DETROIT (AP) — Mortgage executive Mat Ishbia pledged $14 million to Michigan State University sports a year ago, on top of a $32 million multiyear gift announced months earlier in 2021, according to records released Thursday.
The documents don’t reveal much that’s new. But Michigan State nonetheless fought their disclosure in a public records lawsuit filed by the Detroit Free Press, claiming they could have a chilling effect on potential donors. A judge ruled in favor of the newspaper on Dec. 12.
Ishbia played on Michigan State’s 2000 national championship basketball team. He’s now in line to buy a majority stake in the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury for $4 billion.
Ishbia agreed to donate $14 million to the athletic department in annual payments through 2030.
“The gift shall be used as determined by MSU in its sole discretion,” according to the agreement signed by Ishbia and Samuel Stanley Jr., who was Michigan State president in November 2021.
Ishbia recently told HBO’s “Real Sports” that the money was intended to help pay for football coach Mel Tucker’s 10-year, $95 million contract.
Another alumnus, Steve St. Andre, agreed to give $10 million at the same time. His two-page agreement was also part of the public records lawsuit. He is chairman and founder of automotive retail marketing firm Shift Digital.
Ishbia is chairman, president and chief executive of United Wholesale Mortgage. Michigan State also released a four-page agreement spelling out a $32 million gift to the athletic department that was announced in February 2021.
Ishbia committed $20 million of that amount to expand the Skandalaris Football Center and renovate space within the Duffy Daugherty Football Building. The deal also names the basketball court after coach Tom Izzo.
By ED WHITE Associated Press
Follow Ed White at http://twitter.com/edwritez