On the heels of the dismissal of the UC Bearcats brawling forward, Octavius Ellis, comes another piece of news tied to the 10 December debacle. This one, though, is a biggie. The Shootout itself is moving off campus. This year's game will take place sometime during the third week of December and will be played at US Bank Arena, former home of the Bearcats.
This comes, of course, in response to the hue and cry made by most of the local and national media after last year's altercation. With so much unfettered, and mostly unneeded, rhetoric floating around, the schools were forced into a position where they had to react. This, then, is that reaction. What exactly moving the game will accomplish is beyond me, but it was the step that the athletic directors and presidents felt they could make without jeopardizing the game.
Of course, this action completely misses the root causes of the fight. The fans, though they may have been obnoxious and possibly even boorish, had nothing to do with the brawl that ensued with nine seconds left in the game. Moving the game won't keep the players from talking trash, the coaches from not taking steps to end hostilities, or the referees from doing their job poorly. Absolutely none of those causes have anything to do with the venue of the game.
So why move the game? As stated above, mostly because of the overblown reaction by the media. After the game, you were likely to think that this was the first time young men had ever fought during a sporting event, not just the latest scrum that season. Both schools immediately denounced the actions and suspended players. St. Mick Cronin put on a clinic in making your words so good that no one cares about your actions, and ESPN managed to ride the high horse for nearly a week.
This left the schools in an untenable position. Xavier tried suspending the students, but the backlash was so immediate and severe that they abandoned that plan. Both schools trotted the players out for apologies that somehow seemed forced and sincere at the same time. Even that was not enough for the sharks now surrounding the game. The blood was in the water, and the out of touch guys behind the desks wanted more chum.
So that leaves us here. This move changes nothing about the dynamic of the game, it is strictly for public relations. Players will still be hyped, students will still be in attendance, emotions will still run high. There has been no official statement yet, no announcement of who will get how many tickets or anything like that, instead, we're left with a legacy of overreacting administrators taking the game to an environment they desperately hope will be sterile.