CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Four people, including West Liberty University's longtime athletic director, were arrested Saturday night at Embassy Suites in Charleston following the school's conference championship win.
Athletic Director James Watson, 66, was charged with obstructing an officer. His son, Brian Watson, 28, and two West Liberty athletes also were arrested.
Charleston police were called to disperse a crowd of about 200 people at the hotel about 10:30 p.m. Multiple attempts to quiet the crowd were unsuccessful, said Lt. Steve Cooper, chief of detectives.
The crowd was made up mostly of West Liberty fans celebrating the victory over Fairmont State, Cooper said. West Liberty, which is ranked No. 1 nationally in the NCAA's Division II, won its third straight conference title.
Cooper said more than a dozen uniformed officers responded and found the large crowd, many of whom appeared to be "extremely intoxicated." Security officers told police they couldn't get the group under control and they had received numerous complaints from other guests about the disturbance.
"We see these things occur occasionally and typically they occur when large groups of people consume large quantities of alcohol," Cooper said.
Brian Watson was holding a mixed alcoholic beverage and screaming profanities at other guests, according to a criminal complaint. Officers told him repeatedly to stop and leave but continued and was joined by others, Cooper said.
An officer tried to take Brian Watson into custody for drunk and disorderly conduct but James Watson intercepted the officer and shoved him, the lieutenant said. Brian Watson then tried to flee, moving quickly away from police, but one of the officers grabbed his arm, restraining him, according to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha Magistrate Court.
Brian Watson was charged with disorderly conduct, obstruction, fleeing and public intoxication. James Watson, who has been athletic director at university for 23 years, was charged with obstruction.
Watson, a Syracuse, N.Y., native, has worked at the university for more than 41 years, according to his biography on the school's website.
Tyler Tucci, 22, a West Liberty football player from Ohio, took on an "aggressive stance" toward two plainclothes officers after they showed their badges, Cooper said. The undercover officers work with the department's Special Enforcement Unit and responded to help uniformed officers with the large crowd.
The officers told Tucci to leave several times but he got in their faces and became aggressive, the complaint said. Cooper said the officers tried to physically restrain Tucci but he continued to resist and was pepper-sprayed.