In a series of since-deleted tweets, soon-to-be former Kansas State wide receiver Corey Sutton referred to head coach Bill Snyder as a “slave master,” the result of Snyder’s personal decision to block Sutton’s transfer request, and thus plant a giant financial roadblock in the receiver’s ability to go to another university.
According to an interview Sutton granted The Wichita Eagle on Wednesday, Kansas State blocked all 35 of the sophomore’s potential transfer destinations, including D-II and FCS schools. When he appealed, the university stood by Snyder’s decision. In his interview, Sutton said that Snyder did not hint that he would block his release in their initial conversation on the matter. It was only when the school notified him that all 35 requests had been denied that he realized Snyder’s intentions.
At the request of Wildcat coaches, Sutton graduated high school early in 2015 in order to enroll for the 2016 spring semester at Kansas State and get a head start with his new team. Sutton said his position coach, Andre Coleman, told him he could come in and start if he joined the team early in the spring; when the season came, he played in 10 games and caught four passes. According to Sutton, he was told by Coleman that Snyder doesn’t like to play freshmen.
The wideout was disappointed when he spent a potential redshirt season mostly sitting on the bench, leading to his decision to seek a transfer to another school. Sutton said that in his meeting with Wildcat coaches to announce his transfer he told them his college experience at Kansas State had not lived up to what he thought it would, saying he “was depressed” and sought counseling while in school. Sutton did not appear to have any publicly known behavior issues, and he completed his spring semester with a 3.0 GPA.
But, as The Eagle points out, official athletic department policy affords the school the right to deny any athlete’s transfer for, more or less, any reason they want, even if the athlete feels it is not in their best interest:
“The student-athlete’s grade point average as it relates to APR, undue burden or personal/family hardship on the student-athlete, conduct and honest communication by the student-athlete, the best interests of the student-athlete and the institution, and indications of tampering or undue influence regarding the student-athlete shall be the factors considered in the decision as to whether to provide a release for the purposes of a transfer.”
The NCAA bylaws still allow for Sutton to transfer to another school, even if Snyder continues to be an antiquated dipshit; the rub here is that if he does so without a release from Kansas State, he will not be allowed to access financial aid at the school he transfers to for a full year, leaving him and his family footing the bill. Snyder, meanwhile, will pull in $1.89 million in guaranteed salary this coming year.
In an interview with WHB 810 AM, Snyder defended his decision using condescension, repeatedly referring to Sutton, a legal adult operating in a lucrative faux-amateur sports league, as a “youngster,” citing a handshake and national letter of intent Sutton signed as reasons to force the receiver to either suit up for Kansas State or shell out tens of thousands in tuition and room and board fees in order to play elsewhere next season:
“It’s my commitment that once we have signed the youngster that we’re committed to him as long as he behaves himself,” Snyder said. “I accept a youngster that comes into our program as making a similar commitment with a handshake and obviously a signed piece of paper.
“I’ve always said a youngster is free to leave, but I’m not going to release the youngster. It doesn’t mean that he can’t go someplace else and play. He can certainly do that. He wouldn’t be on athletic scholarship for a year’s period of time but could still go and play and then have a scholarship after that.
“That’s a choice they have to make. I’ve told (Sutton) and have told him all along, we’d love for him to stay in the program.”
Snyder is not alone in his crusade to make sure handshakes are respected by these youngster athletes. Pittsburgh men’s basketball drew the ire of the college basketball crowd when it announced Cam Johnson—a top-flight NBA prospect that graduated in three years and wanted to use his next two seasons of eligibility playing on a team that would actually grant him a nightly spotlight for NBA scouts—could not transfer to North Carolina without losing a season of eligibility. Redshirt sophomore Antwuan Jackson claims Auburn is blocking his transfer requests for all SEC schools, as well as those he put in for Clemson and Ohio State. The SEC as a whole is currently reviewing its antiquated football graduate transfer policy, though the league’s coaches seem wholly against allowing college graduates to move schools within the league—as Georgia basketball head coach Mark Fox said, “we don’t want to create free agency.”
In a time in which college football and basketball programs funnel millions to anyone with the word “coach” next to their name, (admittedly sick) slides, high-end hotels posing as dorms, overseas trips to swap Jordans with the Pope, and fucking golf trips to Scotland, how the fuck can this still be allowed?