Spells like team spirit

By Drew Teague

As students walked to class in White Hall Classroom Building Thursday, they may have noticed some illegal ways of cheering on the men’s basketball team in its game against the Ohio State Buckeyes this Friday.

Graffiti encouraging the Wildcats to beat the Buckeyes appeared in front of an entrance to White Hall this morning, some of it containing curse words.

UK Police Chief Joe Monroe said the incident occurred between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m., but there are no current suspects.

“One of our security officers was making rounds, and he noticed it at 4 a.m. and called it in,” Monroe said. “We notified the Physical Plant Division so they could start trying to get it cleaned up.”

Bob Wiseman, vice president of facilities, was displeased with the act, but had crews on site to clean up the paint by Thursday afternoon.

“Nothing is threatening in (the graffiti),” Monroe said. “It’s concerning on that it may be leading up to more activity should we beat Ohio State. It’s given us a heads up for what to expect this weekend.

“It was in three different colors … so there was probably more than one person that did it.”

Wiseman said the crews planned to have the graffiti gone by Thursday night.

“You have to use some chemicals and some spraying of it, in terms of power washing,” Wiseman said. “I OK’d overtime (Thursday) to do it; I want to get it up quickly and be done with it.”

Wiseman said he hopes the people are caught and he will seek damages for the cleanup efforts from the culprits.

Monroe said the UKPD has a plan ready if the men’s basketball team reaches the Final Four, which has been “groomed” since the last championship in 1998.

“(The plan) involves multi-agencies; it involves us and the city,” Monroe said. “The fire department has a role in it; the sheriff’s department plays a small part; corrections plays a small part in it. We bring everyone to the table.

“Here we are again, to the point where we could very well end up in that Final Four situation.”

Monroe does not want to discourage celebrating if the Wildcats advance, but he said those celebrating should be responsible for themselves and their actions.

“We don’t want to have a big riot type of situation,” Monroe said. “We encourage celebrations, but they need to be responsible.

“We don’t like to make arrests … but if we have to, we will.”

Even local bars and places that sell alcohol work with UKPD to help keep the public safe during big NCAA Tournament games involving UK.

“We also work with the local alcohol establishments with their sales,” Monroe said. “A lot of times what we’ll do is we’ll tell them they can’t use (glass) bottles; we’ll make them use either plastic bottles or cups. They work with us on that.”

Monroe’s goal is to keep students safe after a loss or a win by the basketball team, but wants students to have fun as well.

“The suggestion I give everyone is:  have fun, be responsible, but let’s not tear anything up. We don’t want any property damage or anyone hurt, but we want people to have fun.”