Originally created 03/27/04

USC cries foul after fowl complaints



AIKEN - Cocky-Doodle-Lou, a 6-year-old rooster, just wants to strut his stuff at University of South Carolina Gamecock baseball games, but he's being asked by university athletic officials to fly the coop.

Lou has been asked to limit his attendance to one baseball game a week, said owner Mary Snelling, of Aiken.

A proud alumna of USC, Ms. Snelling holds two degrees from the school and hasn't missed a baseball game in 15 years. For the past five years, she has brought the cheering chanticleer to dance on the dugout at home and away games.

"Some kids have never seen a live gamecock, and it's grown to be part of the whole game experience," she said.

But university officials who rule the roost are crowing a different tune after hearing a number of complaints about the feathered cheerleader.

"You have a wild animal at a public facility, feces, the smell and the situation where owners of the bird did not have it tied up," said Shawn Eichorst, the senior assistant athletic director at USC.

Besides, Mr. Eichorst said, the university already has a mascot - Cocky, a human who dons a rooster costume for games.

Ms. Snelling, who wears a shirt that reads "Lou's Road Crew," said she will put Lou on a leash and limit his appearances to once a week.

Reach Karen Ethridge at (803) 648-1395 or karen.ethridge@augustachronicle.com.