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Bobcats acting a little too crazy
As long as there have been sports, there have been passionate fans. College athletics may be the best example of this. At Duke University, there is the Cameron Crazies, at the University of Florida the student sections are split into orange and royal blue shirts and at Quinnipiac we have the Crazy Bobcats; well at least we had them.
Following a string of home games at Burt Kahn Court, the student spirit group has been disbanded until the group’s president, whose name would not be disclosed, meets with athletic director Jack McDonald and men’s basketball coach Joe DeSantis to discuss the situation and what can be done to change the groups behavior.
The Crazy Bobcats club was established in September 2002 just after the university officially changed its nickname from politically incorrect ‘Braves’ to the Bobcats. “The students really wanted it, as did the athletic department,” said McDonald. The idea to create a student spirit club came after the men’s hockey team made it to the NCAA tournament and the men’s basketball team, supported by 200 plus fans in gold t-shirts, played against Central Connecticut State in the NEC championship game during the 2001-’02 season.
The Crazy Bobcats were disbanded after they “acted very poorly,” according to McDonald. Prior to the start of this season, the NEC made a new rule barring school spirit groups from sitting behind the visitor’s bench. This ruling came after last season when many visiting coaches complained about the Crazy Bobcats’ abusive language towards their players. McDonald had a meeting with the president of the spirit group and informed him of the new rule. “I told him the Crazy Bobcats couldn’t sit behind the visitor’s bench, but he didn’t relay the message to the rest of the group,” said McDonald.
During the third home game of the season on Jan. 10 against Mount St. Mary’s, the group sat behind the bench. This lack of respect for the rule upset coach DeSantis, according to McDonald.
A week and a half later when Quinnipiac hosted Sacred Heart, the group once again violated the rule and sat behind the visitor’s bench. McDonald instructed the police on hand to move the student group from where they were to across the gym and seat them next to the pep band, which was their new designated section.
In retaliation, three days later in a home game against Monmouth, six members of the group showed up to Burt Kahn Court dressed in all black outfits, each wearing a Darth Vader helmet. Once again, the group sat behind the Hawks’ bench. The six students were told if they did not move to their designated seats, they would be arrested by members of the Hamden Police Department. After this threat, the students moved across the court but started to verbally harass McDonald, the Hamden police officers and ever Boomer the Bobcat. At this point, the president of the student run organization was ejected from the court. The five remaining students continued the verbal abuse and were consequently removed from the facility. No arrests were made.
“When you make a mistake, you have to go to the penalty box,” said McDonald. After the incident against Monmouth, the Crazy Bobcat group was temporarily suspended until a meeting between its president and McDonald and DeSantis was scheduled.
McDonald, a firm supporter of the student group, did not want to chastise them, but rather teach a life lesson. “We [the athletic department] definitely want them back,” said McDonald. “The leadership of the Crazy Bobcats didn’t realize that there were NCAA guidelines, Quinnipiac guidelines and rules of sportsmanship that needed to be followed.”
When the Crazy Bobcats are finally reinstated, McDonald proposes that they have better leadership. The group will more than likely be run by SGA to give it guidance and to have other students oversee the game to game activities. “It will go from unorganized to extremely organized,” said McDonald.
In order for Quinnipiac to be a viable force in Division 1 athletics, it needs to have a strong fan base around its sports programs. If the necessary steps are taken, the Crazy Bobcats will be back in the stands this season. It is all up to them. McDonald has already gotten over the issue and is waiting to move on: “I have no hard feelings, I have already forgotten about it.”