Kansas State's basketball team is entering the Christmas break in anything but a jovial mood.
The Wildcats not only lost on Saturday to Florida, 57-44, and again Tuesday night to UNLV in Kansas City, 63-59, but they have also lost a pair of players because of secondary violations of NCAA rules.
Preseason All-American Jacob Pullen and preseason first-team all-Big 12 selection Curtis Kelly have been declared ineligible by Kansas State as the department confirmed that the two Wildcat student-athletes "… received impermissible benefits on the purchase of clothing at a local department store."
The name of the store and the amount of items taken was not made public, but the two Wildcats reportedly knew a clerk and were allowed to take more items from the store than they had paid for.
"These young men have worked hard to represent themselves and Kansas State in a positive manner," Martin said. "Having said that, they made a mistake in judgment and have to pay a price for that decision."
No other K-State officials have made comments on the issue.
K-State learned just prior to tipoff that Pullen will be required to miss three games as a result of a ruling by the NCAA Student-Athlete
Reinstatement staff. The compliance staff is continuing to work with the NCAA regarding Kelly's status.
Kelly reportedly took merchandise of more value than Pullen and the length of his suspension has not been announced.
After Tuesday's loss to UNLV, coach Frank Martin declined to offer any more details or explanation of the case involving the NCAA. Neither player was in the Sprint Center to view Tuesday's game.
Pullen and Kelly are K-State's lone seniors on this year's team and have been the scoring leaders at 16.5 and 10.3 points, respectively. Early in the year, Kelly was forced to watch a pair of K-State games in street clothes due to his lack of focus and leadership in Wildcat practices.
Martin has now made the determination to sit four players this season for a variety of undisclosed reasons.
Jamar Samuels missed K-State's exhibition season, Kelly missed early regular season games, and most recently Wally Judge has watched games in street clothes. All season long, Martin has talked about the lack of leadership and focus from the most experienced players on the team.