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BREAKING: Sources: Ball State’s New AD Coming from the OVC

Mark Sandy

Eastern Kentucky’s Mark Sandy, the next man up in Muncie for the BSU AD job if sources are to be believed

Admittedly, most things around Ball State when it comes to searches and athletics have more holes in them than the Iraqi Navy, but the current vacancy for the director of athletics has been as tight-lipped as they come. Even your friendly neighborhood blogger has had a hard time tracking down enough viable and credible people who could at least give me the same answers as others have, complicated further by the fact that none were willing to go on the record largely because none of them were authorized to speak about the results of the search.

If our multiple unrelated sources are to be believed (and they usually are based on our/their track record) the new athletic director to be named Thursday in an 11am news conference in Muncie will be the current Director of Athletics at Eastern Kentucky University, Mark Sandy.

UPDATE: Another unconnected high-ranking university source has confirmed our earlier report that Mark Sandy will be named the next director of athletics at Ball State.

In his nine years at EKU, Sandy has had an impressive track record of success on the field/court/playing surface of your choosing for his teams and student athletes, most notably winning the Ohio Valley Conference’s Commissioner’s Cup, which symbolizes overall athletics excellence. His background also has a touch of MAC in it, as he was the former associate AD for marketing and major gifts at Miami University, and not for nothing, but those two areas are pretty important when it comes to BSU. Not for nothing, but Sandy also has served on the NCAA Football Issues Committee and NCAA Football Championship Committee for those who may have demanded that the new AD be a football guy. Surprisingly enough a very notable “football guy” was much closer than some would have thought before this whole thing started, but that is for another day.

Perhaps the best bullet points on Sandy’s resume are his infrastructure achievements and facility improvements. From new playing surfaces to fan amenities like video boards and audio systems are things he’s overseen, in addition to construction efforts like tennis complexes and locker room facilities and multipurpose construction on the football stadium. There’s also the academic side of things if you care to be bothered by the “student” in “student-athlete” where 10 of Sandy’s EKU teams scored perfect on the NCAA’s Academic Progress Report last year.

For all intents and purposes it appears like Sandy was custom-made for the Ball State job, as the initiatives he undertook at EKU are remarkably parallel to what former AD Bill Scholl did while he was running the show in Muncie. I can’t imagine the learning curve or next brass ring to grab for infrastructure would be beyond his reach as he’s been planning that on his own campus. He’s also a former student-athlete himself as a basketball and baseball player at Concord College in West Virginia so the empathy and connectivity that Scholl and interim AD Brian Hardin were known for, and what former AD Tom Collins was most definitely not, is something at which Sandy should excel.

They say that the most honest reviews are those from your peer group, and another OVC AD that I reached out to told me that Sandy is one of the best guys he knows in the business and it be a shame for EKU and the OVC to lose him. So that, to me, speaks volumes about the quality of the hire that BSU may have made.

Is this carved in stone? No. But, as I’ve said from time to time when we get things like Brady Hoke leaving, Pete Lembo being hired, or other goings on, we don’t run things we aren’t at least better than 50% comfortable with. So could these sources be trying to roger us? Sure, it’s possible, but there’s no particular reason why they would. We are pretty nice people and are moms think we are just the best.

This still isn’t carved in stone, but whomever the stone etcher in Muncie is is sharpening his chisel.

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