Violence Grows Among College Sports Fans

May 21, 2008 10:40 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Jeering at rivals is nothing new at college sports events. But death threats and post-game riots are a whole different ball game.

30-Second Summary

On Jan. 23, UCLA freshman basketball player Kevin Love headed back to his home state for a game.

When Love, a high school basketball star from Lake Oswego, Oregon, checked his cell phone, he found over 30 voice mails threatening to kill him and his family.
Angry University of Oregon fans, resentful of Love’s decision to attend an out-of-state college, also shouted obscenities and threw trash at his parents and 13-year-old sister when they arrived at the game, Sports Illustrated reported.

In the Midwest, top high school basketball player Eric Gordon angered University of Illinois fans when he decided to attend Indiana University instead of Illinois.

After dozens of threatening calls and e-mails, Gordon’s family hired a security guard to accompany them to an Indiana-Illinois game. Gordon’s mother was hit on the head when an angry fan hurled a drink at her.

“Fan abuse and taunting are nothing new in college basketball, but 2007–08 has been the ugliest season in years,” writes Sports Illustrated commentator Grant Wahl.

Fan violence is also increasing in other sports. Cities hosting college football games experience a sharp rise in assaults and vandalism on game days, found University of Colorado researcher Kevin Rees.

University of New Hampshire hockey fans broke shop windows, set cars on fire and threw rocks at emergency workers when their team lost a match in 2003, CBS’s CSTV reported.

“It was an outrageous occurrence,” said UNH official Gregg Sanborn. “It seems to be a situation these days where it's becoming part of the culture.”

Headline Links: Fan violence at school games is escalating

Background: Violent incidents linked to sports fans

Related Topic: Officials harassed and soccer violence

Reference: Research on sports-related crime and violence

Game days linked to rise in crime

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