Attention, all readers of Bring On The Cats. It is now time for your quarterly reminder that Jason Whitlock is an intellectually dishonest columnist who should not be listened to, even though everyone with a brain should know that already.
In the latest edition of "why I write things no intelligent human being could believe just to get a reaction," Whitlock asserts that the "golden era" of K-State athletics is "tarnished" by the release of the Board of Regents Audit. He claims he read the entire audit. If he did, he didn't read it very carefully. Of course, he admits as much:
I’m still unclear of who did what, when and where.
That much is obvious, because for the next 20 paragraphs, Whitlock only articulated one thought that made any sense at all, which occurred when he wrote the following:
The $3 million secret buyout Krause agreed to give Ron Prince seems to be part of a pattern of financial mismanagement at K-State under Wefald’s presidency.
This is no different from the rest of his columns, mind you, but because the subject matter of this one pertains to K-State, I decided to address it.
The major thrust of Whitlock's column is that Bill Snyder was complicit in the wrongdoing at K-State and should retire or be fired soon. In support of his claim that the rise of K-State football under Snyder is now tarnished by the audit, Whitlock trots out the tired old adage that you can't rise from nothing to something without cutting a few corners and ignoring a few ethical mores.
Whether or not the deals orchestrated by Wefald and Krause were actually in violation of the Internal Revenue Code will have to be determined by the IRS. Tim Weiser said today that he believes the arrangements were proper. The audit itself notes that it is standard practice for coaches to set up personal LLCs to handle certain compensation. I don't know the specifics of the tax law in this area, but I don't think Whitlock does, either. A friend of mine who understands these things better than I do said it might be possible to classify a coach as an employee of the university, who would pay the base salary for services as a coach, but an independent contractor of the athletic department, which is a private and legally separate entity, through which compensation for endorsements and appearances would be paid to the coach's LLC.
When the big picture is considered, I don't know how what happened constitutes serious corner-cutting that gave K-State a distinct advantage over other schools, thus enabling our "golden era." If it's a violation of the IRC, then it shouldn't have happened, and we probably did save some money on taxes during that time. However, given how much smaller our entire athletic department budget is, any incremental tax savings on employee compensation would do little to close the $70 million revenue gap between us and Texas. I'm not saying it's OK to cheat the IRS because you have a smaller athletic department budget, I'm noting that if that was our cheating strategy, then we really should have taken some cues from that school down the river in how to adopt a more effective cheating strategy.
In short, Whitlock can blather on about how our "golden era" was caused by cutting corners and cheating on our taxes, and that will feed the moronic fans of rival programs who don't have any more support for their arguments than "Whitlock said it." Any rational, objective observer would agree that the "golden era" of K-State football was a product of a coach with a tireless work ethic, a brilliant offensive mind, and assistant coaches like Bob Stoops, Mike Stoops, Jim Leavitt, Bret Bielema, Brent Venables, Phil Bennett and Mark Mangino. It was a product of players like Michael Bishop, Jonathan Beasley, Ell Roberson, Darren Sproles, Darren Howard, Monty Beisel, Terence Newman, Chris Canty, Quincy Morgan, Mark Simoneau, Rock Cartwright, and many others.
You mean to tell me that saving a few hundred thousand dollars per year, when programs like Nebraska, Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma were making tens of millions more per year is the reason K-State was a powerhouse program?
Now I might argue that the comments Whitlock makes about Snyder could be considered libelous, considering that he recklessly accuses Snyder of wrongdoing when the audit produces zero evidence that Snyder did anything that should jeopardize his employment. I said that I would argue that these comments could constitute libel, but one of the elements of libel is damage to the reputation, and I doubt very seriously that anything Whitlock says could be taken seriously enough to damage anyone's reputation. The university is behind in paying him his salary, which I suppose could be a tax problem considering the income has already been earned and may not have been claimed for tax purposes if it hasn't been paid. However, as Blair Kerkhoff noted this morning, that's an IRS question, not an NCAA question, and in my mind has zero bearing on how Snyder performs his duties as head coach.
Toward the end of the story, Whitlock really lets the buckshot go and starts hitting anything and everything in sight. Somehow, men's basketball comes up, which was initially perplexing because the audit mentioned nothing about men's basketball. However, given Whitlock's willingness to fabricate anything that would smear Frank Martin's program, it's not particularly surprising to me that he would throw out unfounded accusations about men's basketball in this column.
Maybe we did get used by Bob Huggins, but I'll take getting used by Huggins over the way Iowa State is getting used by Greg McDermott. Whitlock undoubtedly still harbors the impression that we were a one-hit wonder with Michael Beasley and Bill Walker, but all available evidence indicates otherwise. I suppose we could have made the conventional hire in McDermott and wallowed under years of painful mediocrity and we would have avoided being used, but if being used means you end up with Martin and Dalonte Hill as your coaches and recruiters and Beasley, Walker, Denis Clemente, Jamar Samuels, Wally Judge and Rodney McGruder as your players, I can live with being used.
The claim that Hill's salary is "ridiculous" is befuddling. An independent college basketball blog, Rush the Court, wrote a post using actual facts and figures to demonstrate that Hill was worth his salary solely for bringing Beasley to Manhattan. If the "unproven" tag is used to describe Hill's coaching acumen, I suppose that's still up for debate, considering he's only 30 years old and has not been a head coach anywhere. But his primary job is to recruit talented basketball players to Manhattan, and he is anything but unproven in that arena. He brought in Beasley and contributed top-20 recruiting class this year, personally landing players like Judge and McGruder, and sharing credit for bringing Nick Russell and Jordan Henriquez to Manhattan. Panjandrum observed that, for all the moronic decisions Wefald and Krause made, they may have been on the cutting edge by paying big bucks for a proven recruiter in an age of one-and-done players.
Finally, a column just wouldn't be a Whitlock column if it didn't contain the obligatory disingenuous compliment to the people he's smearing. Whitlock claims to "respect...immensely" Wefald and Snyder and be "astonished" by their accomplishments. In that spirit, I will say that I respect Jason for doing what he can to root out racism in the city I now call home, even if I think everything else that he writes is not fit to potty train a dog.