Editorial: USF sports fans must show sportsmanship at games

The Bulls’ Cinderella wins against Auburn and West Virginia and crushing defeats at Rutgers and the Sun Bowl last season make it hard to guess what’s in store for the team this year.

There is one thing that can be predicted without fail, however — the presence of rowdy, drunken fans at Bulls games.

At USF v. University of Tennessee-Martin, police arrested two students and ejected 13 from the game. At the USF-Kansas match, there were 14 arrests and 62 ejections, 52 of which were alcohol related.

The Tampa Tribune reported that Bulls fans demonstrated the worst sportsmanship of the season at the Kansas game, yelling profanities at cheerleaders and children.

This is inexcusable.

It’s hard to enjoy a game-winning field goal in overtime if, say, the fan behind you spills beer on your head while hurling obscenities at the opposing team’s mascot.

So you don’t spill beer on his head, and you don’t flick off an opposing team’s fan because you wouldn’t want to be flicked off, either. It’s the way we’ve learned to behave in civilized societies.

And whether you call it karma or the categorical imperative or being a good Christian, Muslim or Jew, it often seems to work.

On a more practical level, though, disrespectful fans could hurt USF’s image on the national stage.

After all, it’s hard enough to take an underdog university seriously, either as an academic or an athletic institution. Think about how much harder that becomes when it seems like that underdog is populated by uncouth boozers.

Sure, one could argue that USF is starting to look a lot like schools with deeper-rooted, longer-standing football traditions — traditions, perhaps, where tipsy shenanigans come with the territory.

And at first glance, that argument doesn’t look so bad. Student-section tickets for big games are often hard to come by at such schools, and USF fans likewise want Raymond James Stadium to be a sea of green and gold that can drown out the rival’s colors on game day. We also want the Bulls to get the hero’s welcome they deserve whether they win or lose.

But it’s silly to think that we can get these things by tolerating intoxicated, rude students — many of whom are underage — who pick fights with each other, rival-team fans and even police officers.

The solution to this is simple. If you’re over 21, drink moderately and don’t drive. If not, don’t drink. Don’t get physical and keep cheering and booing within a reasonable level — sans profanities.

In other words, flaunt your Bull pride without being full of it.