Reports out of Morgantown: Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein could be formally charged as early as today with a fourth-degree felony arson in connection with Saturday’s football game against West Virginia. If charged and convicted Klein will face one to three years in prison.
Rowdy Mountaineer fans have a long standing tradition of burning sofas. In the past, authorities in Morgantown relied on its misdemeanor malicious burning ordinance, which carried a maximum $1000 fine to try to discourage the behavior. Officials recently have stiffened the penalties for couch burning in order to maintain civility in West Virginia. This incident is different. This wasn’t your typical offender; white male, West Virginia fan, 18 to 22 years old, and highly intoxicated. This was Collin Klein, an outsider.
Fire Department Capt. Ken Tennant,“What happened here in Morgantown this past Saturday night was disrespectful, uncalled for, and showed a complete lack of respect for Mountaineer defenders. This goes beyond lighting couches on fire, Mr. Klein burned our secondary all night long and it will no longer be tolerated. We tried to handle it on a local level . . . but unfortunately, it has not been a deterrent for opposing quarterbacks, for whatever reason. The collective decision is to take a more serious approach.”
Police Chief Ed Preston added, “We are taking this matter very seriously. During Saturday night’s game Mr. Klein torched our defense time and time again with little regard for the fans in the stands. He did it through the air and on the ground. It looked as though he was crazy on bath salts running around the field trying to burn each and every Mountaineer defender.”
Klein was 19 of 21 passing for 323 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also rushed for 41 yards and 4 touchdowns on the night. With Klein under center the Kansas State Wildcats scored on their first eight possessions.
Collin Klein could not be reached for comment but his lawyers released this statement on his behalf. “Mr. Klein would like to apologize to the Mountaineer faithful who came out to see a good match-up between two Heisman Trophy contenders and two Big 12 teams. He understands that his actions this past Saturday night disappointed the Mountaineer fan base; and for that he is truly sorry. To the West Virginia defenders Mr. Klein would like to express his most humble apologies to those who may have been juked out of their Jockey’s, run over, or just burnt to a crisp like a couch at a Bin Laden death celebration. Mr. Klein mentioned with importance that he is ignoring all distractions and he would like put this one behind him and his current focus is on Texas Tech.