A few tipsters have passed along the mass email that Maryland's Athletic Director, Kevin Anderson, sent out to
the entire student body some of the university's students yesterday. In it, Anderson requests that Maryland students refrain from "aggressive and offensive behavior," such as confronting 11-year-old football fans and cursing them out.
After the Terps' week one win over Miami at Byrd Stadium on Monday, Sept. 5, Anderson (along with the Terps' head coach Randy Edsall and the school president Wallace D. Loh) received a very detailed, anxious email from a father who brought his 11-year-old son to the student section. At one point during the game, he wrote, a UMD student turned, flipped off the kid, and said, "Fuck you." The word "fuck" was actually used quite frequently at this particular game ("Fuck Miami," Fuck the U," and so on).
The father thought that this behavior did not represent "acceptable behavior." Here's the AD's email—written, rather expertly, in that clueless administrator voice that strains to sound like everybody's friend—as well as the original email from the father:
Date: Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 6:22 PM
Subject: Student Behavior at the Miami Game
I would like to share with you a troubling email that was sent to me, Head Coach Randy Edsall and University President Wallace D. Loh after our tremendous victory over Miami last week. This is certainly not the first email or feedback that I have received but I felt it was important to share because it describes an interaction between one of your fellow students and an 11 year old boy attending a Maryland Football game for the first time. The type of aggressive and offensive behavior described below paints the University, our teams and every one of us in a bad light and it is not what this world class institution is about. Every coach, student-athlete, fan, staff member and member of our student body has a responsibility to represent our great University with class, dignity and respect. Is this who you really want to be and is this the impression you want the nation to have of us? I know you do not, and now that we are being discussed nationally it is more important than ever to improve our conduct and represent the University of Maryland in the appropriate manner. Please do not prove me wrong, assist us in policing your peers and help us prevent these negative actions from occurring at games in the future. Let your fellow students know that this type of behavior is unacceptable and not how you want to be viewed. On behalf of the hundreds of student-athletes here at Maryland, I ask you to please serve as positive examples for our University and our teams. We want you to cheer loudly, be respectful of others, and show the world what it means to be a Terrapin.
Fear the Turtle..Respect for All!
Kevin B. Anderson
Director of Athletics
I hope this email finds you well. I want to just take a minute of your time to describe my 11 year old sons first experience of a college football game, the one last night.
My son turned 11 years old on 9/1/11 and the only thing he asked for was to attend the University of Maryland vs. University of Miami football game. Knowing that Coach Edsal grew up 15 minutes from where we currently live, he was ecstatic to have the opportunity to see what, until now, he has only been able to watch on TV. So, as a surprise to him, I registered on the University of Maryland website and purchased tickets for the game. I did my best to get him close to the action and we were very fortunate to get tickets in Row 22, Section X, seats X and X. I never had the opportunity to see college football games as a child but did travel to FSU, University of Florida, UCF, Penn State and University of Tennessee as an adult to see games. I thought I was making the right decision to show him what intercollegiate athletics was all about; student-athletes playing for the passion of the game, not for the large contracts, etc. Having played at the Division I level myself, I think values taught to students are crucial for life skills.
Knowing that we live almost 2 hours away and it was raining, we left York, PA at 3:45 PM. We finally arrived on campus at 6:05 PM and were pleasantly surprised on how easy parking was. We parked in Paints Branch. We walked up to the gate to wait for the main gate to open at 6:30 PM. As we walked around to our section, there was a loud roar and the chant "FUCK MIAMI"" was deafening. We waited in line for a few minutes and then entered. We entered the stadium in section 304 (ground level) and the staff personnel asked him "Have you ever been at a game before?". To that he smiled and said no, this is my first. She wished him a good time and smiled as he walked in. The chant, controlled into one area, the student section, was even louder as we walked by. My son looked at me and asked why people were chanting something like this. Not knowing what a father should respond, I stated that it was inappropriate and left it at that.
We walked over to our seats and took some pictures so he could remember his first collegiate football game. The ushers and game personnel were very helpful in guiding us to the right area and assisted in taking pictures. One engaged in a conversation with him, in a welcoming way, and he was impressed that someone would take the time to discuss sports with him. The stadium started filling up and when the clock hit 73 minutes (til kickoff), the chant started again and got louder as Miami walked out to take the field for warm-ups. Then my son asked me "Dad look at that sign over there"". Looking into the white section, I saw a large poster sign that read "FucK the U". Seeing how ESPN was doing a live report, I was shocked that nobody even addressed the sign (as I still saw it in the 3rd quarter).
The game started and obviously there was much excitement. Within the first 5 minutes of the game, my son shouted "Yeah"" over a play that had taken place. Since it was hard to see, his "yeah" was for a play that Miami did something well. Immediately, a U of MD student turned around and screamed Fuck You and flicked him the middle finger and almost hit him with it. To that, my response was "How classless. You are using profanity towards an 11 year old boy who just wants to fit in". Ironically within seconds, there was an announcement stated by many Maryland student-athletes requesting positive sportsmanship over the large screens.
The game continued and was an awesome display of hard work and dedication by student-athletes and coaches. The game itself was incredible to watch and kept everyone in the stadium on the front of their seats. I commend both teams on a hard fought effort.
The concern, I have, is that last night gave the University of Maryland to show the entire country what you have to offer and this was the best the students could do? Whether it was shirts, signs or chants, I have NEVER seen such a low level of class shown
Having taught one of Coach Edsall's former players (XXXXXXX) and currently I work with a good friend of his, XXXXXXXX, the one thing I have heard over and over is that he is a man of class.
Please dont take this the wrong way. I am in no way commenting on the job being done by Coach Edsall or the players. I was extremely impressed with the staff both coaching and event. My goal is that someone takes an opportunity to speak to the student section about acceptable behavior. Situations like last night provide the perfect opportunity to change the culture before it worsens.
Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns. Best of luck to Coach Edsall and the Terrapins.
If the drunken behavior and dropping of the F-bomb persists in College Park—and of course it will—we predict that tailgating and pre-game parties will be the administration's next target. But if you're cursing out 11-year-olds who are wearing the same clown shirt as you, perhaps not even sobriety can save you. As one tipster suggested, not even the Dookies would go this far.
H/T Juliette, and others.