OPINION: It is not a crime to cheer for KU

K-State superfan Robert Lipson, who travels to almost every road football and basketball game, flashes a sign claiming the state of Kansas for K-State in KU's Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas, during the women's basketball game against the Jayhawks on Jan. 20, 2016. (File Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian)

If you are one of the Kansas State fans who attacked other members of the Wildcat family for cheering for Kansas during the NCAA Tournament, I have one message for you: Stop it.

It is not a crime to cheer for your in-state rival when they aren’t playing your team.

It hurts to see people who call themselves members of the K-State family personally attack other K-Staters because of who they support when the Wildcats aren’t playing. That’s the real madness of March.

As sports fans, we all have multiple teams we cheer for or against. As for college sports, my rules are: K-State first, the Naval Academy second, Kansas schools third and Big 12 schools fourth.

Once K-State lost to Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, I cheered for Wichita State and KU. I was disappointed when all three Kansas schools lost, but much more disappointed when the Cats lost, especially since I put them winning it all in my bracket (remember Bill Snyder’s rule No. 13: Expect To Win … and truly believe we will).

No, I did not wear crimson and blue or black and gold. I did not add a frame to my Facebook profile picture. But as a Kansan, I supported the other Kansas schools.

I watched the KU vs. Oregon game with four high school friends, three of whom go to K-State and one who goes to the school down the river.

Of course I made a few Jayhawk jokes. I said I personally don’t like Frank Mason because I think he’s a punk and I don’t like Josh Jackson because of the off-the-court issues (that entire situation is disgusting). But I respect both as basketball players. I even said I could cheer for Oregon because Dana Altman used to coach at K-State.

But I still cheered for KU.

As a citizen of this state, it would be very difficult to live your life without associating with KU fans in any way.

Would you really tell your doctor you won’t let a Jayhawk fan operate on you? Would you refuse to do business with the pharmacy? Would you not tip your waitress because she has a Jayhawk on her keychain? Is a mother whose son goes to K-State and daughter goes to KU not allowed to cheer for both schools?

This is not a defense of KU. They have their problems. But so do we.

KU’s fan base has their fair share of snobs. So do we.

I enjoy sports and the emotions of rivalries. I marched in the neck of the Jayhawk when the Starship Enterprise brought the Pride of Wildcat Land unwarranted negative national attention.

But you don’t get to tell someone they are no longer a K-State fan because they cheered for KU or WSU.

The on-the-court successes of these two other Kansas universities are good for the state of Kansas, both financially and for perceptions from outsiders.

As a K-State fan, I would rather beat an undefeated KU football team than a winless KU football team. One is special to us and proves something to the college football world; the other is just another lopsided rivalry win where the other side has already moved on to basketball season.

No, you don’t personally have to cheer for KU. I’m not going to tell you to do that because I completely understand why you would never even consider it.

I’m just asking you to stop attacking people who cheer for KU when K-State is no longer playing. If you tell other K-State fans to give up the Wildcat gear, then you should give up your membership in the family.

Jason Tidd is a senior in journalism. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

Jason Tidd graduated from Kansas State University's Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communication in May 2017. He was the spring 2017 editor-in-chief, fall 2016 news editor and spring 2016 assistant news editor. While at K-State, Jason played baritone in the Pride of Wildcat Land marching band.