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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    O’Neill: No more obscene chants

    ONeill: No more obscene chants

    The UA’s athletic department was embarrassed after the last time the men’s basketball team played a national game on a major network, and they’re not talking about the Wildcats’ 22-point loss to UCLA on ESPN Feb. 2.

    In fact, it has nothing to do with the team’s play on the court at all.

    UA officials want to make sure tonight’s ESPN-televised game against USC and Sunday’s CBS-televised contest against the Bruins don’t turn out like the Feb. 16 game against then-No. 7 Stanford, when ABC’s television audience could clearly hear students chanting “”Fuck the refs!”” on two separate occasions.

    Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Tommy Bruce said he has received a number of phone calls and e-mails about the incident, which could lead to the loss of sponsorships or opportunities to play on national TV in the future.

    “”It’s just not how we want to represent ourselves as a student section and doesn’t help the team,”” Bruce said. “”The emphasis needs to be on helping the team in a positive manner, and a lot can be done in allowing for plenty of positive outlets during games.””

    Bruce said losing sponsorships and national television exposure should be considered “”what if”” scenarios at this point, but added it would be “”just outrageous”” for Zona Zoo members to behave so badly for that to happen.

    It’s a possibility, said Zona Zoo Development Director Nick Sproul, as students are on their last thread given the team being in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in more than two decades.

    “”(The scenarios) have been a huge, huge deal and kind of got everyone in Arizona Athletics and me and Tommy really nervous,”” said David Roost, executive director of Zona Zoo. “”We’re trying to be proactive about it.””

    To do so, Zona Zoo will send out an e-mail with a taped message from UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill telling students not to use profane language during games.

    O’Neill will also join UA Athletics Director Jim Livengood in addressing the students while they line up before both of the games this week.

    “”I’m going to encourage them not to use vulgar profanity directed at anyone,”” O’Neill said. “”The bottom line is we have the largest student section I’ve ever seen, but I think we need to carry ourselves in a first-class manner indicative of what our university, athletic department and basketball program are.””

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