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Stopping Sports Rampages

A disturbing pattern of violence has taken hold at some colleges after sports contests against rival schools. Students celebrate with rampages, thinking destruction of property is within the bounds of appropriate enthusiasm.

The past year saw particular violence on at least six college campuses. After the Ohio State football team beat Michigan in November, for instance, fans rioted in Columbus and burned cars. There were some 45 arrests.

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The NCAA plans a high-level meeting next month to come up with ways to stop this poor sportsmanship and violence, which occur most often after football games. Greater police presence, stiffer punishments for wayward behavior, stronger community involvement, and enhanced security are measures that have proved useful.

But other, more fundamental issues, need addressing: The desire to win at any cost, increasing violence among players on the field fueling violence off the field, an exaggerated sense of importance of the event, a feeling of entitlement among fans paying high ticket prices, and the availability of alcohol are just some of the underlying causes cited by experts.

A zero-tolerance policy recently adopted at Penn State after three riots there appears to have had good results. Since that's been adopted, the school's had no incidents.

More colleges can adopt such measures and work assiduously to curb fan frenzy and postgame melees.