Editorial: Fan behavior unfortunately blots on victory

Yesterday’s victory against Ohio State will stand as one of Northwestern’s greatest football upsets. But a student’s death and several other incidents cast a shadow over the triumph on the turf.

The Daily expresses its deepest condolences to the family of Frederick Lieb, the McCormick junior who collapsed Saturday night during the post-game celebration. No words can express how deeply tragic his death is. It undoubtedly will be on the community’s mind for the foreseeable future.

However, based on rumors from the previous evening, many students believed that the post-game rally on the field had caused his death until the coroner released a statement Sunday afternoon. Although untrue, it is no secret that a student’s death could have occurred during the fevered pitch of victory — as idiocy and irresponsible came to the fore.

School spirit led to several embarrassing moments during and after the game. A small handful of students were heard shouting obscenities at the Ohio State fans and football team during the playing of the national anthem. A number of students attempted to topple the goal posts. And several fistfights broke out during and after the game. These scenes were not only embarrassing, but also a blot on the well-fought victory of the football team.

That stated, the athletic department and university administrators need to consider the problems of night games: Spectators come to the game more tired, the weather is noticeably colder and fans have had the entire day to drink. More preparation in the way of security might be merited, but beyond weighing the risks and possibly not holding night games, little else could have been done.

Idiots will be idiots. And until ticket sales involve some sort of screening, they will show up at games.

It needs to be stated that the stadium staff performed their jobs well — especially during the rush onto the field after the game, when they helped people over the barriers and made it safer than it probably would have been otherwise. The students and other fans who helped out also deserve praise.

The game itself was a great exercise in community and the football team played a good game to boot.

But as tragic as its ending was, the community should take the initiative to see that future victories are not overshadowed by problems we can control.