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Old 12-04-2002, 10:32 PM   #1
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Default Schools installing fan-proof posts for safety

Schools installing fan-proof posts for safety

By KATE ROBERTS, Associated Press Writer
November 27, 2002

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The scene plays out at college stadiums nationwide -- thousands of jubilant fans swarm the field and carry off the goal posts after a big win.

It's not all fun, though.

The melees are often dangerous and have caused serious injuries. So, about 20 schools have switched from aluminum goal posts to steel ones designed to withstand rowdy fans.

After Ohio State beat Michigan last Saturday in Columbus to secure a spot in a national championship game, fans ran onto the field but were unable to pull down the steel posts.

Stadium workers had greased the crossbar and police used pepper spray to try to keep fans at bay, but about 15 people still were able to get up on the crossbar.

``We put them in before the Notre Dame game in 1995 because there was a chance we'd win,'' said Don Patko, assistant athletic director for facilities at Ohio State. ``We won and the fans rushed the field. We had some 20 people on the crossbar and they didn't even knock it out of square.''

To try to get the posts down, fans climb on them and stand on the cross bar, rocking it until the aluminum gives way.

Fans rioting and pouring onto the field after games has been a grave matter this year in college football. There have been a lot of injuries and controversy as a result of it. Do you think fans should be prohibited from entering the field? I've heard arguments that the playing field is the sacred place of players, coaches, and personnel and I tend to agree with that. Fans rushing the field is being too common and is unneeded, IMO.
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Old 12-04-2002, 10:42 PM   #2
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Yeah, it's being overused. I am for rushing the field if your team wins a National Championship or a 1-11 team beats the best in the country...but when you have a top five Iowa team bringing down the goalpost against an average Minnesotta team--FOR AN AWAY GAME!-things are out of hand.
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Old 12-04-2002, 11:19 PM   #3
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OSU actually spent tons on money on "fan proof goalposts" so that they won't come down...
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Old 12-04-2002, 11:47 PM   #4
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I think this is just whole thing is a bunch of hooey.

While Iowa's goal-post demonstration was over the top, the hubbub really all resulted from the Marshall-Miami(OH) incident when a stupid fan got a faceful of forearm from a Miami(OH) assistant coach.

Were OSU's riots extreme, unnecessary and stupid? Of course. And I read that in Morgantown people set bonfires after the Mountaineers beat Va Tech two weeks ago. Again, extreme, unnecessary and stupid.

The Iowa thing got coverage because it was kind of funny, away fans tearing down goal posts. That doesn't happen very often, but is it worth more than a chuckle-worthy headline? Not really.

The sensitivity to this really spawns from the incident in Huntington, WV, being linked in memory (but not by any similarity) to the Gamboa attack in Chicago during baseball season. The media, in its ever-short-sighted, ever-frenzy-seeking manner, reminded people that Gamboa was attacked, and who knows what this Marshall fan might have done had he not gotten laid out.

I suppose we'll never know, really. But, for years and years and years, fans have taken the field and torn down goalposts, and while there were occasional injuries, no one ever complained about it. At least not so you could hear them, anyway.

The OSU-Michigan game: it's the last game of the season and the Buckeyes had just won an opportunity to play for the national title. People took the field and celebrated. This is not uncommon, nor, in my mind, undesired. I tend to think the police were in overreaction mode, and things went to hell from there.

The Louisville-FSU game: Louisville won its school's biggest regular season game ever. The fans, completely soaked by monsoon-style rains took the field and the goal posts down. The really cool part: UofL had just purchased an extra goal post for this very instance. They had no fear of celebration, and even budgeted for it.

The Marshall-Miami(OH) game: Marshall won a tense game in the final seconds with the aid of some debatable interference in the end zone calls. Some (not many, really, just a couple few dozen, possibly up to a hundred) fans took the field. One guy races by a Miami(OH) coach and gets flattened for his trouble. Had this not happened, we would never have had the same sensitivity to fans flooding the field that we had in Columbus, OH.

Goal posts being torn down can be prevented, I guess, by fan-proof goalposts, but what's the point?

Marshall-Miami(OH) reminded us that "you never know," which is true. You never know. Except, you know the history. And, the history is, aside from the occasional injury and the rare death, on-field celebrations are no big deal.

When those on-field celebrations are taken off the field, and result in the rioting seen in Columbus, well, that's something else altogether and completely unrelated.

I would like to thank ESPN for linking the two events that have never been linked before. Great job. With any luck, all of this overreaction will be forgotten before next August.

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Old 12-04-2002, 11:55 PM   #5
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Oh, one more thing: That headline is fallacious.

The colleges aren't installing fan-proof goal posts for safety. Their installing them because goal-posts are expensive to replace. If you lose more than one or two a year, you want fan-proof ones. If you lose more than one or two a year, think about not serving alcohol after the 3rd quarter, banning the practice of carrying ANYTHING--especially bags, cases, overly heavy jackets (this is not unreasonable) into the stadium, or keeping the student sections aggravatingly high in the stadium and away from the field.

They're also installing them because the universities are sensitive to the possibility of being sued for injuries suffered during a goalpost rush. While no reasonable court would allow such a case, we all know that McDonalds lost its hot coffee suit. Drunkend students, and more importantly, their litigious parents, aren't to be trusted.

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Old 12-05-2002, 08:20 PM   #6
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You gotta have discretion when rushing the field. I thought the Iowa thing in Minnesota was great. The road fans rushing the field, that's rare. And that was a situation that warranted rushing the field, Iowa just made it to the damn Rose Bowl. If it was an average win, that's one thing, but that was to clinch a share of the Big 10. That's definetely an understandable situation.

I know at the PSU-Nebraska game earlier this year there were lots of rumblings about storming the field when it was a close game, but I think everyone realized by the 4th quarter that Nebraska was crap.

Tearing the goalposts down is a part of college football, period.
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