Kansas State 20, Kansas 5. No, that's not a score from the baseball series between the two schools last weekend, which K-State won two games to one, by the way. What it is is Kansas State's record in head-on athletic competition against its Sunflower State rival over the past two years.
And if you exclude basketball from the comparison, the Wildcats' overall record against the Jayhawks is even more one-sided at 19-2.
In an article that appeared over the weekend, Kansas City Star staff writer Rustin Dodd looked at the athletic competition between the two in-state rivals in seven sports (football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, volleyball, rowing and women's tennis) in the last two years (2010-11 and 2011-12). In men's basketball, where Kansas has been the class of the conference for eight years running and for many years beyond that, Bill Self's Jayhawks have won three of the four Sunflower Showdowns between the two schools.
Beyond the hardwood, though, and a two wins on the baseball diamond in four games this season, Kansas State has not lost against its rival from Lawrence.
This is a very disappointing predicament to Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger, who became the school's new AD on Jan. 3, 2011, replacing Lew Perkins. Zenger has said he expects Kansas to be competitive in all sports, not just the largest revenue-producing sports (football and basketball). Recognizing that the Jayhawks' football program had hit rock bottom, Zenger brought in Charlie Weis as the new head coach, with strong expectations that Weis will return the Jayhawks to a more competitive level and greater respectability on the gridiron.
And football is where Kansas athletic officials are placing their highest priority in preparations for the 2012-13 athletic year.
Dodd points out that the number that the analysis does not include numbers from track and field, cross country or golf, but the conference finishes in those sports have been comparable. The one exception to this was women's track and field, where the KU women finished second overall in the conference championships this past weekend. The K-State women were ninth.
It's bad enough to struggle against the other teams in the same conference in the sports outside of basketball, but when that starts to happen consistently against one of your traditional rivals, it's hard to have a rivalry, said a former Jayhawk athlete.
"At the end of the day, winning begets winning, and losing begets losing," Zenger said. "I don't think anybody wants to be part of any (athletic program) where you have an awful lot of losing. You want to have more winning than losing."
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