Big Ten Expansion Part Seven

The time has come for the administration to help Hollis and the athletic department.  Enough is enough.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard. The time has come for the administration to help Hollis and the athletic department. Enough is enough. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.


The time has come for the administration to help Hollis and the athletic department.  Enough is enough.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

The time has come for the administration to help Hollis and the athletic department. Enough is enough. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

The Breslin Center

Most fans would be shocked to find out that this building is not owned by athletics.  Each and every home game the athletic department has to rent the facility.  Not only that, but if Coach Izzo wants to have a practice in the Breslin, remember it would be empty without men’s basketball, athletics has to rent it.  There would be no Breslin without MSU basketball and this is in my opinion not a good way to do business. 


Here is another example surrounding Breslin and how it has hurt athletics in the past.  In the center of the very best seats in the building is an eyesore concrete box for the sound system.  Multiple times athletics begged the Breslin to let them pay to move it so they could have the estimated 32 extra high dollar seats.  Their pleas were literally ignored…for years!


Thankfully there has been a change of leadership at the Breslin and they are moving it to help in this reseating process.  Why was there even an argument?  Are you kidding me?  Without Izzo and athletics the Breslin is a dream, yet once again athletics had to beat their heads against a wall fighting bureaucracy until someone came along who got it.


Why was this even allowed to happen?  Why didn’t the administration step in and remind past people at Breslin who the cash cow is.  According to AD Mark Hollis ONLY two sports at MSU actually make money.  Men’s basketball and football.  Sorry people, but when they ask for something they should get it…yesterday.


Excuse me Mr. Hollis we are taking more.

My father is proud of his service in the Navy and he served our nation admirably.  He jokes about in the military being ordered to volunteer for things.  It is a funny concept, but it goes on and Hollis can’t do anything about it.


I was with Mark Hollis Thursday at a luncheon when he talked about all of these issues being raised in this and the last article.  He also informed us of another development that is an absolute outrage.  Spartan fans are not going to like this one.


In the midst of a recession where revenue is struggling to meet expenses here is a kicker.  Not only does athletics get no help from the university, they also lose revenue in many areas as noted above and at times even subsidize the university.


Many university athletic programs aren’t self-sufficient and they are struggling.  MSU athletics fails to get much of the revenue or help mentioned above that they raise and has to give 1% off the top back to the university of their general non-donation funds.  Not only do they get no help, they also don’t receive any breaks.  Not only does Hollis masterfully keep the department in the black he ALSO has to cut a check to the university.  They see it as another revenue stream.  When is enough, enough?


With the recession and the financial woes, and without Board of Trustee approval, Mark Hollis was informed last year that starting this 2010-2011 season, he will have to pay 2%.  $1.5 million dollars (based on the latest numbers) out of his budget as a stand-alone entity that gives millions in other areas.  They simply raised by 100% WITHOUT BOARD APPROVAL his donation to the schools coffers. He gets no help, doesn’t get all the revenue he raises and as a parting gift has to pay an additional 2% of his funds.  He is getting essentially double and triple taxed. 


I understand and I believe that without an MSU there is no Michigan State athletics.  They should stand alone.  They shouldn’t get any money from the University.  It is also fair to say that in doing that the University can’t keep getting blood out of a radish.  Each time they take more from athletics, it is essentially a tax on you the consumer.  Athletics runs tight financially.  For every additional dollar the University takes, they have to make it up.  Who makes it up?  The fan.


Remember fans, this is essentially a tax on you.  You may not like reseating.  You may not like it when ticket prices go up, but that isn’t Hollis’ fault.  That is on the administration. 


Let me say this.  Each time your costs go up, don’t blame Hollis.  Don’t blame Izzo.  This department is masterfully run.  Mark Dantonio has made choices to bus his team to games to save Hollis money.  I know for a fact that least one Big Ten team has used it against him in recruiting, but Dantonio knows that saving Hollis every dime is an extra way for him to help.


Who do you blame?  Do you blame an administration that won’t stop taking your money?  Or do we continue to let the athletic department take the fall for something that is clearly not their fault?  The administration won’t cut the amount of money they take.  They won’t stop spending (sound familiar) they keep taking.  Reseating is tough.  I will deal with it on Monday, but it hurts.  It is necessary and if you don’t like it, blame the administration and send a sympathy card to Mark Hollis.


Big Ten expansion will bring more dollars.  It is the only reason to do it.  Every extra dollar counts.  The athletic department has to pay increases in fuel and other rising costs every day like you do, and they have to do it with the weight of a university that sees them as a cash cow.


I want to make one thing clear.  There will be those (not all) in the administration that don’t want this out there.  Mark Hollis has NEVER once complained.  He understands MSU and he loves it.  He also needs help and isn’t getting it.  It has to be frustrating for him.


Why is Big Ten expansion necessary?  Because costs are going up and without it, the tapped out fan will have to pay more and at some point the system will implode.  I have outlined the many ways Hollis hasn’t gotten any help, he isn’t allowed to cut anything and athletics needs the revenue.  If MSU was given the tuition waver which I think is reasonable and the administration stopped taking the 2% that they so graciously took from his check book, the department could retire debt quicker and be in great shape. 


We are not talking about student fees, subsidies, raising the concession, parking or licensing budget.  Just two simple things could bring some relief to the fan and the department.  None of those two is even unreasonable or out of bounds compared to other schools.  They are common sense approaches.


Why Big Ten expansion?  Because in Michigan State’s case they are not getting any help at home.  Here is the sad part.  At some point even expansion money hits the ceiling. Sooner rather than later, MSU is going to have to make changes to support the athletic department.  Not financially.  I never want to see that.  I simply mean they have to get off the back of their single biggest customer.  Hopefully, they don’t bankrupt it before they are able to fix the problem.  It’s just like social security now.  We all know it is essentially bankrupt and neither political party will deal with it.


Athletic revenue and how this University deals with it are coming to a head.  This administration has to get real and recognize the job that Hollis has done and is doing and help him.  Athletics should never get one DIME of university money, but how much more will they take?


Why Big Ten expansion?  It is critical for the long-term sustainability for the sports that the fans love. 

About Hondo S. Carpenter Sr.

View all posts by Hondo S. Carpenter Sr.
Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr. is the founder and publisher of and all of the family of services. The idea was birthed when overseas he ran into a Spartan not native to the United States who was wearing his Green and White proudly. He is dedicated to bringing you the latest and greatest information about Michigan State and Detroit Sports News every day. He resides in the Mid Michigan area. Follow Hondo on twitter here: @hondocarpenter.

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