Home>State Senate>Sen. Shope Spanks Sun Devils

State Senator T. J. Shope speaking with attendees at the 2022 Update from Capitol Hill hosted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, April 12, 2022. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Sen. Shope Spanks Sun Devils

Tough questions facing AD Anderson getting worse as football team struggles

By Ken Kurson, September 18, 2023 10:42 am

In a lot of states, the highest paid state employee is the football coach at one of the public state universities. While that fat paycheck is surely welcome, the scrutiny from being answerable to elected officials is probably less so.

Ray Anderson, the Athletic Director at Arizona State University, has found himself in the crosshairs after years of subpar performance by the Sun Devils department he leads.

On August 30, T. J. Shope (R-16), the president pro tem of the state senate, and an Arizona State alum, sent a blistering letter to Fred Duval, the chairman of the Arizona Board of Regents.

Senator Shope writes that he has lost faith that action will be taken to right the “frankly embarrassing issues that have occurred during Mr. Anderson’s tenure” and “wonders whether anyone is holding anyone accountable.” Both anyones are in italics.

And Shope, a self-described lifelong Sun Devil fan, gets specific.

“Why did ASU pay Herm Edwards $4.4 million in a buyout agreement instead of firing him for cause for the recruiting violations that occurred while he was head coach?”

The Arizona Globe reached out to Senator Shope for comment about whether he has heard back from Duval. Kim Quintero, Director of Communications for the Senate Majority Caucus, told the Arizona Globe, “I spoke with the senator, and he has not received any sort of response yet.”

One senses that it’s not just the fiscal mismanagement, but the poor recent record of the school’s basketball and football programs that prompted the letter.

Indeed, just yesterday, ESPN anchor Matt Barrie wrote on X that it was time for Anderson to go. “ASU has fallen too far behind, and it’s unacceptable. It’s time for a change.”

The high profile calls for Anderson’s head come in the wake of a devastating loss on Saturday. The Sun Devils were shut out at home for the first time in 35 years, as the Fresno State Bulldogs routed them 29-0. Arizona State turned the ball over a shocking eight times during the game as 4th string quarterback Jacob Conover struggled to move the offense for the 1-2 ASU team.

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