What the Duck?

Oregon, again; plus, all the news that's fit to steal, and home invasions at the Citadel
By MATT TAIBBI  |  March 10, 2010

The burgeoning crime wave wracking the University of Oregon Ducks football team — reporters out there are calling it the "bird flu" — has now spread in an unexpectedly hilarious direction. Watch out, Portland JailBlazers, and watch out, Florida State CrimiNoles, because this Oregon squad is knocking on the door of the sports-crime pantheon.

The latest incident, very humorously, involves not a football player but a cheerleader. Eighteen-year-old Molly Maginnis was whacked with a DUI last week after she repeatedly bungled a parallel-parking job in downtown Eugene. The little details in these stories are always what make them worthwhile, and in this case the delicious part is that Maginnis was busted by a bicycle cop, who raced to the scene after seeing the poor drunk girl hit the curb several times in her Chevy Equinox.

Readers of this column need no recap of the recent high jinks at Oregon, but for those of you who are new, this brings the list of arrested and/or dismissed Ducks to: a star quarterback, a star running back, a defensive lineman, a linebacker, a dingbat wide receiver, two kickers, and a cheerleader. We're witnessing a pretty rare phenomenon, to say the least.

It's urgently necessary that someone come up with a nickname for this team (The "Quack-cused?" The "Ver-Ducks?") before the next arrest. In the meantime . . . a drunken cheerleader? She doesn't make the list, unfortunately, but we may have to start awarding team points soon. Go Ducks!

Team building, Texas-style
You just never stop being surprised by the dumbness of football coaches. One can only imagine what being a poorly paid professor at a school with an overpaid lunkhead running the football program must be like.

This week's episode features Guy Morriss, head coach at Texas A&M-Commerce. It seems that two of his players, Dionte Garrett and Deandré Bowers, were arrested last month after weed and pills were found in their dorms.

The story should have ended there. But when the campus newspaper, the East Texan, printed a front-page story about the bust, the accused pair's teammates did an unusual thing. They went around campus and removed all the free papers, everywhere.

There is video up on the Web showing players picking up stacks of the East Texan and carrying them out of school buildings. Which would be dumb enough, except that it turns out the coach was supporting this idiocy.

"I am proud of my players for doing that," said Morriss, according to a police report. "This was the best team-building exercise we have ever done."

Naturally, the school administration is now forced to issue an apology and to discipline the coach, and a story that would have been a snoozer one-column deal in a school newspaper is a national joke. Nineteen points for Morriss. Well played, coach.

A Clockwork Orange redux
A truly amazing tale is unfolding at the Citadel, the esteemed military academy down in South Carolina.

It seems a group of students — including Citadel quarterback Miguel Starks and former player Reginald Rice — has been allegedly forcing its way into homes, binding and gagging residents, and stealing their belongings. The latest victim was, strangely, Citadel assistant coach Joshua Harpe, who was bound with duct tape by three armed, masked men, who then ransacked his apartment. Both Starks and Rice were charged with armed robbery, first-degree burglary, kidnapping, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.

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