Morriss backs 'team building exercise'

Updated: March 4, 2010, 12:23 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

COMMERCE, Texas -- Campus police say a college football coach in Texas is backing players who removed every campus newspaper because they contained an article about teammates getting arrested on drug charges.

Former Kentucky and Baylor head man Guy Morriss is the coach at Texas A&M-Commerce, where an incident report filed by university police says he told officers he was proud of his players.

"I'm proud of my players for doing that," he said. "This was the best team building exercise we have ever done."

Morris did not stop there. When asked about the The East Texan newspaper, he panned "I don't read that crap."

Morris, who led the Lions to a 5-5 record last year, wasn't the only one to offer comment.

"I don't think they are smart enough to do this on their own," athletic director Carlton Cooper said early Wednesday of the incident.

No one has been arrested over the removal of 2,000 copies of paper on Feb. 25. Editor James Bright estimated the loss at about $1,100.

Campus police are investigating, school spokesman Randy Jolly said.

Morriss has been disciplined, but Jolly declined to discuss details. Also disciplined are the "football players involved in the East Texan thefts," school officials said in a statement.

Copies of the weekly newspaper, which is distributed free around campus, disappeared the morning of Feb. 25, shortly after football practice let out, according to the incident report. The lead story was about the arrest of two football players on drug charges.

Surveillance video near one of the newspaper racks showed two football players hauling off all copies of the paper, police said.

A policy printed in the newspaper says the first copy is free, but each additional copy costs 25 cents.

Bright, a senior journalism major, said Morriss' reaction is "appalling."

"He is condoning criminal activity," Bright said. "And to me, that is unacceptable."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report