A 50-by-50-foot Cougar banner that was supposed to be on proud display at today’s Apple Cup was stolen sometime Thursday night or Friday morning.
Officials aren’t sure who took the banner, and despite the timing, Washington State University officials aren’t blaming the rivalry with the University of Washington.
“My first thought is it certainly wouldn’t be a WSU student,” said Bob Eggart, a WSU construction engineer who worked to hang the banner.
He said football fans have cheered the sign during its first two appearances at games this year.
The banner has hung from the Plant Biosciences Building, which still is under construction. It was easily seen from Martin Stadium.
The sign, which cost about $10,000, weighed more than 200 pounds, Eggart said. It’s white with the crimson Cougar head logo.
“They’re not going to be able to hang it up without someone noticing it,” Eggart said of the thieves.
The banner was bunched up about 3 feet from the ground and roped to the building. Before the game, workers would have unfurled it.
At least two people would have been needed to cut the ropes and haul away the banner, said Robert Strenge, WSU spokesman. It happened sometime between 5 p.m. Thursday and 6 a.m. Friday, he said.
Gavin Heaton, a sophomore who attends WSU football games, said fans will definitely notice the banner’s absence today as the Cougars take on the rival Huskies.
“They’ll be pretty upset,” he said.
Anyone with information is asked to call (509) 335-8548 or (509) 332-2521. A $500 reward is being offered for its recovery. Anonymous tips will be accepted, police said.