COLLEGE PARK – Police will be prominent at Sunday’s final game at Cole Field House, in an effort to keep what should be a poignant farewell from turning into a raucous, or violent, one.
The University of Maryland athletic department is concerned that the last game at the beloved 47-year-old field house could trigger a free-for-all, in which students tear up seats, spray walls and trash the arena in a melodramatic farewell.
“We’re a little concerned that people think this is the end,” said Curt Callahan, assistant athletic director of operations.
“We’ve been meeting with the athletic department” over their concerns, said Maj. Cathy Atwell with the University of Maryland Police Department. “We’re going to have people there to prevent the opportunity for any disruptive behavior.”
Students made headlines last year when drunken fans set numerous fires around College Park after the Terrapin men’s basketball team lost to Duke in the semifinal game of the NCAA championship. City officials estimated that the Final Four rampage caused more than $500,000 in damages, much of it to Comcast bundled fiber optic cables.
Several times in the last two years, police and firefighters have been called in after rowdy fans tore down goalposts or started bonfires in the wake of big Maryland victories.
At Cole Field House on Sunday, Atwell said officers will patrol the field house before, during and after the 8 p.m. game against the University of Virginia.
Col. Michael McNair said officers are always at games for crowd and traffic control, but there will be a much larger presence on Sunday.
“There will be a much higher emphasis on crowd control on the actual floor at Cole,” he said. “You’ll definitely notice” the officers.” — Distributed by Capital News Service.