ECU Director Of Athletics Responds

ECU Director of Athletics Terry Holland has issued a statement regarding the investigation of whether excessive force was used on fans who stormed Bagwell Field on Saturday.

Click here to see the video.

Holland emphasized the storming the field may look "like a lot of fun on television," but it can be very dangerous for the people who are on the field, including players and the coaching staff.

A Message From Terry Holland
ECU Director of Athletics Delivers Letter To The Pirate Nation
Sept. 7, 2008

To the Pirate Nation:

East Carolina University's fans in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium have been a tremendously important part of the game plan that has allowed the East Carolina coaches and players to achieve national distinction for our university. The Pirate Nation was at its best last night as a team of determined Pirates battled the Number Eight West Virginia University Mountaineers on the field.

The performance on the field and in the stands was truly outstanding and captured the attention of the nation. However, what happened after the game ended ruined a perfect day for many who witnessed several isolated instances of those in charge of security over-reacting when fans stormed the field.

Regardless of the findings of the investigation into these incidents, the resulting "black eye" is certainly a step backward for all good Pirates who have worked so hard to provide the very best game atmosphere and sportsmanship found anywhere in intercollegiate athletics.

As the press release below indicates, a thorough investigation has been initiated and will address all reported incidents to determine the proper resolution of those situations and to prevent future similar occurrences.

While "storming the field" looks like a lot of fun on television, I can tell you from first hand experience that there are too many incidents that result in sometimes serious injury for anyone (particularly if you have a relative in the crowd) to believe that storming the field is "just good fun" for college students. Such actions jeopardize the safety of many people, including our own coaches and players.

That is why the ECU players and coaches have made it a tradition to "go to the fans" and give every fan in the stadium the recognition and respect the team feels for those who have cheered them on to victory.

Although I was unaware of the ugly incidents that were occurring, I was very disappointed for our team when they were unable to sing the fight song with the band and recognize the tremendous support from over 43,000 loyal Pirates who deserved to be recognized more than those few who ran onto the field for their own reasons.

It is my hope that our fans will respect the traditions that have been established and stay with the game plan that has taken us so far. After last season's game-ending field goal that won the UNC game, every fan stayed in the stands and waited for the two teams to exchange good wishes. Then all Pirates celebrated the great victory with all our team members in a safe and sporting environment that clearly defines the bond that has formed between this team and the Pirate Nation.

We have come too far to allow anything to stand in the way of great teamwork that has been the core of our success. ECU Athletics can not succeed at the highest level unless we are all committed to doing our very best to stay on the same page.

The cooperation we have received from the Pirate Nation has enabled us to get this far but the next steps will require even greater discipline and dedication.

Terry Holland

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  • by Pirate Alum Location: Belhaven on Sep 9, 2008 at 01:44 PM
    yea, I was at the game, and it was the best feeling i had had for many years at ECU. My heart fell when I saw the cops beatings the students. It is sad that they have probably never been college students before, or had such passion as our ECU students do. I do not believe that the students were unruly, or violent. It was a bad plan to bar the students from the field in the first place. They knew the students would come--why else did they lower the goalposts ? Protect your players and coaches, but allow the students to have the field, after all IT IS THEIR FIELD. Any closeted individual who rants about drinking students, or ECU as a party school, or that it was the students fault is just an idiot; most commenters probably weren't at the game anyway. Don't dis the students. They are our youth, right or wrong. Don't make them despise authority from the get-go. The police were wrong, had been told beforehand not to stop the students and should not have acted violently. Fire them.
  • by OfficerBOOO Location: Greenville on Sep 9, 2008 at 01:34 PM
    OFFICER....You have got to be kidding with your statement. Your statement just goes to show how egotistical, maniacal, and arrogant SOME of the LEOs in Greenville and the surrounding areas are. You should be ashamed of yourself. So many officers think they themselves are above the law and beyond reproach, because they are cops. Well, guess what, you arent. Not all of you, but CERTAINLY some, are nothing more than bullies who were given a badge and abuse their power. There is a reason LEOs are the butt of so many jokes...and that reason is people like you!!!
  • by You're Joking Location: Greenville on Sep 9, 2008 at 01:27 PM
    BROTHER BLUE....Your claim that "officers were assaulted" is asinine and ridiculous. Officers say that to try and justify what they did, but its all nonsense. You should be ashamed of yourself for trying to justify these actions.
  • by Pirate Location: Greenville on Sep 9, 2008 at 10:41 AM
    Well I guess Brother Blue you think that ALL cops NEVER do anything wrong. Who is the one living in a dream world. Granted the majority of cops are good honest public servants. However, there are the occasional officer who is the one that got his tail whipped all through high school and became a cop "to put and end to it". Don't say it doesn't happen and that you screen those people out because you don't. I personally know two myself, and unfortunately one is a close friend. Are you saying that putting your knee in a KIDS chest while his hands are in cuffs behind his back then punching him in the face numerous times is what he deserved? Or the cop who ran from 10 feet away to belt a KID in the face that was on the CORRECT side of the fence was in the right. If so Brother Blue you suck as a cop and its time for you to find another occupation. Brutality is brutality whether you wear a uniform or not. And your "shield" shouldn't sheild you from the law. I was there I saw it!
  • by Concerned Location: Eastern NC on Sep 9, 2008 at 05:34 AM
    It is a sad occasion that this happened but some may be issuing blame before they know the complete story. Security at any event such as this is not easy as I have been their and done that. We don't know what the so called students involved did as well as if they were under the influence of alcohol/drugs as alot of people r at events like this, including non-students. Everyone who rushed the filed should be charged as they know they were not suppose 2 but this is another case where they think they know more than others and r immune from laws. They don't rush the filed when ECU looses, which will be forthcoming, and u c them even boo their team when loosing. The biggest problem with this world now is that parents do not discipline their children like was done in the 50's and 60's and in alot of cases u don't earn an education now u get one automatically if u have money, can dribble or throw a ball, or u r able to be close with the teacher. Thank u law enforcement 4 keeping u safe.
  • by JOE ASKEW Location: GREENVILLE on Sep 9, 2008 at 03:35 AM
  • by bowani16 Location: Virginia on Sep 8, 2008 at 07:24 PM
    Give me a break, As long as there have been big wins in college football, students have stormed the field. They really did nothing wrong, as a former cop, those officers were way out of line and a disgrace to the office they hold. They deserve every lawsuit thrown at them. CELEBRATION IS A GOOD THING.
  • by Brother Blue Location: G-ville on Sep 8, 2008 at 07:22 PM
    I know what let all us cops just stop being cops...let you arm chair lawyers run the world just for a day. Maybe you can deal with all BS that you seem to think isn't so bad. ECU rakes in big money from these games...but those officers get paid so you say poor judgment or to much force...have you seen the entire case (Officers getting Assaulted) or just when the camera guy got told to pan over to the UNLAWFUL 2nd Degree TRESPASSING and ASSAULT ON LEO. Or does ECU's backstroking LIEs make you believe that the Officers just said oh lets just beat up on this crowd of people for no reason. We do what we are told. We do what we are trained. I would love for all people to really know what it is like to stand between the good and the evil. Hell does leave a little burn when you stand at the gates keeping evil from coming out into society.
  • by Jesse Location: Greenville on Sep 8, 2008 at 06:31 PM
    I think those few officers who used poor judgement should be held accountable. With that said so should the students who went on the field when they were told not to. If you are going to punish the officers then ECU needs to punish the students and other fans who went on the field. Those who went on the field are on Video as well. Fair is Fair!
  • by ha Location: Geenville on Sep 8, 2008 at 04:54 PM
    Hey Pirate Fan hate to make you sound stupid but your fans broke alot of laws that day and one would be including a mis. of setting foot on a foot ball field without permission sorry but you should look it up next time before you post.

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