A University of Alabama fan accused of poisoning Auburn University’s landmark oak trees in a fit of football rivalry voluntarily surrendered for psychiatric testing at a state mental facility Thursday, likely delaying his trial yet again.
Harvey Updyke, 63, is charged with poisoning the Toomer’s Corner oaks with a powerful herbicide during Auburn’s national championship run in the 2010 football season, which included a 28-27 win over Alabama. Auburn football fans traditionally fill the trees with toilet paper after a victory.
Updyke has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to charges that include criminal mischief and desecrating a venerable object. In court, he wore a tie with alternating stripes of Alabama’s crimson color and a houndstooth pattern popular among Crimson Tide fans.
OFFICER CLAIMS BIAS
A local police officer claimed that he was fired for giving a speeding ticket to a popular college football coach — fighting words in a state that takes its sports rivalries very seriously.
Officer Michael McClatchy issued a ticket to Clemson coach Dabo Swinney on Sept. 3 after he clocked him going 63 mph in a 35 mph zone in Pickens, S.C., located in the same county and just 20 miles down the road from Clemson.
Word of the stop traveled fast as fans who recognized the coach and stopped to get his autograph shared the news on message boards and Internet sites. Their versions of the incident varied widely, with some saying Swinney had a meltdown and others alleging that McClatchy — a fan of Clemson’s bitter rival, the University of South Carolina — had let his rooting interest cloud his judgment.
The city of Pickens said it fired the officer because he posted his version of events on a South Carolina message board while on duty and using a department computer.
UCLA starting linebacker Jordan Zumwalt will miss Saturday’s game at Colorado after getting into a scooter accident this week in Westwood. … A key witness against convicted child molester and former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, known in court papers as Victim 1, has a book deal and will soon reveal his identity, a publisher announced. Financial terms for the book were not disclosed. … Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith says the move to a new four-team FBS playoff system may mean not scheduling so many games against Mid-American Conference teams. The Buckeyes have played MAC teams almost annually since ending a 58-year span without meeting an Ohio or MAC team in 1992.