Mississippi State head men's basketball coach Rick Stansbury has met with his boss and changes to the program are coming.
The contract, however, remains the same.
Stansbury, who just completed his 13th year roaming the sidelines at MSU, has a deal in place that worth $1.5 million annually that expires in 2014 and unlike last year when his deal was extended to the state-maximum four years in length, Stricklin told the Starkville Daily News Friday he's satisfied with where that agreement stands now.
"When you have a year that doesn't end up the way you want it to be (the meeting and lack of an extension) probably garners more attention than normal," Stricklin said.
Mississippi State struggled to a 17-14 overall finish and a second place mark in the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference after being the preseason favorite heading into league play.
This situation is highly similar to the reports out of Oxford last week in which Ole Miss men's basketball coach Andy Kennedy didn’t receive a contract extension when he met with athletic director Pete Boone.
Off-the-court issues with numerous players that started with preseason eligibility questions, fights between teammates in the stands and suspensions over Twitter accounts put the MSU program in a very negative light nationally and locally throughout the season.
"I just wanted to get his thoughts and the direction on how we eliminate those type of distractions from happening," Stricklin said. "It was a very candid, open discussion because Rick and I have a very good relationship."
Attempts by the Starkville Daily News to contact Stansbury regarding this story were unsuccessful.
In a season-ending meeting Monday, which Stricklin classified as "very productive," the two men discussed those off-the-court issues in detail. While Stricklin was not open to discussing the details of the conversation or the specific plan on how to keep these problems from occurring, he did say the pair had what he called "healthy disagreements" on several viewpoints.
"We disagree sometimes but you can disagree without being disagreeable or frustrated at all," Stricklin said. "Some of the things that I didn't necessarily agree with him about, he made some good points about and changed my thinking on certain things. He also understood where I'm coming from."
One of the changes that Stricklin felt comfortable discussing was the non-conference portion of the 2011-12 schedule and getting some tougher opponents on that slate.
MSU will participate in the 2K Sports Classic with a field that includes Texas A&M, St. John’s and Arizona. The Bulldogs will host a pair of games at Humphrey Coliseum against opponents yet to be announced before facing a pair of those power schools at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
"The tournament is one we've been in before and Rick went out and got that for us so he gets all the credit for that," Stricklin said.
Stricklin, who even as assistant athletic director in previous years worked specifically with Stansbury on the basketball schedule, says he feels encouraged to go out and get more high-profiled and hopefully RPI-building games on next season's schedule due to the talent returning to Starkville.
"I think the interesting thing is football you've got to make your schedule so far in advance but basketball you work on a shorter time frame," Stricklin said. "Rick wants to toughen up the schedule a little bit and that tells me we're going to be pretty good."