Do MSU Fans Have the Right to Know What’s Going On?


Nov 16, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; General view of the Alabama Crimson Tide game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the third quarter at Davis Wade Stadium. Alabama defeated Mississippi State 20-7. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Does the MSU athletic administration have any obligation to keep their fanbase abreast of what’s going on? Several people claiming to have inside info have said Geoff Collins has been offered, and accepted a raise but it hasn’t been announced yet. Dan Mullen plays coy with who really calls the plays on offense – we still don’t truly know for sure. Injuries, various things that happen beneath the surface – it seems like MSU fans are kept in the dark a little more than other fanbases. As fans, do we have the right to know what is going on?

Dan Mullen is a very secretive coach. He plays things close to the vest and isn’t afraid to mislead other teams when speaking in public. I don’t really have a problem with that – I do want to know who is injured but I still also understand that it could be an advantage even if it’s ever so slight. But when it comes to keeping info (that has no connection to other teams) from the fans I’m not so sure I’m okay with it.

Think of it like this – the fans are the stockholders of a publicly traded company: Mississippi State athletics. By buying tickets to games, donating, buying merchandise, etc. you are buying stock in MSU.

Like any publicly traded company there are the small time shareholders – ones who hold very little stock. There are all different levels of people’s contribution to the company. And at the top there are the board of directors who own large shares of the company and who have a large say in what happens. They select the CEO and voice their concerns if they believe something is going wrong.

The difference here is that as a shareholder in a company you can receive dividends or sell your stock to get your money back or make a profit. With college athletics you are investing money but you really only get an experience, a tangible item you bought, or just an intrinsic reward.  So there is less reward (theoretically) for investing in an athletic program in this analogy.

As a shareholder, do you feel like you have a right to know what is going on in the company you have money invested in? If the COO (Geoff Collins) is due for a raise or he might leave, would you like to know if he has received it?

As MSU fans – or fans of any school, we have some right to know what is going on. To be kept abreast of the actions of the athletic department rather than just guessing in the dark or relying on questionable sources. If Collins received a pay increase two weeks ago but we didn’t hear about it, that’s just a recipe for an anxious fanbase. Even if everything turns out okay the drama and unknown activity surrounding it leaves MSU fans wondering if we have the proper management in place to avoid this in the future.

I understand that not everything can be made public because it might disrupt what you’re trying to do. But also keeping everything private can lead to suspicions and lack of confidence among fans – you know, the people who supply the athletic department with money.

At the end of the day every athletic department will play off their fanbase’s affinity for the school. If you graduated from Mississippi State they know you’re not going anywhere. But at the same time, your level of financial support may wane if you don’t trust they’re doing things the right way. State fans have a right to know as much as possible from the athletic department. In most cases there is good communication, but for anyone to say it’s none of our business is hogwash.