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Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Bad calls by college athletes are stranger than fiction

Seattle Times staff reporter

Who knows what he was thinking — maybe the same thing as Alex Karras in "Blazing Saddles" — but this spring, a tight end at Ohio University, Corey Logan, was charged with smacking a police horse.

No offense intended to the equine set. But somewhere, the stars of another movie, Bluto and Otter of "Animal House" renown, must have been snickering. Logan was merely carrying on a hoary tradition as steeped as the ivy-covered walls themselves — that of college jocks misbehaving in ways you simply couldn't make up.

True, the majority are earnest, grade-getting souls with civility, common sense and a vague resolve that somewhere out there is a degree with their name on it.

Then there are Tyler Reed and Andrew Richardson, a couple of Penn State football players arrested a year ago for shooting graphite hunting arrows through the wall of their apartment. Neighbors, the ones on the other side of that wall, complained.

Buried in Seattle police archives is an account of the Seahawks' Jerramy Stevens, then a wayward tight end at Washington, driving his pickup into the side of a retirement home.

One time, basketball coach Bob Knight — who knows a little about bizarre behavior — heard of his college son Pat involved in an incident involving the twin circumstances of drunkenness and a parking meter. Said the senior Knight, as confirmed in the book "HoopDaddy," "Patrick Knight is the reason some animals in the wild eat their young at birth."

In recognition of those who survived that rite and went on to commit acts weird, preposterous or uproarious, we give you a collegiate Top 20 of surely-you're-kidding crimes against good taste, lucid thinking and credibility.

20. Alex Karras, meet Art Long

Before Logan at Ohio, there was Art Long at Cincinnati. Long, a basketball player, was arrested in 1995 for allegedly punching a police horse four times after a traffic stop.

The defense contended Long was merely petting the horse — not punching the daylights out of it — and he was acquitted. That didn't spare him from a night at nearby Xavier, where two students dressed up in a horse costume accompanied by a sign that read "Art's Petting Zoo."

19. Another dagger by Anderson

Washington basketball fans will forever remember Rashad Anderson as the heavy who threw in a three-pointer to force an overtime that allowed Connecticut to beat UW in the Sweet 16 in March.

The UConn campus cops recall him for an incident in 2002, in which they found Anderson dressed in a dark-blue jumpsuit and a mask, hiding in the woods near some dorms and scaring passersby with a 14-inch plastic knife dipped in fake blood. Prosecutors decided it was a prank and dropped charges.

18. He wondered, "What would McEnroe do?"

Ah, tennis: Nice, courtly sport where they wear white and fans are as proper as morticians.

At the 1987 NCAA tennis championships at Georgia, USC's Rick Leach lost in a big upset. Then he went after some unruly Bulldogs fans who were riding him and his dad Dick, the Trojans coach.

The younger Leach allegedly chased one fan with a broken racket, and, at the height of his outburst, was seen jumping from one car hood to another in a nearby parking lot before campus cops intervened.

An NCAA tennis subcommittee publicly reprimanded both Leaches, while noting provocation from spectators.

17, 16, 15. Don't blame the mascot

There are any number of indignities involving college mascots, so we'll let Oregon State's Benny Beaver represent the genre in class action.

The year 1995 was especially tough on Benny, who was actually a 5-foot-9, 135-pound woman masquerading as a beaver. California offensive lineman Tarik Glenn, who weighed 335, slugged Benny on the way to the locker room after the mascot was rapping him on the shoulder with an inflatable hammer.

Weeks later, Frank Middleton, a lineman from Arizona, also punched the luckless Benny and was fined $500.

But the prince of mascot-related hijinks is DeShaun Williams, a basketball guard at Syracuse charged in 2002 with assault in a barroom brawl in which a woman — who played Otto the Orange — suffered a cut. (She wasn't dressed as an orange at the time.)

Maybe Williams knew he'd be acquitted. He fell asleep during his trial.

14. Dick Cheney doesn't find this funny

Some 25 years ago, a Missouri big man, Steve Stipanovich, told police that an intruder came into his apartment and shot him in the leg. Then he 'fessed up and admitted he'd shot himself playing with a gun.

For the rest of his career, student sections on the road greeted Stipanovich with cap guns.

13. A lively night back in non-fiction

In 2001, Paul Westphal's first season as Pepperdine basketball coach, forward Glen McGowan was suspended for the fall semester for instigating a fight with teammate Will Kimble — in the school library.

12. The drunkenness of the long-distance runner

The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas reported recently that a Louisiana State distance runner, Drew Haro, was arrested and charged with public intoxication and flight from a police officer.

Police received a call from the Hampton Inn in Springdale, Ark. The caller said Haro, who had thrown up on himself, was trying to get into the hotel by banging on a door.

Haro was a redshirt this season and not part of the LSU team competing in the SEC championships at Arkansas. The judge who arraigned him, Stan Ludwig, told Haro, "No wonder you guys lost the track meet. You can't even outrun a Springdale cop."

11. Plus, his snoring keeps me awake

You know how it can be with roommates. Their music is too loud. They smoke. They're too sloppy/neat.

Donald Little had another beef with his roomie back when he played basketball at Cincinnati in 2002. He reported $2,500 missing — there could be another story there — and decided roommate Justin Hodge must be involved.

Little was charged with taping Hodge to a lawn chair and burning him with cigarettes and a heated coat hanger. Even by Cincinnati's standards, this was extreme behavior, and Little was kicked off the team and sentenced to 29 days in jail.

10. But how on Earth did you find me?

When police in Lexington, Ky., saw a Chrysler speed around a corner and nearly hit a parked car in 2000, they pulled over the driver, who immediately scrambled into the back seat of his vehicle.

Kentucky basketball player Jules Camara, convicted of DUI, might not have been so visible if he weren't 6-11.

9. On second thought, make it a malt

One night at UNLV, J.R. Rider of the Runnin' Rebels basketball team stopped by the campus Jack in the Box. When his order came with a vanilla milkshake instead of strawberry, he began berating the drive-through server and threw the shake at the window.

They probably didn't get his order right at the city jail, either, where Rider spent the night.

8, 7, 6. Why Ohio State isn't a hoops school

Andy Geiger, former athletic director at Ohio State, has a retirement home near Sequim. Surely he longed for it in the mid-to-late '90s, when the basketball Buckeyes were a collection of loose cannons, mostly under coach Randy Ayers.

Charles Macon gassed up in Clinton County, Ind., on his way home for spring break, stiffed the station for $16.30, then got pulled over for speeding (90 mph in a 65 zone) and for possession of marijuana. Only the gas-theft charge stuck.

In a separate incident in Columbus, a former roommate told police he was struck by bricks thrown by Macon and another man. No charges were filed, so OSU gets a mulligan for that one.

But then Gerald Eaker, who was riding with Macon in Indiana, got booted from the team for shooting out a tire of a teammate's car after an argument.

A couple of years later came guard Damon Stringer, who twice topped the team in scoring. Then one day in a parking lot near campus, somebody backed into his car and Stringer went off, jumping on the offender's 1990 Acura and doing almost $4,000 in damage to the hood and sunroof.

5. When apprehended, the suspect appeared flushed

Larry Foster, leading receiver at LSU in 1998, snatched a woman's purse on campus and, chased by witnesses, ran into the school's music and dramatic arts building, bolted into a restroom and locked himself in a stall. He was caught when he emerged.

4, 3. March went out like a lamb

Ben Siegert, an Oregon State defensive tackle, had a March 31, 2005, court appearance to explain a DUI charge. Of course, the real question was why Siegert was transporting in his pickup truck a ram stolen from an OSU experimental farm, which was conducting a study on homosexuality in sheep. (Come to think of it, nobody has ever explained why OSU was doing the study, either.)

Just weeks earlier, two OSU players were arrested for trying to pay a $20 cab fare with marijuana. The cabbie said he was roughed up and that running back Jimtavis Walker also threw a hamburger at him.

2. Rashad Anderson, meet Avondre Jones

One could probably compile a large volume of affronts to mankind committed by those who have played for ex-basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian.

At the start of the 1997-98 season, Tarkanian, then at Fresno State, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, "I absolutely love Avondre Jones. Last year, he had a terrible attitude and I called him 'Bad News Jones.' But this year, he's hugging everybody, and now I call him 'Good News Jones.' He's a wonderful kid."

By March, Jones fell under the category of wonderful kids who get convicted for threatening an acquaintance with samurai swords.

The timing was impeccable — the incident came two days after CBS's "60 Minutes" did a piece on the controversial Tark.

1. He went after another sack

Dion Rayford, a defensive end at Kansas, made a late-night stop at a Lawrence Taco Bell in 1999. Employees said Rayford became upset and tried to crawl into the drive-through window after alleging servers omitted a chalupa from his order.

In a plea deal, Rayford agreed to pay damage costs. A small price to pay for immortality.

Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or bwithers@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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