It took less than 12 hours for the University of Missouri to release a statement clarifying Tigers head football coach Barry Odom saying his players are prohibited from owning — legally or illegally — a handgun while a member of the team.
Odom’s comment came during Wednesday’s weekly SEC coaches-media teleconference call. Montgomery Advertiser Auburn beat writer Matthews Stevens asked each available coach for their program’s policy on guns. The question was for a story about a handful of recent gun-related arrest around the conference, including at Auburn. The report says most coaches follow their respective school’s policy, but Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason and Kentucky’s Mark Stoops said their respective programs have different restrictions.
The University responded to The Advertiser the next day before most people were at work. Stevens reports the statement read:
“Our program’s policy does not prohibit players from legally owning guns. What Coach (Odom) was referring to when he talked about ‘not allowing it in the program’ was the policy that states that if a player has a legal issue, and an illegal gun is involved as part of that legal issue, then the player is removed from the program. If a player has gone through the legal channels to properly own a gun, then that’s their personal choice.”
While most of us sit around wondering which statement is true, Stevens reports The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) plans on finding out.
Stevens writes non-profit pro-gun organization reached out to The Advertiser the night of Odom’s statement and said it will be investigating “numerous universities and university sports team policies, practices or positions on firearm acquisition, possession, storage, carry, transfer or deposition.”
“We are requesting public records on or relating to the firearm policies of various institutions, including their sports programs, and look forward to reviewing those with our legal counsel,” FPC president Brandon Combs said in a statement to the newspaper.