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Texas A&M Commerce Coach Admits to Removal

Published: Monday, March 1, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07

  Texas A&M University-Commerce football Head Coach Guy Morriss admitted to police that his team was responsible for the removal of student newspapers distributed on campus Wednesday.

The East Texan published a story on Wednesday titled "Football Player Arrested in Drug Bust."

Lt. Jason Bone, crime information officer, later interviewed Morriss, who admitted to his team members' involvement in the theft and said he supported their actions.

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

According to police reports, video footage was attained of players Stephen DeGrate and Dakota Burch removing copies of Wednesday's issue of The East Texan.

Morriss, former head football coach for Baylor, said he was not in agreement with the act being classified as theft because it is a free newspaper.

According to The East Texan, Adam Goldstein, attorney advocate for the Student Press Law Center, said the actions taken by the members of the football team are illegal.

The East Texan is free for the first issue and 25 cents after the first copy.

According to Bone's police report, Athletic Director Carlton Cooper said the football team could not have stolen the papers without the aid of outside help.

"I don't think they are smart enough to do this on their own," he said.
Bone said he showed the stolen paper to Morriss, who said he "didn't read that crap."

Bone said in the police report that The East Texan cost 25 cents after the first free issue, and the prosecutor would decide if it would be considered a theft.

"Then I guess I will be the first one out of the door in handcuffs," Morriss said. He then left the police station.


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Fri Apr 2 2010 20:44
Dr. Dan Jones, President of A&M-Commerce, defended Coach Morriss and explained away his endorsement of theft and cover-up. President Jones has yet to state if he endorses coach's foul language.
Thu Mar 11 2010 18:15
Morriss' apology actually says "Oops, me and my big mouth."

I like the AD's remark that the players aren't smart enough to think of it (stealing newspapers) themselves. There's a lot of info in that statement.


Fri Mar 5 2010 14:14
It is a crime. Whether they bothered to find that out before they did it or not, it is a crime. Petty theft, but the reason behind it is petty as well, so it fits. Most free papers in the USA have this same rule. To claim to not know so no big deal, it is to claim you didn't know the speed limit when it's clearly posted or available to you (required knowledge) before you get your license. You're still getting the ticket. You still have to pay for your lack of understanding the rules of picking up that license.

This may have been a team building exercise in the 50's or 60's when it came to free papers, but it's not anymore. It's censorship without reason and an attempt to bury the truth. Those are two things that have no place at a university much less in a republic like the United States.

Thu Mar 4 2010 19:40
This university has integrity. This editor has obviously our university's best interest in mind, for we have what appears to be a staff member that shames us all by his words and actions. I applaud the editor for seeking justice in this situation. There are many, many people/students/staff that put a LOT of work into "that crap"!! For a University staff member to condone this poor behavior is horrific! It is stealing. It is WRONG. And, if these football players didn't want bad press, they should have avoided getting into trouble. I agree with the other comments, this coach obviously has his morals offline. For that, he should be re-evaluated.
Thu Mar 4 2010 13:39
I say scrap the football program and give all the money we are spending on them to programs and students that might actually make a difference! I do hope that the rest of the world realizes that not all of us at A&M-Commerce are unethical. One of the tenents our university was founded on was integrity. Well folks thanks to a bunch of dumb jocks and thier fearless leader- integrity has been shot all to hell.
George Smith ETSU 1968
Thu Mar 4 2010 13:03
I am a graduate of East Texas State (TexasA&M-Commerce), and a journalism, English and business major.

The comments by Coach Morris are reprehensible and conjures up images of Neanderthals trying to figure out what the heck fire is all about.

Theft ... a team building exercise?

The coach is, at best, a horrible role model, at worse, a more horrible role model.

But with the coach's comments put alongside those of the athletic director, the coach comes across as an inspirational motivator. Carlton Cooper should be ashamed of himself for his comments.

Looks like the university has apologies to offer, some fences to mend and some discipline to hand out.

Thu Mar 4 2010 10:41
What a moron.
Wed Mar 3 2010 19:31
I don't think we will know exactly what Morris meant (not MENT) until he makes a statement himself, which hasn't happened. I will be more than happy to forgive and forget as soon as he takes ownership of the situation and carries out the disciplinary actions with his team. I have been working with Coach Morriss indirectly for the past six months and he is a good man with good intentions.
Wed Mar 3 2010 18:34
i agree its not a big deal... i know i didnt know that you pay 25 cents after your first copy and i doubt you did before reading it... people need to get off their high horses, they didnt know it was technically against the law since they are usually free and the coach was supporting his team. people act like like they actually stole money from the paper... if they charge anyone with a felony for something so stupid that would be ridiculous.
Wed Mar 3 2010 17:23
Wed Mar 3 2010 17:18
you all have NO idea what happened. The players had no idea the papers were not free! and Bashing the Coach is BS!.. he was not condoning them for taking the news papers. YOU ALL ARE IDIOTS! DO HALF OF YOU EVEN LIVE AROUND TXAMC??? Probably not, so dont assume you know what your talking about.
Wed Mar 3 2010 15:14
What an idiot. Fire him. Or count on the rest of the world looking down on you for your stupidity and warped values.
Wed Mar 3 2010 14:32
You have got to be kidding me. That there would be any debate over whether a coach should keep his job after applauding his players' theft is mind-boggling and emblematic of today's society. I like sports, but I'm bone-tired of athletes -- AND their coaches -- getting around laws that apply to other people simply because they provide (assuming they win) some entertainment. And let's not forget what precipitated the theft. The team didn't like the publication of a story about a player being arrested in a drug bust. Are they so stupid as to think in today's information-saturated society that stealing some newspapers would actually eliminate or reduce coverage of the event? Their actions generated MORE negative publicity. Good job, boys. Keep up the good work.
Wed Mar 3 2010 13:50
Maybe the Battalion, East Texan, and Fox 4 news should look into the number of complaints of suspected drug use coming from football players' neighbors and past punishments meted out for this infraction. This was too brazen to have been a first time offense.
Wed Mar 3 2010 13:41
If the coach doesn't know that stealing newspapers is...stealing, he's too stupid to work for a university. If he's so unethical that he thinks stealing is a good idea, he's too sleazy to work for a university. In either case, the administration should fire him. If this guy is truly proud of his players for being thieves, he is horribly, horribly misguided. Attitudes like his are harmful the national discourse and bad for Texas.
Wed Mar 3 2010 13:31
I AM a student at A&M-Commerce. I am utterly disgusted. First of all, the footballers acquired alcohol and drugs for a minor who was visiting for a recruitment stay. The minor ended up going to the hospital, and these idiots didn't want to speak up. One was courageous enough to say what happened (which probably saved the minor's life). Of course, he was punished as he ought to have been, but what about the others who admitted to being there and did nothing to stop it (I'm sure they contributed, too). The coach should be suspended without pay for this statement and the footballers who were there kicked off the team. Anyone caught stealing the papers should be sued (and the coach for supporting the action). Even if you don't prosecute for theft, it is still interfering with our first amendment rights for freedom of speech. We cannot let thugs take away our constitutional rights because they were caught doing something illegal and against school policies.
Wed Mar 3 2010 13:10
FYI- Texas A&M University-Commerce is not home to the Aggies!!! We are not Aggies and are proud of it!
Wed Mar 3 2010 13:07
Prosecute the players for theft. Fire the coach for being a poor role model and teaching our kids that theft, lies and deception are ideals.
Wed Mar 3 2010 11:19
Morriss -- you idiot! As a Kentucky fan, I always thought you were dumb and incompetent, now I know you're corrupt too. What a role model; in one fell swoop you encouraged your players to illegally cover up their own misdeeds and to trash the First Amendment. Resign, you fool.
Wed Mar 3 2010 11:18
Morriss -- you idiot! As a Kentucky fan, I always thought you were dumb and incompetent, now I know you're corrupt too. What a role model; in one fell swoop you encouraged your players to illegally cover up their own misdeeds and to trash the First Amendment. Resign, you fool.

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