Thursday, October 11, 2007

Spy Wars

At USC, almost anybody can get into practice. At Oklahoma, the athletic department pays for private security officers to patrol its tree-lined field.

It's impossible to know how much spying actually occurs in college football, but the practice has been going on for a long, long time, writes Dave Wharton of the Los Angeles Times.

Oklahoma was preparing to play Louisiana State in the 1950 Sugar Bowl when it caught a man watching practice through binoculars from behind a nearby house. He was a former Tiger player who claimed to be scouting talent for a professional team.

Some 20 years later, an Oklahoma booster allegedly dressed as a painter to get inside Memorial Stadium during a Texas practice.

In the early 1980s, an NCAA investigation found that Florida had sent a graduate assistant to rival campuses each week.

Last season, a West Virginia student was caught diagramming plays at a Marshall practice. Police found him carrying telephone numbers for the Mountaineer coaching staff.

And then there was the unidentified man who appeared at Notre Dame practices dressed as a priest. It was later believed that he was a gambler looking for inside information.

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