How Athens Police Department keeps its Bobcats under control during fest season

Springtime in Athens has rolled around again. With it comes beautiful weather, graduation, and of course fest season.

Fest weekends tend to be much more disorderly than the average weekend in Athens. As a result, the city always sees a necessary increase in police presence. With such an increase in population and risky behavior, what steps do the authorities take to keep these young adults safe?

The number of officers patrolling increases dramatically during the spring fests. Officers play a variety of distinct roles during this time of year. There are authorities patrolling on foot, horses, and some in plain clothes as undercovers.

Athens Police Department’s Mounted Patrol are the most iconic role that police employ during fest season. They never fail to get attention from students.

Mounted police begin their journey at the Athens Fairgrounds and ride their way into town toward the fest attendees. They typically travel in packs of 3 to 12 officers.

“We use the horses because it gives our police force more of a presence. We think that the presence of the horses and the view we get from being up high helps us to defuse and control situations before they can get out of hand,” said Ohio University Police Officer Bryan Newvahner. Mounted patrol officers seem to get the attention and respect of fest-goers much more effectively than officers in patrol cars, riding bikes, or on foot.

The Athens Police Department does allow for students to pet the horses, they just request that the students ask for permission before touching the animals.

A group of officers that I spoke with were all in agreement that an officer on horseback is much more effective at stopping and preventing reckless behavior in addition to maintaining order opposed to officers on foot. Mounted officers in Athens have been used since 1996 and do not seem to be going away anytime soon. They have become a staple in the spring fest image and culture.

Police reinforcements come from around the state from locations including; Columbus, Medina, Dublin, and Summit to name a few. They come from all over Ohio to support the Athens Police Department during its busy fest season. The Athens Police Department shares a mutual aid agreement where each department assists the other during busy weekends. “We need reinforcements to accommodate for the huge jump in population and risky behavior,” said Newvahner.

“We typically make around 25 to 30 arrests on any given busy fest,” said Newvahner. “We want to let students have fun but prevent them from hurting themselves or anyone else around them.” The majority of the arrests that law enforcement make are for public urination, underage drinking, or public intoxication.

Some of the fest attendees were under the impression that the police specifically targeted their party while allowing others to continue. This left me wondering, why do officers shut down certain parties and not others?

The Athens Police Department clearly wants to prevent and stop the reckless and risky behavior that comes with fest season, but why do they choose to shut down one party and allow the others to continue? To an outsider, each party just appears to have loud music and many drunk college students.

The main criteria that officers take into consideration when shutting down house parties during fests is behavior. “More often than not when we shut down a certain address it is because they have had several repeated offenses over a period of time at the same location,” said Newvahner. The repeated offenses usually happen later in the day, after students have already been drinking for an extended period of time.

Police did not always shut down street fests as early as they do now. When Ohio University was on the quarter system only a few years ago, fests would go much later into the evening.

Police began shutting down parties much earlier on the semester system because the conflict between fest-goers and law enforcement was so high. Athens Police Department found that when they prevented the fests from going so late, the encounters they had with students decreased dramatically.

As is to be expected, some students are less than enthusiastic about their parties getting shut down by the police. One tenant of a Mill Street rental property, Stephanie Anthony said, “there were parties a lot louder and crazier than ours. I don’t know why they shut us down, it’s our property.”

Each student that I spoke with seemed to have a different opinion on the police presence during the fests. Some were appreciative of the presence that they had and thought that it made them feel safer in a hectic environment.

I spoke to Mark Taylor, a sophomore studying management information systems to get his take. “I feel safer knowing that there are police all around me when so many people are drinking. They pretty much let us do what we want and only get involved if it gets too crazy, plus I love petting all the horses.”

There are also students who find that the police are too intrusive on their festing. “The number of cops just seems unnecessary, we have gotten more and more every year for the last four years and they shut down the streets earlier and earlier every year too,” said Brett Webb, a senior studying geology.

Officer Newvahner said that there are a few steps students can take to stay safe and avoid conflict with law enforcement during fest weekends. “Drinking on the sidewalk is and always has been illegal, so do not do it,” said Newvahner and a few of his colleagues.

The officers also said that respect is very important when it comes to dealing with the police. They are there to maintain order and keep students safe, they are not out to get anyone or prevent students from having a good time.

He also said, “if it is your house, try to keep it under control.” Recurring violations, such as noise, public urination, littering, and intoxication can lead to a citation and the authorities asking students to leave if they do not live there.

After interviewing representatives from both sides, students and law enforcement, there seems to be a good balance of control and freedom for the students to have fun without harming themselves or others around them.

Students and law enforcement look to have another successful fest season in spring of 2018.

Court Street Draft Specials: An NFL Draft podcast

The NFL Draft is one of, if not the most important three-day stretch of the entire NFL calendar year. And this year, the Ohio Bobcats are prepared to have the most successful draft for the program in 45 years.

Tarell Basham and Blair Brown, a former defensive end and linebacker, are locks to be drafted in next week’s draft. If both get drafted, it will be the first time since 1972 that two Bobcats were drafted in the same year. No Bobcat has ever been drafted higher than 47th overall in the modern era.

For the first episode of our podcast, I sat down with Tony Wolfe, a Senior Writer for The Post who previously covered the Ohio football team. I currently cover the team, and did last season as well. Tony and I talked about what we’ve been hearing and reading from the national media about the two Bobcats headed to the NFL. In addition, we added what we’ve seen over the years from the two and what we’ve been hearing from agents and coaches. Don’t leave at halftime for this one…

Cloud 9 – my home away from home

9 South Congress Street, Athens, Ohio

From the outside, 9 South Congress Street looks just as any other typical student-rented house in Athens. After years of new groups of students consistently moving in and out, the walls of 9 South Congress Street have many stories to be told.  With the numerous memories created and relationships that have blossomed within this house, I am one of the lucky bobcats to have been able to call this place my Athens home. It has quickly become my home away from home.

The girls of 9 S. Congress Street outside of our house for SantaFest

9 South Congress, or Cloud 9 as my roommates and I like to call it, currently has 8 girls, a Siberian Husky, a cat, and a fish residing. Visitors are immediately greeted in our entryway leading to the living room which serves as the main hangout area for all of our r
oommates. With 2 couches and 3 chairs as well as plenty of floor space it is a great place for everyone to gather to play board games, play Mario Kart, watch movies, or simply sit and talk with each other about anything and everything.  The living room is filled with labels in case anyone forgets what the ceiling, floor, lamp, mirror, or other items may be. Our connected dining room hosts are wall of “fine art” consisting of an outdated llama calendar, university posters warning of meningitis, a plastic face, and more unique décor.

Tito the house dog sitting on the porch of Cloud 9

Luckily, all 8 roommates have their own bedrooms that are personalized to everyone’s preferences and lifestyle.  The bedrooms serve as the more personable spaces for smaller and more intimate conversations. Some of our greatest bonding sessions have come from small gatherings of 2-4 roommates and friends in each other’s bedrooms. The bedrooms also host great sleepovers among roommates to make us feel like we are 12 again.

Numerous delivery eateries around Athens know 9 S Congress Street very well. It is a house of 8 girls that eat like 20 men. Food is delivered to our house multiple times a week, and sometimes, even multiple times a night. Embarrassingly, some delivery drivers from the same place come to our house multiple times in the same night, our record being 5 separate Jimmy John’s deliveries in one night (even though we live a brisk walk through an alley away).

Cloud 9 has allowed the relationship my best friends and I have held over the years to flourish into something even greater.  My roommates have become my second family- my home away from home.  After growing up living with just myself and my parents, sometimes the crowd makes things extremely challenging, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I am so thankful for the memories I have from living in 9 South Congress and am so excited for the next groups of lucky bobcats that will be able to call this magical place home in the future.

Ohio volleyball sweeps Western Michigan

After suffering a tough five-set loss at the hands of Kent State the night before, the Ohio Bobcats took down fellow Mid-American Conference opponent Western Michigan on Saturday night at The Convo. For a full recap of the match, click here.

 

This week in Ohio sports: Bobcats are playing strong while conference games loom on the horizon

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Just as students are getting into the heart of the school year, many Bobcat teams are reaching the heart of their schedules; but, unlike some students, most of these Ohio teams are thriving as conference play begins.

Did the good guys win?

For the most part, yes. The football team pummeled Gardner-Webb University 37-21, while the volleyball and field hockey teams both picked up big wins over conference rivals. On the other hand, the soccer team lost a close one to Toledo while the women’s golf team finished in eighth place out of twelve teams in Michigan State’s Mary Fossum Invitational.

What does this mean for the football team?

The Bobcats picked up their first home win of the season in front of a crowd of over 22,000 fans, showing all the visiting parents that their child’s college team actually did have a chance against Tennessee last weekend. Redshirt senior Greg Windham threw for 143 yards and a touchdown while picking up 62 yards with his feet. Senior wide receiver Sebastian Smith finished with 108 yards and found the end zone twice off of six receptions. The Bobcats sit at an even 2-2 on the season as conference play begins next week.

What about the volleyball team, they’re good right?

Following their phenomenal 2015 season where they were crowned MAC Champions for the ninth time, the Bobcats have started this season with a lackluster 6-8 record. But don’t count these girls out just yet, they definitely know how to win conference games as they haven’t lost a set to a MAC opponent so far this season. The Bobcats swept the visiting Akron team in three straight sets (25-15, 25-23, 27-25) to pick up their second win over a MAC opponent. Redshirt junior Ali Lake led both teams with 17 kills; Lake has finished with double-digits kills seven times this season. This is the fourth year in a row the Bobcats have started 2-0 in conference play.

What happened with the field hockey team? 

70 minutes of play wasn’t enough for the Bobcats and the visiting Ball State Cardinals but graduate student Amelia Milton knocked in the game-winning goal in overtime to give the Bobcats a 3-2 win. Both Milton and freshman Gabby Lorenzo scored their first career goals for the Bobcats in the thrilling win. Although the score doesn’t reflect it, the Bobcats led in both shots, 14-6, and penalty corners, 11-3. Despite their struggles to capitalize off their shots, the Bobcats held on to pick up their first conference win and improve to 3-6 on the season.

Will the soccer team bounce back? 

After dropping their first conference game against Bowling Green, the Ohio women’s soccer team lost to Toledo 2-1 to fall to 2-6-1 on the season. The Bobcats couldn’t get their offense going against the physical Toledo team. Although Ohio had six shots on goal, compared to Toledo’s three, the Rockets had nine more shots and nine more corner kicks than the Bobcats, giving them more opportunities to find the back of the net. This is the fourth consecutive loss for a Bobcat team that hasn’t won a match since their 5-0 flattening of Cleveland State back on Sep. 2.

Mollie Whitacre (Maddie Schroeder | Ohio Athletics)
Senior Mollie Whitacre battles for possession  | (via Ohio Athletics)

How bad is eighth place really?

The Bobcats finished in eighth place out of twelve teams at the Mary Fossum Invitational over the weekend. Although many MAC teams were at the invitational, the Bobcats (+61) were outmatched in talent by more qualified teams like the Miami Hurricanes (-4) who demolished the completion. Despite the low finish, senior Hailey Hryenewich led the Bobcats and tied for 11th place in the tournament with a final score of seven strokes over par. To see how the rest of the Bobcats finished, check out the final standings here.

What’s going on next week?

Monday:

  • Men’s Golf host Bobcat Open in Worthington, OH

Thursday:

  • Women’s Volleyball takes on rival Miami in Oxford at 7 p.m.

Friday:

  • Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country teams compete in All-Ohio Championship in Cedarville, OH
  • Women’s Soccer face Western Michigan here in Athens at 4 p.m.
  • Women’s Field Hockey play Central Michigan at home at 5 p.m.
  • Women’s Volleyball hosts Bowling Green at 7 p.m.

Saturday:

  • Softball takes on Charleston University in a doubleheader in Athens, first game starts at 1 p.m. while the second starts at 3 p.m.
  • Football travels to Oxford to face rival Miami at 2:30 p.m.

This weekend in OU athletics: Winning and losing, standing up and cheering

It was a tragic week for sports fans this weekend with the loss of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez and golf legend Arnold Palmer. But at least for Ohio Bobcats fans, they had some reasons to stand up and cheer.

Football 

Ohio defeated Gardner-Webb, 37-21. 

Volleyball: 

Ohio swept both Akron and Buffalo this weekend. 

  • Ohio kicked off their conference schedule with great serving, including 13 aces. (WOUB) 
  • Ohio also honored last season’s championship team by unveiling their championship banner

Soccer: 

Ohio lost to Toledo, 2-1. 

 

Peden Stadium is old, crumbling and my favorite place on campus.

Peden Stadium is not the prettiest site on campus by any means.

Aesthetically, it’s underwhelming. Inside, it’s quite barren. And on the outside, it’s literally falling apart.

With all of it’s apparent faults, Peden is still my favorite place on campus. But, let me explain why.

There’s no better welcome to OU than seeing Peden Stadium from Route 50.

It is about a six-hour drive for me from my hometown of Baltimore to Athens. The road trip is long and boring. The drive through West Virginia takes up about three-quarters of my trip and it’s scenery isn’t very visually pleasing.

But, when I make that turn onto Richland Avenue and see ‘OHIO UNIVERSITY’ plastered on the side of Peden, it makes it all worth it.

With its brick facade foreshadowing the rest of Athens architecture, Peden is a sneak peak of how beautiful Athens and OU really is.

How could you not fall in love with the first building you saw at Ohio?

Saturday afternoons at the Peden are the best.

Ohio’s football will never be national champions. They are historically a below-average program and only as of late have become contenders in their conference.

2Unlike that fancy schmancy program in Columbus, we’ll not regularly on ESPN, we’re not regular national title contenders and we won’t pack 100,000 fans inside of our stadiums on Saturday afternoons.

But, spending a Saturday at Peden is one of the best uses of your time at Ohio.

Weather in Athens is usually incredible, so getting outside and watching some college football on a sunny afternoon is a great past time for all students at OU.

Peden is a tradition like none other.

If you come from a long line of Bobcats, it’s likely your great grandparents, your grandparents and your parents all visited Peden during their four (or five) years in Athens.

Built in 1929, Peden is one of the oldest college football stadiums in the nation.

Though it certainly has shown its age, Peden still has the charm that’s kept it operating for over 87 years. Sure, it may not be high-tech, but you have to feel a little bit of nostalgia knowing that generations of Bobcats have sat in your same exact seat.

I know I feel a piece of OU history when I sit in Peden, and I hope it stays that way for another 87 years.

Five reasons Bobcat fans should be excited for the 2016-17 mens basketball season

In its second season under head coach Saul Phillips (pictured above), the Ohio Bobcats made an encouraging 13-game improvement in the win column to finish the season with a 23-12 record before losing to Buffalo in the MAC Tournament semifinal. In the postseason College Basketball Invitational (CBI), the Bobcats fell to Moorhead State in the semifinals.

After losing just one senior (forward Treg Setty) to graduation while having several key starters returning, the 2016-17 Bobcats certainly figure to compete for the top spot in the MAC and appear to have a legitimate shot at reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first season since 2012. Here are five reasons incoming freshman and all Bobcat fans should be excited for the upcoming season of Ohio mens basketball.

1. The Convo is home to the best sporting event on campus

When the NCAA releases yearly attendance statistics for each conference, Ohio routinely leads the MAC in drawing the biggest crowds per game. Attendance numbers for last season haven’t been released yet, but in 2014 “The Best Fans in the MAC” led the conference with an average of 6,681 fans per-game, which ranked higher than nationally renowned programs such as Baylor, Texas Tech, Washington and Gonzaga. If you are coming to Ohio looking for an electric atmosphere to watch a live sporting event, joining the student section “O-Zone” at The Convo is defintiely your best bet. Check out this awesome video taken during Ohio’s 76-64 win over conference rival Miami (OH) for a glimpse of what it’s like to experience a game at The Convo.

 

2The (likely) return of MAC Player of the Year Antonio Campbell

Antonio Campbell was so good for the Bobcats last season that the forward decided to declare for the NBA draft. He didn’t hire an agent, meaning Campbell is eligible to withdraw his name from the draft by the May. 25th deadline and return to Athens fo

MAC POY Antonio Campbell goes up for a salm dunk
MAC POY Antonio Campbell goes up for a salm dunk

r his senior season. Conventional wisdom says Campbell will be back with the Bobcats, which is great news after he led the team in scoring (17.1 PPG) and rebounding (10.2 RPG) to earn Mid-American Conference Player of The Year honors as well as being named to the Associated Press honorable mention All-American section. He was the only MAC player included in the AP’s All-American team. In his senior season, Campbell figures to once again be among the most dominant players in the MAC and act as the centerpiece on offense for the Bobcats.

3. Point guard Jaaron Simmons is breaking records

After transferring last year from the University of Houston, Jaaron Simmons still has two years of eligibility left for the Bobcats which is among the biggest reasons why the team will be a force in the MAC for the next couple years. Simmons proved to be one of the best playmakers in the nation last season as his 7.8 assists per-game ranked third in all of college basketball. He finished the season with 264 assists, surpassing D.J. Cooper’s record for the most assists in a single season in Ohio program history. Cooper is thought to be one of the greatest players to ever play for Ohio, so it is exciting to think of what else Simmons will achieve in his next two years at Ohio.

4. Youth all around the roster

In Campbell and Simmons, I’ve already mentioned two of Ohio’s premier returning players, but in reality basically the entire team is returning from last season meaning expectations will be higher for this Bobcat squad than any in recent memory. Although players can still transfer before the start of next season, Treg Setty is the only Bobcat being lost to graduation. This current roster of youthful Bobcats are positioning themselves to not only be good next year but also many years to come, meaning incoming freshman will be able to watch Ohio’s current crop of players grow into upperclassmen during their time at OU.

Shooting guard Jordan Darts averaged 9.8 points for Ohio as a freshman
Shooting guard Jordan Darts averaged 9.8 points for Ohio as a freshman

Freshman Gavin Block and Jordan Dartis were key contributors for Ohio last season, while sharp shooter Kenny Kaminsky will be returning as a redshirt junior. In other good news, Ohio’s recent success and strong current nucleus of young talent should make it easier for coach Saul Phillips to draw more top recruits to Athens.

5. We have a really cool coach

Ohio coach Saul Phillips is a treat to be around. His press conferences are always a spectacle because Phillips has a great sense of humor that is noticeable the second you meet him. The third-year coach seemingly genuinely enjoys being apart of the Athens community and is committed to building Ohio into a perennial NCAA Tournament contender. Before signing a five-year contract with Ohio, Phillips was the head coach at North Dakotah State University from 2007-2014 and led the Bisons to two NCAA Tournament appearances. Phillips’ passion and enthusiasm is contagious and the Bobcats are in great hands for as long as he is at the helm.

7 Reason’s Why OU Athletics Will Not Be What You Are Expecting

Rufus fighingBrutus
Rufus fighting Brutus

Whether you’re signing on the dotted line of your Letter of Intent, or, as it is less glamorously referred to, if you are a “normal” student, not a student-athlete; submitting your nonrefundable deposit reserving your spot in the year’s freshmen class. It means the same thing either way. It means that you are committing to be a member of Ohio University and #BobcatNation for the next four….or five…or even six years as a student, and as an alumnus every year thereafter. Before doing so, there are a few things you should know. Most importantly, you should know that we are Bobcats, not Buckeyes. No matter how many times you say, “I go to Ohio University in Athens,” your family and friends will inevitably believe that what you are saying is that, “I go to Ohio State in Columbus.” This is a common misconception that sadly every Bobcat can relate to. Although both are public institutions just over 70 miles apart, a drive of less than two hours, the schools could not be more different in terms of culture, specifically sports culture. Case and point, Ohio University has strong athletic programs, but if you are looking for a Division I school where the entire student body spends the weekends at the athletic fields singing our fight song, “Stand Up And Cheer,” regrettably that is not something you will find at Ohio University. If a “sports school” is what you desire, Ohio University is not the school for you. Here’s 7 reasons why:

1  The marching band (The Marching 110) is more popular than the sports teams.

 

If you journey to Peden Stadium to watch Ohio football, you will probably see a fairly hardy crowd around 20,000 strong. Unfortunately though, that crowd that was once 20,000 strong will likely dwindle to a crowd of less than 10,000 after the Marching 110 has completed their halftime performance no matter how close the game may be. The reality is, sad as it may be; people come to see the famous Marching 110, not the football team, a tradition that has been in place for decades.

Free Shirt Friday Giveaway
Free Shirt Friday Giveaway

2  Free merchandise and free food giveaways can dictate student support of athletics.

Just as fans tend to only come out to sporting events to watch the band, fans, students in particular have a tendency to venture to Penden, the Convo and Bob Wren only with hopes of getting free gear or free food. After the giveaways, crowds usually shrink.

3  Students would rather buy beer than a hockey ticket.

2015-16 Ohio Men's Hockey Team
2015-16 Ohio Men’s Hockey Team

For all varsity sports student admission is free with a student ID. Club sports on the other hand require a $5 student fee because they are club sports and thus not university sponsored. Ohio hockey is a powerhouse program with four ACHA Men’s Division 1 National Championships over the last 20 seasons. When you have more than 25 home contests a season at $5 a person, it doesn’t matter how good the squad is, students are not willing to spend upwards of $125 to go to every hockey game when that same $125 can be used to cover weeks’ worth of bar tabs. Students would rather spend money on beer than sports tickets, plain and simple, it gives them more “bang for their buck.”

4  You need sports jerseys……but for parties, not sporting events on campus.


At Ohio University, the highlight of spring semester for most students is fest season. The coming of fest season means that for about a month, from mid-March- mid-April, there will be various street fests each weekend around town. At these fests you can expect two things. 1) Drunken debauchery and 2) A plethora of sports jerseys. The irony rests in the fact that all OU students act like huge sports fans when it is fest season, yet they won’t support the Bobcats at sporting events on campus.

5  Student-athletes are relatively unknown on campus.


At bigger Division 1 schools high profile student-athletes like a Johnny Manziel or a Cam Newton find themselves on Sports Center on a weekly basis and carry the status of a celebrity on their college campus. Other students routinely ask these future professional athletes for pictures and autographs alike. At Ohio, we don’t have that problem.  Our student-athletes are not fawned over by the rest of the student body. In fact some of Ohio’s best athletes go unnoticed as they walk up and down Court Street. Even 6’10, 260-pound forward Antonio Campbell, who was recently voted MAC Player-of-the Year, went unnoted by my two roommates as we passed him on the street walking to class earlier in the semester. How two self-proclaimed and knowledgeable sports fans did not recognize a 6’10 basketball star complete with a signature mustache as he passed them on the street, I do not know, but at Ohio, where sports aren’t a big deal…..it happens.

6  At Ohio, you are at the mercy of #MACtion.


Being an avid fan of the Mid-American Conference means two things. 1) Be prepared for the unpredictable. Where the best team in the MAC can either kill or be killed by the worst team in the MAC any given week in any sport. 2) Be prepared for inconvenient game times. As a member of the MAC teams are forced to play at times that are less than great for fans and athletes alike. MAC schedules are riddled with mid-week night games late in the season when the temperatures are blustery, balmy and bitter cold. Why? Because that is the only time ESPN will put a mid-major school like Ohio on national television. What can be done about this? Absolutely nothing. What is typically done though is that students do not attend the games. For some the weather scares them away, for others it is class and homework that prevents them from attending the event. Any way you look at it, #MACtion, as great as it can be hurts the Ohio athletics culture.

7  PLAYOFFS?!?!…….Mostly just a pipe dream for a MAC school.


Ohio athletics is fairly strong across the board it has seen success in all major sports fairly recently, it has seen professional athletes come through its programs as well. Despite all of the recent success’s the Bobcats have had on the athletic fields there is one thing that we must keep in mind. That is, we are a mid-major MAC school. This means that although we may have success, although we may make it to the post-season, we will never have certain athletic experiences like a “sports school” like Ohio State will have. An appearance in an historic game such as the College Football Playoff, the Men’s Basketball Final Four, the Men’s Hockey Frozen Four, among others just isn’t feasible for a smaller school like Ohio. For this reason, athletics aren’t as crazed here. Deep down, all Bobcats know, whether we want to admit it or not, we seldom if ever have the opportunity to play in the biggest game on the biggest stage.