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UTEP fans frustrated with post-game ticket rush, lack of security

By: Bill Melugin
EL PASO, Texas -- Some UTEP Miners fans are not happy with the initial lack of security and organization during the post-game rush to buy tickets for Saturday's WNIT championship game against Rutgers.

Minutes before the UTEP Miners women's basketball team took down South Dakota State in their WNIT Final Four matchup Wednesday night at the Don Haskins Center, a single, organized line had already formed outside to purchase tickets for Saturday's game.

Within five minutes of the game ending, thousands of Miner fans had spilled out into the plaza, and the organized line was replaced with a massive mob trying to get their hands on some tickets, with no security anywhere in sight.

"We were in line for about two minutes, we left the game about two minutes before it ended, so we could get here and get our tickets just in case," said Freddie Soldano. "We had a crowd just come out of the Don, and here we are, stuck in line."

UTEP security, police, and El Paso police later showed up after the scene had already become chaotic.

Some Miners fans wonder why they weren't there in the first place knowing that the game was sold out with more than 12,000 fans, and UTEP had announced they would sell championship tickets after the game.

"It was a little bit of a mob, a little chaotic, it seemed like we really weren't prepared," said Julieta Arrendon. "I think if we would have been a little bit more proactive, it wouldn't have been crazy."

"The security is awful, if they were going to say they'll be selling tickets right after the game, they should barricade it, and should have done something about it right off the bat," Soldano said.

Soldano and Arrendon said the situation could have become dangerous because there were so many young kids in the crowd.

"We have kids, we have kids underage, there's 4-, 5-, 6-, 10-year-olds walking around, that's kind of hazardous," Soldano said.

"The scary part was the kids, there were little kids that were in the line with their parents, there were older people there," Arrendon said.

KFOX14 spoke with UTEP Police Chief Cliff Walsh during the rush for tickets. He declined comment, and referred KFOX14 to a representative from UTEP.

That representative, along with a man who identified himself as the head of security, both declined comment about the situation as well.

KFOX14 reached out to UTEP again on Thursday asking for a response to Wednesday night's lack of security.

The university sent a statement from Chief Walsh that reads : "The UTEP Police Department coordinates with many agencies including the El Paso Police Department, CSC Services, and UTEP Special Events to promote a safe and enjoyable guest experience.

"We appreciate our fans' respectful and enthusiastic nature as they support UTEP Athletics. In situations where lines develop, we ask our guests to exercise patience and courtesy, as they often do at UTEP events."

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