In light of the recent decision by Conference USA to table the decision to expand its football membership, the fundraiser/press conference appeared to help smooth the relationship between Marshall and the Mid-American Conference more than anything else. And, in the long run, improve both entities' benefits from that relationship.
"This shows our commitment to the Mid-American Conference," Pruett said after outlining specific projects that were on the drawing board and were the subject of the fundraiser. "What we're trying to do is give a jump-start to our athletic program, our total athletic program. We're trying to set the stage to play for championships in all sports. We're trying to fund them, fully fund them." Pruett had earlier outlined for potential donors the specific costs of keeping Marshall's athletic programs at the forefront of the MAC, and the benefits each improvement would bring. Mentioned as future projects were a new baseball stadium and an indoor track/practice facility on or near campus, in addition to building a new Big Green room in the Henderson Center.
Marshall coach Bob Pruett outlined various future improvements and the costs associated with each for potential donors in attendance Wednesday.
Chryst agreed that the relationship between Marshall and the MAC was on solid footing.
"Through this whole process, as competitive as it can get, I felt there's really been an open line of communication," commented MAC commissioner Rick Chryst. "And honestly, I felt it's flattering to Marshall University to be considered for membership in other leagues. There's a lot of good stuff happening here." Chryst hinted that Marshall can benefit in the long run from enhanced bowl revenues, and possible addition of another bowl game with MAC connections. However, Chryst did say that the possible revenue/bowl enhancements weren't meant to try and keep Marshall in the MAC, but rather, to just maximize what is already offered. "Not in the way of inducements to stay, or anything like that," Chryst said. "I think we're just recognizing where the top of our league is going."
The fundraiser was held in the Big Green Room at Marshall Stadium and was attended by about 50 potential donors, as well as the local media.