Like most college basketball fans we recoiled at the scenes from this year’s Crosstown Shootout where what should have been an easy Xavier win over Cincinnati quickly turned into one of the uglier on-court incidents in college basketball history. As we noted in a post the following day, while the incident was unfortunate it was blown out of proportion to a degree by a media and fan base that wants rivalries to be all-consuming, but acts shocked when that passion boils over and we get an ugly incident like what happened four weeks ago. In the aftermath, there was quite a bit of criticism by various observers directed at both sides with the attention focused primarily on Cincinnati for its on-court actions and Xavier for its off-court actions. Suspensions for the involved players ranged from one to six games with Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin saying that his players would not return even after their suspensions were complete unless he felt that they had proven to him that they understood what they had done was wrong. While some media members and fans questioned the relatively short suspensions, eventually most commended both programs for taking some responsibility for what happened.
One group that was largely left out of the conversation were the fans at the game in particular the student sections that have been known to get a little rowdy at times (a quality that is not unique to these schools). As a society, we tend to laugh off the majority of the comments and actions of members of the student section as humorous or merely immature. The only times where we take aim at student sections are when they pose a physical threat to the opposition or cross some line defined by societal mores such as racist or homophobic taunts. Typically these actions are met with either a verbal reprimand or a glare of disapproval from authority figures. The administration at Xavier apparently feels differently as they sent out a letter today stating that due to the actions of the student section during the Cincinnati game that included “unacceptable chanting, verbal expletives, and objects being thrown onto the arena floor” those who were seated in that area would not be allowed to receive any more tickets to men’s basketball games this season unless they attended one of three one-hour long “reflection sessions” being offered on-campus between 7 and 8 PM on January 8, 9, and 10.