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Pastilong: Arrest made; seating policy to change

by Chris Errington


MORGANTOWN -- West Virginia University will change its student seating policy because of objects thrown on the field in the win over Maryland, Athletic Director Ed Pastilong said Monday.

Meanwhile, a WVU student has been arrested in one of the incidents, in which a golf ball was thrown, Pastilong said.

Pastilong said the university will "'follow its code of conduct and that it may lead to expulsion of the student.

West Virginia University's campus police and the Morgantown Police Department did not immediately comment.

In a scene Pastilong called "'unfortunate and unnecessary," Saturday's nationally-televised ESPN2 game was stopped three separate times for golf balls thrown onto the playing field.

A whisky bottle also was thrown onto the field later in the game, but the person who threw it was not found. West Virginia was assessed two 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

WVU students now will be required to validate their student identification cards and receive a specific seating ticket during assigned hours today through Saturday morning, Pastilong said. Students then will be required to show both the ticket and I.D. card in order to gain admission to Mountaineer Field.

"'We've had a few complaints from season ticket holders, so we're hoping this change works for the better," Pastilong said. "'Our main concern is to improve the safety and comfort in the student section."

Pastilong said he doesn't envision a lack of seats for student fans in attendance.

Mountaineer Field holds 11,600 seats in the student sections located in the east side's upper level and along the east side's lower level near the north end zone.

Pastilong said the average student section attendance for home games is approximately 7,500 per game.

"'We're hoping that there aren't any more problems," Pastilong said. "'The students have wonderful seats. I think after the initial shock, they'll realize the change is for the better."

Pastilong said any further incidents could result in the university considering a movement of the student section. He did not say where it would be moved. The university considered a similar move in 1996 following alcohol-related incidents in the student "'pit" tailgating area and when a Miami assistant coach was hit with a garbage can thrown from the stadium.