President Michael Crow: New coach, ASU to ‘take full advantage’ of college football changes

Sep 30, 2022, 11:10 AM | Updated: 11:11 am
Arizona State University president Michael Crow interviews with Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona'...
Arizona State University president Michael Crow interviews with Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona's Sports Station on Feb. 13, 2020. (Matt Layman/Arizona Sports)
(Matt Layman/Arizona Sports)

Arizona State University leaders may not like the changes happening in college football.

But it sounds as if they are more willing to accept them with a head-coaching vacancy allowing for either an opportunity to move with the waves or against them.

The Sun Devils obviously must find a replacement for Herm Edwards. The former head coach went 26-20 from 2018-22 before a loss to Eastern Michigan on Sept. 17 led to vice president for university athletics Ray Anderson parting ways with him.

Arizona State University president Michael Crow, who joined KTAR News 92.3’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Friday, admitted he’s been peppered with questions about whether ASU would consider a candidate like Deion Sanders, the former star NFL player who has gone 19-5 leading Jackson State.

“I get a lot of messages about Deion and Deion seems to be in just his early age of learning how to be a coach,” Crow said. “We’re going to find the most fantastic football coach that we can. I can tell you one thing: That ASU football is very important to me. We’ve tried some experiments. They’ve worked a little bit. They haven’t worked in other ways.

“We’re going to now move forward. We’re going to expand our investments. We’re going to take full advantage of all the opportunities that the state of flux is providing in the way college football is being run. And we’re going to regroup and move forward to victory. That’s the only method that we’ve got here.”

It’s somewhat of a departure from ASU leadership’s past sentiments.

Crow and Anderson have been open and honest about their belief that trends in college football — namely the transfer portal and name, image and likeness (NIL) opportunities — have hurt the sport. And specfically ASU.

In February when Edwards was still leading the program, Anderson decried NIL.

In an interview with Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta, he said ASU — as it remained in an NCAA investigation over alleged recruiting violations that can be categorized as blatant — would not get into NIL “bidding wars” or an “arms race.”

Regarding the transfer portal, ASU lost talent in it.

But with high school recruiting tanking due to the NCAA investigation, the Sun Devils also benefitted, replacing that talent with transfers from elsewhere. It was the program’s best chance at remaining competitive.

Crow back in February said he was “not a big fan” of NIL or the transfer portal.

“I’m kind of an old-school (believer in) college students playing sports, going to college, getting scholarships, becoming college graduates,” the university president told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta. “We made a lot of progress at ASU at overcoming some of our longer-term history where we didn’t have people graduating, we didn’t have people successful academically. We’ve fixed all that.

“We get to this mode where there’s so much focus on the resources … I do support better scholarships for athletes. We’ve been underinvesting in those. I’m not a big fan of all this other stuff and I’m not a big fan in a lot of the changes being made. But there’s huge waves of moving in this direction. Whatever happens, we’re going to focus on the success of the student-athlete and really care about the student-athletes and really focus on them.”

Since then, Arizona State in August launched an official booster collective to help their student-athletes manage NIL opportunities.

With Edwards now out and replaced by interim Shaun Aguano, the Sun Devils have more time to consider how their head-coaching candidates can help them work within the rules and within their means in terms of resources.

Crow on Friday expressed optimism that the bigger college football picture — even an evolving Pac-12 with the Los Angeles area schools departing — won’t set ASU’s program back, regardless of how he may view the changes.

“The regrouping of the Pac-12 Conference, the reengineering of our media contract — I’m very excited about what lies ahead,” Crow told Broomhead on Friday. “What I’m saying is we’re all-in on football and committed to making it work.”

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President Michael Crow: New coach, ASU to ‘take full advantage’ of college football changes