clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Former Wildcat Sam Harvill dead; Trevor Knight on the radar; Morgan Burns collects more hardware

New, 150 comments

Tragedy strikes the #Family.

If you know someone who needs help, help them.
If you know someone who needs help, help them.
Clive Rose/Getty Images

That is a picture taken yesterday at Champions Stadium, the home field of the Shiloh Christian School Saints in Springdale, Ark. Shiloh has a storied history; Gus Malzahn coached there, Rhett Lashlee and Keith Frazier played there... well, Jim Bob Duggar graduated from there, too, but never mind that.

And the picture within the picture is that of former Saint, K-State Wildcat, and Pittsburg State Gorilla Sam Harvill. Harvill passed away Wednesday night in his home town of Stark City, Mo. There have thus far been no official details regarding the cause of Harvill's death, and we won't speculate despite the existence of credible rumors. But we can look back on Harvill's troubled past and mourn.

Harvill's teenage years were reportedly shadowed with intense pressure to succeed as an athlete. If accurate, that may in turn have led to Harvill's reputation as a manic weightlifter, reported to bench over a quarter-ton. He was a ferocious talent in high school, with an absolutely ridiculous list of high school honors.

But Harvill was troubled. He reportedly suffered from bipolar disorder, and his disappearance from K-State in 2012 was a major story. Complicating that were reports prior to his discovery in a vehicle on the grounds of Fort Riley that despite no longer appearing on the Wildcat roster he was still part of the team; after he was found, the university reversed that statement and said he was no longer in the program.

That reversal has still never been addressed.

Just two months later, Harvill was escorted off the campus of Drury University in Springfield, Mo., when he attempted to contact his former girlfriend who had recently broken off their relationship. He was told she wanted no contact, but returned to campus shortly thereafter and was arrested. The story had some rather disturbing and sordid elements, and Harvill was eventually convicted of aggravated stalking.

Earlier this year, Harvill enrolled at Pittsburg State, where he sat on a redshirt. By all accounts, he had stabilized and was happy, but a few months ago his social media presence evaporated. The news of his passing was the first he'd surfaced in the public eye since early in the fall semester.

It's hard to wrap one's mind around this, really. On the one hand, the safety of others is a paramount concern. We can't excuse Sam Harvill for his actions in Springfield in 2012. At the same time, we can question why he didn't get the help he needed. Mental illness is a serious problem, and just as we can't simply excuse his actions because of that illness, we also can't just handwave his illness with the personal responsibility flag. They are two sides of the same coin.

Sam Harvill was a tremendous talent. Somewhere along the way, that talent was derailed and wasted, and that's a shame. But not as much of a shame as his passing.

Rest peacefully, Sam. EMAW.

Morgan Burns earned another first-team All-America nod, this one from CBS. But Sports Illustrated only honored the Wildcat with honorable mention, while the Walter Camp Foundation -- which is actually one of the five selectors relevant to consensus designation -- ignored him completely.

And Trevor Knight has been granted a full release from Oklahoma; the quarterback is allegedly considering Kansas State as an option for his final year of eligibility.

More on Knight from Kellis Robinett and from Ken Corbitt, although other than pointing out Knight may not transfer at all there's not a lot of new information.

Bret Bielema actually called Bill Snyder a third of the way through the season for some advice and support, reports Corbitt. We make fun of "Bert", but he and Snyder are obviously still very close.

Iowa State stormed back from a 20-point second-half deficit to beat Iowa 83-82 last night, but that's not the story. The story is that the court got stormed at Hilton, and this time something bad happened: Des Moines Register columnist Randy Peterson suffered a compound leg fracture when he got trampledtied up with someone, and had surgery last night.

We've had some fun at Peterson's expense in this space, but that's a horrible thing to endure and we sincerely wish him a quick recovery. We've also had lots of fun at the expense of the Big 12's sportsmanship policy, but in this case we're going to have to insist they follow through on their intentions. It's easy to argue that kids are just having fun and make jokes about how trying to stop them from behaving in a certain way only encourages them... when nobody's actually getting injured. Now that the fears have come true, it's probably time to take the issue seriously.

The Big 12's volleyball scholar-athlete of the year is K-State's own Kersten Kober. Kober is a junior in accounting with a 4.0 GPA and the starting libero on the squad. She is the first Wildcat volleyball player to earn the honor, and eighth Wildcat to earn the award overall. (It's the ninth award for K-State, however, as Petra Niedermayerova won it twice.)

You have sports today. The Carol Robinson Pentathlon kicks off at 10am at Ahearn. Junior Adam Deterding hopes to repeat as champion. Live results are available at Heartland Timing.

Tomorrow, the entire squad will take part in the K-State Winter Invitational, also at Ahearn and starting at 11am. Again, live results via Heartland.

Score another one for K-State over their in-state rivals. Campus Pride ranked K-State as the Kansas university with the most inclusive climate for LGBTQ students and faculty, according to the Collegian's Addie Linn. Obviously, that's because despite any differences we may have, we're all EMAW when it matters, right?