What the hell. What's one more?
Michigan's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee releases statement "standing behind" Dave Brandon http://t.co/9jM19JfW37— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) October 1, 2014
The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee stands behind Dave Brandon and the entirety of Michigan Athletics concerning the events of the past few days.
As student-athletes, we are confident that each member of the Athletic Department acts with our best interests in mind. We applaud Dave Brandon for upholding the tradition and values of Michigan to the highest standard, encouraging us to be leaders and best in all aspects of life. As such, we fully support our Athletic Director and trust his ability to make decisions for our success and wellbeing.
It is important to remember that there are 931 student-athletes and 31 teams at the University of Michigan. These individuals and teams consistently achieve great success in every realm. The 2013-2014 academic year saw 5 Big Ten Championships, 1 Team National Championship, and 3 Individual National Champions. A total of 55 Wolverines were named Big Ten Distinguished Scholars, and 6 achieved Academic All-American honors. Student-athletes also collectively contributed hundreds of hours of community service and raised over $25,000 for charitable causes through last year’s Mock Rock performance. Simply put, as student-athletes we refuse to be defined by the successes or failures of any one team alone.
Competing for the University of Michigan is a privilege and an honor. The athletic community is often scrutinized, but at the end of the day we are one Michigan family; we support one another, and we appreciate the support of family, friends and fans.
On behalf of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee,
Thank you & Go Blue!
First, I need to commend our young men that actually wear the uniforms. They come to work every day and play their hearts with pride and they sacrifice their body every single day. They don’t deserve their embattled, bewildered coach despite how likeable he is, and clown show that is the athletic department. These young men come to be a part of the tradition, the prestige and historic allure that the program has built over time. They come to because they are confident that the program and coaching staff has enough talent and resources to develop them enough to give them a shot. Unfortunately, everyone has lost confidence fast that the current staff can develop raw potential into polished NFL-caliber players. This is not at all an exhaustive list, but here are just a few notes on the underwhelming performance of players Hoke & staff have been charged with developing:
Denard Robinson – his best year was 2010, last year of rich rod. He lived off the zone read, screens and slants. Where he truly got dubbed ‘electrifying.’ Maybe its because defenses started keying in on him more, new system, etc. Borges ruined him, and it was Hoke’s fault for letting him.
Devin Gardner- 5* talent by all accounts coming out of HS. Has spent most of his career under Hoke and has not progressed at all, even regressed at times. Underutilized in his skill sets. A leader on this football team, a shame Hoke won’t make him a captain his senior year.
Everyone on the O-line - name me one O-lineman that has really “gotten it” over the last few years? I even submit that Lewan’s ceiling could have been higher. He made a mistake coming back, I thought that both before the season and after. Kalis, where art thou?
Jake Ryan – I won’t be too hard on Hoke because of the injury, but by many accounts of poster on this board and the UFRs, Jake is not exactly lighting it up at MLB. Coaching?
Countess – I guy we were all excited about when he was starting 5-6 game into his freshman year. Has been getting beat consistently all year. Again, injury caveat.
Frank Clark – love this guy. But ever since the hype train left the station in camp last year, I haven’t seen too many ‘monster games’.
And what will come of Bolden, Peppers, Kalis, Wormley, Taco, or any of our monster O-line classes? Who else?
We’ve had a rough few days but it’s not the real reason Hoke needs to go. Even if everything miraculously blows over, the results are in on a lot of these guys and if I am a recruit and his family and it comes down to who is going to get me the best shot at taking my game to the next level, I am going to that system, to that school, to that coach – which is exactly what we need to get back to. We’ve been there before, we’ll get back there again, but not with this guy. Even if Hoke miraculously beats MSU, let alone Rutgers, and keeps his job in 2014, will he ever be better than a 9-4 coach? Let alone win 12,13,14 or 15 games?
Get busy livin, or get busy dyin.
Preface: Normally, these write-ups are reserved for post-game analyses on the student experience. Given the events of the last few days, and the amount that the student experience has been front and center, I felt it necessary to speak to some of the points I’ve heard raised about everything going on. I apologize for the length.
The situation regarding the job status of Michigan’s current athletic director has obviously been at the forefront of any news regarding the university. While many, many fellow students I’ve spoken to are upset with the AD for a variety of reasons, and many are supportive of the calls for his resignation, some have voiced concern that the events have been perceived as directed at the players. Some have lamented the vociferous impugnation of the character and motives of the coaching staff. Still others have expressed a desire that students get upset about something that “actually matters”. While I cannot speak for any student on campus besides myself, what follows is my perspective on the matter, which is consistent with the conversations that I have had with other students as well.
- I fully support the players. As someone who hasn’t played any form of organized sport since playing baseball in middle school, I have absolutely no appreciation for the amount of work that these athletes put in. I hear stories; I read accounts. But there is no way that I will ever have a good grasp about the sacrifices that these players make day in and day out for the team. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t respect the hell out of them for it. In all my frustrations I have never and will never direct that at a student. I may lament the youthful inexperience. I may lament that players are not always put in the best position to succeed. I may get upset with the occasional poor decision or missed tackle. But my support for these students doesn’t stop. Look at Gardner, a student who sacrificed tremendously (especially physically) for the team in his years so far. Not to mention working to get an M.S.W. in the process. Look at the walk-ons busting their ass to contribute despite not being on scholarship (or not having been on scholarship). Look at Shane Morris, who took a hit that would have any of us calling in from our desk jobs for a week, still wanting to give his all for the team. The list goes on and on but the point is that neither I nor any other student I’ve talked to wants any of this aimed at the players. We’ve tried to time our boos or our frustration such that it was clear in the intent—that we were booing a hit, a time management decision, a personnel decision. We were never booing one of our own players. When Shane Morris remained in the game and when he re-entered a few minutes later, boos erupted from the stadium. To Shane, those may have appeared to be aimed at him. To Shane and to any other players that may have felt as though such booing or frustration were aimed at them, I apologize. Unfortunately, in such a situation, myself and those around me were so stunned by what we were witnessing, so horrified by the prospect that a clearly concussed player was going to remain in the game, so worried for his very safety, that we felt we had to do something and in that moment, booing was nearly all we had. Students around me yelled “Shane it’s not worth it,” they pleaded with staff that couldn’t hear them to acknowledge that Shane was clearly injured, they tried to do something, anything to make someone notice what was going on. But all Shane could hear were the “boos”. And that is a shame. I wish he could have heard the reasoning, could have heard the students yelling for fear of his safety. I wish he could have seen in that moment that booing was one of the only ways left to convey our support of him and more importantly, his safety. I wish Shane and all the other injured players a speedy recovery, and I wish the players nothing but success. I at least am behind you, and I know many others are as well.
- I do not, for a second, believe that Brady Hoke intentionally endangered one of his players. Hoke may not be the best coach that Michigan has ever had. He may have a hard time getting wins on the road. He may not be great at developing talent given to him. He may be a lot of things. “Malicious” is not one of them. From everything I’ve seen from former players, from people that have met him, from everything I’ve read, Hoke is a great person, a great mentor, and a coach that loves all of his players and wants to get the best for them. And that “best” certainly does not include subjecting them to potentially life-threatening injury. I believe that Hoke did not know that Shane was as bad off as he was, was depending on staff to make him aware of the status changes of his players, and made a decision with the woefully limited information that he had available. That does not make him evil. At the same time, however, it does not absolve him of responsibility. As the coach he is responsible for what transpires on the sideline. He is responsible for making sure that there are personnel monitoring what they should be monitoring and is ultimately responsible for the safety and wellbeing of his players. I agree with Hoke when he said that attacking his character or his integrity was unwarranted; but I still think that he should not remain head coach. I honestly feel bad for him. He loves his players; he loves the school; he’s pushed the players to be good people as well as good players; he’s been put in a no-win situation by the AD and left to twist in the wind; but he has demonstrated that he is not up to the task of leading the team, especially in the moments where it is most necessary, and a player’s health was jeopardized as a result.
- Yes, this is about the concussion. No, it is not *only* about the concussion. Ire at Brandon and the athletic department has been building for years. If you ask any signatory on the petition why they signed it they’ll likely have a different story than the others. The common theme will be a tone-deaf department that has finally gone off the rails. Are we upset about the losses? Of course we are. Would we be signing a petition and protesting in front of the President’s house if we were 2-3, things looked bleak for the season, but the AD was not actively alienating students and apparently trying to massage the press release regarding leaving a concussed player in the game? I was here in 2008, and while, as a freshman, I wasn’t as clued in to the events on campus as I am now, I’m pretty confident the answer is “no”. Win or lose the students’ frustration with the AD has been building for years. The tinder was set, and mishandling a concussion, and then subsequently mishandling the mishandling of the concussion, was all the spark needed to set the whole thing ablaze.
- This does actually matter. Is it ultimately as important as situations in Ferguson? As the situation in the Middle East? As so many other big issues in the world today? No, it isn’t. The difference is immediacy. Can the students here protest and change anything in Ferguson? Probably not. Can they stop ISIS? No. But they damn well can raise enough hell that someone takes notice of problems here—problems that students can directly see and feel. Should students be getting upset about other things as well? Absolutely. But I’m not about to be dismissive of them standing up on the right side of an issue just because they aren’t standing up for something else.
To end, let me say that, as a student, I simply cannot stay away from any of the home games I’ve already purchased tickets to. Depending on scheduling I may even go to Evanston to see the team. I need to support the team. I need to support the players. Hell, with all that’s going on—and I still believe that change is necessary—the coaches could probably use a little support, too. What I will not do, however, is support what this department has become. I will not support Dave Brandon. I hope that that distinction is clear.