The Bethany-Kansas Wesleyan rivalry dates back more than 100 years. The two NAIA institutions are founding members of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. The two institutions have committed to highlight the rivalry by developing a rivalry series trophy that will be presented to the athletic department that earns the most points in competition during an academic year. First Bank Kansas, which has branches in both Lindsborg and Salina, is the presenting sponsor of the trophy.
"The Bethany College-Kansas Wesleyan rivalry is one of the premier rivalries in the NAIA. Both schools have a history of athletic success; First Bank Kansas has allowed us to showcase in a distinctive way," Bethany dean of athletics Dane Pavlovich said. "This rivalry series will allow us to promote the great things our student-athletes accomplish both on and off the first. We hope this series will inject enthusiasm into both the Lindsborg and Salina communities."
"The long history of the rivalry with Bethany College is a real pride point at Kansas Wesleyan," said director of athletics Mike Hermann. "I've enjoyed great stories from alumni. I know our students are excited any time the two teams meet on the field of competition. I'm confident it's one of the best NAIA rivalries in the country. While we are competitors on the field, our two athletics administrations enjoy working together, and I'm pleased we were able to tie in several community service endeavors as part of the rivalry. I also salute First Bank Kansas as the presenting sponsor of the rivalry, supporting the student-athletes from the hometown teams in Lindsborg and Salina."
"Kansas Wesleyan and Bethany College are an integral part of our communities," said Carolyn Robinson of First Bank Kansas. "Sponsoring this rivalry is our way of supporting the students and fueling team loyalty energy that will encourage community involvement and create meaningful traditions surrounding the teams."
First Bank Kansas is a progressive, customer focused, and community oriented bank with eight locations in Salina, Lindsborg and the surrounding area. Dedicated to providing personal service and leading edge banking products to families, businesses, and individuals, First Bank Kansas will make your banking experience exceptional.
Students and fans from both institutions submitted potential names and then participated in a Twitter promotion to give input on the name for the rivalry series. A committee representing both institutions jointly selected the name based on the input from the fans. It will be announced on the field just prior to the Kansas Wesleyan at Bethany football game on Saturday.
Since both institutions value service to the community, the two athletics programs have also committed to include three service projects to the rivalry series. The first project will be the Pigskin Pass. Students representing the student-athlete leadership committees from both institutions will run a football from the Kansas Wesleyan campus to the Bethany stadium on game day with different students carrying the football over each of the 19 miles. Kansas Wesleyan students will run the football to Assaria, where they will hand it off to Bethany students that will continue the run to Anderson Stadium at Bethany College.
The student-athletes from both institutions are asking the Lindsborg and Salina communities, as well as the alumni from each institution, to make a donation to the NAIA Hurricane Relief fund at www.gofundme.com/NAIACares. The fund was established by the NAIA Association of Student-Athletes to help NAIA universities, students and communities impacted by hurricanes. Bethany will donate $1 from every football ticket sold on game day to the cause. Kansas Wesleyan will solicit admissions donations at the gate for the Saturday evening soccer doubleheader at Graves Family Sports Complex. There is no charge for admission to the soccer matches.
In each of the 19 commonly shared sports between KWU and Bethany, two points will be award based on the winner in the regular season conference meetings between the teams. If no conference regular season competition is scheduled, the team that finishes higher at the KCAC Championship earns the two points. As a unique twist that represents the service emphasis as each of the institutions, the athletics programs will conduct three community service campaigns during the year, giving two points credit for the school that "wins" each of campaigns, which will be held during the year in conjunction with the rivalry.