CHARLOTTE, N.C. – An in-depth investigation is revealing new information about football fans behaving badly.
New records show the staggering number of fights breaking out in football stands across the country. That includes the infamous brawl inside Bank of America Stadium.
Alcohol is the obvious thing to blame, the but investigation shows several other factors cause fights too.
A viral video showed a man swinging punches in Panthers Stadium, who later got slapped with a simple assault charge.
However, rowdy fights like that go far beyond the NFL. In fact, security experts fear drunken rowdiness is reaching new depths among college football fans. Already this season, there have been several fights breaking out in the stands, including at Ole Miss.
Now, NBC Charlotte is revealing details of security records from all 128 major college football programs across the country. The records show 3,778 fans were ejected. Based on the records provided, the highest fan ejection rates were at South Carolina, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Oregon State.
“It’s kind of like trying to run a mini-city for about four hours,” said one law enforcement official.
Despite heavy security and surveillance cameras, there have been serious incidents. In 2008, a fan fell over the railing, after a scuffle at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.
Alcohol is not the only culprit. Sports psychologist Brian Baxter says simply having a big crowd can also lead to bad behavior.
“You just lose yourself to the group, morals kind of erode and your individual responsibility erodes and you are more likely to do something you would never do,” says Baxter.
The reports also reveal when the most fans are ejected. That includes the first home game of the season, rivalry games, and homecoming. More fans were also thrown out during evening kickoffs than day games.
It’s hard to say if fan behavior has actually gotten worse or if social media has amplified the problem.