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West Virginia University football always has and always will hold a special place in West Virginians’ hearts. It creates a sense of unity throughout the state and provides common ground for people in different parts of West Virginia to come together, if only in spirit. When the outside world looks in on West Virginia on Saturdays during the fall, the focus should be and typically is on football. Unfortunately, after the Mountaineers knocked off the number four ranked Baylor Bears on Saturday, the focus shifted to something much less pleasant.

After the win on Saturday, Morgantown turned into something of a war zone. Riots, fires, torn down street posts, flipped cars, and clouds of tear gas filled the streets. The first responders of Morgantown were placed directly in harm’s way simply because of a football game. This type of activity is unacceptable and certainly isn’t representative of the community at large. Furthermore, any limelight shed on this so called “celebration” is misplaced. Celebrating a win in Morgantown is something that fans love and fearing for their safety should not be part of the equation.

Countless arrests, 114 emergency calls, and 126 incidents requiring public safety responses are just some of the statistics from Saturday night.[1] These actions not only place the first responders in unnecessary danger, but they are bad for the community and state at large. While partaking in this malicious behavior, it is as if people lose focus of the bigger picture. The clean-up and repair efforts going on this week will be funded by local tax dollars. The steps the University will take to ward off future incidents of this magnitude will minimize student freedoms. The public image of Mountaineers everywhere will be tarnished. Successful students and even a member of the Mountaineer football team will face permanent expulsion from the University. It is safe to say that nothing that happened Saturday night will benefit anyone in the greater Morgantown community in any way.

The purpose of this blog is not to point the finger at any one individual, but rather to shed light on the problem as whole. The riots and destruction of Saturday night have no place in Morgantown. This is a community filled with young adults, aspiring professionals, and numerous families. With that in mind, it becomes clear that the actions of some have a huge impact on the whole. When the momentum of a huge win is pointed in the right direction, it can have an equally powerful impact in the right direction. As was mentioned earlier, the Mountaineers provide everyone throughout the state with a common ground to come together as a whole. Moving forward, hopefully people involved in Mountaineer wins take note of the impact of Saturday night and make every effort they can to celebrate the games in a safe and healthy manner.