Behavior at the Villanova-SJU Game

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As a graduate of Saint Joseph’s University, and former neighbor of Villanova (I lived in Rosemont for a couple of years), I was disappointed but not surprised at the activities in the student section at this year’s Villanova-SJU game. I am not surprised for two reasons: (1) College kids are going to do things that can be disappointing, especially when there is alcohol involved and (2) Highly charged rivalries, which make fun for college life bring out the best and worst in fans. I have been to plenty of SJU games where my fellow Hawks fans have embarrassed me as an alumni, so I don’t want to go off on this being a big Villanova problem. It is a problem for any major university, and the size of the problem is tied to how the university decides to deal with the problem. I was amused at the taped pre-amble by Jay Wright at the game talking about how fans should behave. Sadly, that tape is part of the problem —- it was like listening to a flight attendant tell you how to use a flotation device when escaping an airplane —- it is an autopilot activity, rather than a heart felt gesture on the part of the administration. I have not been to a Hawks game where they played a tape on fan behavior — my guess is that no one thinks there is a problem that needs to be addressed at SJU (whether there is or not, it is not at issue for this letter). Someone at Villanova, however, must think there is some behavioral issues at games, as they have come up with this tape to play before each game. I can only imagine if Jay Wright himself, or the president of the University had taken the microphone at the beginning of the game and spoken about fan behavior, what might not have happened (references to sexually transmitted diseases, drawings of inappropriate human anatomy, super foul language, etc.). I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the game with a Villanova alum, a mother of two who looked ashamed at the activities going on. She and I decided not to talk about it and to focus on a well contested game with a wonderful history behind it —- fortunately, her 14 year old daughter was busy trying to raise money with other Villanova fans to pay off her $5 bet with me to really notice the nasty stuff in the stands. One day, as I have reluctantly done myself, the students will have to grow up. They can set an example going forward, for future Villanova students, the fans from competing schools, and the greater Philadelphia area, by being more thoughtful in their actions. The school, as I think all universities should do, can help the kids grow up by taking seriously the pranks, bad actions, etc. and addressing them head on with the students. There are enough good kids at both of our schools to respond appropriately. To your president, get out in front of the fans at one of these games and tell them what you think — LIVE and IN PERSON! To the fans, grow up, just a little, and continue to root hard for your Wildcats. Nothing I would like to see more than both of our schools (and maybe even Temple, LaSalle and Drexel) make the NCAAs and make the Philadelphia region proud of our teams and our fans.