For the fourth-straight basketball game, West Virginia University fans and students have been disgraceful by throwing towels, cups, and even quarters onto the court.
The incident (during the No. 6 West Virginia’s 70-51 win over No. 22 Pittsburgh) came after a traveling violation was called on WVU point guard Darryl “Truck” Bryant and led to an angry head coach, Bobby Huggins, grabbing the microphone from Coliseum announcer Bill Nevin in hopes to get the students to straighten up.
“That’s stupid,” Huggins announced over the sound system. “If you see someone throwing something on the court, point them out so we can throw them out of here.”
Huggins request received lots of cheers from the crowd, but didn’t seem to have much of an effect on the unruly behavior. With 5:14 left to play a coin was thrown opposite side from the student seating section hitting the Pittsburgh associate head coach Tom Herrion in the face resulting in two technical free throws for the Panthers.
“You want them (the fans) to be enthusiastic and they’ve been great. I love them to death, but who ever threw things on the floor, it’s wrong.” Huggins said in a post game press conference. “You put people’s safety at risk.”
After recent criticism for student behavior during games, the official statement released by the university admitted it is “appalled and embarrassed by the fan behavior at the Pitt men’s basketball game.”
WVU President James Clements has announced action will be taken to prevent any “embarrassing” acts before the Monday home game against No. 2 Villanova.
A “zero-tolerance” attitude will be enforced according to Vice President for Student Affairs, Ken Gray.
Surveillance cameras will be installed to monitor the crowd and security will be increased. WVU has arranged for supporters to report dangerous or inappropriate conduct by texting “AID” to 94597. Flyers will also be handed out at the game explaining what is expected of fans and students. Those caught acting uncontrollably will most likely lose their season tickets among other consequences.
“We’re going to do everything we can,” Clements said at a WVU Board of Governors meeting. “I like an environment that’s loud and exciting, but we have to do it in a respectful way.”
School officials are continuing the debate whether to limit the student section to 1,600; the student section in the Backyard Brawl verses Pittsburgh held 3,300.
Clements reported he apologize to long-time WVU rival University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg via email and also apologized to the Pittsburgh community in a public statement.