K-State apologizes for court storming

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Kansas State athletic director John Currie apologized Tuesday for an unruly court-storming incident Monday night at the Bramlage Coliseum, where a sea of students and fans flooded the school's floor after a 70-63 victory over the eighth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks.

"On behalf of President [Kirk] Schulz and K-State Athletics, I apologize to Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger, Coach Bill Self and the KU basketball team for the unfortunate situation in which they were placed last night at the conclusion of our basketball game," Currie said in a statement.

"Our security staff, which in similar past postgame celebrations has, according to our procedures and rehearsals, provided a solid human barrier to allow the teams to conduct a postgame handshake and safely leave the court, was unable to get into proper position quickly enough last night and was overwhelmed by the fans rushing the floor."

Nathan Power, the fan who threw an elbow at Kansas forward Jamari Traylor as he was walking off the court, also apologized in a "letter to the editor" that the Kansas State school newspaper, The Collegian, posted online Tuesday.

"I want to take this moment to share a sincere apology in breaking from the Wildcat way and stepping outside what is acceptable in the spirit of the game," Power wrote. "Following the basketball game I simply let my emotions get the best of me in all of the chaos. In my excitement I was not careful of the people I was around. I am sorry that I made the KU basketball team -- Jamari Traylor in particular -- feel disrespected.

"By no means can I change what took place but in the future I will be aware of how emotions can impact good judgment."

The Kansas State police department had said earlier in the day -- when Power had yet to be identified -- that it was looking for help in its pursuit of him. Theylater released an update via Twitter, saying their search had ended.

It wasn't clear if Power would face discipline by the school or charges by the police.

Jayhawks coach Self found himself crushed near the scorer's table after the game and needed the help of Kansas State counterpart Bruce Weber just to escape the jubilant melee.

"It's a ballgame," Self said. "It's not about chicken-winging somebody when the game's over. Hopefully they can get that corrected. It's fine if you want to celebrate when you beat us. That's your business. That's fine. But at least it shouldn't put anybody at risk."

Meanwhile, Kansas associate AD Jim Marchiony confirmed Tuesday that Jayhawks assistant Kurtis Townsend did grab a fan Monday night in his attempt to protect players, but Marchiony refuted the characterization of Townsend's actions in the confrontation as a "headlock," saying Townsend "was appropriately attempting to protect KU players."

Currie said that although no injuries were reported, Kansas State did not do a good job of "securing the court."

"K-State prides itself on providing a great game atmosphere in a safe environment and did successfully execute our security plan when we defeated KU last year in Bramlage as well as in 2011," Currie said Tuesday. "Although no one was hurt last night, we fell short of our expectations for securing the court and escorting KU to its locker room without incident. We are disappointed that we did not do better for the KU team.

"We are reviewing our procedures internally and consulting with our law enforcement partners to determine any steps necessary to improve our game-day security."

NCAA spokesman David Worlock said there are no national rules against court storming but that conferences and individual schools are expected to provide sufficient security.

Although the Big 12 does not have a set policy for fining schools for court storming, the conference released a statement Tuesday saying that the incident is under review.

"The Big 12 Conference office and the two schools are reviewing the postgame celebration that occurred at the conclusion of last night's Kansas at Kansas State game," the statement said. "In accordance with Conference policy, home team game management is responsible for the implementation of protocols to provide for the safety of all game participants, officials and fans."

The conference also requires member schools to "conduct a video surveillance of student sections and of any incidents of fans rushing the court," according to the Big 12 regular-season policy manual.

Currie said Kansas State was in the process of reviewing video evidence, adding, "We will take appropriate action with such identified persons, including turning over all evidence to law enforcement so that any applicable charges can be filed."

Information from ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz, ESPN.com college basketball reporter Myron Medcalf and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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