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Sources: Andrew Hartley, andrewh2@k-state.edu;
and Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, 785-532-0778, blynn@k-state.edu
Photo available. Contact media@k-state.edu or 785-532-6415.
News release prepared by: Kristin Hodges, 785-532-6415, khodges2@k-state.edu

Monday, Nov. 2, 2009

K-STATE SENIOR RESEARCHES THE HISTORY BEHIND THE LONGSTANDING K-STATE, KU RIVALRY AS CAMPUSES PREPARE FOR THE NOV. 7 FOOTBALL MATCHUP

MANHATTAN -- Andrew Hartley, a Kansas State University junior in history from Belle Plaine, used to have a rule that no person wearing University of Kansas memorabilia could enter his apartment.

Hartley has been a K-State enthusiast since he was little and has, like many K-State fans, been a KU opponent. Now he is researching this intrastate rivalry to learn more about its history.

"I've always been interested in this subject," Hartley said. "I want people to realize why there is a rivalry with KU, because as in everything we need to understand our past to understand our future."

With the K-State vs. KU football game Nov. 7, Hartley said he thinks the rivalry is as strong as ever among fans.

"Some people judge our football and basketball seasons depending on whether we beat KU or not," he said.

Hartley is examining the rivalry for a senior history research seminar taught by Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, K-State associate professor of history. Working with K-State university archives staff, he is looking through several Manhattan area newspapers from past years, and to get a balanced opinion, he plans to look through Lawrence area newspapers, too.

"This is a great topic because it opened up a teachable moment for me to encourage students to go beyond their own experiences -- their own emotions -- and get past the superficial impressions they arrive with at K-State about what it means to be a Wildcat," Lynn-Sherow said.

Hartley's research has pointed him to the beginning of the longstanding rivalry -- a fight to become the state's official university. Charles Robinson, who happened to be from Lawrence, served as the first governor of Kansas from 1861 to 1863. During that time, there was a need to establish a state school. A bill was introduced to make Manhattan, home to Bluemont Central College, a site for the state university, but Robinson vetoed it. The Legislature failed to override the veto, and a second bill was introduced that failed and never made it to the governor.

Then the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 was passed, and Manhattan was made the site of the land grant university Kansas State Agricultural College. Two years later, Lawrence was named the site for the state university. The rivalry continued when in 1902 the two universities started facing off in athletic competitions, starting with football.

"It was a friendly rivalry," Hartley said. "If you look back in the newspapers, both teams encouraged and gave support to each other when playing another team."

However, Hartley said his research suggests that these athletic competitions are what eventually tipped the scales. Pranks were common at both universities, including painting a school's signature colors on the rival school's campus.

Hartley said other pranks by both schools continued, peaking around athletic matchups. KU students stole a wildcat, the former mascot known as Touchdown, and paraded the live animal at their pep rally on the eve of a KU vs. K-State basketball game. In 1929, students at Kansas State Agricultural College had guards keep watch on campus for any KU intruders. Members of a K-State pep club caught KU painters on campus, and all 25 of the KU supporters got their heads shaved by the K-Staters.

"Eventually the schools decided in 1931 that a peace pact was necessary to keep students in line," Hartley said. "Both schools signed a peace pact that took students from each college and created a council that could suspend students if they did anything too crazy during rivalry week."

The peace pact also brought about trophies of little goal posts that were given to the winner of the K-State vs. KU football game each year. The trophies were meant to keep students from ripping down the real thing.

This might have calmed animosity for a few decades, but in the 1980s tension reached the extreme. The result was the Aggieville riots in Manhattan after a K-State vs. KU showdown in which the Wildcats won 24-7. Though it has since settled down, Hartley said he thinks the rivalry still exists partly because of various differences between the student populations.

"We're more rural, and they're more urban, which is weird since we're only separated by 80 miles," Hartley said.

Lynn-Sherow said Hartley's project, as well as projects by other students in the class, will contribute to K-State's 150th anniversary celebration in 2013. She also will be posting the students' papers on K-State's Research Exchange, a repository for scholarly work that makes items openly accessible on the Internet and indexes them in Google, Google Scholar and other search engines. She said each individual project will be part of a larger umbrella of information that will build toward a study of K-State's history.

"This research has given Andrew a deeper sense of his own participation in K-State history and greater empathy for the generations of students that have preceded him," Lynn-Sherow said. "The common thread is that we still want to beat KU!"