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KU fans decry abusive treatment from USF fans

Posted Sep 17, 2008 by Brett McMurphy

Updated Sep 16, 2008 at 11:45 PM

While warming up before Friday’s game against Kansas, University of South Florida QB Matt Grothe noticed a USF fan screaming derogatory slurs at the Jayhawks cheerleaders.

“I didn’t appreciate it,” Grothe said. “Some idiot of ours, every time a [KU] cheerleader walked by, he yelled ‘[sexual slur]’ over and over to each and every one.

“Yelling at a cheerleader? Those poor girls don’t know why they’re getting yelled at. It’s like me going up to that guy’s mom and calling her [that]. Is he going to like that? They should just be happy with [us] winning games.”

Apparently, winning isn’t everything. And, unfortunately, what Grothe witnessed wasn’t an isolated incident.

It was among several examples of abusive, profanity-laced verbal attacks and intimidation of KU fans before, during and after the game.

Pat Porzelt, a 1987 KU graduate, was part of a group of 12 Jayhawks fans at the game. She has been attending games for more than 20 years.

“That,” she said, “was the worst experience I’ve ever had.”

Porzelt, 44, said she realizes when on the road she will receive some harassment. But, she said, this was different.

Walking through the Raymond James Stadium parking lot, a USF fan she estimated in his 30s raced from his tailgate party to confront her.

“He sticks his finger in my face and says, ‘Go home, you [expletive] Jayhawk [expletive],’ she said. “I expect to hear profanity, but it was the in-your-face hatred behind it that was different than any other stadium I’ve been at.”

Porzelt certainly wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

She said the treatment she received from fans during and after the game wasn’t much better.

What’s ironic is that USF just started a “Respect-A-Bull” campaign, asking USF fans to show “pride, sportsmanship and honor.”

“Visitors should be complimentary of the treatment and respect they receive from our fans,” USF President Judy Genshaft said. “USF is on the national stage, and we want those who attend our games to enjoy USF’s hospitality as a community that is welcoming and respectful of our guests. We want our guests to leave with a good experience and see USF fans as national role models.”

That wasn’t the case Friday. There were 64 ejections, the most for a USF home game, and nine arrests.

Eric Morton, 34, a Kansas fan who lives in Tampa, said he didn’t experience any physical abuse, but “the verbal abuse made you feel uncomfortable. A lot of young people getting in your face screaming, ‘Get the [expletive] out of our house.’”

KU alum Brent Kassing, 39, of Winter Park, attended the game with his cousin’s family. In all, they had five children ranging in age from 4 to 15.

“I must have heard ‘[expletive] you!’ about 200 times,” said Kassing, who complained to USF officials in an e-mail. “It was a terrible environment. I had never experienced that at an away game.”

Greg Morgan, USF’s student body president, said Bulls fans must be considerate of visiting fans. “At some point of being a gentleman, someone has to stand up [to the abusive fans] and say we don’t condone this type of thing,” Morgan said. “USF fans have to be accountable for other USF fans.”

USF, UA finalize deal: USF and Under Armour finally signed their five-year deal, which had been in place since November, on Tuesday, making UA the official outfitter of USF athletics. The deal will pay USF $1 million over the life of the contract and provide $1.2 million in apparel for USF’s football, baseball, softball, soccer, golf and tennis teams.

Reader Comments

Por (Allen Brown) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Wow, what a bunch of whiners.  I must have heard the same kinds of things at UCF more than 200 times.  I never felt threatened.  I was on their campus all day and most people you pass had something ignorant to say.  Just ignore them or come back at them.  It’s just verbal.  Now, I did have a beer fan thrown at me, luckily short and empty, but seeing as how there is no report of that at our game, I don’t see the big deal.

Oh no, young people telling you to go home!  Whatever shall I do?!  Seriously, I don’t do stuff like this, but it’s not a big deal.

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Por (Dr. Rob Ritter) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I too was at the UCF game and on campus for a few hours before the game tailgating. I was uncomfortable after the game ended on the way out to the car. I have never seen a more hostile crowd than that night. They yelled everything in their very small vocabulary at myself and my wife. If that is the way USF fans acted to KU fans last Friday night, we have a lot to be ashamed of. This is not what college football is about, that’s professional football. We cannot allow this to continue, we need to conduct ourselves in a classy way like other big time programs and their fans do!

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Por (Harold Wheeler) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

You can have a lot of fun with visiting fans without being abusive. And you especially need to tone it down when kids are around.
Plus some people just can’t handle the alcohol unfortunately. Old and young.
Don’t be surprised if this doesn’t pop up somewhere in the national press if it keeps up. Last weeks issue have been pretty well chronicled on the internet.
The idiots out there need to straighten up before we get a bad rep.

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Por (Allen Brown) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

There is no reason for the national media to focus on our game when the UF-Miami game was far worse in terms of ejections and arrests.  I’m not that worried about a few bad people.

1 fan was arrested for going on the field.  I doubt that disturbed many Kansas fans.  I sure hope it didn’t.

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Por (Sanjay) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

UF-Miami is a rivalry game, and you can understand there being some heated emotions.  Kansas?  Our fans are going to be obnoxious to Kansas? 
I did not see the type of behavior being complained about, but I did hear the “FU KU” chants on the way out.  That was unnecessary.

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Por (Aaron Jones) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Anyone that dismisses this behavior by pointing out other schools (UCF, UF, Miami, etc.) worse behavior is just ridiculous. Why would you want to be grouped in with those school for that? Shouldn’t we strive to be better? Why give an opponent something else to complain about? Let them complain about the refs, a bad coaching decisions, and a poor performance by their team. This is a very simple problem to solve; treat others as we would like to be treated and this all goes away.

Remember win with class and act like you’ve been there before.


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Por (August) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I do agree we should act in a little classier manner, but I have traveled to many schools and seen many of the same things. I went to Penn St. My whole family went there. They can get pretty rough with fans. I spent a year at LSU. That was scary for me too and I even went there. Those people are harsh, especially when Florida is there or even if it was a big game. I don’t want to sound like I condone what happened, I just want to state that it does happen at other HUGE schools in the football world.

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Por (Matthew Mitchell) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

The worst football environment I have ever seen was in Starkeville, MS for a Mississippi State game.  They fill up the back of their pickup trucks with water and act like it’s a hot tub, drinking for HOURS before a game.  They yell at opposing fans and shake cowbells in their faces.

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Por (JCM) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I went to a UF vs Tennessee game in the swamp a few years ago. My friend had his drink spit in while being past down the row.  There were treating Fulmers wife as if her was a terrorist.  We had some KU fans by us and we had a good time and they were good sports.  Friendly trash talk in good fun.  The swamp for me was the worst I had ever experienced by FAR!  Gator fans for the most part are delusional.

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Por (Jon McKee) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

It’s a 2-way street.  I sat next to a older Kansas mom who seemed to think it was cool for her to wave her hands in front of me “Chalk Rock” everytime they made a play.  It wasn’t obnoxious but it was inconsiderate and “in your face”.

I also remember the Louisville fans sitting 2 rows in front of me in RJS the year we upset them.  They were screaming every curse word in the book and yelling at the USF fans around them.  I was surprised a fight did not break out.

A partial solution is limit beer consumption.  Stamp their hands, limit 2 beers.

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Por (Ronnie Conrad) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Over my 40 plus years of attending any sports event , college, pros and yes even HS there has always been a few in the crowd that makes everyone else just wonder why these types things are needed at a sporting event. Tampa is no different then any other place, Gainesville,Knoxville, Birmingham, Atlanta, Miami,Baton Rouge, Orlando, Jacksonville,Nashville, St. Pete. I’ve been there and was right in the middle of it. It’s sad that we have young adults but what about the so called adults that think their still in school acting like a bunch of jerks. Stop selling beer so they don’t get so jack up over a game that suppose to be fun   Go Bulls ! Go Gators !

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Por (Tom Sabol) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

First of all there are 3 sides to every story. Yours, mine, and the Truth. The truth is that regardless of how bad or similar it was elsewhere, it’s not acceptable for us to behave that way. However I saw KU fans giving as good as they were getting on my walk to the stadium. I made the mistake of letting my wife lead us through the student dominated parking lot 4 with my 4 year old son. The screaming f-bombs flying about made me recoil and I curse like a sailor, but not in front of my son. I have to say that it is my fault as it is all of our faults for not telling the offenders to knock it off. We can’t let the minority tarnish our image. We’re not UCF! Lets have some class.

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Por (Penny Nagel) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Totally agree w/ the last comment from Mr. Sabol.  My husband and I are both alumni and are very PROUD of our association w/ USF, which has always stood out as having character and class. 

Last year, we brought a 15-yr old friend to experience her first college football game.  We too had to walk to the student parking lot and it was disgraceful!  I was so embarrassed to subject the kids to the ridiculous, shameful behavior going on there.  Not to mention fear for our safety w/ all of the objects flying and the broken glass EVERYWHERE. 

As USF students you should hold each other to a higher standard!  POSITIVE peer-pressure to behave responsibly is needed.  The schools name is getting broadcast like never before.  MAKE YOUR SCHOOL PROUD

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Por (Jordan Howes) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I have been to different stadiums many times.  My first love is USF since it’s where I graduated, and I hate to say this, but it is probably the worst place I have personally been too.  As a grad student, I still sit in the student section, and I still see them as the biggest problem.  Beer is not readily available at most college games, but it is easily found for anyone who wants it at Ray Jay.  And have you ever tried to get a drink behind the pirate ship at half time?  What a mess!  And I am often appalled at the mess I see on the streets after the game with no thought or cares as to who will clean it up.  The be RespectaBull campaign is a great idea, but I am afraid it may be too little too late.

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Por (Richard Todd) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

News media blows up another non-story.

If you act like an idiot at the game you to grow a pair and learn how to support you team.  Otherwise go somewhere else to work out your problems.

If you don’t like insults keep your KU or UCF gear or what ever gear home and wear your skirt to the game.

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Por (Rob Flohr) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

USF fans learn how to be fans from the Bucs games. Unfortunately, the Bucs fans are pro fans and at every pro game the behavior is awful. I think pro football is an excuse to drink alcohol and gamble, everytime I go I regret it and witness more people drinking and carousing than taking interest in the contest.

Most college atmospheres are far better than that, but our society is teaching our young people that this behavior is acceptable at sporting events. We all need to hold each other accountable.

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Por (Doug Vorbeck) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I would love to travel to all the away games and spend money in the other teams towns if they just treated the visiting fans with respect.  Treat them how you would want to be treated if you were at an away game visiting your team.  Your a stranger to the town and your judging the city and college by what you experience while your there.  I sure don’t want them to Think that Tampa is like what they experienced the other day.  If there Mothers heard them talk like that they would surely get a mouthful of soap.

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Por (Mark) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

If you don’t like it, Stay Home! Whether you’re a USF alumni, USF Fan, or an opponents fan…Stay Home. First of all, it isn’t a place for children to be anyway.  We all know that because we were young at one point, these things happen at big events like this one. It happens at every school, I’ve heard some real stories that put this one away about WVU with a friend who went there. When you drink and drive or ride with someone who drinks and drives,  you accept the responsibility of a possible DUI or let’s hope not worse. When you drink or go to a football game where alcohol is served you must accept what could happen. VERY SIMPLE to understand.

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Por (Brian) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Just proves how classless the USF fans are.  Grow up!

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Por (Steve O'Neal) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Mark in Lutz, that is one of the stupidest posts I’ve read on this subject. I’m a USF fan and I bring MY kids to the games. There is always going to be inconsiderate idiots that act up and make it unenjoyable for others. You sound like one. I speak up when I see inappropiate behavior by fans. I have 16 season tickets just so I can bring my family and friends to game for a fun time. Why don’t you do everyone a favor and STAY HOME yourself. The game is a place for fans, including CHILDREN, not for obnoxious jerks like you.

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Por (Tom Sabol) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

To Richard and Mark: First of all I have no idea what point Richard was making because it mad no sense but at least he used his last name. Mark on the other hand avoided using his last name so that people won’t know who is making those ridiculous statements. We all know what it’s like to be young but that doesn’t excuse flat out idiocy. What kind of moron says that USF games are no place for children. How do you think schools like FSU and UF have built loyal followings. Many years of kids growing up cheering their respective teams.

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Por (Tom Sabol) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Mark: To your point about WVU…who cares how bad it is there or anywhere else. It’s how we represent ourselves. I’m not saying USF is unique in this situation but we don’t have to accept it. I know how I acted when attending USF and it wasn’t always with class and I regret some of the things I said and did but your argument about accepting the responsibility and the consequences because you ride with a friend that drinks and drives is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Your responsibility is to stop your friend from drinking and driving. Just because someone else is doing something wrong doesn’t make you doing it right.

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Por (Jip Stevens) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

It’s uncalled for, but Kansas fans are just as bad. Ask them what they traditionally chant as KU is kicking the ball off.

Point is, USF is wrong here, but few fan bases are right. This is a sick, sad world we live in.

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Por (Jay Schlehr) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

This isn’t the first complaint about this from USF that I’ve heard.  I’m a born/bred Mountaineer.  Last year’s game in Tampa was my first USF game, and it will also be my last as a visiting fan.  There was so much verbal abuse that I was embarassed that I had brought my girlfriend with me.  I’m not saying that WVU doesn’t do this as well, because it happens everywhere. USF students obviously cannot handle being highly ranked responsibly

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Por (Allen Brown) on September 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Suck it up, Jay.  Verbal abuse is to be expected, sad as it is.  It’s a football game.

Many WVU fans were equally bad.  I was there as well.

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