Not marked "Mitre" or "Gilbert"
In 1982, The University of Pittsburgh Rugby Club brought some unusual warm-up equipment to a game against Juniata College. What did they bring?
A. Jet Packs
B. Fluffy Pink Tutus
C. A bag of live Rattlesnakes
D. Severed Human Heads
Answer: Severed Human Heads.
In an effort to prove their studliness, the Pitt Boys kicked around preserved human heads from the school of dentistry during warmups. As a result, they were banished from campus sports for eight years, all the players were suspended, and two had criminal charges brought against them.
(My thanks to John "Montana" Thomas for alerting me to this one. By the way, I confirmed this with a U of Pittsburgh alumni and rugby player I met one day. He was understandably reluctant to furnish details when I told him I wanted to document this on a web site. - Wes)
But the U of Pittsburgh Rugby Club was hardly innovative...
After he was dead, the body of Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector, was dug up, and his head was used as a football in Westminster Hall. Since that incident, an English clergyman kept Cromwell's head, refusing to return it to the "authorities" because of the indignities that it had suffered earlier. (From "Ripley's Believe It or Not.")
In perhaps the first international fixtures of any of the football codes, in the Middle Ages the townsmen of Cheshire were known to play with the Danish. Unfortunately for the Danes concerned, they were dead at the time. Being competitive types, the Cheshiremen cut off their heads and kicked them about for sport. (Anthony Mann, from the Manchester Guardian, 11/13/98)