In the last two years, the Franklin Field goal posts have been torn down and thrown into the Schuylkill River three times after big Quaker football victories. And last November, five students and two University Police officers were seriously injured after the 33-0 Quaker victory over Harvard, which clinched sole possession of the Ivy League title to Penn. The injuries ranged from broken bones to concussions, University Police Chief George Clisby said. So in light of tomorrow's Homecoming game against Penn's arch-rival, Princeton, University Police is hoping to put a stop to this increasingly dangerous trend. Clisby said there will be a few more police officers on hand at the game this year. He also said students who attempt to take down the goal posts after the game could be arrested. "As a last resort, police will make every effort to identify through athletic film and other methods any violators of University policies and regulations as well as criminal laws," he said. "We will arrest people on the spot -- we will not permit spectators to take down the goal posts because of the risk of serious injury and the absorbing cost of vandalism," Clisby added. Athletic Director Steve Bilsky said the measures being taken are not aimed at curtailing school spirit. "Nobody's trying to quell the enthusiasm or the celebration," he said. Clisby agreed with Bilsky, saying that the police take "great pride" in the football team and hope to have as non-intrusive a presence as possible. The Public Safety, Risk Management and Athletic departments met last year to determine if there was any way of making the goal post removal safer in order to eliminate the possibility of injury, Bilsky said. But removing or replacing the goal posts after the game was not an option. "The problem is that they are cemented into the field itself," he said. "It takes a good 20 minutes back and forth to dislodge it." Bilsky added that money was not really an issue in the decision. "If it would have cost money we would have done it," he said. Bilsky also said that Public Safety Managing Director Thomas Seamon has recently met with several individuals in the Athletic Department to address safety at the football games. "I think his concern is injuries," he said. "I don't think he's trying to make any statement beyond that. There's no safe way to one, tear down the goal posts and two, bring them out of the stadium." University Police will also stand alongside Spectaguards at the entrance gates to Franklin Field in order to stop individuals from bringing in bottles and cans. In addition, several public service announcements will be read over the public address system telling students to "celebrate responsibly" and "refrain from entering the field." Clisby said he highly discourages students from taking down the goalposts. "The traditional way of taking down goal posts is not considered by the University community to be the appropriate way of celebrating," he added. Violators will be referred to the "appropriate University entity" to face the consequences of their actions, Clisby said. Associate Athletic Director Dennis Elton Cochran-Fikes said last year that he estimated the cost of a replacement goal post to be between $10,000 and $20,000.Comments powered by Disqus
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