While previewing the 2014 Wildcats, football coach Bill Snyder took time to voice his displeasure over the changing landscape of college athletics by pin-pointing the financial mindset that circles the industry.
“College athletics, football in particular, has changed dramatically over the years,” Snyder said. “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 person, the quality of student. Universities are selling themselves out — they’re no longer about education. They talk a good game but we’ve (college athletics) flat sold out to those cameras over there. I don’t fault TV or whoever broadcasts games or etc. They’ve got make a living and that’s what they do. But athletics — football — has sold out.”
Most importantly, the longtime head coach fears how it’ll impact the student-athletes.
“It sends a message,” Snyder added. “Young people today are more susceptible to the downside of that message that says it’s not about education anymore — we’re just saying it is, but it’s really about the glitz and the glitter. Values get distorted that way.”
With several former players on staff, Snyder hopes that his players will focus on the values of the program and not become misguided.
“I don’t want to see a Collin Klein or a Zach Hanson or any of the guys like that get (their values) distorted,” Snyder concluded. “They’ve got great values and I don’t want those to get altered by any stretch of the imagination. Hopefully they can do it and they’re strong enough. But since it is such a dollar and cent game, you don’t see guys sitting in the same chair for 20 years anymore. Nobody is going to have it. I’m 100 years old so if I’m gone tomorrow, I’m gone tomorrow, and I have a place to go. But you take a 25-or-35-year old coach and they don’t. The streets are beginning to get full of guys that don’t.”
Despite being only three days into fall camp, Snyder didn’t hesitate to praise the work of his team thus far.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” Snyder said. “I am pleased with the effort of the 105 young guys that we have out there for the most part. We are in a work in progress. I think the retention level this week has been very good. We put in an awful lot. We do not put it in all in one day, but we implement our entire offense, defense, and all of our special teams stuff, which is quite a bit, throughout the first four or five days.”
Behind the return of preseason All-American candidates Tyler Lockett, B.J. Finney and Ryan Mueller, anticipation for the 2014 season remains high.
Coming off the program’s first bowl win since 2002, the Wildcats return a strong core of players that parallels the championship run made in 2012. K-State comes into the season picked to finished third behind Oklahoma and Baylor.
However, K-State enters the season with a few questions marks, including a major hole at running back. Outside of senior running back DeMarcus Robinson’s minimal game experience, the Wildcats possess two redshirt sophomores in Charles Jones and Jarvis Leverett Jr. that competed in the spring game.
With the inexperience, dependency on the passing game appears to be much higher than last season.
“That’s not the philosophy we labor under,” Snyder said. “(That) doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, but my interest is in becoming the most balanced that we can. That’s always been the situation. Now there’s been times when we tried to be balanced and then one side, either the run game or the pass game, kind of outshines the other side of it, but the intent is to always create that balance and we’ll try to do the same thing.
The Wildcats will also welcome a familiar face to their coaching staff. Collin Klein joins the staff as the Assistant Director of Recruiting/Defensive Quality Control, adding to the list of former K-State players who return to help coach within the program.
“I think it’s important because I know them and I know what kind of value system they have,” Snyder said. “They know me and they know the program and the tremendous demands of the program — they’ve experienced it. Consequently, for them to accept the opportunity to come back tells me they’re on board with all of that — and they truly are. I enjoy having the coaches here that have been through the program as players…I’m pleased and proud to have those guys with us.”
The annual fan appreciation day will take place on Saturday, August 16 and it’ll be followed by the Wildcats season opener on Aug. 30 against Stephen F. Austin. Kickoff is slated for 6:10 p.m.