Field rushing had officials’ approval

Field rushing had officials approval

As the clock ran out on Saturday’s game against the Utah Utes, thousands of students flooded the field in Amon Carter Stadium with surprising ease.

Junior writing major Sara Neal said that was the most school spirit displayed in her time at the university.

“I ran around saying hi to friends and screaming for TCU,” Neal said. “It was sort of frenzied, but really fun being able to say hey to some of my friends on the team after the game and to be on the field for the school song.”

Ross Bailey, associate athletics director for operations, said that in past seasons, the university did not allow students on the field for any game.

“We have had … a nobody-on-the-field policy,” Bailey said. “And that’s really a safety thing.”

He explained that a combination of students and players on the field creates a potential hazard for everyone. Whether students say something to opposing team players causing a fight, or rush over the top of the opposing team’s bench, a multitude of dangerous situations present themselves in the event that students rush the field, Bailey said.

While the university openly opposed students on the field in the past, Bailey said that a plan was put in place to allow students to rush the field as of Tuesday last week.

“We wanted students to be able to come celebrate with the team, so we tried to put together.a safety plan on how we could get people on the field without having mob mentality so the students could come down and enjoy the moment,” Bailey said.

Bailey said the TCU Police Department and the Fort Worth Police Department assisted in implementing the safety plan and maintaining order on the field.

He added that officials were especially careful in protecting the goalposts to prevent potential injuries in the event that students tore them down. Bailey said officers were stationed around the goalposts to keep students from getting too close.

He said the order came from Athletics Director Chris Del Conte’s office as well as the office of Chancellor Victor Boschini.

Boschini said Del Conte developed the idea and he was in support as long as it was done safely. He said it appeared to be a lot of fun for the students who got to celebrate on the field alongside the team.

Neal said the only issue she encountered while rushing the field was her lack of preparation for the height of the jump over the rail.

“The jump from the stands to the field was much further than I thought it would be, and once I got to the edge I didn’t really have a choice whether or not I could go because of everyone behind me,” Neal said. “I was sort of forced over the edge, but it ended up not being a bad thing.”

Head coach Gary Patterson said he enjoyed the students on the field after Saturday’s game. He said he wished it was a tradition, but understands the security concerns.

“It’s like going on vacation, if you go by yourself and you don’t have anybody to share it with, what fun is that?” Patterson said.

He said it was exciting for students to celebrate with team after Saturday’s victory over Utah.

“It’s a lot of fun when you get a chance to share it with a whole bunch of other people,” Patterson said.

Neal described the excitement and spirit on the field as contagious.

“My one major disappointment when I came to TCU as a freshman was the lack of school spirit and attendance at the football games. I thought that I had been lied to when at orientation and other events students told me how packed and how much fun the games were,” Neal said. “So (Saturday) definitely gave me a taste of what I had wanted, so I hope every game is like that from now on.”