Secretary of State urges Michigan State to prioritize hiring a woman athletic director

Search to replace Bill Beekman is ongoing

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is urging Michigan State University leaders to launch an “open and inclusive” search for the university’s next athletic director.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is urging Michigan State University leaders to launch an “open and inclusive” search for the university’s next athletic director.

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is urging Michigan State University leaders to launch an “open and inclusive” search for the university’s next athletic director.

Read: Michigan State Athletic Director Bill Beekman steps down to take new position at university

When Michigan State Athletic Director Bill Beekman stepped down, it set off a firestorm of rumors and guesses about who would take his spot.

Benson urged MSU on Twitter to be open about their search for a new athletic director Sunday morning.

“The search for the next athletic director at Michigan State is a tremendous opportunity to identify an experienced leader who will prioritize the importance of protecting all athletes,” Benson tweeted. “That’s why the Michigan Task Force on Women in Sports is calling on MSU to conduct an open and transparent search.”

Benson, who chairs the task force, urged the university to look at women to run Spartan Athletics, putting a focus on athlete safety and the funding disparity between men and women in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal.

The case against MSU was closed after the school’s board of regents refused to hand over documents to investigators and an overhaul of the university’s sexual assault reporting program was criticized by several groups of parents and survivors.

Read: ‘You will have shut the door on the pursuit of justice’ -- MSU, AG reach stalemate in Nassar investigation

The Nationals Foundation for Women in Sports also wrote to MSU and called for the university to hire a woman to lead the nearly $130 million department.

A female athletic director at Michigan State University would make it the sixth school -- out of 65 -- in the top conferences to have a woman in the role. The only other in the Big Ten is Sandy Barbour and Pennsylvania State University.

The search is still ongoing and there are several women in the running for the Athletic Director -- including Heather Lyke from the University of Pittsburg, formerly at Eastern Michigan University; and Beth Goetz from Ball State University.

Former MSU players have backed current deputy director Alan Haller.

There is no timetable for when the decision will be made.

More: College sports news


About the Authors:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.