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Autzen lets sleeping Duck Lips lie Some banned noisemakers arrive on game day, but security keeps hands off.

Byline: Mark Baker The Register-Guard

The days of Duck Lips at Autzen Stadium might be numbered, but you could still find them Saturday during the University of Oregon football team's rout of Missouri State.

You just had to look hard for them - like in the UO student section.

"I haven't really looked, but I've seen a few," said UO senior Zach Burdon, who had a standing-room-only ticket to Saturday's game and a pair of the distinctive faux duck bills hanging around his neck in front of his dark green No. 21 LaMichael James jersey.

Burdon wore the Duck Lips under his jersey when he entered the stadium - not that security working the game would have confiscated them.

"We aren't confiscating them yet," said a Crowd Management Services worker at the top of the stairs leading down to Section 8, one of the UO student sections, in the second quarter. "We're just telling people they won't be allowed to have them soon."

But Vicki Strand, the Athletic Department's events coordinator, said she hopes that day never comes.

"I will never say we absolutely would not confiscate them, but our hope is we won't confiscate," she said after the game Saturday. "We don't want to be in the business of taking away Duck Lips."

Strand said she knew of one fan Saturday who was told that he either had to return his vuvuzela - the type of plastic horn noisemaker that created a constant din at World Cup soccer matches in Africa earlier this year - to his car, or have it confiscated. The vuvuzela "truly are noisemakers," Strand said.

But the sound of Duck Lips were few and far between Saturday, according to Strand and other stadium attendees. Strand said she was unaware of any confiscations, citations or reprimands involving Duck Lip scofflaws.

The Duck Lips are now considered outlawed under the terms of a Pacific-12 ban on artificial noisemakers that was actually instituted about 10 years ago. "It's a new interepretation of an old rule," UO spokesman Dave Williford explained earlier in the week.

In recent years, some fans have found the duck calls banned at certain road venues, but not at Autzen.

Still, some Autzen fans on Saturday questioned the logic.

"It's part of our fan base - why would they take them away from us?" asked UO senior Kristen Wassom, who was standing near the top of Section 8 and surreptitiously blowing into her Duck Lips every now and then during the second quarter.

Wassom said she bought her Duck Lips in Arlington, Texas, at a makeshift Duck Store when she attended the UO-Louisian a State game on Sept. 3. "If they're trying to ban them from the stadium, they shouldn't sell them," she said.

Although the Crowd Management Services worker was standing only a few feet from Wassom, he said he hadn't heard a single pair of Duck Lips as the game approached halftime.

Jenoa Gorder on Saturday was working in the Duck Store inside The Club at Autzen, open to about 3,500 fans who pay for premium tickets. Asked if any Duck Lips were for sale, Gorder said, "Actually, we're not allowed to sell them anymore."

Told that the Duck Store near campus had been selling them on Friday, Gorder said, "That's because they're not on the (stadium) grounds."

In the fourth quarter, Duck fan Nancy Dear had a pair of Duck Lips around her neck as she enjoyed a cocktail in the Club at Autzen with her husband and longtime season-ticket holder Dan O'Neil.

Told that the Duck Lips might someday be banned entirely from Autzen, Dear said: "Why? It's our stadium. They've been taken away from me at every 'away' game - now they're going to take them away from me in my home stadium? That's horrible! I love my 'Lips.' "

Dear turns 65 on Oct. 15, when the Ducks host Arizona State at Autzen.

"If they want to walk all the way to the top of the stadium and take them from me, I'll fight them," said Dear. "If they want to attack a senior citizen over a pair of Duck Lips, so be it."

Team Editor Jeff Wright contributed to this report.
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Title Annotation:Local News
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Sep 18, 2011
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