(AP photo by Charlie Niebergall of then-Iowa State football player Phillip Bates and his fellow quarterback, Austen Arnaud)
Thursday, it was announced that sophomore quarterback Phillip Bates is leaving Iowa State’s football program.
Bates had a huge play (as a receiver) against Iowa in ISU’s win over the Hawkeyes in 2007, and was certainly a quarterback of promise. But he was No. 2 at his position, to the constantly improving Austen Arnaud, who took every snap in the Cyclones’ 35-33 loss to Kansas last Saturday.
Bates had no comment. None is needed. Another player wanted to be The Man. Another player didn’t get to be The Man as soon as he would have liked. So another player has transferred. It’s an instant-gratification society, is it not?
This goes on everywhere. Some players are led to believe they’ll get what they want and quickly when they cast their lot with a school. Others make their own assumptions. Then there are those who commit to a school, accept that they’re in constant competition for playing time, and use that to motivate them instead of seeking greener pastures elsewhere.
We see players leave for more playing time at every school in every sport. It’s human nature to want to maximize your opportunities. And sometimes a place just doesn’t turn out to be the right one. But this is unfortunate. Bates leaves the Cyclones without a No. 2 quarterback of any experience at all. If Arnaud gets hurt Saturday or anytime this season, his team is stuck.
Bates could have seen this season through. Maybe something good would have happened because of it.
After last week’s Iowa-Michigan State game, a fellow sportswriter told me Hawkeyes junior running back Shonn Greene was gone after this season to the NFL, a rent-a-player.
“They all are,” I replied. And they are. Sometimes the coaches don’t do right by the players. And sometimes it’s the other way around.