September was a remarkable month for me and the Broad College of Business. I got to speak at the new Gaynor Entrepreneurial Lab (GEL) in front of 80 or so students for nearly 80 minutes (longer than the actual playing time of a football game) and it was a truly engaging time. You can listen to the podcast, just Goggle search.
A couple days later I was part of the ribbon cutting for the Pavilion, the new $62 million dollar building that will make the Broad College competitive with the best of business schools and has created a space for students I could only have dreamt about way back then. For $3 million, the BUB and I scored front row seats.
Academics is alive and well at MSU. 2019 marks the highest incoming freshman class in history, the highest number of students overall and highest GPA and ACT scores required. With all the scandals, students still want to invest four years at MSU.
The flip side of all this is athletics. I knew it, when I said athletics, your mind immediately went to football! The irony of the situation is that MSU has more than 100 athletic programs but no one cares about any of them except for football and basketball. That got me to thinking: Why are there four years to a college degree? Why not three, why not five? Why are there four quarters to a football game?
I’ve been going to MSU football games for enough years that I now have second row seats near the 50. The games always started at Noon, tailgating at 9:30AM. I never drank alcohol then but Turkeyman was a treat. So was watching the marching band and the cheerleaders. The game lasted three hours and perfect timing to get home and enjoy Saturday night.
Lately MSU hasn’t had many noon games, in fact, not a single one this year. We had to play Western at 7:00PM if you can believe. Why? The NCAA dictates each team’s schedule meaning it’s all about money. Now the games last more than 3.5 hours and the scoreboard even shows the commercial time left in green. At home you can at least go to the bathroom, grab a snack, scan your phone or switch channels. Not so in a stadium especially when it is cold, rainy, windy or even sunny. Those 2:40 minutes go by very slow.
But what the heck, we’re talking smack down football. Football is the sport that changes man like no other sport. State makes a first down, fans high five. State runs an offensive play without fumbling or being intercepted or losing yardage or being penalized, fans high five. State scores a touchdown, a new world of order just happened and the stadium erupts. Fans are so easily manipulated. We will put up with anything when the team wins, even those f—–ing commercials.
Let me tell you this: At the ribbon cutting, we had the new President on stage, Sam Stanley, a fine young man of 65 who I had the pleasure of having breakfast with. We had Sanjay Gupta on stage (he was full of smiles!), the Dean of the business school. We had Minskoff on stage, the guy from NY that gave $30 million, the biggest gift to MSU of all time. Not once during any of their presentations did the spectators high five. Behind the stage area were more than 100 MSU students. Sure they clapped politely, but not a single high five.
That my friends is the difference between academics and athletics. That my friends is the power of football and somewhat basketball. High fives.
Now that academics is better than ever and the Broad College of Business is on the way to competing with the Ross School of Business, it is time to clean up athletics, specifically football and leadership. We all know athletics is the root problem of the Nasser tragedy that cost the then President and then Athletic Director among others, their jobs. We now know there are more stories from a couple years ago that both Dantonio and Simon have to testify after the football schedule is over with. And sadly we know that the MSU football team are losers with no offense, no defense, no special teams and certainly no coaching. The team is pathetic and look, MSU hasn’t won a national championship since 1966. We deserve better. MSU fans deserve better. The state of Michigan deserves better.
I for one decided to give up my season tickets. I will not be alone. Certainly Dantonio will retire after this season. Hopefully a new AD will be hired so we can start fresh. And everyone else in-between, time to clean house.
I’m proud to be a Spartan and clearly, academics rules at MSU. But all the crap that has gone on at athletics over the past few years has damaged MSU’s reputation and we need to get that back and that is what Sam Stanley is going to do. I’m just a donor who bleeds green but come on, we cannot watch another football game in which we lose 38-0 and when the Detroit Free Press gives out 0’s to the coaching staff, offense and defense teams.
Until something drastically changes, I’ll forgo my annual donation, second row seats and eight hours of Saturday misery and once again enjoy my fall Saturday’s.
In the meantime, go visit the Pavilion. It is truly one of the best college buildings you will ever see, complete with Panera Bread, team meeting rooms, high tech team rooms, classrooms, lounges, free space and so much more. That my friends is an investment worth making.