumni, said Tommy Napier, a graduate student who worked with WVU Traditions, part of the Alumni Association and former SGA vice president.
"For our student section to behave that way, it really reflects poorly on all of us," Napier said. "Especially when we are playing a school like Ohio State – a huge school – it's just embarrassing."
A new student section was added to the lower level for the Nov. 15 start of the basketball season. The crammed section makes the fans louder and more intimidating to the rival school, Napier said.
The new section does not allow for more vulgarity to be heard, he said.
"Pitt and Duke have student sections that are packed in like that, and I just don't hear stories like here at WVU," Napier said. "Their sections are just as rowdy and the don't use vulgarity."
Napier said he has looked at the issue from all angles while serving with the Student Government Association and with WVU Traditions.
"We did it not in a preachy way, but we just tried to instill the pride and tradition of WVU," he said. "WVU is greater than just one person and means a lot more than
saying the ‘F-word.'"
Byrne agreed, saying WVU fans should be more intelligent when developing cheers.
"Be clever, and think of things about the other team that are funny," Byrne said. "You don't have to result to that level of vulgarity."
Change in student behavior must come from the students and not by actions of the administration, Napier said.
"This behavior is embarrassing, and I don't know how to communicate that to anyone," Napier said. "Our student culture has to change or we will continue to make fools of ourselves on television."