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Ejection numbers increase

Claire Heininger | Tuesday, October 26, 2004

In numbers indicative of the schools’ bitter rivalry, more Notre Dame and Boston College fans received citations for alcohol-related offenses and more people were ejected from Notre Dame Stadium Saturday than at any home football game this year.The joint task force of Indiana State Excise Police, St. Joseph County Police, South Bend Police and Notre Dame Security/Police cited a total of 34 people before and during the game – the vast majority of which were Boston College fans, judging by their east coast addresses, said NDSP director Rex Rakow. “If not the toughest, [Boston College] is one of the toughest crowds we face,” Rakow said, adding that NDSP has observed a pattern of increased incidents on recent years’ Irish-Eagles game days. “I think for their students, this is their one big road trip of the year.”The previous high for citations was 29 on Sept. 11, the day of the Michigan game. Citations issued on football Saturdays typically include minor in consumption, minor in possession and public intoxication, Rakow said.The task force also made seven custodial arrests – four in the White Field Lot prior to the game and three during the game – on charges including public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, Rakow said. All four people arrested before the game were of student age, with one from Notre Dame and three from Boston College, and one Notre Dame student was arrested at the game, Rakow said. He was unsure of the affiliation of the other two people arrested in the stadium.Ushers and police also made 135 ejections, counting two fans that were removed twice, said Cappy Gagnon, coordinator of stadium personnel. Gagnon said the ejection total was the fifth highest the stadium has seen in nine years, with the first four – peaking at 220 – also coming against Boston College. “There’s a real hostility among their students and fans when they arrive here, [as well as] a big drinking culture” on both sides, Gagnon said. While a typical game would result in “a handful” of ejections taking place in visitors’ sections, he said, 31 fans were ejected from sections where Boston College fans clustered Saturday.”One thing that hurts the B.C. group is they like to sit together,” and will sneak in with tickets from different sections, Gagnon said. Fans who lose their seats because of this behavior often complain to ushers, leading to confrontations and ejections, he said.”They are their own worst enemy,” he said.The Notre Dame student section was not without its own problems Saturday, Gagnon said, as 23 people were ejected – eight because of intoxication and 15 because of throwing marshmallows.Ushers will remove a student on the basis of intoxication when signs of alcohol abuse are coupled with problematic behavior, such as vomiting or swearing, he said. “We know a large number of students have been at tailgaters and have been drinking — that alone won’t get you removed,” Gagnon said. But if a fan challenges an usher and the situation escalates, police can be called for backup, Gagnon said. Police offered physical assistance on between three and five of Saturday’s 135 ejections.This season’s previous high for ejections was 110 on Oct. 2, the day of the Purdue game, Gagnon said. Ejections at other games were significantly lower, with 90 at the Oct. 9 Stanford game, 62 at the Sept. 11 Michigan game and 58 at the Sept. 25 Washington game. The most ejections from the Notre Dame student section this year, 30, took place at the Stanford game.