Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

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Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by ShipstadPilot11 on Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:57 am

Link from The Beacon website.
Too crude for comfort?
By: Aaron O'Connell
Posted: 2/25/10
University of Portland basketball fans might have to start getting a little more creative.

Two weekends ago, on Feb. 13, the Pilots tipped off against Saint Mary's University in a game to jockey for second place.

The players and fans knew the importance of the game. The first time Gael's center Omar Samhan stepped to the foul line, and the student section began to disconnectedly attempt to put together a cheer about chlamydia.

Whether or not the statement was actually true was wholly irrelevant. And so the view that Samhan had an STD was carried on by the student section for the rest of the night, taking the form of disjointed heckles or chants of "S-T-D."

The Thursday before that, they played the University of San Diego in a relatively unoccupied Chiles Center.

Despite the fact that the Pilots won the homestand, the games drew negative criticism. The disapproval, however, was not aimed at the coaches or the players of the venue; rather, it was concentrated on the Pilot fans, specifically, the students.

The complaints stemmed from largely from a perception that a large part of the student-cheering sections seems bent on merely heckling the other team; often with vulgar or demeaning chants.

This type of behavior is not uncommon in college basketball, but is of growing concern to the University of Portland Athletic Department.

Athletics-Marketing Director Tricia Miller received e-mails from concerned fans regarding the Pilots games on Feb. 11 and 13.

According to Miller, crowd control and student attendance can be a difficult battle. While student attendance and a certain degree of rowdiness is understandable, and even desirable, the vulgar chants and over-the-top insults are not something that the Athletic Department is willing to tolerate.

"We want (the environment) to be intimidating for the other team, we want it to be loud, we want that home court advantage," Miller said. "The last thing we want is to kick students out. But we can't just sit on our hands."

An e-mail written to the Athletic Department cites "a sampling of things heard from the student section on Saturday (Feb. 13)". Among the alleged insults are chants of "You look like you got s--t on #11," and "You look like a pedophile," and "Is that a shoulder tampon?" (directed at a Saint Mary's player who was wearing a protective shoulder-pad).

Another email suggested following the USD game on Feb. 11 that the handful of students responsible "definitely need some help, guidance and counseling."

OK, "help, guidance and counseling," is taking matters a little too far. Actually, way too far.

What's brewing in the student section is actually just a symptom of a larger, positive condition. UP basketball is doing well, receiving more attention this season than ever before, and the students could not be more excited to contribute, albeit in a way that only makes sense to (mostly inebriated) college students.

This problem of lewd comments and general rowdiness is not exclusive to the University of Portland, but pervades college basketball in general. Samhan is a favorite target of schools such as Gonzaga, who have created t-shirts picturing him being eaten by a Bulldog, or print out unflattering life-sized cutouts. In the past, Zag fans have even sent him Facebook messages, turning his responses into creative chants.

Duke fans once threw inflated condoms and panties at Maryland player Herman Veal when he had been charged with sexual misconduct.

Recently, in the week leading up to a Mississippi State and University of Kentucky game, Mississippi fans got a hold of DeMarcus Cousins' cell phone number and repeatedly texted and called the player, some of the comments racial slurs.

Later in the game, a water bottle was even thrown at the official.

So going into all of this, let's have some perspective; attending NCAA basketball is not for the debonair gent. Its a contest where a loud and rude sixth man can play a pivotal role.

No, it absolutely does not significantly tarnish our basketball team's reputation (or our Universty's for that matter) when a few lewd comments are thrown out.

The problem lies in the fact that lewd comments make up most of our cheering.

What's the difference between what other, big basketball schools do to cheer and what we do?

I'll tell you: they put a hell of a lot more effort and creativity into it.

Sure, UP students can be loud and obnoxious, and that is a requisite step in intimidating the other team. But when we have to revert to using numbers instead of names, and the most creative thing we can think to say is, "F--k you # 4", there is a problem.

We have made ourselves the philistines of the basketball heckling community. Other schools have refined heckling and taunting to a science. While here at UP, we somehow think swear words are a decent substitute for clever and demeaning commentary.

Do we really think we are rattling anyone with disjointed, often unheard insults? Well, maybe. But the only people really reacting to it so far are the other fans.

Why not make a unified effort to not disrupt the other Pilots supporters (who are on our side, by the way) and make chants that alert the other team that we actually know who we're playing?

There needs to be a level of communication between the fans before twenty seconds into the game.

The student section needs more than just a "Pilot Riot" sign and two rows of fans screaming that number 11's parents hate him. We don't even know his last name and we are jumping to conclusions about his parents? Yeah, that'll make him miss.

Maybe, we should do a little research and taunt him with something that has more than a slight chance of being true. And maybe the student section should actually organize into recognizable cheers other Pilot fans actually support, and the other team can actually hear.



Aaron O'Connell is the Sports Editor of The Beacon.

He can be contacted at

oconnell11@up.edu © Copyright 2010 The Beacon

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by Stonehouse on Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:02 am

Good article, I think. Excellent point about vulgarity/crudeness being the default, not the exception. If a little bit of that was interspersed with tons of chants/cheering, that's fine. But when it's the only thing you've got? It does start to grate a bit.

I'll almost always fall on the side of letting the students do their thing, but there is a limit.

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by blacksheep on Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:09 am

While we're at it, can we ban the use of the full body spandex suits. oh my
I'm sure somebody thinks they look good, but they are way more vulgar than any chants I've heard.

No offense if the purple suit guys are PN members Very Happy

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by pilotram on Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:59 am

"Among the alleged insults are chants of "You look like you got s--t on #11," and "You look like a pedophile," and "Is that a shoulder tampon?" "

Were these actually chants, audible to the entire arena, or is this just something that was overheard being yelled? We had a similar issue this year at CSU, with the students chanting "f#ck CU" at the bball game. The AD sent out a letter discouraging the chanting of vulgarity. ADs with developing bball programs probably have a hard time increasing student attendance while also keeping the blue hairs/families/donors happy.

(funny related story: I sat in the second row of the student section at a CSU game this year where attendance was low. I stood up for the first few minutes of the game, until a middle aged lady with several small kids in the row behind me told me to sit down. Unbelievable. Another guy I know once got kicked out of the student section for standing.)

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by PilotNut on Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:25 pm

Good article from the Beacon... I am glad it is being addressed there as well as on PN.

For me, it once again all boils back to leadership (and the current lack of) in the student section, Purple Pride, Pilot Riot, etc... Someone (make that several folks) need to take initiative (10 minutes of pre-game research) and organize the group a bit (spreading the word, knowing when to chant what... especially on the key possessions). That's all it takes... and once on the right track, its amazing how it develops on it's own.

The worst part of all this is, I sit across the floor from the students, and I havent heard any of these (and I certainly pay attention, due to my previous rants)... so not only are the mentioned cheers lazy and unoriginal, they arent unified or loud, either. Evil or Very Mad

I am just glad this is being recognized "internally" by student(s). Too bad its coming around on the last weekend homestand of the year... Neutral

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by MesaPilot1 on Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:31 pm

No coment, until I do further research.... Suspect

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by PurplePrideTrumpet on Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:38 pm

blacksheep wrote:
I'm sure somebody thinks they look good, but they are way more vulgar than any chants I've heard.
Word. Shocked


IMO the students need help, guidance and couseling all right, but maybe not the kind the letter writer was thinking. If you're going to insult someone, (1) learn his name, and (2) you need something better than "you suck" or "f you."

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by up7587 on Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:58 pm

Yikes! To paraphrase something I read on another site: if you can count to three from across the gym, the spandex is too tight.

Are there not any Fine Arts majors who are also sports fans? A little creative writing is needed here. study

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by Rochin54 on Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:04 pm

up7587 wrote:Yikes! To paraphrase something I read on another site: if you can count to three from across the gym, the spandex is too tight.

Are there not any Fine Arts majors who are also sports fans? A little creative writing is needed here. study

Haha! You need help, guidance, and counseling.

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by DaTruRochin on Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:10 pm

I'd pretty much agree with most of the articles and what was said above, but I'm also curious where the people sitting that heard these chants were... Was it the courtside row or something along that, I don't know I would think that getting seats right in front of the student section you would inherently expect the occasional less than savory comment I mean it's one thing if the occasional drunk idiot shouts a less than coherent and unoriginal comment, but something systematically different than an entire Maryland crowd chanting "F*** You J.J." to JJ Redick interspersed with chants about his mom, sister, etc... And yeah, we can do better than "Eff you #4", that's like the cheering equivalent of a "your mom..." comeback or a knock knock joke.

Its been said before, but the group really needs yell leaders, I mean the section struggles to even toss together the most basic "De-fense" chants or even react to basic good basketball plays. A headless chicken can run around and flop into things, but it isn't going anywhere. Unless the students make a concerted effort and you get a good group to step up and lead (I swear I've heard this song before...) the crowds are going to be consistently mediocre at the very best.

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by mattywizz on Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:49 pm

Did they do the chant, "H-O-M-O Homo at the free throw!"? Always a crowd pleaser.

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by Geezaldinho on Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:59 pm

I'd recommend that UP studnt be required to look at tape of Duke university cheers and chats. they'd find stuff that's clever, funny and witty and not at all vulgar. It's something fans look forward to when they go to games.


I'd put the UofO "Garry Coleman" chants in the same category- funny enough that any negative aspects are overlooked.

Take a litlle effort to get your point across.

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by MesaPilot1 on Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:44 pm

Now what you have all been waiting for,lol.....I believe its good to continue to post about this subject......There are so many good points posted.....It sounds like some of the students tried the adult beverages, now like has been mentioned they may need a little guidance. Whats up with the cheer-team thats somewhat of a start. Pilotnut will probably remember our lowly loss at the WCC tourney a couple of years ago, but the cheer squad was right there with the small 30-40 folks showing their enthusiam with pom-poms, clapping,etc. It was one of the most enjoyable experience I've ever had at a "live" Pilot game.

Just a thought from Mesa....if the library/rico suave crowd needs a little encouragement the Clean comments can begin with the cheerleaders-Defense, Defense....Pilots,Pilots. Geez is right about inovavative(mesa's new word)cheers, and I'suspect a few of us have participated in even these cheers before with great passion. Some of us did not have to be all liquored up to be able to elbow our buddys when it was time to back down and start a new chant, 3 plays later,lol.


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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by Riot on Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:45 pm

I'm glad that this article was posted on the site; I've been lurking since I heard the initial concern with the student section's vulgarity.

I think a common misconception is that it takes a long time to research the information regarding the other team. I admit I'm guilty of believing this, but after checking out both the San Fran and Santa Clara websites, they basically lay it out for the viewer in terms of player history and even their family members; it's almost like they're making it too easy. It's unfortunate that we don't have the big Gonzaga/St. Mary's opponents coming back up to make use of this and I think we may be overwhelmed fan-wise in Vegas.

In terms of who was complaining, it was definitely the season ticket holders that sit in the fold up chairs right in front of the student section. It does get a bit ridiculous in terms of single hecklers yelling profanities, but I'm glad to hear that they aren't traveling too far. There will be increased security at the last 3 games for the student section if it continues to be a problem. The general consensus is that the (paying) ticket holders are more valuable than the vulgar students so removing students from the game is an option.

Good luck to the Pilots tonight.

Additionally, if you have any sign requests for either Saturday, Tuesday, or the Vegas tournament, let me know and we'll have them made.

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by MesaPilot1 on Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:56 pm

Got It, or Jarred Stohl signs or Chants. Ito,Ito,Ito chant when makes the other team charge...Rev's Rowdys sign, LUKE,LUKE,LUKE chant when he gets a Blocked Shot. Some form of a TJ chant he's the center of the offense most of the 35 seconds so you should get plenty of practice with a chant and it may even catch on with the rest of the students/fans too. I'm sure the Purple Pride Alums have far greater ideas then me???

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by DJ Sherman on Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:07 pm

Mattywizz, that chant might have been heard elsewhere, but I haven't heard it at the Chiles yet.

Larry Williams, the AD, was the guest at the latest ASUP Senate meeting and mentioned one concerned individual was a Nike representative who was one of those displeased at those games. I think he if he was the individual recommending counseling for a few of the individuals at the USD game, one of whom had a discussion with the ref and Mr. Williams, he might not be wrong, at least on his first two points.

I like the view has reached the student body, but the writer has suffered from the lack of creativity and might have been part of the STD (changed to STI partway through) group. I challenge the writer to put his money where his pen or keyboard is. Since Denver, Marketing has been putting the opposing roster in the Student lounge, making it no one's fault but the students themselves for not getting a resource.

Riot, first, welcome to PN! Having looked at the sites, sure it's easy, but actually throwing it into the game without seeming rather classless, is not that easy. I have done the research most of the year, and have been selfish with it partly because of the info I mentioned earlier, but also because I feel like it will not always be useful because the passionate minority are overcome by the 'big-game' majority or it won't even really help. Yelling the entire time during free throws doesn't really work; pointed attacks focused around the time of release have a better chance of working, but even then it might not be that effective. Regardless, good to see some more student opinions.

Nut, the gatherings have been attempted over at Villa for soccer throughout the year, but they are poorly attended. Like DTR, I am playing the same song of the lack of interest from the students themselves, as the editor of the Beacon called out here in regards to ASUP, but it can be extrapolated to Athletics. However, for some of the other chants at the SMC game, it sounded at least to me that they were catching on quickly. As long as we can get coordination along the front row, there might be hope... sunny

Following the geez's post, I looked at some videos about the cameron crazies and one thing they have that I have felt our students lack is passion, and it will take a long time to wean them from their facination with sports sportz. They are interested more often in getting their immortality via the internet or the four letter family of channels that tries to show entertainment and sports programming than the pure nature of the game,resulting in them not sure about how to act to good situations, like DTR mentioned.

Thanks for the suggestion, Mesa, and I'll at least try to use them. We do have one for Luke, 'Luke the Truth', but we can work on more player centric chants.

Overall, it's a good start, but if there is no follow up, it's just 985 words (I didn't hand count them, but Word helped Very Happy) of pointing out the obvious.

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by Rob's Jacket on Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:49 pm

The Chiles Center hasn't been even close to rowdy in so long that the season ticket holders have gotten used to the quiet.

At the SMC game, I was sitting about 20 feet away from a woman with a giant SMC banner and an extraordinarily shrill voice. At one point in the first half I yelled, "Oh, go back to Moraga," at which point a 70+ year old lady - wearing Pilot purple - sitting in front of me turned around and said, "We don't need that from you."

I don't go to games to sit on my hands. As far as I'm concerned, if you can't handle a loud, rowdy, occasionally inappropriate environment, then basketball isn't your sport. For all their faults, Gonzaga gets that. If UP is really going to put security around the 30 strong student section, then there's a culture problem that needs to be addressed. And that's not a student issue.


Last edited by Rob's Jacket on Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:10 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by Geezaldinho on Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:49 pm

There were while signs taped to the back of each seat in the student section. I'm not sure what they said, but from across the arena they screamed
"nobody is sitting here"

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by DJ Sherman on Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:31 pm

The papers were a good sign of the lack of numbers to start, but midterms, the thursday night, maybe the opponent or the crackdown might have done it, we don't really know.

The papers, from the Athletic Department said,

GREETINGS STUDENTS!
Thank you for your support tonight! It is because of YOU that we have created a true home court advantage and a 10-2 home record this season!! The University of Portland Athletic Department would like to ask for your help in rocking the Chiles Center, while still maintaining a fun atmosphere for ALL Pilot fans!

Here is a gentle reminder of our sportsmanship policy:


the University of Portland and the West Coast Conference promote good sportsmanship by student-athletes, coaches and spectators. We request your cooperation by supporting the participants and officials in a positive manner. Profanity, racial/ethnic and derogatory comments, or other intimidating actions directed at officials, student-athletes, coaches or team representatives will not be tolerated and are grounds for removal from the Chiles Center. We appreciate your cooperation and consideration.

SO BE LOUD, BE PROUD...AND GO PILOTS!!

and a reminder to sign up for the EA College Basketball 10 tournament.

All in all a solid win for both the men and women tonight. Some of the guys weren't on time, but they came, brought effort and provide a sense of hope for these last two games. One casualty of this crackdown is the classic ref chants, so Nut and everyone else across from the student section, take up these chants for us. Smile

Not sure if it could be heard, Mesa, but I used your suggestion for the Got It, cheers before the shots hit to more successes than failures. Thanks again for that. Tom Tolker was glad to hear that people (you guys) are listening. I'll continue to use it. Keep listening you guys, and have fun in the chat box @ 2 as the women finish the season against the Broncos and @ 8 on Comcast Sports Net again as the men wrap up conference play!

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Re: Beacon Article on Student Behavior at Games

Post by pilotram on Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:32 am

Haha, CSU did the exact same thing with the taped papers on seats. No threats for expulsion though.

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