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The Basketball-Football Brawls Of 2009: A Fake Oral History

Everyone loves a good oral history, right? Well, this one is fake.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

We're approaching the 6th anniversary of one of the most infamous 24-hour stretches in the history of KU Athletics.  On September 22, 2009, a skirmish broke out on campus between members of the basketball and football teams.  The next morning, a second skirmish, involving more members of each squad, occurred on a different part of campus, and suddenly the University of Kansas was making national news for all the wrong reasons.

The incident was rumored to be the result of a long-simmering feud involving a co-ed who had dated a member of one team, and was now involved with a member of the other.  At the time the brawls occurred, the football team was 3-0 and ranked #20 in the nation. The basketball team, still a few weeks away from Late Night, was the consensus preseason #1 team in the nation.

Round 1 occurred on a Tuesday evening, outside the Burge Union.  During the fracas, point guard Tyshawn Taylor dislocated his thumb and missed three weeks.


Bill Self, head basketball coach, 2003-current:  Uh uh uh, obviously this was not a good day for our program, without question.  Probably the worst day we've had since we've been here.

Tyshawn Taylor, basketball player, 2008-2012:  Indubitably, one should not question the accuracy of the reports regarding the summation of my injury.  My thumb had indeed suffered a dislocation. However, it is imperative for all to discern that this mishap occurred when I struck my opponent in the heat of the battle.  Any attempt by the local media to imply an alternative outcome would be both inaccurate and unfortunate.  Or, to put it another way:  I got a dislocated finger....from throwing a don't let the newspaper gas y'all up, aite?  Point plankn.

Sherron Collins, basketball player, 2006-2010:  AIN'T NO SEATS!

Carl Henry, father of basketball players Xavier and CJ:  Yeah, I knew Tyshawn dislocated his thumb.  Wasn't surprised, either.  That guy can't fight.  Neither can Sherron, for that matter.  You want to know who they needed in there fighting?  My son CJ.  He's better at fighting than both Tyshawn and Sherron, and I think it's obvious to everyone.  I just can't believe Coach Self didn't realize it.

Self:  Sherron is just such a stud.  He's just a winner.  Probably uh uh, probably the best guard we've had since we've been here.  Without question.

Todd Reesing, football player, 2006-2009:  The whole thing was just a bad deal, all the way around.  But you know, losing female support to another sport is serious business.  That's no laughing matter.  I can't say that I'm surprised how it went down.  If there's one thing worth fighting over, it's definitely girls, you feel me bro?

Cole Aldrich, basketball player, 2007-2010:  Wait, what happened?  Was this on the news or something?

Taylor:  There is one message I would like to enlighten you with-- though I am quite sure that my everyday actions have rendered my intentions behind them rather unambiguous.  Please refrain from conversing about me in any manner, since that act may be the impetus leading me to engage you with fisticuffs.  For the layperson:  Keep my name out ya' mouth, for you get smacked in it.  Point plankn.

Chris Harris Jr., football player, 2007-2010:  We definitely thought that the beef was squashed after that night.

Self:  No question, we thought that uh, uh, this was the end of the situation.  No question.

Aldrich:  I mean, I feel like I should have heard about this before today.


The next morning, Round 2 took place near Wescoe Hall, in front of a large number of witnesses in the heart of campus.  An argument involving around 20 players occurred, and it was alleged that basketball player Markieff Morris shoved a football player down a flight of stairs.


Markieff Morris, basketball player, 2008-2011:  Usually, I never leave the house without my BB gun.  I mean, we're from Philly, ya know?

Marcus Morris, basketball player, 2008-2011:  Family over everything.

Markieff Morris:  Family over everything.  But that day, I didn't have it with me.  When the dude charged me, I instinctively reached for the Airsoft, just to scare him off or something.  When I realized I didn't have it, I just reacted.  I really didn't want to throw him down the stairs.  It just kinda happened.

Aldrich:  Wait, 'Kief threw someone down the stairs at Wescoe?!?!  I KNOW I would've heard about that!!

Dezmon Briscoe, football player, 2007-2009:  It's fair to say that the Morris twins might have been underestimated in that scuffle.  But could you blame us?  You saw how they played the year before.  They got pushed around every game.  A couple of 6'9" dudes that can't even dunk?  We weren't worried.

Harris, Jr.:  We just didn't know that Hudy had been working with them all summer.  If we had known that, things would've gone down a lot different that day.

Carl Henry:  See, now here's my question:  Why didn't CJ get any playing time in this fight, either?  We've already established that he was a better fighter than both Tyshawn and Sherron.  And he still didn't get off the bench for this fight?  At this point in time, I was honestly wondering about Coach Self's evaluation process.  Someone get Calipari on the phone.  CJ is only 29 now, I'm sure he has some eligibility left.

Collins:  AIN'T NO SEATS!!!

Mario Little, basketball player, 2008-2011:  When that dude got up after he got shoved down the steps, his eyes sorta welled up with tears, like he was gonna cry or something.

Briscoe:  THAT is absurd!

Aldrich:  This just isn't ringing any bells for me.  Like, was it in the LJ-World?

Little:  I think if 'Kief had his BB gun with him, the whole thing could have been avoided.  That was usually his go-to for defusing situations.  When the Airsoft comes out, the haters hit the deck, that's what we always like to say.  Well, that and "family over everything."

Markieff Morris:  My brother and I actually got matching tattoos to commemorate the event.  We had a little bit of space open by our elbows.  Seemed like the thing to do.

Marcus Morris:  Family over everything.


The aftermath to the brawls was largely uneventful.  Taylor did miss close to a month with his injured hand, but there were no arrests, no suspensions, and no subsequent fights.  The beef, as they say, had been effectively squashed.  However, the wheels had been set in motion for at least one long-term repercussion.  The football team would win its next two games, but after losing its last seven in a row, head coach Mark Mangino was fired.


Reesing:  I don't really think the brawl played any part in how we finished the season.  It didn't take away from our focus on the field.  If anything distracted us that season, it was the chicks.  Definitely the chicks.  I mentioned the brawl was because of girls, right bro?

Mark Mangino, head football coach, 2001-2009:  It definitely wasn't a good look for our football program, I have some regrets about that.  But at the time, I wasn't too concerned.  Boys will be boys, right?  This kind of thing happens at colleges all across the country.  I figured what was the worst that could happen?  It's not like {former Athletic Director Lew} Perkins was itching for a reason to get rid of me or anything, and we'd lose our last seven games of the season, and players would start complaining about my coaching style, and I'd get run out of town.  Oh wait.

Charlie Weis, head football coach, 2012-2014:  I remember reading about the brawl that day, and I remember thinking:  Now THERE'S a program I could really sink my teeth into.  That's definitely a paycheck I can keep cashing long after I've been fired from the job.  Which is really the best thing about getting into coaching, you know what I mean?  As long as you never quit, and just keep getting fired, they HAVE to keep paying you until your contract is done.  It's kinda crazy, really.  ~takes long puff on cigar~ What were we talking about again?

Taylor:  The important thing is that I always stay true to myself.  I will always carry myself with the utmost austerity, and I will perpetually be recognized as a man who demands respect.  Or as my man Young Jeezy would say....I'm never outta character, I'm always a G about it.  Point plankn.

Carl Henry:  And another thing, I'm not even sure why Xavier had to be on campus for all of this when he wasn't playing in games yet.  I'll tell you what, if I had my way, he would have just stayed down here in Oklahoma, and we would fly him up for games.  Then he could come back right away afterwards and keep working out for the NBA Draft.  Class?  Forget class.  Who needs to go to class when you're going straight to the NBA?  I bet Coach Cal would have agreed with that plan.  Maybe I'll swing through Lexington this weekend.  Xavier isn't under contract right now, there's probably still time for him to transfer to Kentucky.  They might go 40-0 this season.

Self:  The main thing that I took away from an unfortunate event, uh uh uh, was that Sherron is just such a stud.  He just knows how to win, without question, uh uh, he's the biggest winner we've had since we've been here.  No question.

Collins:  AIN'T NO SEATS!

Marcus Morris:  Family over everything.

Taylor:  I believe it was the French philosopher Descartes who once said, "There are three types of people in the world:  Those who don't know anything happened, those who wonder what happened, and people like us in the streets that make things happen."  Well, it was either Descartes or Bushwick Bill on 'The Chronic' album.  One of the two.

Aldrich:  I really feel like I may have missed something big here.  Can I borrow your smartphone?  I'm gonna fire up the ol' Google machine.