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Archive for Friday, January 2, 2004

Roberson allegation upsets Snyder’s routine

January 2, 2004

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— Kansas State coach Bill Snyder's carefully crafted pregame routine was undone Thursday by a Kansas woman's allegation that she was sexually assaulted by quarterback Ell Roberson early that morning.

Snyder did not address the allegation during a pep rally that drew about 14,000 fans to Wells Fargo Arena at Arizona State Thursday afternoon, a day before the eighth-ranked Wildcats' date with No. 7 Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.

However, a grim-faced Snyder seemed to hint at the situation when he told fans -- many of whom learned of the allegation via cell phone during the rally -- that the Wildcats would "need to show great courage, great perseverance and be tremendously focused on the task at hand. That might not be easy tomorrow evening," Snyder said.

Snyder has not said whether Roberson, who was questioned by police Thursday but was not charged with any crime, will start tonight's game. The coach did not speak to reporters before or after the pep rally.

"I've watched coach Snyder for several years and I know how he handles situations and I know he'll do the right thing," athletic director Tim Weiser said in a short news conference after the pep rally.

Snyder spent the final hours of 2003 preparing for the game after attending the Fiesta Bowl ball, then went to bed shortly after midnight.

Police in Paradise Valley, where the team is staying, were notified of the woman's allegations around 4:30 a.m. They did not become public until afternoon.

Snyder's cell phone rang a short time into an 8:30 a.m. news conference. He checked it, put it back in his pocket and said, "We've got a lot of things going on."

Before the allegation surfaced, Snyder had nearly every minute of the Wildcats' time leading up to tonight's kickoff accounted for, with meetings, meals and even a team walk on the schedule.

"He has a way he does things, and it doesn't change," defensive tackle Justin Montgomery said. "It ain't going to change."

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