Lots of good folks locally feel pretty strongly about college football. Some of them are convinced that Wichita State University made a wrong-headed move when it punted its own football program into the trash bin of history at the end of the 1986 season.
There is always a conspicuous absence of WSU on the sports pages this time of year as Kansas State and KU become the subjects of endless speculation about this season’s football teams.
I’d put myself in the camp of those who think dropping football was the right decision. The more I read and hear about college football programs, the huge amounts of money spent on coaches and staff and facilities and such, the more I think of the proverbial tail wagging the dog. Are football programs an extension of a college or is the college merely there to support the football program?
Yeah, I know, it’s a school spirit thing. Sis-boom-ba, rah rah rah and all that. But what it’s really mostly about is the money. That’s been apparent for a long time but the recent conference reshuffling was as brazen an admission of money’s importance as could ever be.
Seems to me that college football has a three-fold purpose. It exists for our entertainment, it exists to make money for universities and it exists to serve as a free minor league program for professional football.
So when I read recently of all the excessive travel charges which KU’s athletic director, Lew Perkins, had racked up, it wasn’t much of a surprise. Yawn. More of the same. One very muscular tail wagging that Jayhawk furiously.
I can live with WSU getting shaken up a little less than KU and K-State every fall. They bobbed off that tail 24 years ago.