AA to review football game safety

Tech administration and Athletic Association (AA) will be undergoing a safety review following the Yellow Jackets’ win against the Virginia Tech Hokies last Saturday. The call comes after post-game celebrations led to students rushing onto the football field and the tearing down of the north end zone goalpost.

“The safety of our students and fans is our foremost concern. The tearing down of the goalposts is unusual at Georgia Tech, and while is it a long standing college tradition, we cannot either condone or support it,” said Matt Nagel, a media relations specialist for Communications and Marketing.

Following the Jackets’ win of 28 -23 at this year’s homecoming football game, students leapt onto the field from the stands, in spite of increased security, which was the largest amount of security on staff during any game thus far this year.

A group of students then climbed onto the goalpost, eventually snapping it due to students jumping repeatedly on it. The post was then carried out through the north end entrance onto Techwood Drive.

Students then took the post to Institute President G.P. “Bud” Peterson’s house, where it was presented and accepted by Peterson and his wife Val on their front lawn.

Following the celebrations at Peterson’s house, students sawed off pieces of the goalpost at the lawn and later at various locations throughout campus.

During the whole affair, the GTPD reported and confirmed two injuries including a broken arm and an ankle injury. The student who sustained the broken arm received it while jumping from the student section onto the field and was taken to the hospital. The one with the ankle injury, however, refused treatment.

More injuries are said to have occurred including students being trampled while the goalpost was being taken through the gate, but were not reported directly to the GTPD.

“Preliminary reports are a possible broken arm asthma attack and a hurt ankle all from coming over the wall,” Nagel added.

“In addition we have reports of damage to cars as the goalpost was carried on its way. Over the years, students at other schools have been paralyzed when hit by goalposts during similar celebrations,” Peterson said.

Although injuries were reported, there were no direct instances or incidents of crime or damage reported to the GTPD during the hours following the game.

Nonetheless as a result of last Saturday’s events, Peterson has asked the AA and its officials to review safety protocol and procedures and develop greater precautions for future games.

“Since I’d hate for anything like that to happen to any of our students, I’ve asked the athletic department to review our safety procedures to ensure that all appropriate safety precautions are being taken,” Peterson added.

In addition, the AA is looking into the possibility of purchasing a collapsible goalpost in the future. As of Wednesday afternoon, the North end zone was still missing a goalpost. Instead, an orange safety cone was placed where the post once was. The AA will have until the next home game on Nov. 7 against Wake Forest to replace the goalpost, but representatives have stated that they already have an extra set in house that they intend to put up in the next few weeks.

“The Yellow Jackets’ victory Saturday night was huge and I was proud to share it from the stands and at the president’s house,” Peterson said. “… While I sincerely appreciate the intense school spirit that makes the Tech experience unique, the safety of our students and all of our fans has to be my foremost concern when thousands of people pour onto Grant Field and emotion takes over.”