Fans inside Bramlage Coliseum, whether they are young, old, current students or alumni, are known for creating an intense atmosphere.
This season, however, the Octagon of Doom has been missing a crucial part of that atmosphere — “Sandstorm.” Since last year’s Sunflower Showdown against the University of Kansas when chants of, “Fuck KU,” were aired on national television, the athletic department has not played the song, and fans have taken notice.
Despite the multitude of requests for “Sandstorm” to make a comeback to Bramlage, the athletic department has maintained its position to not play the song in hopes of creating a family atmosphere.
“We want an environment that is intimidating for visitors to play in, but I think we have to do that without crossing the line,” Scott Garrett, senior associate athletic director for external operations, said. “We do not think it is responsible to play that song when every time it is played the F-word is chanted in unison.”
More steps toward a family atmosphere have been taken by the athletic department. They partnered with student leadership to create a sportsmanship committee.
The committee has spread awareness of sportsmanship throughout this past school year. In addition, students were required to sign a sportsmanship pledge when they picked up their season tickets at the beginning of the school year.
Traditionally, “Sandstorm” was played during pivotal moments of a game when the Wildcats were on a hot streak. It was a momentum-definer, and the song’s intention was to get fans involved as well as to motivate the team.
“(‘Sandstorm’) plays and everyone loses their mind,” Christian Stromgren, junior in finance, said. “There is not a single person in the stadium that does not like that song. It pumps people up.”
Fans are partially divided on the return of the controversial song, though many appear to favor the return of “Sandstorm.” According to a Twitter poll conducted by the Collegian on Feb. 10, out of 328 respondents, 84 percent are in favor of seeing the song return.
Students for the song’s return seem to value it as a crucial staple in creating an intimidating environment.
“It is one of the cooler traditions at K-State,” Stromgren said. “I would like to see it come back because (the atmosphere) is missing something at those key moments.”
Other fans, however, question the return of “Sandstorm” and the temptation for the behavior it may provoke, or the message it sends.
“I thought it was distasteful and ESPN commented about that, which I found embarrassing,” Kristin Johnson, junior in marketing, said. “We are better than that. It is not a good image to portray. There are alternative chants we could do in lieu of the profane gestures we have exhibited in the past.”
Johnson said she chose not to participate in the chant when she attended games.
The athletics department does believe that steps have been made in the correct direction, Garrett said.
No one has been removed this year for a violation of profanity or chants, but while improvement has been made, the chant’s future is currently still up in the air, Garrett said. K-State fans should not expect the song to be played on Saturday or any other time this season.
“The students have been awesome,” Garrett said. “Attendance has been positive. They have been loud and intimidating. I do not envision it returning this year. I do not know when the right time would be, but never say never.”