Originally written April 17, 2013 on Crystal Ball Run:
(Photo Courtesy: USA Today Sports) “College athletics is being ruined by money”... Says the man who recently signed a contract extension that will play him nearly $15 million over the next five years. That man was Bill Snyder, who in a recent interview with a Kansas City radio station had some choice words for the sport that he has dedicated his life to. Specifically he had some not nice things to say about how money is ruining college football, and well, how college football is actually ruining the American educational system as a whole. Here were Snyder’s remarks to Kansas City radio station 610 Sports Radio KCSP, with the quotes coming via a Dennis Dodd column on CBS Sports: “College athletics, particularly football, has changed dramatically throughout my career. I think it's in a bad place right now. It's in a bad place for a variety of reasons. We've allowed it to become money driven. We've allowed it to become TV driven. We've allowed athletic programs or football programs to mean more to a university than what the university is really supposed to be all about.” Snyder then continued: “The last I heard we were educational institutions. Certainly there is an education that takes place in football and I understand all the parameters, but it's not driven by values, it's driven by dollars and cents.” Simply put, this is interesting. Really interesting. And frankly, if one coach had to make a comment like this, we’re glad it’s Snyder. That’s because regardless of whether Snyder was a football coach or not, it’s hard to argue many have done more for any university than Snyder has for Kansas State. There are the tangible roles he has played in the community (helping raise funds for the school library, as well as numerous other philanthropic endeavors), not to mention a million other little ones which can’t be measured, but are important none the less. As Dodd mentioned in the article, Snyder’s football teams have completely reshaped the national image of the university, allowing for millions of further dollars- that can’t be directly linked to Snyder- to be raised as well.   At the same time there are a few other ahem, outside variables which make Snyder’s statements a bit harder to swallow. For one, let’s not forget that while Snyder is busy toting the virtues of academics, he is also a man who largely built his program on the backs of junior college transfers. Personally, I have no problem with it (if it’s in the rules, go for it!) and that’s also not to say that just because a kid came from a junior college it means that they had academic issues in the past. However, plenty of those JUCO transfers were one-time academic casualties, and while I don’t have the transcripts in front of me to verify, I’d suspect that some probably got into Kansas State with grades that wouldn’t have allowed the average applicant admission into the university. Sorry coach, just sayin’! Furthermore, there was this little nugget from later in the interview, which was not only interesting, but seemed to fuel the fire with several of my Crystal Ball Run colleagues. “I can only speak personally,” Snyder said. “I’m grossly overpaid for what I do. That’s part of what creates the issue.” Well crap coach, if you have such a fundamental issue with being overpaid, here’s an idea: Don’t accept the money! Nobody (outside your agent) is making you sign the contract, and with all due respect, you wouldn’t be the first person to turn down a raise, or at the very least defer it to another place. Remember, it was just three months ago that Oregon State head coach Mike Riley took a $300,000 check that was designated for him, and dispersed it to his assistant coaches instead. In the end, I personally have no problem with Snyder’s comments, and I for one happen to agree with most of them (specifically in the way money is ruining the institution of college athletics that we love). At the same time, some of his thoughts- specifically those on being overpaid- probably need to be thought out a bit more thoroughly. Either way, they certainly make for interesting conversation in these slow days of the college football off-season. For all his opinion, insight and analysis on college football, please follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres. Follow Crystal Ball Run on Twitter @CrystalBallRun.
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