Sound final buzzer
on football violence


An end-of-game brawl between the players of Hawaii and Cincinnati has brought accusations of blame by both sides.

COLLEGE officials and police nationwide are wondering how to control unruly fans at the end of football games. In Hawaii, the main problem is not the spectators but the players, who took part in a brawl as the final seconds were ticking Saturday night between the Hawaii Warriors and the Bearcats of the University of Cincinnati. Both universities have failed to fully atone for the misconduct.

Decorum is not the norm in college football, where players wave their arms in encouragement of supporters to give meaning to home-field advantage, and the fans enthusiastically comply. Visiting teams expect hostility and are wise not to lash back in ways other than those allowed in the rules of the game. That's football. In the Hawaii-Cincinnati contest, emotions skewed out of control and received national criticism.

The Cincinnati coaches and players complained that they were "cheated" by partial officiating in their 20-19 loss. The Bearcats were penalized much more than the Warriors; the most glaring sources of frustration were the officials' denial of two Bearcat fumble recoveries late in the game. The visitors accused the officials of home-town bias, but none of the officials are Hawaii residents; they were among 50 officials used by the Western Athletic Conference. The WAC should conduct more than the normally routine review of the game's officiating.

Bob Goin, athletic director at Cincinnati, faulted Hawaii for its "game management," including "abusive" behavior by "hundreds" of UH boosters who were allowed to roam the sidelines. UH President Evan Dobelle, who led his own entourage along the field's edge, should order a reduction in the number of field-side boosters and ask that they be more sedate in the vicinity of the visiting bench.

The players' brawl appeared to have been triggered by a fist thrown by a Cincinnati player in the final moments of the game. Some UH players, angered by a foul-induced injury of quarterback Tim Chang, eagerly rose to the ugly occasion. Videotapes of the melee showed a UH player using crutches as a weapon. To our knowledge, neither the Cincinnati instigator -- "Who threw the first punch? Who knows?" blithely asked UC Coach Rick Minter -- nor the crutch-wielding Warrior has been disciplined.

"We got a chance to get a lot of licks in," Hawaii lineman Uriah Moenoa remarked. "They lost the game, and they lost the fight." Moenoa gleefully said he would "love" a rematch in the Hawaii Bowl, in which the teams "can skip the game and go straight to the fight."

UH Coach June Jones said the brawl "wasn't our fault" and praised his players for their "great restraint." However, his players' actions and words were less than model conduct in any sport. The Warriors need to be at the top of their game and on their best behavior -- the two are not antithetical -- for this Saturday's nationally televised game against Alabama.


Published by Oahu Publications Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press.

Don Kendall, Publisher

Frank Bridgewater, Editor 529-4791;
Michael Rovner, Assistant Editor 529-4768;
Lucy Young-Oda, Assistant Editor 529-4762;

Mary Poole, Editorial Page Editor, 529-4748;
John Flanagan, Contributing Editor 294-3533;

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