September 9, 2007
I am writing this letter to the South Florida community to discuss my disappointment and shock with the way the South Florida football team and its coaching staff conducted themselves after the recent win over Auburn University.
After the win, a large huddle of football players congregated to celebrate the win. This was expected, and most certainly earned, but it was what followed that stunned me. A member of the coaching staff came over to join the group, and jumped onto the wall right in front of the student section.
However, these students were not ordinary fans; they were members of our ROTC program. They were dressed in full uniform to show pride in their willingness to serve our country. I was appalled when I noticed that some of the South Florida players had taken Auburn shakers from these members of our armed forces and began to shake them tauntingly towards the Auburn fans. The most notable (player) who made sure that he didn’t miss a single section of the students before moving on to the middle of the field. I also noticed another player in the middle of the field with an Auburn shaker in each hand deliberately mocking the Auburn fans. A member of the coaching staff approached him, but instead of urging him to stop his offensive behavior, he simply hugged him and moved on to the next player.
I can understand how it would be easy to get caught up in the moment of one of the greatest wins in your school’s history, but you cannot allow that to overshadow the importance of remembering that you are visiting someone else’s home. Jordan-Hare Stadium is a place of
much-valued tradition and history, and some of that was taken away from us Saturday night.
After every game, the Auburn University Marching Band plays our Alma Mater as the students lock arms and sway to the words. It is a time for the students to celebrate how wonderful it is to be a part of the Auburn family, win or lose, because being an Auburn student is about so much more than football. Unfortunately, it was hard for any of us to hear the music because the South Florida band played through the entire thing. We couldn’t even have two minutes of peace to concentrate on our blessings instead of focusing on the loss.
I’ve been hearing from the media that this win will help your school become more respected as a football team and as a contender in the world of college football. But please remember that the game doesn’t end when the clock ticks down to zero. A genuine athlete, coach or fan knows their representation of their school and pride in their athletic program should never stop.
Lauren K., a disappointed Tiger Fan and Auburn University student, is a senior majoring in accounting.