By: Allan Wolper

Student Statisticians Get Booted For Prank

Luckily, Kevin Procter, the assistant sports editor of The
Tennessean in Nashville, caught it. Or somebody might have
sued Lipscomb University for libel. Only now can the full story
be told.

On Feb. 12, the Lipscomb women’s basketball team lost a game to
Lambuth University, 76-69. Two guys – student statisticians
– felt the referees needed serious laser eye surgery. To
make their point, the students listed the refs as famed musicians
Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and Blind Lemon Jefferson in a box
score faxed to The Tennessean.

But The Tennessean’s Procter was ready for them. “It was
pretty funny and pretty stupid, too,” Procter said, laughing. “We
are alert to these kind of things. We once had someone phone in a
hole-in-one [for a golfer] using Ray Charles as a witness.”

The volunteer statisticians, E&P has learned, were fired,
and Steve Potts, Lipscomb’s athletic director, sent letters of
apology far and wide.

The Babbler, the student weekly newspaper, claims to know
the identity of one of the culprits, but the editors aren’t
talking. “The athletic director asked us not to run any story
about anything because it would embarrass the university,” said
Matt Kirby, editor in chief of The Babbler. “We thought
the story was overblown anyway. We are a small Christian school.
The university gives us some of our money.”

Allan Wolper ( is a contributing editor to E&P.

Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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