Each morning, before I get on the train to work, I load my Twitter feed to get the morning's news. What's "news" for me from Twitter is often about sports. The sport I follow the closest is college football, with college basketball likely in a second-place tie with the NFL. With the buildup to and conclusion of the O'Bannon trial, many of the posts in that feed have shifted from "Big Ten Preaseason Power Rankings" or "X Player Has Michigan as a Finalist" to the dissection and dessimation of the structure of the NCAA. My opinion on the issue falls in line with what I perceive is a growing majority (although this may be affected by who I get my content from): whether or not we know the way to fix it, the system is broken, unfair, and difficult to legally and ethically justify.
But this diary is not a position statement on the merits of arguments that players should be paid or allowed to unionize. I start with the premise that the NCAA is broken and amateurism is a term used to maintain and justify a status quo in an operation that has become decidedly professional. I don't think Mark Emmert or Dave Brandon should get to have their wages determined in a free market (or set them themselves) and line their pockets while the kids driving revenue don't get that same opportunity. I don't think the backs of 18 year old kids, often from modest or even poor and dangerous upbringings are the places to yolk money carts for old white guys in suits. If you disagree with me, that's fine, but that's where I am coming from.
What I struggle with today, as the moorings and girters of the NCAA model stand to topple like dominos in Federal court (whether from O'Bannon's, Kessler's, or some other suit - I would argue radical change is almost certaint, and likely pretty imminent), is the role I play in this scheme. I open up an article from Grantland, EDSBS, or this site and nod my head in agreement when the writers eviscerate college administrators and the ludicrous arguments the NCAA has trotted out in defense of its system. Minutes later, I read a breakdown of 17 year old receiver who runs X 40 time with X high school stats committing to Michigan and pump my fist in excitement. I think it's borderline criminal that Denard Robinson and Trey Burke didn't see a nickel of their jersey sales, and yet I own both. I malign outrageous budgets for bowl committees and athletic deparments, then happily hand over my credit card for a game ticket or a $90 sweatshirt.
I think the best description of my feelings for Michigan Football, in particular, is a religion. I wrote this thing and called Michigan Stadium a cathedral, after all. I continue to love and believe in what Michigan Football and Basketball stand for. I attach my love to the stories of Brock Mealer and Quintin Washington, to hope there's a first time Austin Hatch takes the court for Michigan, and to John Beilein sitting by himself late into the night at the NBA Draft waiting for Jordan Morgan to get drafted. But for every virtue I celebrate, lately I cannot escape all of the system's vices. For every Denard Robinson success story, there is a Tate Forcier tale - without a full story I can't judge how much he is to blame for his transfer, regardless, I think it's pretty sad that Tate Forcier doesn't have one red cent to show for the brief period of time when tens of millions of people knew his name and were entertained by him. And there's plenty of kids with stories much sadder than his
I wrote this with the suspicion that others may feel similarly, and I truly wonder how to rationalize this dichotomy. I am excited for the feverish analysis and sense of possibility that fall camp will soon bring while I bemoan that former players deal with untreated medical problems or few job prospects because they were "tutored" through a bullshit major to keep them eligible. How am I not a hypocrite? Is this not my fault, too?
So a Sparty made a video about the fans of Michigan (and other schools) that have no connection to the school outside of fandom.
Having difficulty embedding it so... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46MsGQFrzPE
His thesis is that only students have earned the right to say "we", which is disagree with because only players truly have that right. Also only alumni are able to build that close of a bond because of the shared struggle financially and emotionally.
If there is no connection to the school you should be a professional sports team fan instead.
I am a huge supporter of sidewalk alumni myself but I was curious what other people felt about the issue.
In another offseason, mostly meaningless ranking, Michigan came out on top of TicketCity's list of "college football's most engaged fans." At least this ranking wasn't just pulled out of thin air: there were criteria and measurable data. So, even if the methodology is questionable, at least there is a methodology.
TicketCity based the rankings on such criteria as attendance, ticket prices, face book likes, ticket prices, and twitter followers (evil genious Dave Brandon strikes again!) Here are the top ten schools:
|1||Big 10||University of Michigan||100.00|
|2||SEC||Louisiana State University||95.43|
|3||SEC||University of Alabama||95.18|
|4||Big 10||Ohio State University||92.94|
|5||SEC||Texas A&M University||88.91|
|6||Big 10||University of Nebraska - Lincoln||87.88|
|7||Big 12||University of Oklahoma||82.77|
|8||Big 12||University of Texas - Austin||82.11|
|9||SEC||University of Georgia||81.83|
|10||SEC||University of Florida||79.86|
Perhaps I'll be lampooned, but I figured I'd try to get some discussion on a slow day/week/month/summer...
I live in Columbus. Therefore, I am subject to ridicule from ohio fans. Recently, a mutual friend (who apparently has family in Michigan) claims the rivalry is "much worse" in Ann Arbor and cites being picked on and "having an ohio yard ornament/floaty shot with a shotgun in his front yard." Perhaps the latter was embellished a bit, but this leads me to my...
For those that live in Michigan or, better yet, Ann Arbor, how have you viewed the treatment of ohio fans in a hostile environment? If possible, what is the HARSHEST treatment you've seen an ohio fan experience?
Perhaps a "cool story, bro" lead-in, but I was interested in some shared insight on an ohio fan in Michigan, seeing as my role is reversed.
Out of boredom, I've been scanning some of the other B1G sports blogs (plus ND's), and of course reading posts here on MGoBlog linking to and dscussing other teams, and it just made me realize how fortunate I am to be a Michigan fan. I got to thinking about which B1G fanbase I would least want to ever be a part of. Looking at football especially, I considered such aspects as program history, recent success, coaches and ADs, scandals, and the quality of the fanbase. Here is my thoroughly researched, scientific, unbiased and objective ranking of B1G fanbases I would hate to belong to with worst being number 1, and reason(s) in parentheses:
1. PSU (Jerry Sandusky, JoePa and administration's response)
2. OSU (the rest of the fanbase is the worst part--the scandals, another lesser issue)
3. IU (football so crappy basketball is the #1 focus even in September)
4. ND ( strong history; sucky team for decades, and a delusional fanbase)
5. PU ( better at football than IU; worse at basketball, no money being used to support athletics)
6. Illini (Year after year of good recruits and crappy teams; does place players in NFL)
7. NW (Good coaching, teams that battle, indifferent fanbase)
8. MSU (good success lately, good runs going back 70 years, thug players, burning couches)
9. Minn (tough place to recruit, positive sparks now and again)
10. Neb. (great tradition, team showing signs of some recent success, coach named Bo)
11. Iowa (quality sports blog, decent team year in and out)
12. Wisc. (Good success in past decade)
13. UM (need I say more?)
How would you rank the teams you would most hate to be a fan of?