Monday, December 5, 2011
Oklahoma St. to review stadium safety
TULSA, Okla. -- Oklahoma State University officials said Monday they were considering everything from fines for lawbreakers to increased security staffing after thousands of fans poured onto the stadium field to celebrate the school's first football conference championship in three generations.
Twelve people were injured, including two initially listed in critical condition, after fans climbed over a 9-foot wall and pushed their way onto the playing surface following the Cowboys' 44-10 victory over in-state rival Oklahoma on Saturday.
University spokesman Gary Shutt said Monday OSU had beefed up security for the contest to "more than 40 police officers and more than 40 medical personnel" but that extra measures are being considered for the next big game.
"People immediately are pointing the finger within 24 hours, and you want all of us to have it figured out," Shutt said. "We are going to look at what happened and see what we can do different. Are we going to put in a fine in place? Increase people? That's all part of what we're going to look at going forward."
Thunderous shouts from the bleachers could be heard as hundreds of students stormed the field after Oklahoma State won an outright conference title for the first time since 1946, when it won the three-team Missouri Valley Conference.
The crowd pulled down the goal posts, and in the 45 minutes or more it took police to restore order Saturday night, some fans were trampled as the crowd struggled to reach the exits.
"This is the best way I can describe it: We were tighter than sardines," said Jennifer Payne, a junior at OSU who rushed the field along with thousands of fans.
Payne described the chaos: the university police terribly outmanned; medical personnel who were too spread out over the field to do any immediate good; a total breakdown in communication between first responders and injured students.
"It was really claustrophobic," she said.