Do you remember when everyone was freaking out about Narduzzi leaving for Texas A&M? A&M was going to bring in the money truck and that would be that. It would have involved doubling Duzzer's salary, allegedly, to pay him equally to the A&M offer.
Well, the check is here and it's time to pay up.
Normally this is the part where I would come in with the populist rage and expect to continue the pace of success MSU football has enjoyed without this newly instituted manadatory "donation". That's not what this post is going to be about though, this post is going to be about how this "donation" has become a part of most major college football programs. In this ESPN article from 2006!!, they talk about 50 yard seats at Florida going for $12,000 a season a seat. All of a sudden an extra 500 looks pretty reasonable by comparison. Some other schools that participate in this "mandatory donation" program are Florida, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Alabama, LSU, Michigan and Nebraska.
Why is it important to keep up with the Joneses? Well, for starters in this article written a few weeks ago the following point gets made:
The average Bowl Subdivision assistant made nearly 11% more in 2011 than he did last year, USA TODAY's third survey of assistant coaches' compensation finds. Since 2009, the average pay for FBS assistants has increased to more than $182,000 from just over $155,000 — an 18% jump.
I don't recall what the salary of an assistant coach who is not the recruiting coordinator, offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator is, but it was below that $182,000 dollar mark last I checked. (The number 155k is what's in my mind). Michigan State had a better W-L record of all but seven teams in 2010-2011. Boise State, TCU, Alabama, LSU, Oregon, Oklahoma State and Stanford. I believe of those seven teams Alabama and LSU have mandatory football donations. Oklahoma State has T. Boone Pickens, Stanford is a private school, Oregon has Phil Knight, BSU and TCU aren't BCS schools.
If you're curious how much the cost of your season ticket is going up, you can find out right here. Mine are going up 50 dollars per seat. At an average of 51 dollars per ticket per game, MSU is now squarely competing with the Lions for your season ticket buck. I attended several games with a Lions season ticket holder last year who sat in the endzone in the 100 sections for 58 dollars a ticket. Luckily you save money on the 8 dollar beers.
While it might seem I'm against this uptick in costs, I am in fact for it, conditionally. I mean look at the MSU home schedule in 2012. Boise State, Notre Dame, EMU and the fighting Mike Harts, OSU, Nebraska, Iowa and Northwestern, that's a fantastic home schedule. There will be a number of memorable games there. And who wouldn't want to add MSU to a list and have it look like this: Florida, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Alabama, LSU, Michigan and Nebraska. As college football programs go, that's a pretty damn elite echelon.
The only problem is that for me as a fan, this moves the needle on program success from a nice-to-have to must-have. If MSU fans are going to pay Alabama-like ticket prices, it's not unreasonable to expect Alabama-like success. I have every faith that Mark Dantonio can deliver, but it bothers me a bit that I feel like he has to.