THE WEEK'S MOST-READ STORIES: Rally squirrel, conference questions and Citizens for Justice

Sunday, October 9, 2011 | 8:56 p.m. CDT; updated 9:35 p.m. CDT, Sunday, October 9, 2011

A renegade squirrel was at the top of the list of the Missourian's most-read stories last week, jumping ahead of reports about conference realignment and a look at a group that monitors police activities. Here are the 10 most-read stories posted last week on, according to Google Analytics data.

1. The top story with more than 5,000 page views was the “Rally Squirrel” at Busch Stadium. The animal might have to find a new home after running across the field and interrupting the game, including scampering across home plate as second baseman Skip Schumaker was about to hit. Concerns that the squirrel (or squirrels) might pose a public safety problem has led to efforts to capture and relocate it. (5,816 page views)

2. The second-most-read story detailed how a conference move by Missouri from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference would affect other sports besides football. The article addressed how non-revenue sports such as softball would change from the move. Missouri softball coach Ehren Earleywine said the benefits include easier recruiting options and entry into one of the strongest conferences in the country, not to mention the warmer weather for softball season. (2,873)

3. A commentary on the “culture of fear” surrounding the discussion to leave the Big 12 came in third on the list. The fear, according to the article, is what the athletic departments will do when the money they receive from the conference dries up.  Because Missouri is not in the same position as Texas, whose “massive fan base” supports a certain amount of independence, Missouri is forced to work within an “epidemic of fear.” (1,918)

4. An organization called Citizens for Justice keeps tabs on the police department, showing video and interviewing people who say they have had negative experiences with law enforcement. The group, made up of mostly white college-age men and women, uses video and Web technology to document police interactions and has posted about 70 videos since April. The article profiled the man who started the organization, 23-year-old Matthew Akins, and the reasons behind it. (1,876)

5. An article from Missourian reporter Andrew Wagaman gave an account of how Missouri basketball player Laurence Bowers is dealing with a difficult situation. Bowers learned Tuesday he would be out for the season for a knee injury, but this didn’t stop the senior power forward from attending a community read-to-children program. (1,739)

6. The story's first paragraph summed it up: “Here we go again.” Another article about conference realignment caught the attention of readers at the beginning of this week, kicking off the discussion with an analysis of possible outcomes. (1,459)

7. Another football story examined the Kansas State football team’s unique style and “old school approach” under head coach Bill Snyder. (1,228)

8. A follow-up of the article by reporter Harry Plumer from Monday detailed Missouri’s reluctance to make any promises to the Big 12. In addition, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton stepped down as chairman of the conference's board of directors to avoid “perceived or actual” conflicts of interest. (1,197)

9. Taking a different angle on conference realignment was an article about how Kansas fans are reacting to a possible Missouri move from the Big 12 to the SEC — mostly with indifference. (1,118)

10. Rounding out the list was last week’s “The Week in Missouri Football” article, with a reflection on the Oklahoma game and the stats for previous games against the Kansas State Wildcats. (1,047)

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