â†µAh, if only storming the court were the biggest signifier of a huge win in College Park, this debate might matter. No, when Maryland wins big, the students take to the streets of Route 1 to wreak havoc. Such has been the custom at the university for some time (one that was employed several times when I was a student there in 2002, the year the Terps went on to win a national championship), and is predictable enough that police officers, as they were last night, are already prepared to greet the students when they arrive on the scene. â†µ
â†µAccordingly, campus officials have taken steps to quash the tradition through increasingly severe penalties for those who take part. After the last fan swarm, Maryland charged seven students with conduct violations. But the fact that last night was the first riot on Route 1 since 2006 probably has more to do with the Terps relative lack of big wins than any ramped-up enforcement on the part of the university. â†µ
â†µThe university has good cause for concern: early last decade, during the most intense riots, students damaged nearby businesses by throwing objects through windows. By those standards, last night was relatively calm. There were a few token arrests, a tree and a few trash cans were set on fire, and the cops had to use pepper spray, (which is better than rubber bullets, which have been employed in the past). By the looks of this Tweet, Duke's Nolan Smith had some issues getting his family off campus. â†µâ†µ
â†µNo doubt, this latest episode will engender threats of more stringent punishment from the college. The fact that the school dropped or greatly reduced all seven of the charges from the last riot in 2006 indicates that it was probably little more than lip service. So, whether one approves or not, the Route 1 tradition will live on. And people will continue to make jokes about how Terp fans burn couches. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.