NORMAN — In light of recent events, Oklahoma wasn't taking any chances Wednesday night, when the Sooners hosted Texas Tech inside the Lloyd Noble Center.
Each fan sitting courtside found in their seat a letter informing them that game officials can call an “indirect technical foul” on the Sooners and request the fan's removal should they use profanity, racial slurs or threatening language during the game. OU also displayed a fan code of conduct on the scoreboard before tipoff.
Both Oklahoma and Texas Tech played their first basketball game since Saturday's ugly incident in Lubbock, Texas, when Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart shoved Tech fan Jeff Orr late in the fourth quarter, resulting in Smart's three-game suspension.
In the immediate aftermath of the shove, Smart reportedly accused Orr of a racial slur. Orr has denied that, saying he called Smart a “piece of crap.”
Former OSU guard Desmond Mason said in a radio interview that Lubbock was “one of the places that I've heard racial things screamed at me on a number of different occasions during my four years at Oklahoma State.”
Derek Sollberger, a Texas Tech graduate who now lives in Edmond, attended Wednesday's game in Norman and said he never heard any racial slurs used at basketball games when he was a student there from 1994-99.
“I had some good friends that I was college roommates with and we sat near courtside, and I've never heard that in a Lubbock game,” Sollberger said.
“But players, I'm sure, hear a lot more than I hear. I was there for four or five years, so I don't doubt that happens, and I feel bad that it happens. I hate for Lubbock to have that kind of reputation because I think it's a great place.”
Moore resident Kelly Archer is a 1995 Texas Tech graduate who also attended Wednesday's game. He coached college basketball for more than 20 years — 16 as the men's coach at Hillsdale Free Will Baptist in Moore and five as the women's coach at St. Gregory's in Shawnee.
“It was unfortunate,” Archer said. “I thought the fan misrepresented Texas Tech and really put a cloud over the institution. I know that players have to deal with verbal abuse. It's just part of the game, so I was shocked that he reacted like that. He was pushed into a corner and he's kinda had a tough year, so it was a tough time for him. Everything just boiled up for Marcus.”