The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

February 5, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN: Student behavior needs action

MORGANTOWN — In the beginning, it was fine.

The students were on edge, gathered outside the Coliseum, huddling for warmth, laughing and having the kind of time you are supposed to have as you wait for the gates to open before a game against their Backyard Brawl rival, Pitt.

The chanting then was acceptable, echoing off into the Morgantown evening.

“Eat pooh-pooh, Pitt!” they chanted, although it was somewhat more poetic in real life.

No one could complain. They were among themselves, these students, gearing up for the evening.

When the gates opened they descended upon the Coliseum student section like a band of fire ants, scurrying for position, wanting to be where the unblinking eye of the television cameras could show them in all their zaniness.

As students, they have that right, as long as they keep some semblance of sanity in their actions.

But it became obvious this was a group looking for trouble even before the first tip-off, a group of pathetic losers disguising their ill manners as backing the home team.

As Lisa DeMasi sang the national anthem, those same chants of “Eat pooh-pooh, Pitt!” rang out in the arena. Let us repeat when this was taking place, during the singing of the national anthem.

Sitting directly across from the student section, front row at midcourt, was James Clements, the man who serves as president of the school. When approached about the matter of student behavior on Thursday morning after presiding at the groundbreaking for the new basketball practice facility and the rehabilitation of the physics building called White Hall, he displayed genuine disgust for what he had witnessed the night before.

“C’mon,” Clements said, “during the national anthem. It’s not acceptable. I was appalled.”

It was the start of a disgraceful performance from a group of students who have proven in the past that they can do better, who brought pride upon themselves and the school when a grieving Connecticut team came into Morgantown.

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Bob Herzel
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