Cheers Get UTA Softball Fans Banned From Games

Trio of fans say they did not say anything vulgar or obscene

By Ashanti Blaize
|  Wednesday, Apr 6, 2011  |  Updated 11:57 PM CDT
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Three UTA softball fans say they don't know why they were banned for the rest of the season.

Ashanti Blaize, NBCDFW.com

Three UTA softball fans say they don't know why they were banned for the rest of the season.

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Cheering for the home team and taunting the batter may be as American as baseball and apple pie, but the tradition got three college students banned from the stands.

University of Texas at Arlington students John Bowman, Joey Villanueva and Jeff Simpson said they were kicked out of the stands while cheering at the softball team's third game.

The trio said they did not yell anything vulgar or obscene and do not know what they said to earn a season ban. They yelled the names of the opposing team and some harmless taunts, they said.

The trio said UTA's assistant athletic director also banned them from games for the rest of the season.

"We asked why, and he was just like, 'Because I said so. I run it here, and whatever I say goes,'" Villanueva said.

The assistant athletic director said he cannot comment on the incident because it is now a Division of Student Affairs issue.

Villanueva said he and his fellow fans love cheering for their friends on the softball team. The trio said they have even received compliments about their enthusiasm and support.

"The coach personally thanked us," Bowman said. "Numerous parents have thanked us, loving our support."

The trio handed out fliers about the incident in the parking lot of Allan Saxe Field during Wednesday night's game. They said they want to educate other fans about what could happen to them.

"We really enjoy the games," Simpson said. "We love supporting them and to have that stripped away from us -- that really hurts."

They said they would like to get back to rooting for the home team from the stands but would settle for an explanation.

"We respect the decision that's made," Simpson said. "It's one of those things. We just want to make sure we get the details; that way we can learn from this."

The students plan to appeal the ban and hope to get it overturned before the end of the softball season in May.

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