Editorial - The Backyard Brawl should continue
Published: Monday, November 28, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 02:11
The Pitt News, the student newspaper at the University of Pittsburgh, ran a staff editorial Monday stating that the Backyard Brawl should not continue.
The Backyard Brawl is one of the best rivalries in collegiate athletics.
The two schools, separated by just 78 miles, have played football against each other 104 times, as well as basketball, baseball and soccer.
The Pitt News said their support of ending the Brawl wasn't because they didn't enjoy the rivalry, but instead because "the relationship with WVU has become profoundly unhealthy."
Usually the relationship between two rivals isn't healthy. The Backyard Brawl is everything that's right about college sports.
Every time the Mountaineers face off against the Panthers, fans of both teams pack the stands for the spirited matchup. Whether it be football, basketball, baseball or soccer, the Backyard Brawl is important to both schools.
The Backyard Brawl is important to many students and fans of both West Virginia University and the University of Pittsburgh. Since 2002, the Backyard Brawl has been one of the best-attended games of the season for both teams.
This year, 60,932 fans filled Milan Puskar Stadium, second only to when No. 1 LSU came to town for a primetime game in September. In 2003, more than 67,000 filled Milan Puskar Stadium for the Brawl.
Since 2002, the Backyard Brawl at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh has been the Panthers' most highly-attended game of the season.
The student fan clubs from both schools – the Mountaineer Maniacs and the Oakland Zoo – have both rushed to support the continuation of the Backyard Brawl.
A tweet Monday morning from the Oakland Zoo read, "So @ThePittNews thinks the Backyard Brawl should be discontinued. We disagree 1000%."
Steve Staffileno, the director of the Mountaineer Maniacs, told The Daily Athenaeum Monday afternoon that he wanted to see the rivalry between the two schools continue as well.
There have been some ugly moments in the Backyard Brawl. One of the ugliest was in February 2010 when a coin hit then-Pittsburgh assistant basketball coach Tom Herrion during a basketball game at the WVU Coliseum.
Chants have been heard over national television by both student sections, but those are isolated incidents. A handful of ugly incidents between two schools that have never liked each other shouldn't be the reason to discontinue a storied rivalry. It would be different if the Backyard Brawl was the only rivalry with ugly moments.
Last year, an Alabama fan poisoned the famous oak trees at Toomer's Corner in Auburn.
The Cameron Crazies of Duke University have verbally assault basketball players of North Carolina during the annual Battle of Tobacco Road.
A fan was stabbed in 2010 before the University of California Los Angeles and University of Southern California rivalry game.
Ugly moments happen – there's no denying that – but it doesn't take away from the passion of the rivalry.
The Backyard Brawl needs to continue. It's just that simple.