That was 1994. The scene was a mobbed Franklin Field, after Penn clinched its second straight Ivy crown with a 33-0 drubbing of Harvard. Legions of Penn faithful spilled onto the field, ripped down the goalposts, made their way down Spruce Street and tossed the unfortunate uprights into the Schuylkill River. And as Atkins remembers, it was sweet. "The whole week [before the game] everyone was flying around," said Atkins, who was just a freshman offensive tackle and didn't even dress for the game. "When we won, it was the best feeling ever because the stadium was filled, everybody rushed the field, the goalposts were coming down and I was just soaking it all up. "It was the greatest feeling of my life." Yet there's a chance that if the Quakers clinch at least a tie for the Ivy championship with a victory over Harvard this weekend, it may feel a bit incomplete. Atkins, the other members of the football team and every Penn fan who shows up for Saturday's game may be cheated out of one of Penn's grandest traditions. According to Director of Public Safety Maureen Rush, no one -- not even football players' parents -- will be allowed onto the field after the game. "We're going to have videotaping of anybody who attempts to head onto the field," Rush said. "Anybody that tries to do anything with the goalposts will obviously be stopped and arrested, and/or detained, and/or sanctioned by the University." Flyers will be passed out as fans pass through the Franklin Field gates and sporadic P.A. announcements will make the message clear -- Public Safety and the Administration want this tradition to die. The question every Penn fan has to ask him or herself is -- do they want this tradition to die? Last week at Princeton, a glorious thing happened. A Quakers fan turnout that put the Tigers fans to shame spilled out onto brand new Princeton Stadium, making the game teem with the excitement that can only come in games that mean something. It's been a while since Penn has played a game that meant something. With attendance slipping each year the Quakers don't win a title, when half of the Penn student section leaves after the throwing of the toast, it stands to reason that when -- for the first time in 3 years -- Penn is playing for the title fans should be allowed to pour onto the field and show their support for their team. Atkins said that the end of the Princeton game echoed what he felt on the field after Harvard in '94. "It's that sort of thing but it's on grander scale," Atkins said. "It's just unbelievable. "All the students come out and when the goalposts come down that's just an incredible thing." Of course, Penn fans may wonder how the "increased security presence" could handle a rush of 5,000 people or more. "We are prepared to deal with that [eventuality] if it does [happen]," Rush warned. How exactly? "If I told you that then I'd have to kill you," Rush said. Death and arrest threats aside, Penn fans have to look themselves in the mirror and ask what price they are willing to pay to preserve a long-standing tradition. "One night in jail with 1,000 other Penn students would definitely be worth ripping down the goalposts," Wharton sophomore Brian Cornell said. So grab your ski masks, Quakers fans, the title is coming home.Comments powered by Disqus
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