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Opinion: ASU football fans deserve more from Ray Anderson

Empty promises mean nothing without results, and for Sun Devil football fans, empty promises are not new

Ray Anderson.jpg
ASU athletic director Ray Anderson watches ASU play Washington State at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2021. ASU lost 34-21.

For many people, promises are meant to be kept, and if you break a promise, you will be held accountable for it. For ASU athletic director Ray Anderson, that doesn't seem to be the case with the football team. 

Upon firing head football coach Todd Graham in 2017, Anderson told the media "We deserve more. We have the capacity. And the University and the community deserve more, and very frankly should demand more." But when ASU fans demand more, and when they demand answers, Anderson has been oddly silent on the state of the football team. I am tired of being patient.

In the same press conference, Anderson said, "We have to get to the point where we are recruiting four- and five-star football players who want to come and play here because they know the development for the player, and the development for the coaching. The retention of the coaching is not going to potentially get in their way if, in fact, they want to go play in the NFL."

The NCAA is running an investigation into the recruiting practices of the coaching staff. During the pandemic, all recruiting in the NCAA was put on hold. Schools could not host players, coaches could not visit players or their families; but allegedly Sun Devil coaches did everything they weren't supposed to do. They allegedly hosted recruits, visited players and their families. 

Since then, five coaches have either been fired or resigned, and punishments for the program will still loom large once the investigation is over. But the one thing that hasn't changed is the men in charge of everything. Ray Anderson and Herm Edwards are still employed, while most of Herm's assistants are gone. 

ASU has the worst high school recruiting class in the Pac-12, and the Sun Devils are ranked 108th in the country in recruiting. To put that into context, the 1-11 Arizona Wildcats have the 22nd best recruiting class in the country and are 2nd in the Pac-12. A school that has won one game out of their last 16 is doing better at recruiting than Ray Anderson's Sun Devils. 

Sun Devil fans like the man in the video, long-time season ticket holder, and Sun Devil alumni Aaron Hill, are growing tired of empty promise after empty promise. Hill said, "What I want from an athletic director are humility and accountability."

When Graham was fired, Anderson scrutinized him for his recruiting classes, but Edwards is not facing any of the same backlash for having a far worse recruiting record than Graham. Hill also admitted the way he approached Anderson was wrong saying, "I'm obnoxious, I probably shouldn't have done that." 

According to 247sports.com, during Graham's tenure at ASU, the Sun Devils were ranked as high as 19th in the nation and as low as 39th. Compare that to Edwards' tenure at ASU, when the Sun Devils have only been ranked as high as 24th, and now sit as the 108th best team in the nation when it comes to recruiting. 

In the same press conference in 2017 when he spoke about Graham, Anderson said, "We want to win consistently across the board in all of our sports, and so in performance on football we have not done that in the four years since I've been here, not consistently. We have been average 7-5 and second place in the riddled Pac-12 south is not our aspiration."

Where have the Sun Devils gone from that day in football?

Last season, ASU finished 8-5 and third place in that same riddled Pac-12 south. 

Ray Anderson was right when he said "We deserve more." We definitely deserve more. No more empty promises or things that haven't gone right, we deserve more success, and if we don't get that we have the right to feel angry about it. Especially if the people in charge aren't being held accountable for it.  


Reach the reporter at jdhinkl1@asu.edu and follow @JeffreyHinkle_ on Twitter.

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Editor's note: The opinions presented in this column are the author's and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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