Open Letter: on Fan Behavior



Feb. 10, 2014

Editor's Note: This message was distributed to the entire Athletic Department staff this morning:

I wanted to bring to your attention a very public incident which occurred this weekend at a Men's Basketball game in Lubbock, Texas. This was a game featuring Oklahoma State University and Texas Tech. The game was very competitive and close, and near the end of the game, a player from Oklahoma State tried to make a play under a basket and fell into the bleachers. The student-athlete (Marcus Smart) and the fan (Jeff Orr) are the participants in this issue.

Since this was a national story, and predicated a live national press conference on ESPN on Sunday night, February 9th, I'm sure there is extensive coverage which you will be able to access.

While certainly we have high expectations of our student-athletes, coaches and staff and how they represent the University, there is no question that if they act contrary to our core values, we must respond in an appropriate manner. In the case of Oklahoma State, I was particularly impressed with how the Athletic Department and the student-athlete responded.

Our attention should shift, however, to what is acceptable fan behavior. This is an example of exactly what we were talking about at Mizzou Arena in November/December of 2013. What should we expect of our fans, and in this case our students, and how they represent Mizzou?  You'll recall that this garnered quite a bit of media interest a few months ago. I'm sure that, given this most recent episode in Lubbock, that story will evolve with that specific issue included and perhaps others.

We are constantly talking to our student-athletes, coaches, staff, students, alums, friends and fans about being "neutral to positive"... respecting our opponents, being enthusiastic in our support of the Tigers and representing our University with class and dignity. We strongly encourage all of you to continue to communicate the expectations we have at Mizzou and to display those in all that we do.

Respect, Responsibility, Discovery and Excellence... those are our core values that we hold true at the University of Missouri. How can we insure that our fans in general, and our student fans particularly, display these values at our athletic contests?  While we have seen progress in these areas, this most recent example should remind us we must be constantly vigilant in our efforts.

Thanks for all that you do for the University of Missouri. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Mike Alden

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