Kansas State will play Georgia today at Bramlage Coliseum in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 PM and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU (with streaming available on WatchESPN/ESPN3). Jon Morse has all the details in today’s HOW TO WATCH post.
This is the official Coaches v Cancer/Stripeout game, with fans being asked to wear either white or purple.
As you already know, Kansas State has won four of its last five, including three straight. Georgia’s run has been sort of the opposite, with the Bulldogs losing four of the last five, including a tough double overtime loss to Arkansas on Tuesday.
This game, though not critical for Big 12 standings, could still be crucial for Kansas State. In his latest Tournament Thursday feature, Luke Thompson notes that a win over Georgia could improve the Wildcats’ tournament prospects, as the team would have at least one win over a team with a .500 record or better.
The last time Kansas State played Georgia, a baseline jumper from an unheralded freshman brought victory for the Wildcats. That freshman was Dean Wade, the #deanwolf himself, who now thinks of that shot at Georgia as something from “a lifetime ago.” Since then, Wade has evolved into a star who averages 20.3 points a game and can beat opponents from anywhere on the court.
The big news, as reported by Jon Morse earlier today, is that Tom Hayes, Kansas State’s defensive coordinator, is retiring. Hayes’ career began in 1977 and after 10 stops at various college and NFL destinations (including a brief stint as interim head coach at Kansas), he was named defensive backs coach in 2011, and then promoted to defensive coordinator the next year.
Hayes’ defense, while generally stout against the run, were never that great against the Big 12’s high octane passing offenses. Then again, Kansas State has stood tough in the red zone under Hayes, and a number of his players have gone on to play on Sundays.
On behalf of the BotC community, we wish Coach Hayes well. Let the speculation about the next DC commence.
Hayes retirement represents the second big shakeup for Kansas State’s coaching staff, after Dana Dimel’s departure to UTEP. Former receivers coach Andre Coleman has been promoted to offensive coordinator, with Charlie Dickey and Collin Klein moving into new roles as a result. All three have new contracts, details of which are available HERE.
Unless you have been living under that proverbial rock, you have already heard/read about the current situation at Michigan State. To summarize, Michigan State and USA Gymnastics trainer Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison on seven counts of criminal sexual assault, after more than 140 women, including several prominent Olympic gymnasts, accused him of sexual abuse.
But the story does not end there. There is no conclusive evidence that Michigan State authorities knew of Nassar’s conduct, but several victims have alleged they told school employees about Nassar back in the 1990s. Michigan State conducted an internal investigation in 2014 which cleared Nassar of any wrongdoing.
According to ESPN, Michigan State has repeatedly either failed to act, suppressed information and engaged in denial regarding sexual assault complaints brought to the attention of campus authorities. For example, Michigan State allegedly failed to report the 2014 internal investigation on Nassar to federal authorities.
ESPN’s story strongly suggests the problem extends to the football and basketball programs as well. Mark Dantonio has vehemently denied any mishandling of complaints. Basketball coach Tom Izzo declined to answer questions claiming he had not fully digested the information.
Questions abound about Michigan State, but also about college sports in general. We should ask ourselves why college sports—not exclusively, but particularly—seem to have these problems. Is it because institutions are reluctant to damage their legacy with frank and transparent reporting and management of these situations? Is it because the Title IX rubric—even after it was rolled back by Betsy DeVos—is simply too difficult for institutions to follow, especially considering serious due process concerns?Is it because of a culture of entitlement that gives institutions a sense of invincibility and infallibility, or is it simply that there’s too much money involved in college sports for anyone to bell the cat?
Make no mistake, what is happening at Michigan State could happen anywhere, and indeed, may already be happening somewhere else. Something has to change in the way institutions handle these allegations, in the way media reports on them, and in the way fans react to them.
Until then, we’re all just waiting for the other shoe to drop.