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50 Years Ago, The Decision To Play Or Not Play
November 22, 2013
Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 25 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference.

Friday is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The tragedy had a world-wide impact and changed the course of history. It’s timing also created difficult decisions regarding the staging of college football games the next day. Current Big 12 institutions were faced with the dilemma to play or to not play.

Here are some stories that take us back to that somber and shocking weekend half a century ago.

Iowa State’s season-ending game against Drake became The Game Not Played. This excellent documentary produced by Iowa State’s Tom Kroeschell and

Oklahoma was scheduled to play at Nebraska, a game that would decide the Big Eight Conference championship. OU coach Bud Wilkinson, who Kennedy had selected in 1961 to serve on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, placed a call to Robert Kennedy to help make the decision on the game.

And here’s a story and video from that recalls Oklahoma’s weekend 50 years ago.

Kansas State was scheduled to conclude its season with a game at Oklahoma State. On Nov. 22, the Wildcats were on a bus from Manhattan to Stillwater when JFK was killed.


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