We messed with Texas.
The stars (like Geno Smith and Andrew Buie) were big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.
WVU brought the “real” Austin with them to Texas.
And there are a whole lot of funny ways to describe West Virginia University’s win over the Texas Longhorns on Saturday night.
But the response of students to the first major Big 12 victory in downtown Morgantown in the early-morning hours of Sunday were anything but funny. Following the narrow victory, there were fires, mobs, property destruction, interference with emergency responders and law enforcement officials.
It isn’t celebrating. It is partying.
It isn’t a rite of passage for students of the No. 1 party school. It is a crime.
It isn’t good-spirited fun. It is dangerous, destructive and disappointing.
It isn’t something to be proud of. It’s an embarrassment to the institution, the city of Morgantown and West Virginia as a whole.
And it has to stop.
Dozens of fires, set in garbage cans and furniture dragged into streets, were bad enough. But when crews arrived on scene, they were met with aggressive crowds of up to 1,000 people who threw debris, rocks and even lit firecrackers at firefighters. Only five were arrested — four were WVU students and the administration has vowed swift justice up to and including expulsion in addition to the criminal charges they face.
“The worst of the post-game behavior Saturday night was completely unacceptable, dangerous and inexcusable,” WVU President Jim Clements said in a release. “We cannot and will not tolerate it. These actions are dangerous. And they diminish the successes of our students, faculty, staff and alumni.”
City and school officials are meeting this week to discuss how to handle other upcoming games, including the Oct. 20 matchup with Kansas State at Mountaineer Field. “Twice as much tear gas” is one of the suggestions made by law enforcement officials to local media.
Really? Has it come this far? Can college students not control themselves to keep celebrations positive? Has the mob mentality robbed these students of their senses? Will it take a house burning down somewhere outside of Sunnyside because crews are having to deal with violent crowds preventing them from doing their jobs? Will it take a serious injury to an emergency responder? Will it take someone sustaining serious injuries or dying during these “celebrations” before it stops?
Morgantown Mayor Jim Manilla has suggested a $20-per-semester fee for each WVU student, collecting $1.2 million per year to hire extra city firefighters and police officers. There are two points we’d like to make. That’s like buying extra Band-Aids when a wound needs stitches. And there were about 1,000 students in Sunnyside on Saturday night — representing 3 percent of the student body of WVU. Is it really necessary to fiscally punish everyone to pay for the misbehavior of a few?
We think the hard-line approach from the university is the only thing that will stop these dangerous post-game mobs from causing any more damage to the city, its employees and the reputation of our state. When WVU students commit a crime, they need to face expulsion, jail time, fines, eviction from housing and loss of athletic privileges. That’s not “making an example” out of people. Those are realistic consequences when adults break the law.
And if these students see their friends, roommates and classmates lose scholarships, housing or the right to call themselves a WVU student, perhaps that will keep the ridiculous behavior in Sunnyside at bay.
We know exactly how thrilling this season is turning out for Mountaineer fans across the country. But as head coach Dana Holgorsen said, “If (Saturday’s incidents) had anything to do with some sort of ‘special’ win, then I would encourage everybody to get used to wins like that.”
We messed with Texas.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
Let’s not do that again.
Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past
Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.
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- Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives