Kansas City, Mo. Many Kansas State donors are so disgusted over the secret agreement to funnel more than $3 million to fired football coach Ron Prince they’re closing their checkbooks and vowing, “No more.”
When Jon Wefald revealed the shocking news to the state Board of Regents on Wednesday, the longtime Kansas State president actually teared up.
As shamed and humiliated as the Wildcats were in the late 1970s when NCAA sleuths caught them hiding 30 football players who weren’t supposed to be on scholarship, this may be worse. Now they’re reeling over what appears to be a secret sweetheart agreement that former athletic director and longtime Wefald sidekick Bob Krause entered into with Prince.
Discovered by accident this month by university lawyers, the agreement says the school must pay a limited liability company established by Prince $3.2 million starting in 2015. That would be in addition to the $1.2 million buyout he already received after being dismissed last November with a 17-20 record.
It’ll be up to the courts to decide how much money, if any, is paid. But there’s no doubt incoming president Kirk Schulz and incoming athletic director John Currie have a gigantic problem staring them in the face.
“K-Staters are very surprised and very sad,” said Dan Lykins, a prominent Topeka attorney and Kansas State grad. “We’re in a mess.”
Wefald, who retires next month after 23 years, says he didn’t know anything about the agreement until it was accidentally discovered.
Few men are closer than Krause to what Lykins refers to as the Kansas State family. His father-in-law, Jack Vanier, is a huge benefactor and one of the richest men in the state.
“Why in the world would Bob do this?” Lykins said. “It’s not like he’s a poor man. That’s what I would like to ask Bob someday — ‘Why in the world did you do this?’”
Lykins said he’s spoken with many fellow K-Staters who say their donations have stopped.
“But I also talk to K-Staters who tell me they will still give,” he said.