Our Cold War

Gregory Shamus

(Ed: Bump -- Chris)

The Cold War: America and the Soviet Union in a military arms race with each other. The same could be said for the modern day landscape of college athletics. Schools are investing more and more money into their facilities to give their teams an edge over their competition. Michigan and Michigan State are no exception.

Since and Michigan State has become relevant in football and Michigan in basketball (sigh) the two schools have important matchups in both football and basketball. They have to compete with each other on a year to year basis for recruits. Michigan State adds a sweet practice facility onto the Breslin Center and Michigan builds a nicer one and additionally renovates the Crisler Center. Michigan builds a giant high definition scoreboard into one end zone in the Big House, State builds a bigger scoreboard…and attaches two more on the opposite side. It’s an arms race.

For us to keep this up, we need money to pay for all this, and so does Michigan. Let’s see how we can continue to compete with the instate rivals. For private endowments in 2011 here’s how we stacked up with Michigan.


Yikes that’s not good. Michigan gets more than five times the donations than Michigan State does. Some of these donations go towards the athletic department. The athletic department then invests the money into their teams: here are both the school’s athletic expenses from 2008 to 2012.


Since both Universities are state funded institutions they release their financial statements every year. According to their statements both schools spent similar amount of money on athletics in 2008 through 2010. Then Michigan skyrockets off the chart and leaves Michigan State behind. As far as facility expenses go:


These expenses include overhead, construction, and debt that goes into their athletic facilities. As we can see the facilities expenses graph looks a lot like the overall athletic expenses graph. Michigan’s has spent a lot more in the past few years (probably due to the Crisler center renovations) and they will probably continue to spend more due to their pledge to donate 250 million to non-revenue sports.

Michigan gets the most private endowments out of any public university. They can spend more than us it’s just reality. But we have to keep spending money on our facilities to keep up. At the Michigan vs. Michigan State basketball game in Ann Arbor this year I couldn’t help but notice they kept playing this long advertisement on the jumbotron that targeted alumni to donate to the university. I couldn’t help but think that MSU didn’t do that this year. If there’s one thing Michigan knows how to do its raise money. We should have a similar advertisement run during basketball games. We used to run that “Championships through Memberships” campaign during basketball games. Dantonio would come on the jumbotron and say how important it was that State has enough money to win football games. Maybe the 7-6 season cancelled the campaign but I thought the campaign was a gold mine. It really gave fans the feeling they are important to the program which they are. Regardless of what campaign we run we should try to appeal to alumni to donate to the Spartan fund during sporting events, it can’t hurt.

State can’t outspend Michigan. But we don’t have to. Nothing’s more fun than beating the rich spoiled kid down the block in any kind of sport. Michigan State has made some good investments in their athletic programs and even though it’s not as Michigan has its still enough to sustain success on the field and keep this in state rivalry even sided.

This is a FanPost, written by a member of the TOC community. It does not represent the official positions of The Only Colors, Inc.--largely because we have no official positions.

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