Antlers hecklers group ejected from Missouri basketball game

Saturday, November 23, 2013 | 5:48 p.m. CST; updated 11:12 p.m. CST, Saturday, November 23, 2013

*A quote from Dave Reiter has been updated in this story.

COLUMBIA — Sixteen minutes before tipoff at the Missouri basketball game Saturday, Emmett Delaney and a group of students called the Antlers were taken by police and event staff to the hospitality room in Mizzou Arena and were told to leave.

"I kept asking, 'What did we say?' and they wouldn't answer me," said Delaney, head of the Antlers. 

On Friday, the Antlers met with a conduct committee to discuss the group's behavior during recent games. The meeting included three representatives from the Missouri athletics department; Cathy Scroggs, MU's vice chancellor for student affairs; and Missouri Students Association President Nick Droege and Vice President Zach Beattie.

The group has attended basketball games to cheer for the team since 1976, according to its Facebook page. According to the group's Twitter profile, the Antlers are "dedicated to making Mizzou Arena the most hostile environment in the country."

Delaney said the athletics department told the Antlers that the group's behavior had been unruly and offensive in the past.

For Saturday's game, the group decided to change some of its cheers and put duct tape over the crude nicknames on its jerseys.

Dave Reiter, MU's assistant athletics director of communications, said the Antlers had a chance to redeem themselves Saturday but overstepped the line.

"We have high standards for the behavior of all our fans," Reiter said.

According to the Antlers, they were told they were ejected for chanting, "Scum, scum, scum. Go back to where you're from... and die!" They changed the word from "die" to "cry" for this game, Delaney said.

The Antlers will be allowed back to the arena Monday, Reiter said.

Missourian reporter Joe Trezza contributed to this report.

Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.

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John Schultz November 23, 2013 | 8:06 p.m.

I'm not a big fan of the Antlers, but this seems like a pretty weak reason to boot them from the game.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 24, 2013 | 5:08 a.m.

@ John Schultz:

The Antlers represent a particular aspect of the many things that have gone terribly wrong with NCAA Division I athletic programs, and we've seeing some of the same problems in NCAA Division II as well.

Can any member of the Antlers, present or past, spell "sportsmanship," let alone define what that word means?

But, what the heck, this is the (dis)United States of America, so the next step will be for the Antlers to sue MU in federal court on a First Amendment (freedoms of speech and assembly) issue. We breathlessly await the outcome. :)

I have some great trial attorneys on speed dial.

(Report Comment)

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