Officials at Auburn University have confirmed that the oak trees at Toomer's Corner have been poisoned with herbicide and are not likely to survive. A caller to the Finebaum show in late January boasted about injecting the trees and an ensuing investigation found that the trees had been exposed to "a very lethal dose" of tebuthiuron. The school has taken steps to try and save the trees which are believed to be more than 130 years old. Police are investigating the incident.
Alabama fans have seen less serious acts of vandalism to the Walk of Champions in recent weeks. From a minor defacement to the Paul W. Bryant Statue and to the grounds of the Walk of Champions. As a result, the university has taken steps to discourage any further vandalism.
Bottom line, these are all a reprehensible acts and have nothing to do with the rivalry between the two schools and respective football programs.There is not quid pro quo or eye for an eye with these incidents. They are all flat out wrong in and of themselves. The only reason they continue to be committed is out of some type of pathetic misguided oneupmanship in the name of team allegiance.
While ardent fandom can be an understandable cause to acts of excess, it is not carte blanche for one to behave as if rules of regular decency or the laws of the state itself do not apply. It is beneath the legacy of both institutions that anyone would commit an act of vandalism out of some misguided idea it somehow expresses their support. And to cross the line and commit an act of wholesale destruction of a recognized symbol of the school is simply unforgivable.
Toomer's Corner and Auburn's tradition of rolling it to mark the Tiger victories is something we Alabama fans mock mercilessly as a matter of course. Yet it should never be overlooked that the peculiar ceremony has become integral part of the rivalry we share with our cross-state foes. The loss of the trees would be a huge blow to the glorious cacophony of emotion that marks the Iron Bowl and the Alabama vs Auburn rivalry will be lessened for it.