OPINION: #StopTheChant made the ‘F*** KU’ problem worse

Waving his sign in the air, a Kansas State Student cheers on the cats by making sure the Jayhawks know they are doomed. On Monday night this week, K-State men's basketball faced off against the Jayhawks but ended up losing 70-56. (Meg Shearer | Collegian Media Group)

This fall, the student body at Kansas State came under increased scrutiny over the rampant use of “the chant that shall not be named” at sporting events.

This culminated with Frank Tracz, director of the marching band, cutting off the Wabash Cannonball at the football game versus Baylor on Sept. 30 so a message from head football coach Bill Snyder could play. Snyder’s message condemned the use of the foul-mouthed chant and urged the students using it to stop.

And they did… for a while.

For what it’s worth, I was extremely proud of my fellow students for their immediate stoppage of using the three nasty syllables. Snyder’s message played at the rest of the football games during the season, but it seemed to be unnecessary. No more instances of dirty words directed at our in-state rivals came from the student section, at least not loud enough for everyone to hear.

During the beginning of the current basketball season, I didn’t hear the anti-KU chant break out at all. In fact, at the throwback game against TCU, the student section chanted “K-S-U” instead of curses aimed at a different Kansas school. Compared to a few months ago, the student section was completely different. My peers had shown the maturity and respect that was missing when the chant was rampant.

Understandably, many students became frustrated when those in positions of power started the #StopTheChant movement recently. To an outside observer, it would seem like the chant had never stopped in the first place because of the administration’s condescension.

The chant was practically extinct, but then people make a big deal out of it again — and when people get upset, they tend to lash out.

And then, at Monday’s game against KU, it happened again.

While I don’t know about the experience of the rest of the audience on Monday night, I do know that I heard the dreaded dirty words on three occasions from the student section. None of those times were during the Wabash Cannonball, thankfully. It wasn’t exceptionally loud, and it seemed to die fairly quickly.

To be clear, I don’t believe that the Student Governing Association, the school administration or anyone who posted #StopTheChant on Twitter is directly to blame for the student section using naughty words. The responsibility for that rests on the individuals who chose to participate.

However, I didn’t hear any talk of using the chant until the #StopTheChant movement started. Ironically, #StopTheChant might have been the catalyst that started the chant’s second wind.

With all the scolding posts on social media, it seemed like the pot was being stirred and the student section was being thrown under the bus. That in turn frustrated many students, who chose to retaliate by chanting instead of proving themselves to be better.

To my fellow K-State fans, I urge you to consider a course of action that leaves foul-mouthed foolishness in the past. If we continue to tarnish our reputation like we have been doing for years, then we’re no better than a smug KU fan who gloats for months after a single victory.

To the administration and faculty, please give us a chance. Not everyone supports the use of the chant, and we can bring about a change together. Recognition of progress can go a long way, especially when the fans had complied with your requests for months without major incidents.

K-State won’t play KU again until the next football season, during which the Sunflower Showdown will take place in Manhattan again. I sincerely hope that our rivals will be welcomed to a loud stadium with plenty of tailgating and a group of fans who have proved themselves to be one classy bunch of Wildcats.

Jason DeFisher is a junior in animal sciences and industry. 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.