By BOB BILLETER
The WVU Students Riot After Win
The WVU-Baylor game was a barnburner. This contest was about as exciting as an athletic contest can be so of course the students and others in Morgantown celebrated after the victory. The trouble is that they carried their celebrations too far.
The WVU students are receiving a lot of criticism for these celebrations — and they should. After it got dark 37 fires were set in the streets, couches and furniture were burned, lampposts were shoved down, fences were destroyed. Participants threw rocks, bottles and beer cans at arriving police. Fire trucks were damaged.
Thousands of dollars in damage was done. Tear gas and pepper spray were used to subdue the celebrants. The fire chief called the activities a riot. It's fine to celebrate after a great victory but the students obviously went too far. The criticism they are getting is justified.
I know, students shouldn't be expected to act like more mature adults but they should be mature enough to refrain from damaging property and breaking the law in other ways. It's fine to have fun but rioting is something else.
WVU isn't the only school that has celebrations that get out of hand but this doesn't excuse the behavior following the Baylor game. When I was a student at WVU, immediately following World War II, I would guess that the majority of the students were veterans who had returned from the war.
Many of these students wouldn't have had the money to do much celebrating. And we were a little older so this perhaps made us less rambunctious.
On the same night, at Keene State College in New Hampshire, students staged a drunken riot over a pumpkin festival. Cars were overturned and street signs were torn down. Thirty people were injured.
Having pointed out this unacceptable activity I am proud to say that I am a proud alumnus of WVU. The school is, in my opinion, a first-rate state university. We don't win the honors that such schools as Harvard, Yale and Princeton do, but WVU has its good points.
It serves the Mountain State exceptionally well. It is no mystery why old and young alike in the state have exceptional loyalty to the school. My mother, when she was in her 70s, followed the WVU sports events with amazing devotion.
Many people, in this state and elsewhere, don't realize that WVU has a handicap. We don't have the money in West Virginia to spend on our colleges and universities that most of the states have. And this goes for athletic budgets. Yet year after year WVU and other colleges and universities in the state produce fine sports teams.
Nor do we have the entertainment in our state that many states have so we perhaps appreciate our sports teams more than fans do in other states. I can't imagine that any state university in America has the numbers of devoted fans that WVU has. The loyalty of WVU fans is amazing, I think.
When I was looking for a college to attend I chose WVU because I felt sure they would admit me. I wasn't sure about some of the other schools because the returning veterans were coming home by the millions and huge numbers of the younger ones were applying for admission to schools across the country.
I was somewhat disappointed that I didn't have the opportunity to go to Harvard or maybe Stanford. But as the years have passed I have come to appreciate West Virginia University. Today I am very happy and proud that I attended WVU.
You rioters celebrating victories by WVU sports teams mean well but you are giving the school I love a bad name. I think I speak for many of the school's alumni and fans throughout the state when I urge you to tone down the celebrations. Fun sans destructive behavior is the way to go.