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Texas Tech pulls support of Tech Knight Kick-Off event

The pomp and circumstance which used to surround college football has deteriorated in recent years. Tradition has been forsaken for the pursuit of the almighty dollar. Conference realignment was the most obvious example of this, but it’s happening at a much smaller level too.

Texas Tech provided the latest example. Texas Tech’s athletics department made a decision to no longer support the Knights of Columbus annual Tech Knight Kick-Off to commemorate the start of the season.

“The Red Raider Club has kind of made a decision to not support our event going forward after 55 years,” Michael Riojas, the marketing chairman for Saturday’s kick-off event at the Knights of Columbus Banquet Hall in Lubbock, told the Lubbock Journal-Avalanche‘s Sarah Rafique. “They said they get so many requests for appearances that they had to draw the line, and I guess our event doesn’t generate enough money.

“Now that (Tech athletics) is kind of big time — I don’t know that there is a real answer.”

Sadly, not only is Texas Tech severing ties with the event, but it also won’t accept the Knights of Columbus’ annual contributions to the the university.

“We had a conference call with (Texas Tech athletic director) Kirby Hocutt and (associate athletics director) Steve Uryasz, and we were basically told that we needed to find another charity to give our money to, so it’s kind of a bittersweet day for me today knowing that this could be our last one,” Riojas said. “The event is called Texas Tech Kick-Off Knight; how do you have a Texas Tech kick-off night if Texas Tech doesn’t want to be involved anymore?”

Riojas estimated the organization has donated $250,000 in endowed scholarships (over an unnamed amount of time). Yet, it’s not enough for the university.

Texas Tech President Duane Nellis did attend this year’s event, but his presence doesn’t guarantee anything in the years ahead.

“I don’t know that even a lot of our members know yet, but it’s been very disappointing working with the Red Raider Club this year,” Riojas said. “We’re kind of wondering what our future’s going to be with this (Tech Knight Kick-Off) program. It’s up in the air. … We don’t know if we’re going to have a program next year.”

The Knights of Columbus should continue to host the event in future years. Texas Tech fans will continue to come. After all, it’s tradition.

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9 Responses to “Texas Tech pulls support of Tech Knight Kick-Off event”
  1. goodfieldnohit says: Aug 24, 2014 4:04 PM

    Texas Tech is dumber than I thought. Way to turn your backs on a longtime supporter of your program.

  2. irishlad19 says: Aug 24, 2014 4:32 PM

    CFB is becoming a semi-professional business; money rules, and sentiment has no place.
    Sad, but that doesn’t mean much.

  3. amosalanzostagg says: Aug 24, 2014 4:43 PM

    goodfieldnohit, exactly.

    Knights of Columbus is affiliated with the Catholic Church, sadly many colleges and universities have stopped affiliations with religious organizations all in the name of political correctness. Separation of church and state argument.

  4. brutusbuckeye2011 says: Aug 24, 2014 5:56 PM


    I was thinking the same thing. Religious affiliation a major reason why Baylor and BYU were snubbed by the PAC 10. BYU is better scholastically, has a bigger stadium and national following than Utah; yet, Utah was picked to join.
    The same could be said for Baylor as compared to Colorado. Baylor stadium was smaller at the time, but had plans to expand.

  5. borisgv says: Aug 24, 2014 8:05 PM

    That $250,000 that has been donated was over a period of 55 years. It’s not hard to do the math and see that the resources used to put on that event (Tech’s band, coaching staff, etc) weren’t worth what came out to about $5k a year in donations.

    Goldfieldnohit, if you think Tech is “dumb” for making a decision like this then you must not be a fan of any major Division IA college program. They are all similar in this regard, and I can guarantee you the vast majority of schools in the Power 5 conferences wouldn’t be supporting an event that pays only $5k annually.

  6. goodfieldnohit says: Aug 24, 2014 8:11 PM

    I’ve been to many a fish fry where the current Texas A&M football coach goes out to stump for support and connect with the average joe. From Gene Stallings to Kevin Sumlin, they all do things that inconvenient.

    And do you have any idea how much real money can be earned from a $5k annual donation over 55 years? Or would you just take that money and spend some it on booze, broads, and slow horses, and then blow the rest?

    Yes, I think Tech is dumb.

  7. planecrashguy says: Aug 24, 2014 9:20 PM

    I’m sure ND or Boston College would be happy to the Lubbock KoC’s money.

  8. justanobserver says: Aug 25, 2014 3:32 AM

    I understand what many on this thread are saying. I have long believed our society inevitably will find a way to completely screw up all great things — and I believe the game of college football is yet another in this long line. Whether it’s due to too much money, or not enough; rules, either too strong or not strong enough — or too often flaunted — or our smothering news media, we’ll find a way to muck it up.

    In this case, however, I question the handwringing. I agree that it’s tough to contemplate the demise of what may have become a special tradition to some at TT. And it can be excruciatingly tougher still to actually see a tradition die. But like it or not, when one strips away the emotion, hard decisions sometimes have to be made.

    Indeed, the participation investment in both time and money — of team coaches, players, administrators, pep bands, cheer squads, and more — to put on such events must ultimately be weighed against the benefit(s) derived by the Tech football program.

    Obviously, Tech officials have determined that its complete participation in the KofC effort is no longer worth the program’s investment to help keep it going. And while we might hope that some accommodation or modification to TT participation costs could head off the demise of the Knights kickoff rally, some change in this Tech tradition is not only inevitable, but justified.

  9. wabbitslayer says: Aug 25, 2014 6:42 AM

    Not much of a controversy here. The administration almost certainly called Craig James and cleared it with him first…

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