(COLUMBIA, Mo.)–“We are concerned for their welfare. That is all we can say at this point.”
Those words came from University of Missouri Chancellor Henry C. Foley Monday as Mizzou officials announced that 40% of the student body and more than 50 tenured professors had disappeared from campus.
“Right now it appears they left of their own free will,” said University of Missouri Police Chief Doug Schwandt. “That said, we’re evaluating just exactly how to define free will. It’s tricky in this situation.”
The disappearances began shortly after Offensive Coordinator Josh Heupel abandoned Coach Barry Odom and the Missouri Tiger football team several days ago. Within days, offensive line coach Glen Elarbee followed Heupel to Orlando, Florida. Today, strength coach Kurt Schmidt packed up and left, as well.
“At first we felt certain this was simply a staffing issue, maybe a personality conflict, or that Heupel had been sleeping with Coach Odom’s wife. We’ve seen it all before,” Chief Schwandt said, trailing off and shaking his head. “Now with all these academics and students leaving, too, we’re worried there is something else happening.”
Schwandt made the drinky-drinky motion with his hand.
“Worse. Kool-Aid,” he said.
Missouri Athletic Director Jim Sterk, taking a five minute break from holding hot stones and twinkling crystals against Michael Porter Jr.’s lower back, said, “We wish Coach Heupel and his followers well. We expect HeupelTown will be very successful for several months. On the advice of the FBI, we’ll have nothing else to say on the matter.”
KOMU-TV cameras captured footage of more than 300 students boarding a convoy of decommissioned Boone County school buses all bound for Orlando. One student agreed to talk to a reporter. While refusing to give his name, the young man revealed, “I thought I knew true love the night I woke up in Murry’s in a puddle of Miller Lite with a half-eaten Chicken Cheese Steak in my pants. Now, in the the Heupel Light, I know the warmth of a true companion. Also, I’ve never been to Universal Studios.”
More than half of this week’s classes have been canceled or turned over to graduate teaching assitants. The Religious Studies department has been particularly hard-struck with all but one of its students gone. The remaining student said she thought this was a good opportunity to start her own religion, but she hadn’t yet decided whether to base it on eastern philosophy or Taylor Swift.
Chief Schwandt said, “After what happened with DeMontie Cross down there in the woods, we have some experience in this area. We’re planning a full investigation into this HeupelTown situation just as soon as we hire three new officers to replace those that followed the coach to Orlando.”
Heupel refused to comment other than to say, “As near as I can tell, most cults end better than Coach Odom’s tenure will. And if you print that, make sure to spell my name right.”