The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

February 6, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN: A few tips on how to control fans

MORGANTOWN — Found it extremely interesting that on Saturday, when the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported upon West Virginia University’s beginning steps at reining in boorish fan behavior at basketball games, they choose not a sportswriter to do the honors.

In a fitting gesture, instead, they opted to have Ann Rodgers, a former colleague of mine in the days of the long-departed, still sadly missed Pittsburgh Press, handle the honors.

Fitting?

Yes. Who could be more fitting to write about West By God! Virginia than the newspaper’s religion writer?

Ms. Rodgers reported that Pitt will do nothing to change its policies of fan control when the Mountaineers repay the visit to the Petersen Event Center for a 9 p.m. game on Friday, a made-for-TV time that allows the Oakland Zoo only about five or six hours to grease their skis before payback time.

The Zoo, of course, is always a zany place to visit, with many surprises in store for the Mountaineers. In truth, the students there have always been every bit the equivalent of West Virginia’s own Mountaineer Maniacs, so it is somewhat surprising that Pitt is saying it will not increase its crowd control measures.

The talk is that the WVU team will carry umbrellas onto the court, just in case it rains debris upon them in retribution for the performance WVU fans put on when the Panthers were sacrificed in Morgantown.

Helmets, perhaps, should be standard issue for both teams when that rematch gets going.

But first there is a matter for West Virginia of playing simply the biggest home game in many years, both from a conference standpoint and from a national rankings and NCAA seeding standpoint, that the team has played come a Big Monday meeting with the No. 2-ranked Villanova Wildcats.

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