A Letter to the Editor of USA Today from Steve Cline

November 24, 2008



Mr. Ken Paulson


USA Today

7950 Jones Branch Drive

McLean, VA  22108-0605



Re:      USA Today Cover Story

“Athletes guided toward beating the system’”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008



Dear Mr. Paulson,


After reading the above referenced article, I feel compelled to clear the air, not only for myself, but for the Kansas State University athletics program as well.  In short, your article did nothing but mince together various statements I made and spin them into a negative context that suited the intended focus of the article.  I regret responding to the interview request in the first place.


I was originally approached by Jill Lieber Steeg for what I thought would be a positive interview about my experience as a student athlete, but I soon realized that her questions were leading in a negative direction and I became suspicious of her intentions for the focus of this article.  It seems my suspicions were correct as she focused and expanded upon the few negative things I said regarding my choice of major.  I advised Ms. Lieber Steeg that I no longer wanted to be party to her questions and specifically asked that she not include me in this article.  Obviously she did not respect my wishes as I was a major focus of her article.  It should be noted that I did not answer or return any of her calls for follow up questions nor did I respond to her request for a meeting with photographers. 


I am proud to be a Kansas State University academic and athletic alumnus.  I made the ultimate decisions that shaped my academic path and major of study.  While I may have some regrets regarding my degree path, in no way does that reflect upon my experience at Kansas State University.  I appreciate the opportunity I was given to not only participate as a student athlete at the Division I level but also to earn a college degree.


I was a recruit and signee under Coach Bill Snyder.  I have the utmost respect for him, not only as my former football coach, but also as a mentor that always wanted the best for me both on and off the field.  The same can be said for Head Coach Ron Prince, President Wefald and all of the athletic and academic staff at Kansas State University.  I sincerely apologize to them for any negativity this article may have brought them or Kansas State University.


The facts are these:  I have earned a college degree.  I was named to multiple Big XII Commissioner’s Honor Rolls.  I was a Big XII All-Academic Selection as a Master’s Degree candidate.  I played Division I college football on a full scholarship.  I have done what most people can only dream of doing.  I will take the college degree that I earned and become the most successful person I can be in whatever I choose to pursue.  The USA Today article does not illustrate that side of my experience.  For that, you, your publication and Ms. Lieber Steeg should be ashamed.


I will always be a Kansas State University Wildcat and will always be grateful for the opportunities they provided me.  Nothing you print in your newspaper can ever change that.




Steve M. Cline