Inside the Game Column

When do they go too far?

By Jeff Denton | Feb 18, 2014
Photo by: File Jeff Denton

Basketball season is near its peak of excitement, with high schools preparing for playoffs and colleges looking to March Madness.
The importance of these games also means fan support is nearing a fever pitch. With this comes a vital part of every basketball team — the student section.
Student sections are a common site in college and high school gyms across the country. The Cameron Crazies of Duke are one of the best and frequently garner  national attention.
From my seat, student sections are a vital part of every basketball game, creating an atmosphere designed to disrupt visiting teams and to encourage total crowd participation.
However, at times I think student sections cross the line and I would like to see them disbanded or reprimanded at the very least when they do cross the line.
Chants about individual people or insulting the fans or attacking the personal situations of a person are commonly heard and it seems some student sections never support the team, they only attack others.
As the public address announcer for Pisgah High School basketball games, I witness student sections in action very frequently. Too often I will hear things being chanted that I think are simply inappropriate and should not be said at athletic events.
I completely get the fact emotions run wild at sporting events. But they should have the self control to know when enough is enough.
Student sections will boo cheerleaders, attack players personal lives and make derogatory remarks about fans. Yet nothing will get said to them by officials or school administration.
I am a huge proponent of creating an atmosphere that disrupts visiting teams and a loud raucous gym is more fun for fans and home players, who bask in the energy created for them. It is when inappropriate things get said and there are no consequences that I wish school officials would step in and possibly remove the violators from the stands.
I think that school administration in high schools should be held more accountable for the things that are said by the students. If there were consequences to saying things that are simply inappropriate then the issue would dissolve and focus would return to the game.
Students should chant and remark on the play of athletes to disrupt them when not in their home gym, but what players do off the court should never be brought into the sport.
If school officials kept a closer watch on student sections and students were held accountable for their poor crowd behavior, everyone would benefit and enjoy the game more.
When the crowd is roaring and cheering for their team, the game of basketball becomes so much better. But when the focus shifts from the game to who can make the best insult, the magic of basketball is lost.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.