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Hollis: Possibility of U-M, MSU night game doubtful

Nich Wolak • Updated Jan 22, 2016 at 12:16 AM

LANSING — The Big Ten is making a push for more night games in football, but don’t expect to see Michigan and Michigan State suiting up under the lights at Spartan Stadium anytime soon.

Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said that while he can’t ever recall turning down a chance to schedule a night contest, a late matchup with the Wolverines would give him pause.

“I would talk to a lot of people on campus, because based upon past behavior, I would be concerned,” Hollis told a handful of reporters on Thursday at the Michigan AP sports reporter’s meeting, which was held at the Lansing State Journal’s office. “The Ohio State game that we had two years ago was not a good situation. I would not want to put our campus back into that possibility.”

Hollis also touched on the chances of Spartan Stadium ever allowing the sale and purchase of beer — a growing trend across college athletics.  

“I probably can’t answer that question today, and it wouldn’t be an athletic director’s decision,” Hollis said. “There are pros and cons to it. That would have to be a university-wide decision.

“I’m never one to say never, but I’m also not pushing for that at this point in time. I am extremely concerned about the behavior at our games. I’m not just saying students — the problem is well beyond that. Binge drinking is a terrible thing in our society today. We know by observation that it is heavy just prior to kickoff. People feel that they need to get the flow for four hours. That’s disheartening with what we’re trying to do on campus.”

Hollis also touched on a number of other subjects during the meeting:

On the playoff’s impact on scheduling: “I like the way the scheduling is going. That’s my fiber, and I think that’s what college sports should be about. I think we’re playing Furman, and that’s the last one of the 1-AA’s that we had contracted out. I’m looking at BYU and the Arizona States.

“It’s trying to fit everything in at the right time, and finding the school that has the right home-and-away scenario. You can’t just go out and say, ‘I’m going to play USC tomorrow.’ You’ve got to find that right sequence that makes sense.”

On cable subscribers decreasing, and its potential impact on college athletics: “That’s the D-Day. That’s the day everyone is waiting (for). Where is college athletics going to recalibrate? I believe that time is going to come.

“You can’t live in a doomsday world, so you have to forecast that. If distribution can’t continue the way it is, something else is going to come along. You don’t even know if ESPN, or CBS, or Turner is going to be the distribution point. It could be Apple, it could be whoever is out there. That’s the real challenge, is that nobody knows what it’s going to be like in 10 years.”

On how he, basketball coach Tom Izzo and football coach Mark Dantonio get along so well, a rarity in college athletic departments: “I just give the coaches everything the want,” Hollis joked. “We have two guys that really believe in the greater good of the department and the school. They give a little bit for the greater good of the whole thing.

“Mark Dantonio is a better coach because Tom Izzo is right across Munn Field, and I think Tom feels the same way. They feed off of each other, and they don’t view each other as an adversary in any way. That helps the AD do his job. I’m kidding in getting them everything, but I work extremely hard to give whatever resources it takes for those two sports to be successful.” 

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