Open Letter From Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder

Snyder announces publically the punishment of senior quarterback Ell Roberson for violating team rules before the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl last week.

I am extending a heartfelt and sincere apology to the people of Kansas State, our community of Manhattan, and the entire state of Kansas for the anguish and suffering endured by those who genuinely care about our football program and university.  The incident which took place during our stay in Scottsdale has been a painful experience for our administration, our faculty, our student body, our community, and, certainly, for all of us closely associated with Kansas State football.

I extend the same apology to the administration of the Fiesta Bowl, its sponsors, the Scottsdale Plaza Resort and the people of "The Valley of the Sun" all of whom received us so very well and extended such gracious hospitality to our travel party and all visiting K-Staters.

Please understand that it has not been my intent to withhold information from the media, but to cooperate with the legal process.

As we now know, charges will not be filed and the Maricopa County Attorney has stated that no criminal incident occurred.  It is unfortunate that this damaging information was released prior to a thorough and complete investigation, which ultimately concluded there was no validity to the allegation of sexual assault or sexual abuse.  The fact that the initial charges were found to be erroneous in many cases will fall on deaf ears. 

As most of the people in our local and regional media understand, over the past 15 years in our program the violation of team rules and the punishments for those violations were always kept in house (within the "family").  Because this violation of team rules by our starting quarterback, Ell Roberson, became a national news story, I have decided in this one instance to make the consequences of violating those team rules public.

In accordance with our policy of the past 15 years, I then decided that the consequences for Ell Roberson and those players who had violated team regulations would include :

1. The loss of  scholarship aid (of approximately $8,481.00) for the spring semester.

2. Not receiving a Fiesta Bowl ring.

3. Volunteer public service addressing youth groups within the community.

In addition to these consequences, Ell Roberson has already paid a severe price for his indiscretion–a price far greater than perhaps any other student in a similar situation would have paid.

I want all K-Staters to know that this incident has hit at the core of my value system.  I do not condone any form of sexual abuse or, for that matter, sexual activity for young, unmarried males or females.  I have three daughters and three granddaughters.  Each of whom I pray to be safe and secure and to carry strong moral values that coincide with those of our family.

At the time of the incident, I made what was seemingly an easy decision: to suspend the young men from our program and send them home that evening.  I was at peace with that decision and shared it with our coaching staff the next morning.

However, later in the day, I was provided with information from local authorities and an outside investigation which led us to the conclusion that, with complete assurance, no crime of any nature was committed by any player in our program.  An indiscretion, yes; a violation of the law, no.  At that time it became apparent that the decision to suspend  players did not seem consistent with other decisions made within the program.

Timing, then, became an issue.  I had one day in which to make what I could only pray and hope would be the appropriate decision.  This proved to be the most agonizing and painful event in my entire professional career.

As I anguished over this decision I was well aware that I do not have the capacity to regulate the decisions that 22 year olds make regarding their moral and sexual behaviors which are within the limits of the law.

The question arose:  would it be better not to start the young men?  The idea of allowing them to play, but not start the game and sit out for a series or two seemed merely a token consequence.  I believed the price of this irresponsibility should be far greater.  All the while, I was well aware that any decision I made would be met with criticism.

I cannot adequately convey to you how badly I feel for those within the Wildcat family who, through their allegiance to our university and athletic program, are suffering immensely.  A day has not gone by that I have not prayed that the Lord would ease the pain for our players, coaches, staff, the athletic department, the university faculty, student body, and administration, and the remarkable K-State fan base throughout the country.  The accusation that was falsely made in this incident will live within each of us for a long time to come.

I am grateful for the outpouring of support and the continued faith that we are diligently attempting to advance the proper values to young people within our program and that we are teaching life's lessons in a manner which provides them with a venue to mature and grow toward a successful future

I apologize from the depth of my soul that this situation ever took place.

–Bill Snyder

Head Football Coach

Kansas State University


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