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Ray Anderson is representing ASU at NCAA Final Four despite resignation

The former ASU athletic director is still calling the shots on the Final Four hosting committee

 Senior Reporter-final-four-ray-anderson

Former ASU Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson during a press conference at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022.

Former ASU athletic director Ray Anderson may have resigned last year, but he’s still representing the University at the 2024 NCAA Men’s Final Four.

Anderson is a Phoenix Local Organizing Committee board member, an Arizona-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. As an ASU faculty member, he represents the University on the PLOC board and at the Final Four.

Anderson serves a more minor role than some of his counterparts. Sports executive Jay Parry is leading the group after being named the committee’s president and chief executive officer in April 2023. Parry previously led the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee for the 2015 and 2023 Super Bowls. Other board members include co-chairs Debbie Johnson and Tom Sadler, the president and CEO of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority.

One of PLOC's obligations is to raise roughly $20 million to host the Final Four. Hosting costs include gameday operations, media relations and marketing expenses. 

While $20 million is a hefty price for hosting, PLOC sees it as a necessary investment to help boost the Valley’s economy. When Arizona last hosted the Final Four in 2017, the three games generated $324.5 million in economic impact, according to a W.P. Carey School of Business study

“It’s safe to assume that many local businesses, including those in the tourism and hospitality sectors, profited from the event, and we expect that to occur again this year,” Parry said in a written statement.

Anderson and other board members aren’t paid for their work with the non-profit organization.

Anderson’s tenure on the PLOC overlapped with his time as ASU’s athletic director. Anderson was a member the last time Arizona hosted the Final Four. 

Anderson resigned from his position as athletic director and vice president of University athletics on Nov. 13, 2023. James Rund, ASU senior vice president for Educational Outreach and Student Services, was named the University’s interim athletic director the same day. 

During Anderson's tenure, the University dealt with a football recruiting scandal, the hiring and firing of Herm Edwards and alleged sexual assault and harassment claims against a booster.

READ MORE: Former ASU athletics official files lawsuit against University, Ray Anderson

Anderson has also been blamed for ASU’s slow adoption of name, image and likeness policies. Six months after NIL was legalized, Anderson said that he had no intention of getting ASU into an “arm’s race to provide NIL that really results in bidding wars.” 

However, the coaches he hired have blamed the lack of NIL for their failures, with basketball head coach Bobby Hurley citing NIL as a reason for poor shooting.

"It has been a privilege to serve as ASU's athletic director for nearly a decade," Anderson said in a Sun Devil Athletics press release. "We have entered an unprecedented era where the number and magnitude of changes in the college sports landscape are astounding. As I approach 70, these are not matters that my leadership would be able to corral during my tenure."

READ MORE: Ray Anderson steps down as ASU Athletic Director

Anderson stayed on as a professor of practice and senior adviser at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law despite resigning from his athletics position. The University is obligated to pay Anderson the same $950,000 salary he received as athletic director every year until 2026.

Now, ASU is left searching for a new athletic director while the former one prepares for the Final Four, for which ASU is technically the host school. The closest the ASU men’s basketball team will get to the prestigious tournament is having its logo on the court.

The first Final Four games will be played on April 6, and the national championship game will be held on April 8.

Edited by Walker Smith, Sadie Buggle and Shane Brennan

Reach the reporter at and follow @jackcbarron on Twitter. 

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