ECU Receives Mandated Penalty From C-USA
Sept. 12, 2008
IRVING, Texas - Conference USA announced Friday that East Carolina University will be fined $10,000 and subject to a possible suspension of future hosting privileges for a violation of one of the league's sportsmanship policies which prohibits public access to competition areas.
The fine stems from East Carolina's post-game celebration, which occurred Saturday, when fans stormed the field of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium following the Pirates' 24-3 victory over No. 8 West Virginia.
The action of the fans was "clearly in violation" of the sportsmanship standards of Conference USA, according to a letter sent Thursday by league Commissioner Britton Banowsky to ECU Athletic Director Terry Holland.
In addition to an increased fine, any repetition of such an incident in football or any sport could also result in the suspension of hosting privileges for conference championship competition.
"Having personally experienced the game day atmosphere at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, I would like to congratulate the 43,610 members of the Pirate Nation who provided a national television audience with an outstanding example of how important the fans are to a great college football experience," Banowksy said. "However, in June 2008, the conference adopted a post-game policy to ensure the safety of visiting players and officials is maintained. That cannot be achieved when fans are celebrating on the field in the presence of the visiting team.
"As is the case in every conference, we expect all 12 of our members to take the steps necessary to create a safe environment at their events. It is both a reasonable expectation and an important one."
ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard said, "Our first concern at any of our athletics events is the safety of the fans and the participants. We are committed to making any changes necessary to enhance safety at these events and to follow Conference USA mandates."
Conference USA policy states that "institutions are responsible for the conduct of spectators at events that they are hosting and that spectators should not be permitted on the field of play until the visiting team and officials have made safe transition to the locker room."
"The Conference USA post-game policy is consistent with those of other major conferences and we support the sportsmanship objectives articulated by Commissioner Banowsky," Holland said. "It is critically important for us to refocus on winning football games so that we will have many opportunities to celebrate the unique bond that exists between our team and the Pirate Nation."