Five people among the 40,000 plus who attended Saturday's Boise State at Fresno State football game were arrested for fighting, leading the university to increase security its 2021 season finale as well as reconsider its alcohol service policy.
Director of athletics Terry Tumey and vice president for administration Debbie Adishian-Astone on Monday released a statement addressing the fight:
"This was a very unfortunate incident and one we are taking very seriously. We regret that this situation occurred as it impacts the game experience and family-friendly atmosphere for our loyal Red Wave fans. Fortunately, our Fresno State police officers responded immediately along with support from other local law enforcement agencies. This type of fan behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Our Public Safety team together with our Athletic Department personnel will ensure that we have additional security measures in place for this week’s final home game, including modification of our alcohol sales operations. Consideration is being given to reducing time for alcohol sales and fewer purchase locations."
According to one witness who spoke to Fresno's NBC affiliate KSEE on the condition of anonymity, “There was husband and wife in the area. The husband was attacked, while the wife was holding her kids. It was chaos.”
The witness said he stepped in once he saw one of the men hitting a security guard. “These guys were attacking the security guards, the only help that was available at the time," he said.
The witness also said he broke his wrist when he and another man fell to the concrete. The witness fled and was tackled by police. The man's father tried to push police off of him, since his son suffers from asthma. The father was among the five arrested.
“It is a sad state of affairs when the fans are making the headlines instead of the players on the field,” said Fresno city councilmember Miguel Arias, who serves on the Fresno State Alumni board.
Arias and his family left Saturday's game in the 3rd quarter out of concern for their safety concern. He then reached out to the head of the alumni board in the hope there are changes including increased security and less alcohol served in the future.
“I am confident they will be making those adjustments for the next game to make sure the crowd doesn’t get out of control,” Arias said, as reported by KSEE. “But ultimately it is the responsibility of those in attendance to behave themselves."
The Bulldogs' next home game is Saturday against New Mexico.