Oregon athletes and students battle in massive snowball fights on campus

Oregon freshman running back Thomas Tyner smiles after getting hit by a snowball during a snowball fight near the Student Recreation Center in Eugene, Ore., on Dec. 6, 2013. (Ryan Kang/Emerald)

Oregon freshman running back Thomas Tyner smiles after getting hit by a snowball during a snowball fight near the Student Recreation Center in Eugene, Ore., on Dec. 6, 2013. (Ryan Kang/Emerald)

Posted by Victor Flores on Friday, Dec. 6 at 2:33 pm.

After weight lifting this morning, University of Oregon football players took to social media to invite the student body to a snowball fight. Senior wide receiver Josh Huff, as well as other football players, used their Twitter accounts to spread the word.

The battles took place on the Student Recreation Center fields on 15th Avenue and in front of the Collier House on 13th and University.

At the Rec fields initally, students and athletes gathered on field No. 1. Kenon Lowe stood in the middle of the field with his dog, Kyrie, and a small group of people congregated to play with the 7-month-old pup. Asked if he named Kyrie after NBA star Kyrie Irving, Lowe said, “Most definitely.”

Lowe added later that part of the reason he brought Kyrie was to avoid getting attacked.

“Nobody threw snowballs at me,” Lowe said.

Up to 12:44 p.m., the players and students playfully threw some snowballs back and forth. Tensions were cool. People were chatting, smiling, looking calm. Then, at 12:45, all hell broke loose.

Players and students fired snowballs back and forth, running to attack each other or running to avoid the rampage. Two of the most vocal players were linemen Karrington Armstrong and Tyler Johnstone, but dozens of players participated in the action. Armstrong said the students and athletes were basically fighting against each other. The students vastly outnumbered the athletes.

“It’s not going too well,” Armstrong said shortly after the fight started.

Later, Armstrong yelled an apology to all of the attacking students.

“I am sorry for Arizona!” he screamed, referring to Oregon’s loss to the Arizona Wildcats On Nov. 23.

Several players got pelted with snowballs. At one point, a girl poured a box full of snow on running back Thomas Tyner’s head. He looked miserable as he brushed the mountain of snow off his head and back.

Running back Byron Marshall, who was at the Collier House fight, might’ve taken the worst punishment of any player.

“I got a nut shot and an eye shot,” Marshall said around 1:45 p.m. when the fight was winding down. “I’m done.”

Toward the end of the fights, players reflected on the day and discussed why they decided to organize the fight in the first place. Johnstone said they wanted to take advantage of the rare Eugene snow.

“Just because it’s fun,” Johnstone said. “It’s snow and no one ever organizes a snowball fight.”

Linebacker Rodney Hardrick wore a black hoodie with his large No. 48 on the front. He was one of several players wearing shirts with their jersey numbers, and he said he strongly regretted doing that.

“It’s a big target and everyone’s been killing me,” Hardrick said.

Overall, the players said it was a fun experience, even though the students were merciless. Hardrick and Huff said it was a way to repay students for their support throughout the season.

“It’s been really fun,” Hardrick said. “They (the students) kinda teamed up on us. We were outnumbered, but it’s a nice way to give back.”

Beth Maiman contributed to the reporting of this story.

Follow Victor Flores on Twitter @vflores415.
Follow Beth Maiman on Twitter @bethamaiman

Continuing coverage of the snowball fight and its consequences can be found on our topics page.

  • Ticked Off Alum

    Hey Beth, any word on if these athletes were stupid enough to be some of the students that attacked the citizens in cars?

  • appalled

  • Ashamed of Ducks

    Shame on the Football Team AGAIN! The remakes made by Huff and DAT most likely made the Sugar Bowl go to OU so they get Bama. Now we made national morning news by more immature, inappropriate behavior by our football team. Grow up guys and act appropriately!