K-State looking to host NCAA regional

By Joel Jellison

OKLAHOMA CITY — In past years, Kansas State would submit bids to host an NCAA baseball regional knowing the Wildcats’ chances weren’t all that great.

But it was a process K-State Senior Associate Athletics Director Casey Scott wanted the rising program to become familiar with. And now, a few years after K-State’s first submission, the Wildcats look primed to host for the first time ever.

Although the Wildcats entered the Big 12 Championship tournament this weekend with the 19th best RPI in the country, wins on Thursday and Friday should help boost their position before regional sites are announced tonight. The regional field is announced Monday.

Scott said hosting would be the next step for the program going forward.

“We’ve built the program and started to create a tradition of winning here under Brad (Hill),” he said Saturday. “The next step is to host a regional, fight your way through a regional, and get to a super regional, and try to continue to take those steps and ultimately get to the College World Series.”

The Wildcats would likely have one of the smaller facilities in the country to host a regional, but Scott said K-State has ideas about how to utilize space and add seating. Tointon Family Stadium seats 2,331, and it is worth noting that the Wildcats are 24-7 this season at home.

“We will utilize Brandeberry (Indoor Complex), set that up and make it part of our media headquarters, and still have that available for teams if there is some inclement weather to take batting practice,” Scott said. “It’s right next to the stadium and a good place to host those kinds of things.

“We’d utilize Bramlage as well for our umpire headquarters. And the thing about our place is, we have lots of parking available. We’re also going to probably bring in additional seating on the left field side and try to increase capacity as much as we can.”

Scott became familiar with the process of bidding for a regional spot during his time as sports information director and, later, an associate AD at Wichita State from 1985-1998. Scott has been with K-State since 2002.

He said the process has evolved since his first with the Shockers, but it begins with providing the NCAA with a number of details. The school informs the NCAA about its facilities, gives a budget, ticket sale expectations, and then provides information for ESPN — which broadcasts the baseball postseason — as to the camera locations and booth space.

K-State is looking at advancing to the postseason for just its fourth time in school history, and is bidding to be a regional host for the third time.

Scott said the Wildcats put in bids in 2009 and 2010, well aware of their status as longshots, all with the intent of making it known to the NCAA K-State’s interest in eventually hosting.

Scott said he is confident this is the best case K-State has had since the program first submitted a bid four years ago.

“I feel confident with the quality of our team,” he said. “Big 12 champions, 41 victories coming into (Saturday), a high RPI, and geographically, there doesn’t appear to be any teams in Texas to host that would normally host, or any Midwest teams. So geographically, they need a place like Manhattan to regionally send teams.

“It would be a first for Manhattan and a really great thing for our program, and certainly a reward for our team if we were selected.”

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