Saturday Night's Stampede Raised Question of Game Security - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/19/07

Saturday Night's Stampede Raised Question of Game Security

NewsChannel 11 is learning more about Texas Tech's game security after the field stampede Saturday night.

NewsChannel 11 learned 16 fans were arrested, but only two of those arrests happened on the field. One of those arrests was for public intoxication and the other for striking a Texas Ranger. The other 14 arrests happened off the field, mostly public intoxication.

Most importantly no one was hurt as Tech fans rushed the field Saturday night for the first time in nearly five years.

Ron Seacrist, the Chief of Police at Texas Tech University, tells NewsChannel 11 the Big 12 has a policy stating fans are not allowed to come onto any football field in the Big 12. But implementing that policy when thousands of fans are rushing toward you he says is basically next to impossible.

"Towards the end of the game my friend next to me was like, 'Dude we gotta rush the field, we gotta do it,'" said Tech student Joe With.

And that's exactly what thousands of Tech fans did Saturday night after the unranked Texas Tech Red Raiders upset the number four ranked Oklahoma Sooners.

"It looked like the cops were trying to stop some people," said Tech student Trent Gonzales.

"I did come in contact with a sheriff and he tried to tackle me, but I managed to escape," said Tech student Matt Sellers.

"I jumped over and sprinted to center field or midfield. ESPN had the camera on us," said With.

With students storming the field, authorities were forced to play defense.

"We try to create that presence. That's why we bring the officers out at the end of the game to circle the field and try to say, hey don't come down here," said Chief Seacrist.

Saturday night authorities had to use a back up game plan.

Chief Seacrist says that plan includes getting players and coaches off the field safely and to surround and protect the goal posts. But Seacrist says it is not his intent for force to be used when students decide to rush the field.

"Their objective is to not arrest people. It's just to make sure people are safe. We don't want to have to arrest people, those weapons are used for defensive purposes," said Seacrist.

But our cameras caught one trooper barreling into a female student and then shoving a male student back. You can also see a female trooper using her baton to push students back. Seacrist says this type of force was acceptable.

"When those people started coming on the field that part where the picture was taken was on the Southeast side which is where visiting teams go out. What they were trying to do was move people back so they would have that walkway to get inside," said Seacrist.

While Seacrist understands the significance of Saturday night's game, he says if fans start to regularly rush the field new procedures will be set in place.

Going into basketball season, Chief Seacrist says the same security procedures will be followed.

11/17/07
Red Raiders Survive Late Sooner Surge, Beat #3 OU 34-27
The Texas Tech football team upset #3 Oklahoma 34-27 at Jones AT&T Stadium Saturday Night. The win finishes the Red Raiders season at 8-4 overall and 4-4 in the Big 12 South.

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