As reported in yesterday’s Slate, and by news outlets across the state, there was a fire at Hale Library on Tuesday afternoon. Although the flames were quickly contained, university administration is still trying to determine the extent of the damage. The library remains closed and internet connectivity is not back to 100%.
In other words, Kansas State needed some good news this week, and it got it in the form of a record-high Academic Progress Rate (APR) score from the NCAA. The Wildcats equaled or exceeded NCAA requirements in all sports for the seventh consecutive year, and led the Big 12 in APR scores for football, women’s tennis, and women’s cross country. In fact, for the most recent academic year tracked, baseball, men’s cross country, football, women’s cross country, women’s tennis, women’s track and field, and volleyball teams all posted perfect 1000 APR scores.
With football, Kansas State’s success in the classroom could well be attributed to Bill Snyder and his commitment to education. Whether it’s imparting his values to football players who later take the 16 Goals into the classroom like former quarterback Joe Hubener did, or giving lectures to students in the College of Education, Snyder has always shown a keen interest in education.
Speaking of Snyder, he puts in an appearance at #20 on Stewart Mandel’s list of the best 25 coaches in football right now, behind such stalwart coaching legends as Paul Chryst (Wisconsin) and Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern). Mandel admits that he’s downgrading Snyder because Kansas State hasn’t made the Top 25 since 2014, but apparently, the fact that Chip Kelly hasn’t coached a down of college football since 2012 isn’t enough to keep the UCLA head coach out of the top ten of this ranking. Go figure.
While football can pat itself on the back for its off-field accomplishment, the track teams still have plenty to compete for on the field. The NCAA Outdoor Track West Preliminaries begin in Sacramento today, with 27 Wildcats scheduled to compete in 32 events. On the women’s side, seven athletes have marks in the top 12 in their respective events, including Ranae McKenzie whose 56.06 time in the 400m hurdles leads the nation. Also competing in the 400m hurdles is Lauren Taubert, who barely missed the heptathlon qualifying mark at the Big 12 Championships, but finished sixth in the 400H and also helped the team in the 4x400 relay.
For the men, nine athletes are in competition, including Jullane Walker (100m, long jump), Brett Neely (shot put, discus), and high jumper Tejaswin Shankar, whose 2.29m mark is tops in the country so far this year.
For the combined events, there is no preliminary qualification. Both Nina Schultz and Ariel Okorie have already punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships for the heptathlon, as has Aaron Booth for the decathlon.
You can follow the teams’ progress via @KStateTFXC.
Finally, to wrap up, we would be remiss if we didn’t at least mention the day’s biggest sports story, i.e. the latest NFL-related kerfuffle. (Yes, I’m talking about politics at Bring on the Cats. Please to clutch all your pearls right now).
In its infinite wisdom, the National Football League has adopted a policy that requires all team and league personnel on the field to stand during the national anthem, but with the caveat that players and personnel are not required to be on the field during the anthem. ‘
There have been plenty of bouquets and brickbats thrown in the NFL’s general direction since the policy was announced yesterday, but this seems like the League’s weak attempt to have its brioche and eat it like a hot dog bun. Basically, having brazenly—and perhaps cynically—wrapped itself up in the flag, the NFL cannot walk away from the rah-rah patriotism of its pregame rituals, so it has made “respecting the flag” mandatory. But it has also given the players (and the owners) an out: teams can avoid the issue altogether by simply staying in the locker room for the duration of the anthem. Either way, the NFL’s goal of ending player protests is achieved.
Whatever side one takes on this issue, this much is clear: surely the NFL has better things to do than enforce patriotism? As always, Spencer Hall says it much better than anyone else.