clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Maryland's President Issues Statement

Maryland President C. D. Mote issued the following statement to the school newspaper and the general media today. We appreciate the University of Maryland for sending us the text as well.

by C. D. Mote, President

At the close of our basketball team’s heartbreaking loss to Duke last Saturday night at the Cole Field House, students threw water bottles, cups and other debris in the direction of the Duke bench and onto the Duke fans and the parents of Duke players. Apparently these missiles struck, among others, the mothers of three Duke players, one requiring medical treatment.

On behalf of the University of Maryland, I offer my sincerest apologies to those Duke fans who were assaulted. I also apologize to those Maryland students, staff, faculty and alumni who are shamed and embarrassed by this brutish and violent behavior. No one can find this acceptable. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident. When visitors cannot come to our athletic events without fear of assault, or actually experience assault, something is very wrong.

Fan behavior at basketball games has always reflected the deep passions surrounding our contests. And the passion surrounding the big games is understandably even more intense. We are proud of our team and the extraordinary effort and talent they bring to the court. They and their coaches deserve our support. I count myself among the team’s most ardent fans. But what happened Saturday night took the great leap from boosterism to hooliganism that we cannot condone or tolerate. Besides the dangers it poses for visitors and Maryland fans alike, it demeans the entire university family of students, faculty, staff and alumni, and it undermines the efforts of so many to build this fine university into a great one.

University police are conducting a thorough investigation to identify the individuals involved in the assaults of last Saturday. Following the investigation, sanctions will be imposed according to university regulations and state laws as appropriate.

I also have asked the Athletic Director Debbie Yow to examine the operations at Cole Field House and propose whatever changes are needed to ensure safety. I expect the recommendations to go beyond ejecting disruptive fans from Cole, which we already do. We must take any and all actions necessary to protect safety on campus. I would also like to enlist the assistance of student leaders and student organizations across the campus in addressing safety at Cole.

Athletics is a very important part of the university experience. It brings the campus family together as it teaches teamwork, competition, leadership, commitment, strategy, goal setting and sportsmanship. And of course the ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat are its lessons too. These lessons are as important in life as they are in athletics. They are negated, however, when fans sink to assault and violence at our games. I ask all members of the university community to join me in working to eradicate such behavior.