The Baylor men’s basketball team received a different kind of pep talk before its game Wednesday at Mizzou Arena.
Baylor coach Scott Drew invited Michael Booth, ‘grand poobah’ of the Antlers, a non-university-sponsored fan group, to rile up his team before the game, said Heath Nielsen, Baylor’s director of media relations.
“I think our coach wanted to give his team a little bit of motivation,” Nielsen said.
The invitation came after Booth and Antlers member Seth Rollins harassed the team late Tuesday night as they dined at the Old Chicago restaurant in Columbia. Booth and Rollins were asked to leave the restaurant. On Wednesday, Drew asked Booth to berate the Baylor players in order to motivate them.
Nielsen said he felt the Antlers behaved during the game but their actions at the restaurant crossed the line.
“We’re used to fans of opposing teams giving us a hard time,” he said. “In a public setting, women and children had to listen to that profanity.”
Booth said there were no children present.
Nielsen said he did not hold MU responsible for the Antlers’ actions at the restaurant, and that he felt the university was not responsible for the actions of fans on a weeknight in a public setting.
Chad Moller, director of media relations for MU’s Athletic Department, agreed.
“Whatever was alleged to have happened at Old Chicago, it’s out of our jurisdiction,” he said.
The Antlers were also reprimanded for their behavior during Saturday’s game against Oklahoma.
Rollins shouted a comment about Oklahoma coach Kevin Sampson’s daughter. Rollins said he was escorted out of the arena, where he gave security false information.
Rollins will not be allowed to attend Missouri games for the rest of the season for the incident. He has filed a complaint with student affairs.
The Antlers poked fun at their reputation at the end of the Baylor game.
“We behaved, give us a cookie,” they chanted.
Since their formation in 1976, the Antlers have been scrutinized for their antics. The group came under fire last month at an MU Faculty Council meeting. The council addressed the need for stricter policies in regulating fan behavior after the Antlers’ actions at a Dec. 19 game against Indiana.
The council dropped a proposal after Tad Dunn, MU’s director of game-day operations, sent an e-mail to the Antlers, warning them to improve their behavior.