It may not be surprising to find that a sizable number of Big 12 football players say they’ve been racially or ethnically taunted during road conference games, but it’s disheartening and disappointing all the same.
SportsDay surveyed the 24 players that took part in Big 12 media days last week, asking them to answer anonymously. The questions ranged from fun topics like potential expansion to ranking their fellow football players. But they also included some questions that broach difficult topics that many college football players deal with on an annual basis.
When asked what their least favorite place to play was, nine of the 24 players responded with West Virginia, citing the harsh nature of fans, specifically.
“They are brutal there,” one player said. “They say a lot of stuff there. There’s no filter on their fans at all. I’ve heard everything.”
“It’s intense,” another offered. “Their fans are rowdy, fans are loud. The players we fully respect and have no problem with, but some of their fans…”
West Virginia came up again when players were asked if they’d ever been racially or ethnically taunted by opposing players or fans. Nearly half the players said yes and Mountaineer fans were cited as the worst of all. Making it worse was the fact that, as one player put it, “you know you can’t do anything about it because you’re playing football.”
West Virginia already doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to the way their fans treat opposing teams. The issue isn’t just football-specific either as they’ve been known to launch batteries onto the court and get aggressive during basketball games as well.
Because of the Baylor scandal and Oklahoma’s various off-field issues, there is no social issue that looms over Big 12 football quite like sexual assault. When players were asked if their program addresses campus sexual assault prevention, all 24 of them responded in the affirmative.
“Our coach really cares about it,” one player said.
“It’s the job of every male across the country to step up and be that male figure in females’, as well as males’ lives,” said another. “To let them know that sexual assault and rape are not acceptable in this society.”
See what else the players had to say here.