Monday, February 2, 2004

Two seasons later, treatment at Xavier aggravates Huggins

By Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer

University of Cincinnati basketball coach Bob Huggins said Sunday the Bearcats have never been treated as rudely by opposing fans as they were during their last visit to Xavier.

Huggins said when the Bearcats are on the road, they are sometimes the victims of harsh treatment by the home fans.

"But never to that degree," he said.

UC plays Xavier Tuesday at XU's Cintas Center in the 71st renewal of the Crosstown Shootout.

Huggins is still upset because XU fans yelled obscenities at UC the last time the Bearcats played at the Cintas Center, Dec. 14, 2001.

Musketeer fans chanted obscenities at the UC players after XU's Romain Sato was called for a technical foul with 7:19 left in the game, which UC won 75-55.

After the game, XU athletic director Mike Bobinski sent a letter of apology to UC athletic director Bob Goin. XU president Michael Graham, S.J., ran a letter in the XU student newspaper, saying "the Dec. 14 chant clearly did not represent the best in us."

But Huggins said the chants began during the national anthem.

"If it was anybody else and we were playing at their place and it wasn't a league game and they chanted (an obscenity), we'd probably never play them again," Huggins said. "That's the reality of the whole deal. ... We've never been in an environment like that and if we were in an environment like that, we would never go back, other than Xavier."

In an attempt to curtail such behavior, Bobinski said, the school distributes sheets with guidelines on appropriate game behavior with its student tickets.

"We'll be vigilant during the game and we don't want anyone treated like that in our building," Bobinski said.


Dustin Dow contributed.

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