Editorial: Coach’s call

We hope Kansas State coach Bill Snyder won’t be the last coach to speak out about the money-driven culture of college athletics.

August 19, 2014


When Kansas State University coach Bill Snyder talks football, people usually listen.

The respected coach’s recent criticism of college athletics apparently had no impact on an NCAA vote giving increased autonomy to the nation’s five biggest athletic conferences, but his comments nonetheless were refreshing.

When asked about how university athletic programs have bowed to outside interests, such as lucrative TV contracts, Snyder didn’t mince words. “I think we’ve sold out,” he said. “We’re all about dollars and cents. The concept of college football no longer has any bearing on the quality of the person, the quality of students. Universities are selling themselves out.”

It’s not exactly what you expect to hear from such a successful coach, but Snyder, who rebuilt the K-State football program twice, is known for holding his players to a high standard of behavior and academic performance. And, despite the fact K-State’s football stadium bears Snyder’s name, he also seems to appreciate the proper role of sports at an academic institution.

“Our professors … I have an office I could swim in. They’re in a cubbyhole somewhere,” he said. “Yet, they go out and teach and promote education every day, and I value that.”

A day after Snyder made his comments, the NCAA board of directors voted to give the nation’s five biggest conferences — Big 12, SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC — new authority to make their own rules without input from other Division I conferences. The move is expected to further increase spending on college football.

Does the fact that the Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium recently underwent a $90 million renovation, with another $65 million in work scheduled after this season, weaken the coach’s point about spending on college athletics? Maybe so, or maybe it offers him the perfect platform to say enough is enough.

Snyder has won 178 games during 22 seasons as the K-State coach. With that kind of record, the 74-year-old Snyder’s job is secure and he can afford to say what he really thinks even if it doesn’t win him any friends. It takes some guts for any coach to say college athletics has “sold out to the cameras” and “I think we’ve lost sight of what college athletics is all about.”

Right now, it’s all about money. Congratulations to Snyder for being willing to say that.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 9 months ago

What about the money driven culture hanging over a college education? With few if any jobs waiting for college grads.

Tuition costs at public and private colleges were, are and have been rising faster than just about anything in American society – health care, energy, even housing. Between 1950 and 1970, sending a kid to a public university cost about four percent of an American family's annual income.

Forty years later, in 2010, it accounted for 11 percent. Moody's released statistics showing tuition and fees rising 300 percent versus the Consumer Price Index between 1990 and 2011.

After the mortgage crash of 2008, for instance, many states pushed through deep cuts to their higher-education systems, but all that did was motivate schools to raise tuition prices and seek to recoup lost state subsidies in the form of more federal-loan money. The one thing they didn't do was cut costs.

"College spending has been going up at the same time as prices have been going up," says Kevin Carey of the nonpartisan New America Foundation.

This is why the issue of student-loan interest rates pales in comparison with the larger problem of how anyone can repay such a huge debt – the average student now leaves school owing $27,000 – by entering an economy sluggishly jogging uphill at a fraction of the speed of climbing education costs. "It's the unending, gratuitous, punitive increase in prices that is driving all of this," says Carey.



Can we say The Scam Wall Street Financial Institutions and Universities Learned From the Mafia ?

Amy Varoli Elliott 3 years, 9 months ago

You are way off base on this rant, please go back and do some research then come back.

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