|ESPN.com: Big 12||[Print without images]|
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Kansas State has always faced unique challenges in trying to remain relevant with the rest of the Big 12.
It turns out one of the biggest might have been found in the administrative offices of the school.
Austin Meek of the Topeka Capital-Journal has a fascinating story of how school president Jon Wefald's insistence to be involved in personnel matters eventually led to the departure of former athletic director Tim Weiser.
Meek reports that Wefald's insistence in overruling Weiser in regards to a contract extension and larger buyout for former Kansas State football coach Ron Prince eventually was the breaking point in Weiser's relationship with the school. It led Weiser to eventually take a job with the Big 12 as deputy commissioner, but not before he was able to negotiate a $1.9 million buyout as he left.
Less than six months later, Prince received a contract extension before the start of the 2008 season. The Wildcats struggled with a 5-7 record that led to his dismissal with three games left in the regular season. It prompted a $1.3 million settlement with the athletic department.
For those of you counting at home, that's $3.2 million that the school is on the hook for to pay off the two settlements.
Wefald has always received credit for helping foster the atmosphere that enabled Bill Snyder's program to thrive, taking the Wildcats to an area in the national spotlight they had never been to before. Some have called it "The Manhattan Miracle."
But with that success, Wefald apparently decided to take more of an expanding role in Kansas State athletics different from most school presidents at most schools. By doing that, he usurped some of the traditional personnel responsibilities of an athletic director that Weiser was familiar with in other jobs before.
As Weiser left for the Big 12 offices in Dallas with the contract settlement, the cost grew.
Snyder is back coaching Kansas State football again, returning from a three-year sabbatical.
And it's fair to say that Wildcat Nation needs some football success from the veteran coach quickly. A prompt return to his previous level of contending for Big 12 championships would likely make most forget about the personnel meddling by Wefald that has proven so costly in the last several years to Kansas State.