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.