UM tightens security in Cole student areas

Throwing items on court will result in ejection

January 06, 1999|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland will tighten security for men's basketball games at Cole Field House, particularly in its student sections, in the wake of the Terps' loss to Duke on Sunday.

Athletic director Debbie Yow said that her department is adopting a "zero tolerance" policy toward the throwing of objects during games. In addition, more of the 20-25 campus police who provide security at men's games will be stationed in the four aisles in the student sections.

Fans caught throwing anything will be ejected. Previously, according to Yow, warnings were issued.

"Our working policy has been to ask people not to do that, because it's a challenge to find the individual who threw an object," Yow said. "You don't want to accuse the wrong person.

"Up until this time, it hasn't been a problem or an issue. Because behaviors have escalated, we've done what we consider to be the appropriate thing to create the safest possible environment."

Yow said that students will not be discouraged from their pre-game custom of balling up newspaper and tossing it.

According to Yow, a Duke fan who was arrested after the game started an incident by taunting fans in the Maryland student section. They threw "ice, popcorn and peanuts" at him, Yow said.

One fan was arrested Sunday and charged with interfering with an athletic event by throwing items.

Earlier in the game, the officials issued a warning over the public address system about objects being thrown on the court, acts that Maryland coach Gary Williams and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski condemned yesterday.

"It's the worst thing that can happen in a basketball game," Krzyzewski said. "If you allow any of that, you condone all of it. You have to be really careful, because people can be hurt. You can yell, go crazy, that's terrific, but throwing stuff is not good."

Williams said that he saw a peanut and a wad of paper thrown on the court Sunday, and that an official told him that ice also was thrown on the court. Earlier this season, Williams asked the Maryland students to clean up their language. Yow said the coach will speak to them again before the Terps' next home game, Sunday against N.C. State.

"If you slip on a piece of ice, you can tear your knee up for a career," Williams said. "It's not fair to the Duke players or the Maryland players. There can't be foreign things on the court. That's got to stop. If that's our students throwing stuff, that's wrong, but nobody's perfect."

Williams said that two years ago at Duke, a soda was thrown on Maryland fans behind the Terps' bench.

The No. 5 Terps, meanwhile, resume ACC play tomorrow (8 p.m.) at Virginia. They don't think about the particulars of the Cavaliers until today. Williams had his team sit through the Duke film on Monday, and work on improving its half-court offense in practice yesterday.

"We had a very productive practice," junior guard Steve Francis said. "Coach emphasized the things he broke down on tape. People weren't hustling. They were lollygagging."

Pub Date: 1/06/99

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