Michigan State to review booster clubs

Michigan State announced Thursday that it will conduct a comprehensive review of its third-party booster clubs. The assessment comes six days after Michigan State suspended activities with the Downtown Coaches Club in East Lansing, Mich., which is being investigated by the Michigan Lottery Commission for financial reporting issues.

The school also said Thursday that the 50/50 raffles held during football games at Spartan Stadium, previously managed by the Downtown Coaches Club, will not take place during the 2011 season.

“We are reviewing the practice of booster club activities, including 50/50 raffles, that take place in all of our venues and off-campus,” athletic director Mark Hollis said in a prepared statement. “We’ll also take this opportunity to evaluate and define the roles of booster clubs in their support of individual teams. ... The Spartan Fund is the organization for charitable giving to MSU Athletics, as its donors directly provide the financial resources and support for our 25 sports and some 750 student-athletes. Our challenge is maintaining one focus for the Athletics Department while supporting each individual sport."

Hollis will address members of the Downtown Coaches Club at its spring meeting April 29. The club contributed $101,669 to the Spartan Fund in 2010, The Detroit News reports.

"While there are issues that I found concerning, I do not believe the organization was engaged in wide-spread abuse," Hollis told The Detroit News. "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."

It'll be interesting to see where this goes. Booster clubs can be a sensitive area for athletic departments, and Michigan State seems to be taking a proactive approach here.