KU Jokes

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Although we strongly hold the opinion
that all KU jokes are good jokes, this
is our collection of favorites. 

Many are courtesy of the tigerboard,
while others are courtesy of our
like-minded friends.

Rock chalk chickenhawk


North America Hates KU

"Pictures" of KU Coach Mangino
(courtesy of OU fans)

Beaker basketball players -- "he is the girlfriend and I am the guy"
http://kansas.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1010364, Nov 2, 2009

Today Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich were named Associated Press' Preseason All-Americans. Aldrich said the two teammates developed a strong bond over the summer. How close?

"It's almost like he is the girlfriend and I am the guy," Aldrich said. "If you tell Sherron that he'll tell you the opposite." 

Of course. Wait. What? 

"I just like to tease Sherron about little things, like I say he is from the suburbs but he really isn't," Aldrich said. "He's fun though. That's the greatest thing about our relationship is that we can mess with you guys and can have fun with you guys and have a little fun with each other." 

So does Collins have an explanation for why he is the girlfriend in this basketball relationship?

"I don't," Collins said. "I know your heads are lost too. I don't know what's with it. I'll ask him when I get out there."

Beaker basketball (football) players hate beaker football (basketball) players.

KC Star article, Sept 24, 2009
Daily kansan article, Sept 23, 2009

Darkow cartoon making fun of beaker self-loating

Photo ran exactly as above on kusports.com on October 9, 2007.

Cartoon from dudmatic.com

Cartoon from KC Star's Lee Judge, March 26 2007.

That cartoon reminded me that I had these from Darkow at the Columbia Tribune.
No idea why I've never added here before.

Is making fat jokes inappropriate?  How 'bout in the form of a Christmas Poem?

  'Twas the night before Christmas, and in Mangino's place,
  Every creature was lounging and stuffing their face.
  The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
  In hopes that the pizza guy soon would be there.
  When out on the lawn, the coach heard a loud clatter;
  He jumped up, and knocked over his sampler platter.
  Away to the window he crawled like a snail,
  His angina kicked in and he couldn't inhale.
  Then, what to his wondering eyes should appear,
  But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.
  As he drew in his head and was turning around,
  Down the Chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
  He shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly,
  And Mangino cried out, "Get in my belly!"
  St. Nick turned around, and he said, "Who are you?"
  Mangino replied, "I'm the coach at KU!
  "Tell me, Santa, do you really bring goodies and toys
  "To all of the world's good girls and boys?"
  Poor Santa, his jolly eyes quickly turned sad;
  "I'm afraid, Mark, this year you've been nothing but bad!
  "And furthermore, you in the crimson and blue,
  "I'm fat, but I feel like Kate Moss next to you!
  Santa glanced back at Fats looking ever so low,
  He said to him, "Sorry, Coach -- I've gotta go.
  As he left to deliver those dolls and toy trucks,
  He said, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all -- KU SUCKS!!"

KU defensive lineman Eric Butler is filing a civil suit against KU and NCAA because they won't grant him a waiver on eligibility due to "reasons of pregnancy".  D-lineman is pregnant, should be a good year for beaker football.  Story in Aug 16, 2006, KC Star.

Tim Flattery becomes first male member of beaker dance squad.  Story in Aug 11, 2006, Larrytown Journal-World.   I beg to differ, see picture of linebackers below.  I will vomit if there's ever a "golden guy" trotting out at halftime.

KU, home of a "'near absence' of innovative research." Cited in Aug 4, 2006 Lawrence Journal-World article.  "An 'alarmingly low number' of publications, lack of teamwork" also cited as major draws to beakerville.

1909 MU Cheer.  Glory, glory Hallelujah

What is a Jayhawk?  According to my new favorite columnist, the perfect mascot
"would feature a whisky-sodden cattle rustler swinging from a noose."  Or an "egg-sucking
bug-eater that sings like a dying monk".  Phil Luciano's column in the Peoria Journal Star.


Photo that ran from the University Daily Kansan on KU's linebacker corps.

Quote from beaker defensive end Charlton Keith, as reported on KU's website on Nov 16, 2004.   "I have gained a lot of weight since I've been here.  Coach Mangino has been patient with me, teaching me different techniques and a lot of other things."


Shoebird Roadkill Soup
Why does a bird need to wear shoes?  Who cares, just hit them with your car and make soup.  A recipe courtesy of a friend in an e-mail exchange:

  • 4 Cups of Water
  • At least one good-sized shoebird.  Ideally the shoes should still be attached and tire marks still present on the bird's beak.  This helps bring out the flavor.
  • 2 Onions for the crying beakers (in honor of Ole coach Roy)
  • 3 Carrots, sliced by Tiger claws.
  • Celery, so your pee smells funny
  • A pinch of ass
  • For authentic flavor, use charred wood from the 1863 burning down of Lawrence.  This will give the soup a smoky, surreal flavor etched in history.
  • Boil until you've smelled up the neighborhood real good.
  • Enjoy.  Serves four.



Photographic Evidence that Beakers are Evil....


True Life Humor from the mythical shoe-wearing birds:

Quote from former coach Roy Williams on KU signee after Williams broke the hearts of beakers everywhere and went to North Carolina "I don't think it's fair to David Padgett to be stuck out there now."  -- for further elaboration, see Gooden's quotes below. -- printed April 17, 2003 in the Lawrence Journal World.

Quote from former KU athletic director Al Bohl, comparing himself to a dove held in the hand of Roy Williams, just after being fired in an effort to hold on to dear old Coach Roy.  "This is a sad day for college athletics when a basketball coach has the power to hire and fire a university's athletic director," Bohl said.  "He had the choice to either crush me with his power of influence or let me fly with my visions for a better total program.  He chose to crush me."  -- printed April 10, 2003 in the Lawrence Journal World.

From the April 20, 2003 Lawrence Journal World --
Low moments in Williams era:
The obvious would be Williams turning out to be a liar -- let's be nice on Easter Sunday and call him a fibber -- regarding statements about his future at KU.  In July of 2000, after turning down a job at his alma mater, KU's coach said: "I said this would be the last one (news conference) I have until they fire me or I retire. There's no more job things. I can't stand but one. This is enough."

Quotes from KU star-forward Drew Gooden after being selected by Memphis in the 2002 NBA Draft.   Quotes appeared in June 27, 2002 KC Star.  "I didn't even know Elvis was from Memphis," said Gooden.  "I thought he was from Tennessee."  As for his alma mater, "I've lived in Kansas," Gooden said.  "That's about as bad as it gets."  Gooden later reworded the statement to "What I meant was that it's in the middle of nowhere."

From the July 16, 2002, Kansas City Star.... 
"It seems our new Kansas football coach is having a bit of a problem remembering just which school is now employing him.  Jayhawks coach Mark Mangino was the featured speaker at the Great Plains Associated Press Sports Editors luncheon on Monday.  And as Mangino talked of his team he said, 'I'm really proud of this team at Okla... oh... did I say Oklahoma?  I mean Kansas.'   Mangino, an assistant at Okalahoma last year, couldn't help but laugh and get a little red-faced over the slip of the tongue.   But some Jayhawks fans may be getting a little tired of all the Sooners references.   Mangino was recently featured on the Jayhawks season-ticket brochure still wearing his Oklahoma Sooners colors."

OK, now for generic jokes.  Your team sucks.
(more true-life humor near the bottom of the page).
In 1872, a kU student invented the condom, using a goat's intestine.  In 1873, a Mizzou student refined the idea by first removing the intestine from the goat.

A man walks into a store and says, "I would like a blue hat, red pants, blue sweater, and white shoes."  The clerk says, "Are you a KU fan?"  "Yes," replies the beaker, "How did you guess - by the color combination?"  "No," answers the clerk, "this is a hardware store."

How does KU count to ten ..... 0-1 0-2 0-3 0-4 0-5 0-6 0-7 0-8 0-9 0-10

A Jayhawker was walking in the woods when he came upon a river.  As fortune would have it, there was a fellow on the other bank wearing a KU hat.  The first Jayhawker yelled out "Hey there, can you tell me how you get to the other side of this river?"   The gent in the KU hat replies, "You dumbass, you're already on the other side of the river!"

Q: How do you keep a Jayhawk out of your yard?
A: Put up a goal post!

Q: Did you hear about the big power outage at the KU student union?
A: Forty Jayhawks were stuck on the escalator for 3 hours.

Q: What are the best 4 years of a KU student's life?
A: The 3rd Grade.

Q: What do you get if you breed a groundhog with a KU football player?
A: Six more weeks of bad football.

Q: What do you get if you drive by the KU campus real slow?
A: A degree.

Q: Did you hear they've decided to cover the Allen Field House court in cardboard next season?
A: People at KU have decided that their team always looks better on paper.

Q: How do you get a KU graduate off your porch?
A: Pay him for the pizza.

Q: Why do KU students hang their diplomas from their rearview mirrors?
A: So they can park in the handicapped spot.

Q: Why doesn't KU have ice on the sidelines?
A: The guy with the recipe graduated.

Q: How many KU freshmen does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None, it's a sophomore class.

Q: What do you call a person from KU in a three piece suit?
A: The defendant.

Q: What's the difference between a litter of puppies and KU fans?
A: Eventually puppies grow up and stop whining.

Q: What does the average KU player get on his SAT's?
A: Drool.

Coach is only dressing 10 players for the Jayhawks game against MU.    The rest of the team will get dressed by themselves.

KU has decided to change it's football mascot to the opossum since they play dead at home and get killed on the road.

Q: What happens when a KU grad takes Viagra?
A: He gets taller.

Q: Why don't KU grads use 911 in an emergency?
A: Because they can't find "eleven" on the phone dial.

Q: Why was KU late for so many games last year?
A: Every time they passed a sign that said "Clean Restrooms", they did.

Q: Why did they have to cancel the Christmas play at KU last year?
A: They couldn't find 3 wise men and a virgin.

Q: What is the difference between a KU cheerleader and a catfish?
A: One has whiskers and smells, the other is a fish.

Q: Did you hear that KU has found a new use for sheep?
A: Wool.

Q: What do KU cheerleaders and tornadoes have in common?
A: Both end up in trailer parks.

Q: What's the difference between a KU bar and a circus?
A: The clowns don't talk at the circus.

Q: How do you keep a KU girl from biting her nails?
A: Make her wear shoes.

Q: Did you hear about the KU athlete that won a Gold Medal in the Olympics?
A: He was so happy, he had it bronzed.

Q: What's the most useless thing in a KU fan's house?
A: The KU fan.

Q: How do you run a small business?
A: Start with a large business and put a KU grad in charge.

Q: How do you break a KU grad's finger?
A: Punch him in the nose.

Q: Why don't they teach drivers ed and sex ed on the same day in Kansas?
A: They don't want to wear out the mule.

Q: How many KU students does it take to eat a rabbit?
A: Three. One to eat and the other two to watch for cars.

Q: What's the difference between a KU cheerleader and a heifer?
A: About 30 pounds.

Q: What does it say on the bottom of Coke bottles in Kansas?
A: Open other end.

Q: What do you call a KU fan with half a brain?
A: Gifted.

Q: How do the brain cells of a KU fan die?
A: Alone.

The Student
A first grade teacher explains to her class that she is a Kansas Jayhawk. She asks her students to raise their hands if they're Jayhawks too. Not really knowing what a Jayhawk is but wanting to be like their teacher, their hands explode into the air like fleshy fireworks. There is, however, one exception. A girl named Kristen has not gone along with the crowd. The teacher asks her why she has decided to be different. "Because I'm not a Jayhawk." "Then," asks the teacher, "What are you?" "Why I'm a Missouri Tiger," boasts the little girl. The teacher is perturbed now, her face slightly red. She asks Kristen why she is a rebel. "Well, my mom and dad are Tigers, so I'm a Tiger too." The teacher is now angry. "That's no reason," she says loudly. "What if your mom was a moron and your dad was a moron. What would you be then?" A pause, and a smile. "Then," says Kristen, "I'd be a Jayhawk."

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein arrives at a party and introduces himself to the first person he sees and asks, "What is your IQ?" to which the woman answers, "241." "That is wonderful!," says Albert. "We will talk about the Grand Unification Theory and the Mysteries of the Universe. We will have much to discuss." Next Albert introduces himself to a man and asks, "What is your IQ?" to which the gentleman answers, "144." "That's great!," responds Albert. "We can discuss politics and current affairs. We will have much to discuss!" Albert goes to another person and asks, "What is your IQ?" to which the man answers, "51." Albert responds, "How 'bout them Jayhawks?"

The Drive
There's a guy from Mizzou driving from Columbia to Lawrence, and a guy from KU driving from Lawrence to Columbia. In the middle of the night, with no other cars on the road, they hit each other head on and both cars go flying off in different directions.    The Tiger manages to climb out of his car and survey the damage. He looks at his twisted car and says, "Man, I am really lucky to be alive!" Likewise the Jayhawk scrambles out of his car and looks at his wreckage. He too says to himself, "I can't believe I survived this wreck!"  The Jayhawk walks over to the Tiger and says, "Hey man, I think this is a sign from God that we should put away our petty differences and live as friends instead of arch rivals." The Tiger thinks for a moment and says, "You know, you're absolutely right! We should be friends. Now I'm gonna see what else survived this wreck." So the Tiger pops open his trunk and finds a full unopened bottle of Jack Daniels. He says to the Jayhawk, "I think this is another sign from God that we should toast to our new found understanding and friendship." The Jayhawk says, "You're right!" and he grabs the bottle and starts sucking down Jack Daniels. After putting away nearly half the bottle the Jayhawk hands it back to the Tiger and says, "Your turn!". The Tiger twists the cap back on the bottle and says, "Nahh, I think I'll wait for the cops to show up."

 The Flight
A Missouri alum gets on a turboprop headed for Wichita. As he sits down he introduces himself to the guy across the aisle from him and learns he is a kansas alum. He kicks off his shoes and announces he's getting a coke and offers to get one for the kansas alum and the ku fan accepts. When he leaves to get the coke, the ku alum leans over and spits in his left shoe. When he returns, he discovers a second ku alum has joined the first and repeats his offer. When the second accepts and the MU alum goes to get him a coke, the second ku alum leans over and spits in his right shoe.  Upon landing, the Missouri alum slips his feet back into his shoes. He immediately realizes what has happened as the two kansas alums are laughing out loud. The Missouri alum sighs and says, "when are we going to get over this insane hatred of each other? The spitting in shoes... the pissing in cokes..."

Dear Abby
Dear Abby,

I am a sailor in the United States Coast Guard. My parents live in a suburb of Houston and one of my sisters, who lives in Beaumont, is married to a transvestite. My Father and Mother have recently been arrested for growing and selling marijuana and are currently dependent on my other two sisters, who are prostitutes in Matamoras. I have two brothers, one who is currently serving a non-parole life sentence in Attica, for the rape & murder of a teenage boy in 1994, the other currently being held in the Wellington Remand Center on charges of incest with his three children.  I have recently become engaged to marry a former Thai prostitute who lives in  Brownsville and indeed is still a part-time "working girl" in a brothel, however, her time there is limited as she has recently been infected with an STD.   We intend to marry as soon as possible and are currently looking into the possibility of opening our own brothel, with my fiancée utilizing her knowledge of the industry working as the manager. I am hoping my two sisters would be interested in joining our team. Although I would prefer them not to prostitute themselves, at least it would get them off the streets and, hopefully, the heroin.    My problem is this: I love my fiancée and look forward to bringing her into the family, and of course I want to be totally honest with her. My question is - Should I tell her about my cousin who graduated from KU?

Worried About My Reputation

The Mountain
A NU, OU, KU and MIZZOU fan were climbing a mountain one day. Each proclaimed to be the most loyal of all fans of their football team.  As they climbed higher, they argued as to which one of them was the most loyal of all. They continued to argue all the way up the mountain, and finally they reached the top.  The NU fan shouted, "This is for the Huskers!" and hurled himself off the mountain, shouting as he fell to his doom.  Not wanting to be out done, the OU fan threw himself off the mountain, proclaiming "Boomer Sooners!"   Seeing this, the MIZZOU fan walked over and exclaimed, "This is for everyone!"... and pushed the KU fan off the of the mountain.

Claudia Schiffer
A Tiger fan, and Jayhawk fan and Claudia Schiffer were riding in a train in the same compartment. As the train entered a tunnel, all became dark. There was a loud kissing sound followed by a *SMACK*!!! As they came out of the tunnel, the Tiger and Claudia sat next to each other looking across to the Jayhawk holding his cheek. The Jayhawk thought...that darn Tiger kissed Claudia and she must have thought I did it and slapped me. Claudia thought, the Jayhawk must have tried to kiss me, and missed and kissed the Tiger instead and got smacked. Meanwhile the Tiger was thinking, this is great, the next time we go through a tunnel, I'm going to make a kissing sound again and smack that Jayhawk!

What does your dad do?
It's the first day of school and the teacher thought she'd get to know the kids by asking them their name and what their father does for a living. The first little girl says: "My name is Mary and my daddy is a postman." The next little boy says: "I'm Andy and my Dad is a mechanic."  Then one little boy says: "My name is Jimmy and my father is a striptease dancer in a cabaret for gay men."  The teacher gasps and quickly changes the subject, but later in the school yard the teacher approaches Jimmy privately and asks if it was
really true that his Dad dances nude in a gay bar. He blushed and said, "I'm sorry but my dad coaches football for the Kansas Jayhawks and I was just too embarrassed to say so."

Not a Joke, but that makes it even funnier...
Thursday, November 18, 1999 -- Jayhawks player suspended over chalupa
Associated Press
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- A 270-pound University of Kansas football player got stuck in the drive-thru window of a Taco Bell when he tried to charge employees who left the chalupa out of his order, authorities said.

Dion Rayford, a 6-foot-3 senior defensive end, was suspended for the game Saturday against Iowa State, the last game of his college career. He was released on his own recognizance after appearing in court Wednesday on charges of disorderly conduct, having an open container of alcohol and misdemeanor damage to property.

An innocent plea was entered for Rayford, who had started all 11 games this season.

Rayford, 24, allegedly became angry about 2 a.m. Wednesday when he didn't get the chalupa. He tried to climb through the 14-by-46-inch drive-thru window, said Lawrence police Sgt. George Wheeler.

"When you take a big guy and put him through a small space, something's got to give," Wheeler said.

The night manager, Tiffany Holly, and three other employees locked themselves into an office, said restaurant manager Tito Lopez.

None of the employees was injured.

"I'm disappointed for the young man, and frustrated as a coach to be put in the position to suspend someone from the final game of their career," said Kansas coach Terry Allen. "But we can't tolerate that type of behavior in our program."

The headline in the University Daily Kansan (nice name) after Mangino was named coach of the beakers.

kansanheadline.jpg (231005 bytes)



Not a Joke, but the History behind MU vs KU

In 1854 Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, leaving the choice of slavery to the residents of the two territories. Abolitionists were determined that Kansas would be a free state, and they sent in hundreds of settlers from the North.    Lawrence was largely settled by families from New England.

Proslavers came, too, from as far as Alabama, but most were from Missouri. When Kansas held its first election in 1854 it was decreed that only residents could vote, but about 1,700Missourians showed up at the polls, demanded the right to vote, and weak-kneed officials, or maybe sympathizers, let them.

The result made slavery legal in Kansas, but that lasted only until the next election, when there were fewer fraudulent votes. But meanwhile, there were armed clashes between the two sides, and the Union Army made life precarious for proslavers living on the Missouri border.

C.R. "Doc" Jennison, a Kansan by way of Wisconsin, was given a Union commission and he formed the Seventh Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, nicknamed the Jayhawkers, a tag later to be made famous by volunteers like Wilt Chamberlain of Philadelphia, Clyde Lovellette of Indiana,Charley Hoag of Chicago and various other imports from coast to coast.

Back to history. Jennison's troops plundered farms and settlements on the western border of Missouri, stealing supplies and horses, and killing proslavers or any man opposed to the Union. The looting was so widespread that for years any fine horse as far away as Iowa was said to be "out of Missouri by Jennison."

On the other side was Quantrill and those who rode with him, including the James brothers, the Younger brothers and Bloody Bill Anderson, all pledged to kill anyone who served or supported the Union. They would strike and then melt into the Missouri hills. 

In an effort to stop Quantrill, the Union decided to jail women who hid them. Union troops arrested 17 women and put them in a prison on Grand Avenue in Kansas City, Mo. Among the 17 were three sisters of Bloody Bill and a cousin of the Youngers.

It was August 1863, and one afternoon the prison collapsed into a pile of bricks. Four died, including one of the sisters and the cousin. Quantrill and his men heard about it, and decided to raid Lawrence in retaliation. About 400 of them hit Lawrence at dawn Aug. 21.

History isn't sure how many men and boys were killed in Lawrence. Various accounts say the number ranged from 140 to 180. No women were killed, but it's agreed that 80 became widows.  The town was looted and burned, and you can see it all on television about once a month. 

Now comes Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Ewing, a Kansas lawyer by way of Ohio and the first chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court. He commanded the Union troops along the border and in retaliation for the raid he decided to depopulate the western Missouri counties where proslave raiders hid. He issued General Order No. 11, ordering everyone out of three western Missouri counties, and a part of a fourth. 

Jennison and his troops were prominent among the enforcers of the order. They burned, looted and killed, and it amounted to robbery and murder. Only 600 people were left in Cass County, which once had a population of 10,000. 

Alberta Wilson Constant, a Missouri author, wrote: "The displaced had no place to go. They wandered. They camped out. The sick died. The weak collapsed.  Some who had the means got to a steamboat and left, never to return. ... For generations these counties were called "The Burnt District.' Tall chimneys standing by fire-blackened foundations were called "Jennison tombstones.' "

The victims of Order No. 11 wrote that they had been "Jayhawked" by Jennison's men, and Missourians still say that at least once a year, and usually more often. And this question remains: Was Quantrill or Jennison the bigger villain? In their day, the question would have been, which was the bigger hero?  

Also, the "Tigers" nickname traces its origin to the Civil War period. At that time, plundering guerilla bands habitually raided small towns, and Columbia people constantly feared an attack.  Such organizations as temporary "home guards" and vigilance companies banded together to fight off any possible forays. 

The town's preparedness discouraged any guerilla activity and the protecting organization began to disband in 1854. However, it was rumored that a guerilla band, led by the notorious Bill Anderson, intended to sack the town. Quickly organized was an armed guard of Columbia citizens, who built a blockhouse and fortified the old courthouse in the center of town.  This company was called "The Missouri Tigers." An excellent article on these Tigers can be found here

The marauders never came. The reputation of the intrepid "Tigers" presumably traveled abroad, and Anderson's gang detoured around Columbia.   

Soon after Missouri's first football team was organized in 1890, the athletic committee adopted the nickname "Tiger" in official recognition of those Civil War defenders.


More on the history

Jayhawkers and Bushwhackers
The Roots of the MU-KU Rivalry

Prior to the Civil War, the average Missourian was a Christian, family-centered, land-owning farmer. While most were of Southern descent, they were not slave-owners. Only one in eight Missouri families held slaves. They were Unionists. At the State secession convention, even after several states had seceded from the Union, over 70% of Missourians had voted for Unionist delegates. These Missourians were about to be forced into a war they did not want.

It started with the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, a national contest for supremacy between pro-slavery and abolitionist forces, with Kansas a prize to be claimed by the side which could control statehood elections. Both abolitionist and pro-slavery forces sought electoral victory through a combination of emigration and cross-border trips at election time. Abolitionists focused on a well-funded campaign of emigration from the Northeast. In the battle of public sentiment, abolitionists attacked not just the institution of slavery, but also the innermost character of all Missourians. Missourians were depicted by anti-slavery settlers in Kansas as degraded slaveholders that had acquired subhuman characteristics. Pro-slavery forces in Missouri relied more heavily on “short-term emigration” on Election Day, both to cast votes and to intimidate the opposition. These electoral conflicts led to the capture and plunder of Lawrence, an abolitionist hotbed, by pro-slavery forces from Missouri in 1856. While no Lawrence citizen was injured in this incident, it had bloody consequences. In an act of revenge several days later, abolitionist John Brown brutally hacked to death five pro-slavery Kansas settlers. The enmity felt by the opposing sides proved fertile grounds for the seeds of violence sown in this terrorist act, and the contest for Kansas became a bloody one.

Envy and greed were additional factors. As a result of severe droughts in 1859 and 1860, the recent settlers of Kansas faced loss of crops, financial ruin, and possible starvation. Because of its older and more robust socio-economy, Missouri remained a land of relative riches.

Unprincipled Kansans needed only a pretext to grab these riches from the detested Missourians, and the outbreak of the Civil War gave them their chance. One of the first groups to take advantage was the Seventh Kansas Cavalry, also known as the Southern Kansas Jay-Hawkers, under the command of the notorious Charles Jennison. The term “jayhawk” was of Texas origin, denoting outlaws who would rob and plunder the unwary traveler or settler. As the Civil War unfolded, the term Jayhawker became synonymous with Kansans who used the causes of anti-slavery and Unionism as cover for predatory and criminal behavior. As an Illinois newspaper editor reported, “A Jayhawker is a Unionist who professes to rob, burn out, and murder only rebels in arms against the government…They are all lawless and indiscriminate in their inequities.”

With many able-bodied Missouri men away in both Confederate and Union arms, Jennison and his gang of Jayhawkers had free play among the women, children, and old men who remained across the border. The Jayhawkers had taken to heart the years of anti-Missouri propaganda. In the words of one Kansas abolitionist, “When I deal with men made in God’s image, I will never shoot them; but these pro-slavery Missourians are demons from the bottomless pit and may be shot with impunity.” An orgy of plunder and murder commenced. Jennison raided Westport, Kansas City, and Independence. Other groups of Jayhawkers under Jim Lane and James Montgomery plundered and burned a string of Missouri towns: Osceola, Pappinsville, Morristown, and Dayton. Millions of dollars in property were stolen or destroyed. Much of the plunder was taken back to Lawrence and auctioned. Hundreds if not thousands of Missourians were dead at the hands of the marauding Kansans. The results of the Jayhawker activities were devastating. Sometimes the lucky ones were the men that were shot, hung, or burned. A Jayhawker sergeant’s report of one dispossessed family illustrates the human toll: “…we saw a woman approaching from down the dreary, uninhabited roadway. She was on foot and was carrying a baby hugged to her breast, with four little children also walking…All were in their nightclothes and all wet to the skin; children crying from cold and hunger. The babe was dead…the mother died from exposure within 36 hours. The four children were sent to four different homes.”

The base nature of the Jayhawkers was recorded by numerous eyewitnesses, including many that would be inclined to look favorably on their activities. During the summer of 1861, the surgeon in Montgomery’s Jayhawker command described most “soldiers” in his regiment as “villains who joined the force for protection in their plundering operations.” Admissions of the Jayhawkers themselves damn their actions. Lieutenant Colonel Daniel R. Anthony of Jennison‘s Southern Kansas Jay-Hawkers, commenting on the plunder that could be had under the banner of war, wrote his brother-in-law back east “Don’t you want a captaincy or a majorship in the army - or don’t you want to come out here and speculate in cattle - horses and mules - there is a good chance to buy cheap - and stock a farm here at little expense - I would advise you to come out and try it.”

With the Jayhawkers operating under the flag of Union forces, many Missourians viewed the war as nothing more than a federally sanctioned attack on their homes, families, and friends, and flocked to the flag of the Confederacy. Too late, high-ranking Union leaders realized the damage that the Jayhawkers had wrought. General Henry Halleck, Commander of the Department of the West, wrote of the Jayhawkers: “They are no better than a band of robbers; they cross the line, rob, steal, plunder, and burn whatever they can lay their hands upon. They disgrace the name and uniform of American soldiers. The course pursued by those under Lane and Jennison, has turned against us many thousands who were formerly Union men.”

But the genie was out of the bottle. Missouri partisan rangers organized to thwart the Jayhawkers. Unprincipled Missourians used the actions of the Jayhawkers to justify similar raids into Kansas. And the violence continued to spiral. Unable to differentiate between legitimate Missouri Partisan Ranger activities and the Missouri brand of Jayhawkers (called bushwhackers), Union forces adopted severe policies against all in arms against the Union. One such policy was execution of all captured Missouri guerillas. This only steepened the downward spiral. An inspector general of the Union army, tasked with reporting on the impact of the no-prisoners policy in Missouri, wrote “The existing practice enables evil-disposed soldiers to rob and murder loyal and inoffensive citizens under the cover that they were acting as bushwhackers.” In retaliation, Union soldiers captured by Missouri Partisan Rangers and guerillas, formerly paroled, were now also summarily executed.

Another Union policy was the imprisonment of female relatives of known and suspected Missouri guerillas. The collapse of a Union jail (suspected to have been intentional) killed five of these young women, and crippled several more for life. This in turn precipitated Quantrill’s infamous retaliatory raid on Lawrence, which was subjected to the same tactics previously used by Jayhawkers on their Missouri incursions. In response came one of the final escalations of the conflict, Union General Thomas Ewing’s General Order No. 11, the forced depopulation of several Missouri counties, of all inhabitants, whether they were Union, Confederate, or neutral.

Slavery was an evil that needed to be ended; unfortunately, the war to end slavery was used as cover by criminals such as the Jayhawkers to achieve their own evil ends. It was a brutal war in Missouri. In a post-war speech, Union Brigadier General John B.Sanborn stated “There exists in the breasts of the people of educated and Christian communities wild and ferocious passions…(which when loosed in the guerilla war) become more cruel and destructive than any that live in the breasts of savage and barbarous nations.”

Those passions, and the cruel and destructive behavior, occurred in people on both sides of the conflict. One side in the conflict took particular pride in it. Sanctimonious Kansans, more proud of their victory over Missouri than shamed at the cruel and destructive criminal action involved, later chose the term Jayhawk as official mascot of the University of Kansas athletic teams.