The War Room: Go Inside Michigan State Football
I get a lot of nuggets and information that alone are not big enough for a story. When I have a few that I can assemble I will, and when I only have one or two, I will post them on our Phalanx Forum board. So welcome to The War Room.
· You may remember that I posted this tidbit in my last War Room: A spring game that once got at or just over 50,000 fell to 12,000 this year, and the youth clinic fell from close to 1,800 to approximately 1000.
· After I wrote that I got a message from a member of the football program that said, “Hondo, the “nugget” on the spring game and youth clinic was a cheap shot. That crowd size failure of both is on the marketing staff and the athletic department. Not coach and the program.”
· Interesting enough, I got another message shortly after the above message from a member of the athletic program that said, “Hondo your thoughts on the number of people at the youth/spring events for football should have made it clear that is on marketing. Not coach or athletics.”
· So I spoke to a member of AD Bill Beekman’s top staff because I wanted to tell the truth to you all. They told me, “It is NOT on the marketing team. In a January meeting that I was in they (Marketing Department) brought up the attendance concerns at those events and had an entire plan on how to promote it. The plan was never used. It was delivered, and the department never approved or enacted it. I was in that meeting Hondo, and anyone putting it on them (Marketing) is doing so because they don’t want to take any blame. That (blaming marketing department) is bulls**t.”
· The Spartan football program announced that they were going to bring a major upgrade and renovation to the football offices that was going to begin this spring. That is NO longer the case.
· That has been “postponed” until at least the fall. While never an issue before, according to folks inside MSU football, “The Spartan fund can’t raise the money.”
· I spoke to folks about it in the athletic department and while they recognized that “the Spartan fund is struggling,” they were not willing to pin all of the struggles on them.
· They told me, “It is difficult to raise money for football right now. With two of the last three years and coach choosing not to make any changes, there is not a lot of excitement.”
· Spartan Nation learned originally of the “postponed” project from one of the athletic department's biggest donors.
· That donor told Spartan Nation, “I was sent a letter asking me to donate. A letter. An (expletive) letter. I guess they just took my giving for granted. I’ve talked to others (donors) about it, and I’m not giving this time. If Coach Dantonio doesn’t think that his offensive staff needed to go (he did reshuffle) I respect that. But then why invest in new offices. I respect Coach, but I didn’t get successful in making poor choices with investing my money.”
· The major donor went on to add, “When you compound that with the fact that the softball coach (Jackie Joseph) got a $50,000 per year raise and the field hockey coach for a pathetic program that didn’t win a conference game got a big yearly raise, are you kidding me?”
· They continued, “Add to it when the new AD took office he gave each program, besides both golf teams, football and basketball $50,000 to spend on whatever they want, they don’t need my money. They are rolling in it. I also heard they did some work at Jenison and in total according to what people in fundraising and athletics told me; they wasted about $1.5 million. That is ridiculous.”
· Spartan Nation spoke to three other significant donors who echoed the sentiments.
· Spartan Nation did its investigation to verify the donor’s thoughts and statements. This is what we have learned:
· Spartan Nation was able to verify through administration sources that Joseph DID indeed get a $50,000 per year raise and that the field hockey coach (Helen Knull) got a sizable bump in yearly salary as well. Her program was winless in the Big Ten this past season and won only two conference games in 2017.
· Spartan Nation was also able to verify that each program (not counting football, men's’ basketball and both golf teams) was given a one-time $50,000 bonus to spend on their program.
· Spartan Nation was also able to verify the funds were spent on the inside surface at Jenison Fieldhouse. Between the $50K per team mentioned above and money spent on Jenison, Spartan Nation was told that the donors alleged “Waste of $1.5 million” was, “Close to 100% accurate if not spot on.”
· The estimated $5 million to renovate and improve the football building is relative peanuts when based on the past success of football fundraising. I can tell you that it is being used against Dantonio on the recruiting trail.
· Not sure anyone is listening over there at athletics, but this should GREATLY concern everyone at MSU.
· The Spartans are struggling to get traction in the state of Michigan for 2020. I already reported that. I mentioned the emergence of Nebraska, but another school is making a big push in the state in recruiting and going head to head with the Spartans and gaining traction is Purdue. Watch out for the Boilermakers.
· Anthony Williams, Connor Heyward and Elijah Collins give the Spartans a unique combo next year. Don’t forget La’Darius Jefferson. He may not be an every down running back, but he is an EXPLOSIVE playmaker that you want on the field every play.
· If the Spartans can be ANY better on offense, they will have a better record in 19. With Jim Bollman moving to the OL that one upgrade alone will make them better. As well as Salem installed as the new OC.
· With MSU offense changing, they will not go hurry up all the time, but one wrinkle I like is that they will hurry back to the line, even when they are going to slow it down. They are looking to catch the defense slacking.
· Salem is going to use a ton of tempo and getting this offense in a rhythm is a big deal. They have had NO rhythm since Connor Cook left.
· More on that in the next War Room that will be out mid-May.
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