Fan behavior spiraling out of control - The Daily Athenaeum: Sports

Fan behavior spiraling out of control

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Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 9:31 pm

From rolling out the carpet for player introductions at West Virginia to the Rock Chalk Jayhawk chant at Phog Allen Field House, countless schools across the Big 12 and the nation have some sort tradition that makes them one of a kind.

In most cases, these traditions serve the purpose of pumping up a crowd or a team by establishing a connection between students, athletes and fans alike.

There are a few traditions in college basketball, however, that need to be retired.

The first is the “overrated” chant.

When West Virginia was in the process of dismantling the No. 11 team in the country Monday night, fans began to serenade the Iowa State players and coaches with this very chant.

When used in a celebratory manner, this chant is contradictory.

If you are claiming the opponent your team just beat is overrated, then what is the point of celebrating the victory?

It happens consistently across the nation when an unranked team or an underdog knocks off a ranked opponent.

Fan behavior has become a hot button issue in college basketball lately. Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart was given a three-game suspension after shoving a Texas Tech fan who allegedly called him a “piece of crap.”

Around the Big 12, players and coaches face hostile environments when they travel to away games. It’s a fact of life.

I have no problem with fans making as much noise as they can and trying to give their team an advantage, but the level of hostility in college basketball crowds has gotten a bit out of hand as of late.

Iowa State guard DeAndre Kane learned that lesson the hard way Monday.

Kane’s family has to travel quite the distance from Pittsburgh to see him play in Ames, Iowa. With the Cyclones coming to Morgantown, several members of Kane’s family were in attendance at the WVU Coliseum to watch him take on the Mountaineers.

The outcome of the game was probably enough to make it a less-than-memorable trip for the Kane family, but the way their son was treated by the West Virginia crowd was downright deplorable.

When West Virginia University released its “High Five Rules” of the game, West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck offered the following comments in a press release about creating a home field advantage in Morgantown.

“We don’t want to lose any of the raucous, home-field advantage that we have, because this is a hard place to play,” Luck said. “At the same time, we’ve got opposing fans who travel to WVU, and we want them to leave Morgantown with a good impression of the University, the city, the state and of our fan base. We also want our fans – from kids to grandparents – to enjoy the game.”

While the High Five campaign is tailored toward football games, I think the main idea of the campaign – creating a safe and respectful gameday atmosphere – applies to all sports.

If you asked the Kane family, I’m pretty certain they wouldn’t give you a glowing review about the fan behavior and hospitality at games.

This happens everywhere in college athletics. What fans need to realize is these players aren’t professionals.

It’s not Kobe Bryant, who gets paid millions of dollars to play the sport, you are insulting. It’s a student-athlete.

Next time you go to the arena, try something different. Cheer for your team. Make as much noise as you want, but let’s keep the personal attacks out of the great game of college basketball.

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