LAWRENCE | Tuesday night’s conflict between Kansas football and men’s basketball players spilled into this morning, and the latest incident reportedly involved prominent players from both teams.
By J. BRADY McCOLLOUGH
The Kansas City Star
The University Daily Kansan, KU’s student newspaper, reported on its Web site that witnesses saw basketball players Sherron Collins, Tyshawn Taylor, Marcus and Markieff Morris, and Mario Little, among others, at the scene of the altercation outside Wescoe Hall.
Football players Dezmon Briscoe, a standout wide receiver, and Chris Harris, a starting cornerback, were seen talking to police.
Taylor was the only player known to have been involved in one of the two incidents that occurred Tuesday night. He was treated at a hospital for an injury that he revealed on his Facebook page at 12:10 this morning as a dislocated finger he hurt while throwing a punch. Schuyler Bailey, the captain of the KU Public Safety Office, said that his officers had been called to skirmishes between football and basketball players three times in the last 24 hours. Each time, the reporting officers couldn’t find anybody involved who considered themselves a victim or wanted to press charges. Bailey said his office can’t do anything until someone comes forward.
Bailey said he had not increased the number of officers on campus in the aftermath of the latest fight between members of the No. 20 KU football team and the basketball team, widely assumed to be the consensus preseason No. 1 in 2009.
“We’re hoping they get themselves under control,” Bailey said.
As of 10 this morning, members of the football and basketball teams did not appear to be under control. The Kansan reported on its Web site that witnesses saw players shouting racial slurs at one another and throwing punches.
A witness reported hearing a football player yell, “What did you say?” and saw him run up a flight of stairs behind Budig Hall. Then, the witness said, one of the Morris twins threw the football player down the stairs. The player toppled down the stairs before being caught by another football player. The witness told the paper that several fights broke out immediately. Another witness said that police arrived five minutes after the fighting began. Bailey said that it had stopped when officers arrived. The Kansan reported that the list of basketball players on the scene also included Brady Morningstar, Travis Releford, Tyrel Reed, Thomas Robinson and Elijah Johnson. KU assistant coach Joe Dooley was also reported to have arrived at the scene.
A video on the Kansan Web site showed KU basketball players being ushered into a van by KU associate athletic director Sean Lester. The van was being driven by former KU basketball player Brennan Bechard.
Today’s confrontation followed two reported skirmishes on Tuesday evening. The first, around 6:30 p.m. outside KU’s Burge Union, involved Taylor.
Taylor reported the result of the incident on his Facebook page. “I got a dislocated finger ... from throwing a punch ... so don’t let the news paper gas yall up aite,” Taylor wrote.
Minutes earlier, around midnight, he wrote: “real (racial slur)s do real things .. point plankn.”
His earlier posts indicate there may have been escalating tension.
“keep my name out ya’ mouth for you get smacked in it,” he wrote at 11:12 a.m. Tuesday, and 30 minutes later he posted, “never get outta character .. I’m always a G about it.”
About 4 p.m., Taylor posted, “(racial slur)s be muggin me ..you know I’m mugging back.”
The police report narrative cited a witness who said that members of both teams were “baiting” each other, and it “escalated into taunting and shouting and then fighting.” A second witness said around 100 people were gathered in the parking lot outside the Burge Union, where the conflict began with football and basketball players yelling at each other in a hallway.
Later Tuesday night around 10:30 p.m., police were called to Jayhawker Towers for another incident between members of the teams. Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins issued the following statement this morning: “We are aware of an incident that occurred last evening that involved members of the football and men’s basketball teams. I am disappointed that some of our student-athletes put themselves in this position, and it’s something that I am taking very seriously. I continue to gather facts about this incident, and I plan to address this issue personally with both teams. I also know that Bill Self and Mark Mangino are working together to address it, and I am confident that they will handle the situation appropriately with their teams. We will handle this incident internally, and we will have no further comment about it.”
Perkins met with the football and men’s basketball teams this afternoon in the Anderson Family Football Complex. Following the meeting, selected representatives from both teams released the following statement:
“We realize that over the past couple of days we’ve let a disagreement between a few guys grow bigger than it ever should have. We’re embarrassed about that.
“Now we want everyone know that we have met and talked it out. We realize we’re all Jayhawks. We’re proud of what both teams have accomplished.
“We appreciate the support these teams give each other. We’ll be in the stands rooting for each other like we always have.
“We all wear Kansas on our uniforms, and we’re proud of that. We need to act like it. We’ve met; we’re all on the same page, and we will move forward together. The football team is ready to get back to work, focused on Saturday’s game against Southern Mississippi, and the basketball team will continue to prepare for another great season.”