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K-State Athletics: Ritalin and Puppies

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K-State's athletic department has stopped court storming. But that wasn't enough.

Aristide Economopoulos/THE STAR LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

K-State Men's Basketball - #WhyI'mProud Video

In its quest to establish a "model intercollegiate athletic department," maybe K-State's next (over)step in the nobody-really-cares sportsmanship battle will be mixing Ritalin with the soft drinks sold at basketball games.

That's about all there is left.

To see the good John Currie and Kirk Schulz have done at K-State, you can park your car on the blacktop parking lot east of the football stadium. Look to the southwest and you'll see the K-State Basketball Training Facility. Walk to the top of the hill and the West Stadium Center looms. To the north, bulldozers and cranes busily erect the edifice that will enclose the bowl at Snyder Family Stadium.

Or you can look on paper. K-State has won 44 football games and a Big 12 title in the last five years. The basketball team has won a Big 12 regular-season championship and been to the NCAA Tournament more often than not. The athletic department operates in the black.

Stroll over to campus and see the success there. K-State was recently upgraded to a "highest research activity" institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. NBAF is rising from the Kansas dirt and could vault K-State further upward in the world of academic rankings. K-State 2025 proceeds apace.

The vision is there. The foundation for successful progress and growth has been laid. Now the carpet is going in, all under the watchful eye of Schulz and Currie. But the overall scene is marred by the rolled-up sportsmanship newspaper both hold over the dog they lovingly distrust and call "K-State fan."

And this time, the dog didn't even lift its leg over, let alone pee on, the carpet of their model intercollegiate athletic department before they swatted it with a stereotypical K-State sportsmanship video. It's the kind of thing this department has become known for.

So here we are, jokingly (?) wondering if the Bramlage beverages will be spiked in order to keep things controlled, err, "model." And it's all unnecessary.

K-State, both the fanbase and the actual athletic programs, seemingly turned a corner a few weeks ago. After a victory over No. 1 Oklahoma, the fans stayed in their seats.

The result - in the stands, as well as on the court - was a long time coming. After the overblown "chicken-winging incident" at last year's KU game, the athletic department has made it a priority to stop court storming. They achieved a landmark victory in this battle a couple Saturdays ago. Thanks to repeated warnings by the public address announcer that anyone entering the court would be prosecuted for trespassing, not to mention a result that was not in doubt for a solid five minutes, the fans stayed in their seats.

But this landmark victory wasn't enough. In its never-ending quest to publicly flog itself for the apparent transgressions of 18-21-year-old students, the athletic department posted the video above. Set to music appropriate for a Middle Ages movie conquest, rather than bureaucratic policy change, the video features quotes from Pat Bosco, Schulz and Bill Snyder. It shows pictures of students holding signs that are often illegible due to the size of the writing and the glare of the camera.

Sigh.

Like your good friend who's not a terrible singer in the car, but isn't as good as he thinks, K-State's athletic department can't quite carry this tune. Without getting too deep in the constitutional law weeds, Currie and the athletic department know they can't enforce speech codes at athletic events. Why they continue to try and control the behavior of college students when they won the more important victory remains a mystery to me.  And while I consider the more vulgar chants needlessly childish, I'm also not in favor of swatting puppies for no good reason.