A Saturday incident in which an ASU student spat on two University of Oregon staff members immediately following a basketball game was isolated and reflects the actions of an individual, not a security issue at the University or Wells Fargo Arena, said Doug Tammaro, assistant athletic director of media relations.
“Say what you want to us but don’t spit on us,” Oregon assistant coach Brian Fish told the Oregonian.
Oregon officials say the student spit at Oregon players and staff after ASU’s 74-72 victory, hitting Fish and athletic trainer Clay Jamieson.
During halftime of the same game, Oregon senior guard Jason Calliste and the student section also caused waves. Calliste drew chants from the student section in the waning minutes of the first half. As he walked off the court, he motioned his elbow in an aggressive manner toward the student section, which got the attendees’ attention, and the boos and chants started again.
After this incident, arena management increased security in the student section and at the visitors’ tunnel for the remainder of the game.
The Oregonian reported that Oregon’s assistant director of basketball operations, Kenya Crandell, expressed his concern about security, which Tammaro said is not a cause for concern.
“The 942 Crew has been awesome,” Tammaro said. “Our student section has been incredible. We are proud of the group itself, in spite of the actions of one.”
Tammaro also responded to concerns raised by Oregon officials that ASU’s student section is too close to opposing teams.
“We are not the only team in the Pac-12 that has the student section near the visitors,” he said. “Washington and Arizona do as well.”
There are no plans to relocate the student section, Tammaro said. If that changes, the group affected would be informed of any changes before anyone else, he said.
Tammaro said fan interaction is part of the game, and ASU players and staff receive hostility when on the road. It’s up to the fans, players and staff to know what lines should not be crossed, he said.
Security at Wells Fargo Arena is not an issue and the amount of security depends on the amount of fans in attendance, Tammaro said.
When UA comes to town Friday, he said there will be an increased presence because of the increased attendance.
The student involved is no longer allowed to attend basketball games at Wells Fargo Arena, a suspension enforced by ASU. Oregon officials also declined to press criminal charges against the student.
“He’s not coming back to a basketball game. That’s for sure,” Tammaro said. “We’ll try to make sure situations like this don’t happen again.”
In spite of all the halftime and post-game antics, ASU basketball improved to 18-6 overall, with a conference record of 7-4, and is poised to receive its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2009.
ASU and Oregon meet again March 4 in Eugene, Ore.
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