Fans of Ohio State University are known for their passionate support of its championship football team. While they have good reason to be considering their landslide-win over the Oregon Ducks last night, one has to wander what they are putting in the water (or beer) when it comes to post-game celebrations.
Following the nail-biting game, fans hit the streets to proclaim OSU’s victory and in some Columbus, Ohio areas riot police were called in to hit the over-zealous fans with tear gas.
At least forty reports of fires around the city came over police scanners as thousands of people left their local sport’s bars after watching the exciting game against Oregon. Most of those fires were contained to dumpsters but at least three were reported to be couches burning. An estimated 8,000 Ohio State students forced their way into Ohio Stadium and tore down a goal post. One report even came in that gunshots had been heard on campus immediately following the game.
Columbus Police Department spokeswoman, Denise Alex-Bouzounis, told the local news station that the crowds were “intense.” Given the video above and the one recorded and released by the Columbus Dispatch one might think that’s an understatement.
In them, hundreds of fans crowd the streets, surrounding police and emergency vehicles, headless of officers attempting to contain them to the sidewalks. North High Street, near downtown Columbus, was completely blocked by the mass of people. Shortly after midnight, police were forced to use pepper spray on some of the more rowdy revelers and other emergency vehicles were used in an attempt to keep people out of the street. Eventually, riot police had to resort to the use of three canisters of tear gas, which, unsurprisingly, cleared the streets.
Alex-Bouzounis did confirm that a “handful” of arrests had been made last night.
“Our officers should be commended for their diligence and professionalism.”
While tear gas isn’t always needed to calm down Buckeye fans, they’ve been known to have this reaction before. Ohio State has had incidences before when it comes to post-game celebrations.
On November 23, 2002 at Ohio Stadium the Buckeyes defeated the University of Michigan Wolverines and fans proceeded to rush the field, injuring revelers and forcing police to use tear gas. Later, 107 dumpster and couch fires were reported in the campus area, 20 cars were damaged and 70 individuals, including 17 students, were arrested. Following the 2002 riots, Ohio State even formed its very own Task Force on Preventing Celebratory Riots. Check it out, it’s a real thing.
Celebrating a respected and well-loved home team isn’t a crime, but acting out and forcing riot police to use tear gas to contain crowds seems a bit excessive. What are your thoughts on the behavior of Ohio State fans and the amount of force used by the police?
[Image courtesy of USA Today and AP]