As the Kansas State men’s basketball team’s romp through the Big 12 continues, the Wildcats’ next opponent looms large.
In-state rival, Kansas.
One of the the more polarizing aspects of this matchup is the infamous “F*** KU” chant. A chant once started by the student section uproared to songs like “Sandstorm,” but most recently, it has been chanted along with the Wabash Cannonball. It has dwindled down since mid-football season after band director Frank Tracz stopped a performance of the Wabash Cannonball.
Athletics director Gene Taylor talked about how he feels about the chant and how it ultimately represents the university to the other team.
“I certainly don’t like it,” Taylor said. “It doesn’t represent who K-State is, and to be honest with you, I don’t think a majority of the students do either. It is embarrassing. It doesn’t motivate our own team, it motivates the other.”
Taylor said he believes the chant both starts and ends with the students.
“It starts with the students,” Taylor said. “If it starts to happen, I think the other students should be able to turn around and say, ‘Hey, that doesn’t represent K-State.’ I think that’s the biggest message. It can be seen in a national view of how classy and supportive the students are or students that are vulgar. We aren’t [vulgar], we’re a classy organization. We’ve always had a great fan base, and that’s the image that we want, but the chant doesn’t supplement that.”
When it comes to conversation with others about the chant, it can get a little tense.
“I’ll just get comments when it gets out,” Taylor said. “‘Boy, you sure got a classy group over there.’ It is not a fun conversation to have.”
University president Richard Myers also talked about the chant and how it can further impact donations and the image of the university.
“We have heard from many supporters and alumni about the chant,” Myers said. “Almost universally, they are disappointed with the unflattering image of our university the chant portrays. This hurts our ability to solicit donations and raise money for scholarships. It’s unproductive and can sully our reputation.”
As far as overall students go, Myers talked about how far it can impact the image of the university.
“The unfortunate actions of a few do not speak for the majority of K-State students, faculty, staff and alumni,” Myers said. “The K-State family is highly regarded for our traditions of positive encouragement and support. We need to keep these strong traditions.”
Tracz also talked about the representation of the chant and how it affects more than just the students.
“We represent all of us,” Tracz said. “So if somebody does something that’s in a negative fashion, Kansas State takes a hit. Unfortunately, something like this is national and this is what people jump on. … I’ve been here a long time, and it hurt me big time.
“There’s something about this place that’s different than any other place,” Tracz continued. “The people are different, the students are different, the athletics and the band and the community and the administration — it’s different in a very positive way. Let’s keep it that way. Let’s not bring any of that nonsense back. We don’t need it. Let’s beat them fair and square and have one big party that night. Do it with class.”
Tracz said the band has worked hard to gain back a great reputation for K-State.
“A large group like the K-State band can do so much goodwill, and they have,” Tracz said. “You just don’t want bad things to come out of that and give us all a black eye because there’s so many people who worked so hard over many, many years to get that band to this level, or to get this university to this level. It’s unfair, it’s selfish, it’s self-centered, it’s immature, it’s irresponsible. You might ask, ‘well did [you] screw around in college?’ I’ll tell you I did, but I respected my university more than to do something like that. I still do.”
Tracz said that it comes down to respect for the university.
“I think out of respect for athletes, respect for Coach Snyder, Coach Weber, respect for this university and respect for all of us, let’s just keep it clean,” Tracz said. “Let’s just be vocal, be aggressive, let’s be loud, let’s win the game and let’s go to Aggieville.”
Student body president Jack Ayres talked about how SGA and K-State Athletics have strived to further improve sportsmanship.
“We’ve been working with Athletics for the last … couple of years to address that issue,” Ayres said. “The university’s efforts — good sportsmanship videos, which is intended tongue and cheek to say: ‘good sportsmanship is not chanting ‘F*** KU.'”
Ayres also discussed what the chant can further do to the university’s image.
“It’s disappointing because of that side of it, and the other side of it is that there are consequences as we’ve seen with alumni support and things like that,” Ayres said. “I really think that we’re better than this. We’re like the friendliest campus on the face of the planet, right? Let’s act like it.”
Ayres even called back the tenure of former athletics director John Currie when pressed about the chant.
“John Currie used to say, when he was here: ‘I don’t want to be known as the University of F*** KU…'” Ayres said. “I like the way he talks about that.”
The Wildcats will tip off against the Jayhawks in Bramlage Coliseum on Monday at 8 p.m.