Kansas State wide receiver Corey Sutton is hoping to no longer be referred to as "Kansas State wide receiver Corey Sutton," but his head coach, the legendary Bill Snyder, is doing his best to prevent that. Sutton requested a transfer from the school, which the school denied, and then denied again on appeal.
It's becoming a problem for Snyder and K-State because Sutton feels like he's been lied to and unfairly treated by a program that did not deliver on the promises that lured him there. Sutton, who spoke to the Wichita Eagle , claims he told Snyder about his decision to transfer and the coach said, "Well, Corey, I feel bad that you want to leave, but I can't make you stay."
Sutton finished the semester and then left the school to start figuring out his next move. Then K-State denied his release, effectively preventing him from transferring. From the Eagle:
Sutton said he presented K-State with a list of 35 potential transfer destinations in early May and the school denied his release to all 35 a week later. Sutton said the list didn't contain any Big 12 schools or teams on future K-State schedules. Some were FCS and Division II. Didn't matter. K-State blocked him everywhere.
Sutton can technically go wherever he wants, but without a release from K-State, his new school can't offer him any financial aid. So this is an unpaid laborer, being held against his will, and denied an opportunity at even that "free education" NCAA-thumpers like to talk about by a man currently making $3.1 million a year.
The 77-year-old millionaire also went on to smear the 19-year-old to the press, claiming that Sutton failed two drug tests. Amazingly, Snyder said he's never before retained a player with that sort of track record, but athletic department rules made it possible in this situation.
Coach, if he's a guy you don't want to keep, don't keep him! You just gave everyone who would care a pretty good reason for it! I can't imagine why else you would divulge that bit of information, unless you were thinking of cutting him loose.
According to Sutton, he was recruited as a starter—the staff told him they had no wide receivers—but when he got to campus, the team was deep at the position. He was then convinced to burn his redshirt year with promises that he'd be involved in half the plays.
"Then the game would start and my position coach would grab me and tell me to stay on the sidelines and that I'm not starting because Coach Snyder doesn't want to play a freshman. I felt lied to."
School pride and loyalty are great, when it works both ways. As Sutton points out, Snyder could be gone tomorrow if he wanted, and what recourse would any of his players have? Meanwhile, Sutton is stuck in college football limbo.
If you don't believe college athletes are treated more like commodities than people, just listen to what Sutton is saying and what Snyder is saying. They are having the same conversation, just in different ways. Snyder's objective and goal is the preservation of the program—he needs No. 2 players just as much as he needs No. 1 players, so he's got to hang on to them anyway he can. While he specifically disputes that Sutton was lied to, he's also basically acknowledging that he's going to do whatever it takes to keep his team stocked with talent. This is the fucked up reality of college sports. The athletes aren't people, they are rows of teeth in a shark's mouth.
Update 3:02 p.m.: In a press release from Kansas State, Bill Snyder has apologized for attacking Corey Sutton, expressing his regret for what he called "out of line" comments."
"I would like to apologize to Corey and his family for my remarks last night which included sensitive and private information," Snyder added. "I spoke out of line and for that I express a sincere regret for my comments."
In the same statement, K-State athletic director Gene Taylor announced they have awarded Sutton a full release.