Saturday, March 16, 2002
Pitt Football Team Forces Out Nerds
University of Pittsburgh Honors College students (“nerds”) were awakened early Wednesday morning by marauding Panther football players who forcibly removed them from their current Forbes-Craig Apartments. The invasion followed a two-alarm fire that completely destroyed the football players’ house on nearby Semple Street (see "Fire Destroys Semple Street House"). The nerds were relocated to a gymnasium in the Fitzgerald Field House.
Earlier in the night, as the last burning remains of the house were extinguished by firefighters, Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and Panthers Head Coach Walt Harris met with the homeless student-athletes on, what was earlier, their front yard. During the discussion, Pitt star quarterback David Priestley suggested the players be allowed to live in (university-owned) Forbes-Craig Apartments. Nordenberg initially balked at the idea, but Harris went over his head and ok'ed the move, citing his players need for rest in the off-season. “I can't have my players worrying about where they’re going to live,” Harris added. “As Tangerine Bowl Champions, we have a lot of work to do, and my boys need the very best available.”
Shortly after daybreak, the move began. As players huddled on Forbes Avenue in front of their newly designated place of residence, Priestly informed the other new tenants that they could take any room they wanted. As the jocks ran screaming into the building, nerds quickly jumped out through open doors and windows. The former tenants' belongings soon followed.
Nordenberg and Harris monitored the move from across the street atop Harris’ “coach's golfcart.” Priestly was also present, accompanied by tackle Rob "Ogre" Pettiti. As nerds hurriedly gathered up their possessions and whatever dignity remained, the chancellor politely assured the shaken geeks through his megaphone that they would be accommodated. Harris' shouts of “MOVE IT, MOVE IT!” quickly drowned out Nordenberg's megaphone. The football team, settled in their new apartments, saw them off from their windows and doorways, chanting “NERDS, NERDS, NERDS!”
“I'm tired of these jocks pushing us around all the time,” honors nerd William Francis complained. “This is no way for a college student to learn. How can I be expected to study my quantum physics with all these balls bouncing around? I swear, one day I’m going to get those jocks and beat them at their own game–perhaps I'll have sex with Priestley’s girlfriend, maybe on the Moonwalk at the Bigelow Bash. That'll show him.”
The nerds are currently residing in the Fitzgerald Field House, where each was provided a 3 by 6-foot cot. There is also a 1950's era black and white television for their viewing pleasure, and the chancellor assured them that “anyone with allergies will be provided with a foam rubber pillow.”