Coming back from halftime at The Game at the Yale Bowl, with Harvard leading Yale 15-3, a group of student protesters forced the game into a long delay.
The Harvard-Yale football game has been delayed due to students protesting climate change in the middle of the field. pic.twitter.com/uY9Kc3Mn32
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 23, 2019
Teams were understandably pulled from the field, which emboldened more to join the protest:
Well that’s different. pic.twitter.com/jaf606LGK6
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) November 23, 2019
ESPNU’s broadcast was obviously thrown off a bit, with play-by-play man Wes Durham doing his best to encapsulate what was happening:
Some of the protesters apparently left once authorities stepped in, though a main group remained unwilling:
Eventually, after an intervention from administrators of both universities, the protesters were escorted off, with some requesting to be arrested:
After heading down to the field from the booth, ESPN’s Jack Ford (who played football at Yale) didn’t dive too deeply into the protest itself, Ford did mention the climate change concerns at the heart of the protest, and did an admirable job in gathering and offering information to viewers from the scene. He then offered some context, comparing the moment to Vietnam protests.
In the meantime, ESPNU chose to go to a simulcast of West Virginia-Oklahoma State on ESPN2, checking back in a few times before the second half was eventually resumed after a 48-minute delay. There’s not a timeslot issue, as ESPNU is scheduled to air ESPN Goal Line after this game ends. There’s a much more important potential overrun, though: there are no lights at the Yale Bowl, and sunset is approaching.
The ESPNU crew did a solid job adjusting to what was thrown at them, though, offering the relevant information and keeping viewers apprised of what was happening and what was likely to happen. That’s all you can really hope for when something unexpected happens.