The 2009 UCF Knights football season got off to a rocky start before the season had even begun. It all started when administration decided to cut tailgating hours (SEE VIDEO) and was met with an overwhelming response of outrage from UCF fans.
The fans and boosters appealed to keep the same tailgating hours, but their plea fell on the deaf ears of a board of administrators. Although the drama behind the tailgating cuts has died down, fans have displayed their displeasure throughout the year.
This past Saturday, the UCF Knights football team defeated a ranked team for the first time EVER. At any other school this type of win would be met with jubilation and students would storm the field.
How does UCF respond to this historic win? They surround the field with cops apparently armed with pepper spray pellet guns and stadium personnel.
UCF’s reasons for preventing students from storming the field are simple. They want to protect their property and they want to keep fans safe.
Although they may have saved money by protecting their property, preventing students from storming the field cost UCF a lot more.
There were many recruits at the Houston game this weekend. How great of an experience would it be for them to see the students storm the field? It would be something a recruit would want to be a part of in the near future.
Moments like these do not happen often at UCF and it was a shame for UCF to snatch that moment away from these students and fans.
Coach George O’Leary may not be the most popular head coach but he’s been on the fans’ side from day one. Video (SEE IT HERE) was taken prior to season with Coach O’Leary telling season ticket holders he is on the fans’ side of the tailgate cuts.
O’Leary found himself opposing UCF administration again this past Friday at Spirit Splash when CBS College Sports commentators reported how O’Leary was reportedly quoted as saying, “If we win Saturday, I’ll meet you at the 50 yard line.” (SEE VIDEO HERE) We are still awaiting a response from UCF Athletics for a comment.
We wanted to ask: “Would it have been possible to allow fans to safely run on the field through the tunnels after the biggest win in school history?”
Ironically, UCF’s Spirit Splash may be a more dangerous tradition than allowing fans to run onto the field through tunnels. KnightNews.com crews watched a performer slip and fall on her face and a student being helped out of the pond — unable to walk on his own — after being injured at the event.
The actions by UCF administration have displayed their lack of knowledge on how to become a relevant sports school. They have broken the number one rule in any sport: Keep The Fans Happy!
My proposal to UCF administrators is next time that moment approaches, protect your property, protect the goal post but don’t ever take a moment like that away from these students again.
Moments like those don’t happen often here at UCF — and for most fans that was their only chance.