Mel Tucker drew headlines in recent months for his new 10-year, $95 million contract, but the Michigan State coach has already seen dividends paid by the investment.

In an interview with ESPN, Tucker said it caused more attention to be paid to the Spartans, and what they’re doing.

“It’s really changed the perception of our program, not only nationally but even locally,” Tucker told ESPN. “There’s a lot of attention, a lot of eyes on East Lansing right now. People are very curious about what’s going on here, how we’re going about it, and what’s all the buzz about?

“It’s interesting, because being [a former NFL assistant], one transaction can change a lot of things.”

It also put Michigan State at the front of the line in terms of setting the market. As Adam Rittenberg pointed out, “Michigan State sprinkled in Big Ten titles during the past half-decade and reached the CFP in 2015, but the Spartans generally occupied a rung below the sport’s elite and operated accordingly.”

But the contract changed perception, and served as a financial flex for Michigan State, a commitment not only to Tucker but an attempt to elevate up a tier in a sport with plenty of obstacles. Programs aiming to enhance their status often need outsized investment. Time will tell on how Tucker actually fares, but Michigan State undoubtedly delivered for him.

“Externally, the contract says, ‘Man, they’re serious over there,'” said Saeed Khalif, Michigan State’s general manager and executive director of player personnel and recruiting.