O-S-U Bedlam Spirit Alive Despite Player Suspensions

Wednesday, November 24th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

School spirit is alive in Stillwater. Just one day after four Oklahoma State football players were suspended, the student body came together Tuesday night for a bonfire to kick off bedlam week. The bonfire celebration drew several thousand O-S-U fans. But there was more than their rival game with O-U hanging in the air. There's also the suspension of four team stars and the tragedy that killed 12 students at another bonfire at Texas A & M just last week.

Before the Oklahoma State Cowboys lit the bonfire that fuels their fighting spirit, they couldn’t forget another group of students who died last week preparing a similar bonfire. So the entire group stood for a moment of silence in their memory. "This means a lot to give them their bonfire that they didn't get to have," said O-S-U junior Karen Warfield.

The idea of bonfire may be dampened, but the camaraderie glowed brightly. “Spirit, tradition, it's the beginning of the Bedlam series, OU versus OSU," noted O-S-U safety manager Don Pierce. Pierce isn't just interested in the rivalry on the gridiron. He's got his eye on some other boundaries, the bonfire’s boundaries. He's in charge of making sure there aren't any accidents. Unlike the Texas A&M bonfire that towers across the central Texas skyline, O-S-U’s 30-foot bonfire was not built by students. "The students have always asked us to build it for safety reasons," explained Pierce. The bonfire is made with 2,000 wood pallets, unlike the Texas A&M bonfire where more than 6,000 logs were used. Why do O-S-U students want to have the bonfire? "It shows how much we want to beat O-U," said Warfield.

Safety isn't the only concern. Some fans are wondering if the O-S-U football team can win against O-U Saturday, since the Cowboys lost four starting players to suspension for violating team policy. "We hope it doesn't affect us,” said O-S-U student Chris Gilliland. “We've got a good team without those guys. Coach Simmons did the right thing, so we hope that the team will back him up."

No one will say why the players were suspended. Stillwater police are investigating the reported rape of a college student last Sunday morning where four men were reportedly present. A resident where the rape occurred told the News on Six that four players were at the house that night. No arrests have been made. The university says it has no comment on the matter until the investigation is complete. Police say it will be at least next week until they present the case to the district attorney.