Saturday, March 26, 2011

Michigan State Cuts Ties To Booster Club

Michigan State has suspended all activities with the Downtown Coaches Club, a football booster club, in the wake of an investigation of the club's activities by the Michigan Lottery Commission.

"For several weeks, we have been aware that the Downtown Coaches Club had some financial reporting issues as well the review being conducted by the Michigan State Lottery Commission," MSU athletic director Mark Hollis said in a prepared statement. "At that time, the Michigan State Athletics Department immediately suspended all activities with the organization."

The club is a nonprofit organization -- operating independently of the MSU Athletics Office -- that runs 50/50 raffles at MSU football games, among other activities.

WILX-TV in Lansing has reported the investigation is focused on whether club officials used raffle proceeds improperly.

Norman Gaffney, attorney for the Downtown Coaches Club, could not be reached for comment.

"While there are issues that I found concerning, I do not believe the organization was engaged in widespread abuse," Hollis said. "We will continue to review our relationship with these third-party booster groups because protecting all of our fans and supporters is our ultimate goal."

While the club is independent of the university, John Lewandowski, a school spokesman, said the club does provide funding for MSU's athletic program. In the 2010 calendar year, the club contributed $64,727.20 to the Spartan Fund, a fund-raising arm for MSU athletics, Lewandowski said.

The club had revenue of $171,935 and an ending balance of $86,235 for the tax year ending June 30, 2009, according to tax statements filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

With every connection being scrutinized by the NCAA I can see why Michigan State decided to act on this in a quick matter. They didn't want this to come back and bite them in the ass in the end.

Source: Detroit Free Press,

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