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Senator’s Wichita State-KU game proposal altered to include K-State; ties with state funding eliminated

  • Eagle Topeka bureau
  • Published Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, at 3:26 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, at 3:38 p.m.

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— Wichita Republican Sen. Michael O’Donnell tried to make a proposal forcing annual basketball games between the University of Kansas Jayhawks and Wichita State University Shockers a little more palatable Tuesday.

Initially, O'Donnell's proposal would have stripped state funding for the universities if they refused to play each other.

He axed that idea.

“I don’t want it to come across as punitive,” he said.

O’Donnell also added Kansas State University to the mix, requiring the Wildcats to face the Shockers in men’s and women’s hoops at least once a year as well.

It’s not clear if the bill will generate a lot of interest, but O’Donnell said it’s probably more likely to advance in the Statehouse than in past years because more Wichita-area lawmakers are in leadership positions.

O’Donnell said the basketball legislation isn’t a priority, given the Legislature’s heavy workload dealing with income taxes, education funding and other pressing issues.

“I am serious about it. I do think it’s a good plan,” he said. “But if this takes away discussion on our budget or education, we can just remove this distraction. But at this point, I don’t think it’s a distraction.”

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