Kansas State Imposes Sanctions In Halftime Show Controversy
Kansas State's marching band is in trouble for what some saw as getting too "creative" with a halftime show.
During KSU's Saturday football home-opener against South Dakota, the band injected some levity into the performance by poking a bit of fun at rival University of Kansas. The band grouped itself into the shape of the Kansas mascot, a Jayhawk, getting attacked by a spaceship.
But it didn't look like a space ship to a lot of spectators. Instead, people say, it looked phallic — and that the full formation appeared to show the Jayhawk performing a sex act. You can watch the video here and decide for yourself.
The resemblance was striking enough that Kansas State implemented self-imposed sanctions that included suspending the marching band director for one game, paying a $5,000 fine to the Big 12 Conference and requiring that future band programs be submitted for review.
Despite the punishments, the school showed support for the band and its members. As Kansas State's president, Kirk Schulz, wrote to them in an email today, the show was judged "completely out of context" on social media.
"As many of you know, I love social media; however, it is also an opportunity for people to post hurtful and uninformed comments. I appreciate your dedication to excellence and ask that you simply ignore these comments."
Schulz went on to scold the band for depiction of the Jayhawk at all, which he felt crossed the line.
"The Big 12 Conference has a clear policy on sportsmanship, and our conference commissioner felt that the use of another university's mascot was inappropriate and did not uphold the spirit of sportsmanship that we strive for in our conference."
So, the message is clear: marching bands, resist the urge to imitate rival mascots...and spaceships, too.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.