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January 25, 2010

This logo continues to eat up valuable time and space

But Tom Izzo had an awful lot to say about it today, shedding some light on the situation with Nike.

    Here's the bulk of his comments today at his news conference to preview the Michigan game:
    “Of all the days, this would be the dumbest time to talk about it, except – except – I am so disappointed in our group of alums that are complaining about it, that it’s a great time to talk about it for two minutes. Because, what it is, it’s a lot bigger than the team. It’s a lot bigger than the program. It’s about our athletic department and our university, which to me is way bigger than one game and one season.
    “And I have been mystified, just out of my mind over it – not to make it bigger than it is, because to me it’s a small deal – but let me just say this. Mark Hollis has made two significant moves since he’s (taken over) the athletic department. One was (getting) WJR. And we have a line we use with our players: ‘Who you hang with is who you become.’ So I always say the only large word I learned in the (Upper Peninsula) was ‘osmosis.’ I want to rub next to people that are brilliant. I want to be around the best.
    “With WJR, I think we’ve accomplished that. And now with the 10-year pact. With Nike, I mean, if you look at the last 10-12 years in the BCS games, I mean Nike schools are winning a lot of them. If you look at the Final Four, if they don’t have all four (teams) or at least three out of four in there, it’s almost like a failure. I love companies like that. I love to be around people like that.
    “So when they came to us a year and a half ago and said they wanted to do something, I mean I don’t know about you, I hear about all this tradition with our logos and things like that – I mean since I’ve been here, we’ve had the Sparty head … remember that one with the grisly look? The Spartan head? We had that on shirts. And then every football coach we had (different helmets). I think we didn’t have an identity.
    “And here we’ve got a guy who has enough courage and a good enough relationship with Nike that they made us one of four or five schools that they researched all the way back to Greece to figure out what would be great. I’m dead serious about this.
    “And Mark did a phenomenal job. I look at some of the programs. Duke, remember when they came out with the black uniforms? Everybody was livid over it. Or one of my favorites was when we went to Kansas when Bill Self got there and he changed the floor. He put that big bird, Jayhawk on the court. And he was getting killed. And now, man it’s on TV and boom: ‘Oh, it’s Kansas.’”
    “So we’ve had … this, we’ve had that, we’ve had the ‘S,’ we’ve had the head. And some teams copied what we had. I think we’re finally going to get an identity. And I can’t believe that the brilliance of two people that are innovative – Mark Hollis and Nike – are going to give us something with a little tweak. And you haven’t seen yet the lettering and all the things that go with it.
    “And finally when you see that image, we’re gonna finally say, ‘That’s Michigan State.’ And all the teams at Michigan State, we’re not gonna have one in black and one with the block ‘S’ and one with a Spartan head. … This to me is one of the more exciting things we’re gonna have happen to us. And I give Mark credit because he got in such a good relationship with Nike – they don’t have to deal with Michigan State yet.
    “I mean, we’re not where some of their programs are as a whole athletic department. But the relationship he got with them has saved this university millions of dollars. And probably made it millions of dollars. And we have people complaining? I mean, that blows me away.
    “So for all of you out there that are complaining, shame on you. Because we’ve got a leader, our president, I’ve been involved in this thing. We are trying to do what’s best for Michigan State University, our athletic department and the great people that we associate with. Nike’s done a heck of a job. Mark Hollis and our president have done a heck of a job.
    “And if somebody out there is looking for my support on this ‘mad about the logo,’ find a new basketball coach because this guy’s going 100 percent with out athletic department, our athletic director, our president. And I think this is gonna be one of the greater moves we’ve made.”

    What I want to know is, how many of you will change your mind based on those comments?
    Meanwhile, in basketball news, I was dead wrong as it turns out about Manny Harris. Suspension lifted, press release was so he could make an apology without having to speak with reporters.
    We'll get back to basketball soon enough. I've had a lot of e-mails about the Trannon-MoJo situation from a few years ago and I will get to all that later tonight -- after I'm off newspaper deadline!

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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter
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