‘Decabet’ to be settled at later date

2/12/2014 12:00 AM


By Curtis Anderson / TrackTown USA


EUGENE, Ore. – As soon as Oregon and Texas were announced as the two teams matched up in the Alamo Bowl last December, Trey Hardee reached for his smart phone.


The 2006 University of Texas graduate wanted to get a friendly wager started with his good friend and fellow decathlete, Ashton Eaton, a 2010 graduate of the University of Oregon.


“Hey Ashton,” he tweeted. “It’s Texas vs. Oregon. Something has to be riding on this.”


Eaton was more than game.


After all, the No. 10 Ducks were 13.5-point favorites over the Longhorns, even though the game would be played in San Antonio, a mere 80 miles from Hardee’s residence in Austin, Texas.


To Hardee’s credit, he wanted nothing to do with the point spread.


“I knew it would be an uphill battle,” he said. “That’s how much I love Texas. That’s the faith I had and the support I wanted to show. I didn’t want to use the point spread, especially with a friendly bet like this.”


As it turned out, Hardee, who attended the game in person, needed a lot more than 13.5 points.


Fueled by two UO interception returns for touchdowns, the Ducks rolled to a lopsided 30-7 victory in head coach Mack Brown’s emotional farewell after 16 seasons at Texas.


So, what were the stakes of the wager?


The answer was supposed to arrive on Saturday at the Millrose Games in New York City.


Eaton and Hardee, the respective gold and silver medalists in the decathlon at the 2012 London Olympics, were both entered in the 60-meter hurdles and pole vault.


Under the terms of the bet, the loser would be decked out in the opposing school’s colors during warm-ups and all media events. In addition, they would have to “give props” to the opposing school by making the appropriate hand signal associated with that school.


In Hardee’s case, that meant wearing a green-and-yellow Duck uniform and flashing the “O.”


Unfortunately, the so-called “decabet” is off … at least for now.


Hardee, the 2009 and 2011 IAAF world champion in the decathlon, was forced to scrub his appearance at the Millrose Games because he still needs to get a qualifying mark in the heptathlon for the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships, March 7-9, in Sopot, Poland.


That quest took him to The Netherlands this week.


“Gotta get a WC qualifier!” he tweeted on Tuesday. “Kinda busts the decabet. I’ll settle up at the earliest convenience.”


Had Eaton lost the bet, of course, he would have been required to wear the traditional burnt orange uniform of the Longhorns, and throw out the “Hook ‘em Horns” hand signal.


“It’s always fun when stuff like this comes along,” Eaton said prior to learning of Hardee’s withdrawal from the meet.


“It’s an opportunity for us to mess around outside the track. The college system in the U.S. is great because it sets up tremendous competition and loyalties.”


Hardee agreed, at least in part.


“As collegiate athletes, you never want to wear another school’s colors,” he said. “I’m not looking forward to it, but I’m a man of my word and I will honor the bet to its fullest.”


It just won’t happen at the Millrose Games.