The football team became the first Big 12 Conference school to publicly opt-out of a bowl game after announcing a pause to all team activities following the most recent round of COVID-19 test results and contact tracing. After receiving the results, the Wildcats won’t have enough players to prepare for and play in a bowl game.
After finishing the regular season with a 4-6 record and a No. 7 standing in Big 12 Conference, Kansas State had the opportunity to compete in a bowl game this year thanks to the NCAA changing the usual six-game victory requirement to play in a postseason game.
“This has been an unbelievably challenging year for everyone, but we were very excited to have the opportunity to end the season in a bowl game,” athletics director Gene Taylor said in a press release. “But with new positive cases and additional close contacts in our program, we would not have enough players to continue practices and field a team for the bowl game.”
According to the latest update from the Riley County Health Department, there are at least 343 active cases in the Riley County area with a positivity rate surpassing 20 percent.
“It certainly is a bittersweet ending to the season, but playing 10 regular-season games throughout all of this uncertainty was nothing short of a miracle,” head coach Chris Klieman said.
The news falls on the same day as college football’s early national signing day. Klieman plans to address the media regarding both situations at 3 p.m. on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.