Monday, November 25, 2002

Last Saturday will be remembered as the day "football hooligan" became an established presence in the United States. A full-scale riot occurred in Columbus, OH after the Buckeyes earned the right to get punked in the Fiesta Bowl, and mini-riots in Raleigh, Berkeley, and Clemson marred game-ending celebrations. "Fans" in Pullman, WA went ballistic after their school's upset loss in overtime to arch-rival Washington, tossing empty bottles onto the field after a controversial call ended Wazzou's national title hopes. Lastly, fans, coaches and players brawled after Hawaii's come-from-behind victory in Honolulu over Cincinnati.

College sports share many features with European soccer leagues, including hyper-intense local rivalries, a tradition of fans travelling to away games, and a core of young intoxicated fanatics. In England, officials put up with this sort of crap for years before taking effective preventive measures, such as ending bench seating, banning the sale of booze in the stands, as well as in the vicinity of the stadium, and blackballing particularly unsavory fans. If college towns don't want to spend millions of dollars in repairing local businesses and paying higher insurance premiums due to the antics of more than a few drunk students, they might like to start thinking about such measures.


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