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Dear students of the University of Colorado at Boulder and Colorado State University:

This weekend, the 2009-2010 college football season kicks off for CU and CSU with what is likely the most celebrated rivalry in the state of Colorado.

The Rocky Mountain Showdown is a spirited competition between two great universities and two proud student bodies.

The face-off starts at 5:30 p.m. Sunday on national television under the lights of Folsom Field in Boulder.

With the intense competition of the Rocky Mountain Showdown comes the unfortunate opportunity for disrespectful fan behavior and unsafe pre/post game practices.

Leadership from both universities has been working together over the past few weeks to create a safe and enjoyable environment for all fans. We want to urge students from both schools to compete without resorting to irresponsible, disrespectful or unsportsmanlike behavior.

In light of the national attention, we should all be aware of the consequences of our actions. Misconduct before, during or after the game can be detrimental to more than just our college careers: our actions can ruin the experience of those around us, damage the reputation of our universities and discourage a positive portrayal of all college students in Colorado.

When our football teams go head-to-head on Sunday, let us remember that while our schools compete heavily both on and off the field, together we represent the best of what it means to be a college student in Colorado — so we must act with sportsmanship and class.

In the spirit of healthy competition, we encourage both sides to show their school pride with passion and enthusiasm, and to do so respectfully and responsibly.

The Rocky Mountain Showdown is a proud rivalry in Colorado. Go show the nation your school spirit and demonstrate the positive values for which our student bodies stand for.

Have fun: Support your team and have a great time!

Be responsible: There will be enhanced police presence and enforcement before, during and after the game, both on- and off-campus. Just remember, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, you’re representing more than just yourself, and you are covered by the Code of Conduct of your university.

Be safe: Safety will always be the number one concern, so do your part and be accountable for yourself and your friends. Please make sure you are getting around Boulder safely; a sober driver is not the person who has had the fewest drinks. Additionally, game officials recommend entering the stadium well before kickoff to improve safety and crowd flow.

Be respectful: Passion for your university is expected when it comes to this rivalry. Support your team and compete with class. Although this is a college football game, please keep in mind that there are families with kids attending, and we want our future Buffs and Rams to see college students in a positive light.

Let’s act with integrity and enjoy the game safely.

Tom Higginbotham is a tri-executive in the CU Student Union. Dan Gearhart is president of the Associated Students of CSU.

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