West Virginians have had it with unruly fans
On Saturday, in only its second Big 12 game, the West Virginia Mountaineers beat the University of Texas 48-45 in front of a record Texas crowd of 101,851.
It was a glorious day for WVU quarterback and Heisman Trophy short-lister Geno Smith, receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, and unexpected standout running back Andrew Buie.
Oliver Luck and Dana Holgorson's WVU had arrived. The Mountaineers proved they belong in the Big 12.
It was a thrilling day for WVU football fans, only a few thousand of whom could make it to Austin.
The spotlight that day belonged to Smith and his teammates. Alas, it lingered only a while.
That night, in Morgantown, WVU made a second round of national headlines - this time for a repeat of the behavior that has dogged its reputation for decades.
Hundreds of drunken students and associated bad actors thronged High Street in downtown Morgantown and Grant Avenue in Sunnyside.
The crowds set some 40 fires. Fights broke out. Rioters tried to overturn cars.
And when dozens of Morgantown police officers
responded, some in the crowd attacked police with rocks, bottles and bricks.
Five people were arrested for arson-related offenses - and four of them were WVU students.
West Virginians were once again shamed by WVU fans on what should have remained a great day.
Morgantown Mayor Jim Manilla was outraged.
He suggested a "student impact fee" of $20 per student each semester to hire more officers.
WVU President Jim Clements, describing himself as "angry and frustrated," vowed to take a harder line against students who engage in such behavior.
All of those initially arrested were out-of-state residents, but it may not stay that way. Clements asked anyone with pictures or videos to turn them over to Student Affairs so the university can take action against the guilty parties.
But Senate Finance Chairman Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, and Sen. Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, said piling a fee on all students - most of whom do not disturb the peace - is not the answer.
Then what is? Cameras? Drones? Prison time?
West Virginians are on the side of the university, its team, and Morgantown law enforcement on this one. State residents are fed up with other people's punks tarnishing the state's reputation.
Kids are sent to WVU to come home with transcripts. Those who rack up criminal records should be out, forever, without a backward glance.