College basketball fans are out of control, and not just at Texas Tech.
These out-of-control fans are staining a game played by 18-22 year olds, “student-athletes” who don’t get paid directly (but often get scholarships) to attend school.
The fans are overzealous at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, the University of Missouri in Columbia, Kansas State University in Manhattan and basically most other NCAA schools that take basketball oh-so-seriously.
The Marcus Smart-Jeff Orr confrontation Saturday night has received national attention, and for good reason.
Smart, an Oklahoma State student, was wrong to go into the stands and shove Orr, a fan, near the conclusion of the Cowboys’ game with Texas Tech. His three-game suspension, handed out Sunday, is appropriate.
But Orr — a proclaimed “super fan” of the Red Raiders — was also wrong for, in his own words, calling Smart a “piece of crap” right before the incident.
Orr represents much of what’s wrong with college basketball these days: Yelling negative comments at Texas Tech’s opponents, spending thousands of dollars to attend games around the country, and seeming to take great delight in the attention he gets by simply sitting in the stands, contributing too little that’s positive to the game itself.
Orr said Sunday that he wouldn’t attend any more Texas Tech games this year. (That makes me want Texas Tech to make it to the Final Four this year, just to punish Orr even more.)
The Smart/Orr incident is hardly the only example of how fans have gone way overboard in investing in college basketball these days. (The same argument could be made, and even stronger, in football, but that’s a whole other discussion.)
Just look at KU, my alma mater, which is led by $5-million-a-year coach Bill Self.
That salary is obscene, but it is, of course, just one of many multimillion-salaries for coaches of “student-athletes” in the college game. Who supports paying this kind of money to Self? The fans who want KU to be a national powerhouse, the fans who put pressure on KU’s athletic directors to overpay for this kind of position.
And the bad fans come in all ages.
Over at MU, basketball fans known as the Antlers have been tossed out of games this year for being disrespectful to other teams.
Finally, watch Twitter feeds, blogs and other social media these days to see how over-invested fans get in the outcome of a college basketball game.
These “fans” are hyper-critical of the smallest things, acting as if they are playing themselves, taking all of this oh-so-seriously.
They appear to be almost unhinged, as if something really important in their lives were riding on the outcome of a college basketball game.
This is how we get to sad incident like the one that happened Saturday night in Lubbock, Texas.