Catbacker Tour, KC 1

Jarett Jackson, a 4-year-old old from Olathe, gets his picture taken with Willie the Wildcat at the Catbacker Tour stop at the Overland Park Convention Center in May 2018. Kansas State announced the cancellation of this year’s Catbacker Tour in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kansas State’s annual Catbacker Tour won’t take place this year. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, K-State’s athletics department — in concert with the K-State Alumni Association and university officials — announced Wednesday morning that it was canceling the 2020 tour.

“Traveling the state to all of the Catbacker clubs is one of the most unique grassroots tours in all of college athletics,” K-State athletics director Gene Taylor said. “It has been a very frantic and fluid month across the world, and we will continue to do our part to keep people safe and do what is best for all of our communities. We will miss touring the state and visiting our fans in their own backyards but are excited to begin planning soon for the 2021 Catbacker Tour.”

Each year, the tour travels across the state to visit numerous Catbacker clubs. The events give attendees an opportunity to talk with coaches and student-athletes from various K-State sports.

Amy Button Renz, the president and CEO of the alumni association, said the cancellation won’t affect one of the clubs’ key objectives.

“K-Staters love being together to share their pride, learn about what is happening on campus and to award scholarships to future K-State students,” added Amy Button Renz. “As scholarship dollars are more important than ever before, the Alumni Association is committed to ensuring that all of our Alumni Clubs and Catbacker groups have the opportunity to still award their local scholarships throughout this year. K-Staters are resilient and we look forward to gathering with our passionate alumni as soon as we can safely do so.”

Wednesday’s news marks the latest coronavirus-induced cancellation surrounding K-State’s athletics program. The Big 12 canceled its women’s and men’s basketball tournaments in Kansas City, Mo., earlier this month. The coronavirus, or COVID-19, also wiped out the remainder of the spring sports season.

The Wildcats’ football team was slated to begin spring practice March 18, but it was put on hold following the shutdown of K-State’s campus.

K-State football’s pring practices are on an indefinite hold at this time.

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