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Summer football workouts begin

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We inch towards an almost normal sports calendar.

Iowa State v Kansas State Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

I live in Minneapolis, not far from the location of the brutal killing of George Floyd. The city I call home is now the epicenter of nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality. Although the perpetrators have been arrested and charged, calls for wholesale reform of law enforcement have echoed throughout the United States.

Americans have a long history of protest. We have taken to the streets in opposition to war, to march for civil rights, and in one famous instance, we have opposed unfair tax policy by destroying imported trade commodities in Boston. Unfortunately, American protests are also sometimes suppressed by state-supported violence (sometimes justified as necessary to keep law and order), and 2020 is no different in that regard.

Still, civil disobedience remains part of our DNA, and more often than not, these movements produce tangible and significant—if deliberately slow—results. I believe, as Martin Luther King once said (quoting Theodore Parker, a pastor of the 1850s), that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

As Kansas State fans, we spend a great deal of time and energy scrutinizing the conduct of our student-athletes during competition. Most of the time, we express admiration, and some of the time, we express frustration. But we are united in our support of the athletes who wear the school’s name with such pride on the front of their jerseys. These athletes, much like Colin Kaepernick a few years ago, are focused on a different struggle, the much-needed but often thankless pursuit of justice. It is only appropriate that we stand with them now more than ever.

In other words, be like these Kansas State football players who marched in protest. Be like Christianna Carr, who plays basketball at Kansas State, calls Manhattan her hometown, and was born just outside Minneapolis.

The entire BotC staff has your back, girl. #EMAW

Sports

BracketCat and his famous roster countdown to kickoff are back! We’re hopefully only just Jaylen Pickle (93) days from Kansas State football.

Speaking of countdowns, one member of our intrepid community here at BotC, Coach833, is counting down the greatest Wildcats of all-time by jersey number. This is excellent work. Well done!

Football players across the country are beginning to return to campus. Most schools have procedures in place for coronavirus testing and quarantine/isolation for players who test positive, although—as with everything else in this pandemic—we are mostly in uncharted territory. Kansas State intends to test every player before they begin summer workouts on June 15th, the earliest day Big 12 team can report back for business.

The plans and readiness to test widely are both good signs, especially considering multiple schools. including Alabama and Oklahoma State, have reported players testing positive.

The coronavirus pandemic may engender other changes in the college football landscape. We’ve already seen the NCAA relaxing some rules around eligibility, and we’ve seen at least the Power 5 schools come together to consult and make decisions. Those are the positives, but there have been negatives too. At some schools, the pandemic has accelerated decisions to cut some non-revenue sports. There may be other changes ahead, including lower coaching salaries, smaller contract buyouts, more regional scheduling, and smaller recruiting budgets for coaches.

In other news, and closer to home, Skylar Thompson disclosed that freshman All-American, Josh Youngblood, had surgery on his legs to help repair stress fractures in his shins. This has been a recurring problem for Youngblood since his sophomore year of high school, so hopefully this surgery is a much-needed corrective measure.

We have Big 12 coaches power rankings this week. Chris Klieman made the biggest jump of any coach rising four spots from 10th (ie: last place) last year to sixth this year. The rankings showed Tom Herman, and Matt Campbell above Klieman though, so Kansas State fans, the DISRESPECT meme is alive and well. You know what to do.

Four former Wildcats were named to the 2020 Kansas Sports Hall of Fame: Jordy Nelson, Terence Newman, Darren Sproles, and former K-State track star and Olympian Steve Fritz. These four men will join six other Kansans for the 2020 class, which will be enshrined on Sunday, October 4th.

Also, the construction on the south end zone project proceeds apace and remains on schedule to be completed prior to the 2021 season.

In non-football news, golfer Jacob Eklund is returning to the team for his senior season. His decision gives an otherwise young team a big experience boost, and he’s looking to take care of some “unfinished business” on the course.

I wish you all a great weekend. Let’s hope tomorrow is a new and better day in every way possible.