Despite Kansas State Head Coach Jerome Tang seemingly putting an end to the outrage from Wildcats fans frustrated with university president Richard Linton, Kansas State’s president threw some flames on the fire by releasing an official statement on Friday afternoon.
Linton spoke on the recent backlash from fans about the management of Nae’Qwan Tomlin saying, “I want you to know that our university and our athletics department are unified. There is no “us” versus “them.” Together, we are One K-State.”
While Linton’s response attempted to clear up the waters surrounding the release of senior forward Nae’Qwan Tomlin, the response more or less opened a new can of worms for Wildcats fans everywhere to discuss.
Linton started off by saying, “Dear K-State Community, I am grateful to have the opportunity to address our university community — students, faculty, staff, alumni, fans and friends — regarding the questions and sentiments permeating social media and other events in recent days. Your passion demonstrates your interest in this university’s future, and we must all be committed to doing what is best for K-State. I want you to know that I am also committed to sharing our processes with transparency in regard to how we approach developing every student to meet the standards of this university.”
He then spoke on the specific guidelines behind the release of Nae’Qwan Tomlin mentioning that, “The reporting that this decision was made solely due to an incident at a bar in Aggieville is not accurate.”
“We share a common aspiration to develop young men and women to make our world a better place,” Linton said. “Our faculty, staff, coaches and administrators work every day to teach, guide, mentor and, at times, hold accountable members of our community. I recognize that leaders are often called upon to make difficult decisions. Some difficult decisions are very visible; others are not. Some of the policies that govern our decision-making are widely understood, yet again, others are not. As difficult decisions are made, it is also important that we have a sense of community and accountability.”
“The principal question at the heart of Nae’Qwan Tomlin’s release from the men’s basketball team seems to be around understanding the role a university president plays in student-athlete conduct decisions. I want to take the opportunity to outline the policy governing this process in full transparency.”
“The NCAA Board of Governors has required each member institution to adopt a “serious misconduct policy” covering a number of potential allegations, including Title IX. Under the university’s serious misconduct policy, the university president is involved in collaboration with the athletic director and head coach when making a final decision concerning a student-athlete’s conduct and team membership.
“The decision to release Nae’Qwan from the men’s basketball team was made in full compliance with all applicable policies,” Linton said. “When decisions like this are made, a range of factors are considered, including the entire history of a student athlete’s behavior.”
“There remains much we cannot share with the university community under federal laws, namely FERPA, which protects a student’s right to privacy while attending a university. I know this is difficult, as you want to understand all that has transpired. But in the absence of being able to share any more specifics, I hope that the details I am sharing today help bring resolution to any lingering questions.”
Linton concluded his thoughts by saying, “I want you to know that our university and our athletics department are unified. There is no “us” versus “them.” Together, we are One K-State. The relationship between the university, athletics and the K-State community at large is special, and I will never take it for granted.”
While the comments from Linton may have been intended to douse the flames of angry fans in Manhattan, following the announcement of Nae’Qwan Tomlin officially entering the transfer portal, I do not expect this to be the last statement that Linton puts out.