Kansas State coach Bill Snyder feels college sports are chasing the money. Specifically, television money.
On Wednesday, Snyder talked about the power that money wields in the college sports landscape and said college football no long has "any bearing on the quality of the person, the quality of the student."
''It's changed. I mean, college athletics, football in particular, has changed dramatically over the years,'' Snyder said (via the Associated Press.) ''I think we've sold out. 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 no longer about education,'' Snyder said. ''We've sold out to the cameras over there, and TV has made its way, and I don't fault TV. I don't fault whoever broadcasts games. They have to make a living and that's what they do, but athletics - that's it. It's sold out.''
It's hard to disagree that college sports have become primarily centered around money. It's the driving force for conference television networks, licensing deals, and, quite frankly, the litigation over the use of name, image and likeness.
However, it's hard to take Snyder's points completely seriously given that Kansas State, his school, is squarely in the midst of the college football arms race itself. The school recently renovated the stadium that bears Snyder's name and even more improvements are scheduled to it.
''Everybody is building Taj Mahals,'' Snyder said, ''and I think it sends the message - and young people today I think are more susceptible to the downside of that message, and that it's not about education. We're saying it is, but it's really about the glitz and the glitter, and I think sometimes values get distorted that way. I hate to think a young guy would make a decision about where he's going to get an education based on what a building looks like.''
Plus, there's this fact as well.
We're not saying Snyder should be totally altruistic and donate his salary to the university, but the point hits harder under different circumstances. Snyder is the most successful coach in Kansas State history and his program's rise corresponds with the explosion of college football in the United States. Both he and the school have benefitted from a selling out, either perceived or real.
Hs comments may have more than coincidental timing as well. On Thursday, the NCAA is set to vote on autonomy reforms that will allow the Power Five conferences (of which Kansas State is a member) to have more freedom to establish new rules. If it passes, the vote could pave the way for schools in the larger conferences to provide full cost-of-attendance scholarships and other benefits for college athletes.
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- Bill Snyder