MANHATTAN, Kansas – Kansas State University has agreed to sanctions from the Big 12 Conference over violations of its sportsmanship and ethical conduct policies over a halftime performance Saturday during K-State’s opener.
The potential violations occurred during the first home football against South Dakota with the band’s halftime depiction of the KU mascot, the Jayhawk.
The theme of the halftime show against South Dakota was “space,” and involved scenes from Star Trek and Star Wars. During one formation, the Kansas State formed the Kansas mascot and what was supposed to be the starship Enterprise crashing into it.
The spaceship wound up resembling male genitalia, which in turn set social media ablaze.
“At Saturday’s home football opener Kansas State University fell short of its obligation to conduct itself in a consistent manner with the principles of sportsmanship,” said President Kirk Schulz. “Good sportsmanship is part of the Wildcat way; we do not want to do anything that takes away from the tremendous efforts of our student athletes and the award-winning Pride of Wildcat Land marching band.”
After Saturday’s game, the administration formally apologized to the chancellor and athletic director at the University of Kansas, which was the mascot depicted by the band.
Frank Tracz issued a statement Sunday in which he said “there was absolutely no intent to display anything other than the Enterprise and the Jayhawk in battle.”
K-State students previously signed a sportsmanship pledge as a way to increase awareness of good sportsmanship. The sanctions proposed by President Schulz demonstrate the university’s commitment to provide additional leadership in this area:
• A self-imposed $5,000 fine to be paid to the Big 12 Conference for violation of the league sportsmanship policy.
• A single-game suspension for the university director of bands. The suspension will take place Nov. 28 at the game against the University of Kansas.
• Prior approval for the content of all band halftime shows by representatives from the Office of Student Life and the Athletic Department.