Today in Cleveland the Michigan State volleyball team will take the court against Syracuse for the first game of the Cleveland State University Invitational. The volleyball team is looking to expand on a perfect 3-0 start in a tournament filled with teams MSU should handle easily.
But it will be a sad day for many Spartan fans who, for the first time since 2002, won't be able to hear the voice of the Spartans (and reigning volleyball broadcaster of the year), John Kreger, call a road game.
Budget cuts have forced the elimination of all road broadcast coverage, MSU officials confirmed in an e-mail to TOSSS.
"A combination of the cost to send John Kreger on the road plus the number of listeners we had per road contest, led us to make the decision to only broadcast home contests," said Jim Donatelli, assistant athletic communications director. "As an athletic department, we have been under the directive to cut back our budgets in all areas. Due to these budgetary issues, combined with the number of listeners, it was deemed an area where we could cut back."
Olympic sports are particularly vulnerable to impactful cuts for two big reasons. First, their budgets are smaller so cuts are easier to notice than similar sized budget reductions in larger sports. Second, MSU is unlikely to cut something that makes money and Olympic sports just don't make money.
I asked Kreger for comment on the situation and he said that while he was disappointed to not be on the road with the team, he understood that "times are tough and everyone has to make sacrifices" and that he was "honored to still be a part of the volleyball program."
Kreger praised athletics officials and Coach Cathy George for keeping home broadcasts given the pressures on budgets throughout the department. "It says a lot about Michigan State and its commitment to women's athletics that they were able to find the money to keep broadcasting home games given the tough economy," he said.
True enough, but this is a sad day for all Spartan volleyball fans, and all those who continue to enjoy the game calls of the best broadcaster in all of college volleyball.