Tom Izzo is going to the bank, Derrick Nix is not going to Maui

Good news:

Athletic director Mark Hollis announced Izzo will be get a raise of $500,000 in his annual salary and be given the use of a private plane for up to 25 hours per year for personal use. In addition, Izzo had been receiving a bonus of $1 million at the end of each season. That amount will now be spread out through the year instead of coming in one lump payment.

This is, of course, not good news in the cosmic "making the world a better place" sense, but it is good news in terms of Izzo being compensated consistent with his value in the context of modern college athletics.  Based on USA Today's most recent survey of college basketball coach compensation, this raise--to roughly three and half million per year in annual income--pushes Izzo up into a compensation tier that includes only Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, and Bill Self (depending on how Pitino's non-guaranteed income works).  (Also parenthetical: Billy Donovan isn't on USA Today's list.  And what's up with Roy Williams' relatively meager paycheck?)

At this point, there's no significant threat of Izzo ever going anywhere else to coach basketball, but this further cements his "Spartan for life" status.  (FWIW, Mark Hollis says the contract changes had nothing to do with the Cavs thing.)  The personal private plane access will presumably help relieve the pressures on Izzo's time on the rare occasions he gets his family away for vacation.  Bonus fun fact: Did you know Izzo's contract includes the lifetime rights to basketball/football parking passes?  Gotta lock in the really important stuff.

Bad news:

Sophomore center Derrick Nix will not accompany the team to Maui, Tom Izzo just said. He wasn't at practice today and it was a "joint decision" for Nix to skip Maui.

Izzo didn't want to speculate on what may happen next, but he did say he believes playing time may have been a factor for Nix, who approached Izzo today. Clearly, a transfer is possible here.

That's Rexrode's take.  He's in as good a position as anyone outside the program to judge whether a transfer is a real possibility (although this news appears to have come as a shock even to people inside the program).  Hopefully, this is just a case of a player who reacts to things in an emotional way (Jim Comparoni notes this is the same guy who showed up at the fan vigil during the Izzo-Cavs watch) needing some time to reconfirm why he chose to play for this coach.

If things play out in a less making-me-happy way, though, it will be one more blow to what looked like a phenomenal level of depth just a few months ago.  MSU will have gone from 14 potential on-court contributors before Chris Allen's transfer down to just 10 (assuming Alex Gauna remains redshirted, which Izzo says will be reassessed after Maui).  And only eight of those players were scholarship players when they entered the program.  Setting aside Mike Kebler and Austin Thornton--both of whom contribute as much as you could ask for as former walk-ons, but are still, in fact, former walk-ons--the team would be down to four perimeter players and four interior players.  One serious injury, and Izzo is in scramble mode in terms of keeping a fresh, balanced starting five on the court for a full 40 minutes.

For the time being, this development means there's one fewer body to run out there as the team plays three games in three days five time zones from home next week.  Let's stay on top of the hydration situation this time, eh?

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