Unless you live in Kansas or harbor a severe masochistic streak, you’d be forgiven for not following Kansas State football the past few years, as the once-proud program went from Big XII powerhouse to laughingstock in the matter of a few short years under comically inept head coach Ron Prince.
(You stay classy, Ron Prince.)
Over the past 24 hours, however, the Kansas State Wildcats have stormed back into the consciousness of college football fans in a way they never could on the field, with a whopping tale of intrigue involving deposed coach Prince, secret backroom deals, illegal contracts, shell companies, shady boosters, and the firing of former athletic director Bob Krause.
The details are still shaking out, but here’s what the KANSAS CITY STAR knows so far:
Prince … is scheduled to receive $3.2 million more in payments from 2015 to 2020 — in addition to the buyout amount from his August 2008 contract extension. It’s all because of what K-State officials say is a “secret agreement” signed last August by Prince and Bob Krause, K-State’s former athletic director.
A $3.2 million backroom deal is pretty hefty for a guy who had coached all of two years with a sub-.500 record, don’t you think? Funny thing is, that’s only the beginning. The secret deal was reached supposedly without the knowledge of Krause’s bosses, and was supposed to be paid to a secret shell company, IPP, LLC (which rather hilariously stands for “In Pursuit of Perfection”), set up by Prince. Payments were scheduled all the way through 2020. That’s right - KSU’s mediocre three-year coach was scheduled to get paid for the next eleven years.
When the story of the secret agreement became public, university officials were quick to claim that Krause had gone rogue and done this sketchy deal without the knowledge of approval of any other person in the entire Kansas Board of Regents organization. Here’s where the trouble starts. Krause has long been known as a loyal underling to outgoing university president Jon Wefald. Suddenly, according to KSU, Krause broke with over 25 years of loyalty to Wefald and threw $3.2 million at a coach he didn’t even hire.
The University has now sued Prince to try and break the contract, claiming that Krause didn’t have the authority to make it rain on Prince, so hopefully this will play out in public for all to see. Interestingly, KSU just today registered a similarly-named company, “The Pursuit Of Perfection, LLC“; whether it is to prevent another, less-charitable party from snapping up the name or for something else remains to be seen. The $64,000 question right now is whether the NCAA has any reason to get involved; if giving a football player $50 under the table is grounds for probation, surely paying a disgraced coach $3.2 million to quietly (key word here) go away might raise a few eyebrows in Indianapolis. Kansas State Football: Where Amazing Happens!