in town for free camps
This has been a fait accompli for a few weeks now; it is now official:
— UniversityofMichigan (@UMich) July 6, 2015
Also press release.
Creepy divorce metaphor aside, this is likely to please everyone. We have a Best Of Adidas post being assembled and it's a doozy. Around here we started calling them the Only Incompetent Germans after Glenn Robinson's jersey exploded in a cloud of fibers for the third or fourth time.
Nike's not perfect—in fact the only Nike tag we have on the blog is "nike would like you to wear this aerodynamic fez"—but the athletes really wanted Nike according to internal surveys. A lot of the fans really wanted Nike according to Sam Webb, who would know. Even those who were pretty indifferent to the brand of clothing they're wearing scoffed at the many and diverse fashion crimes perpetrated on the best uniforms in sports. And so the department acquiesced even though there were reports that the Adidas offer was worth significantly more.
Yes: the athletic department made a decision based on something other than making revenue go up. Even if you don't really care what symbol is on Michigan's jerseys, that has to feel good.
No numbers yet. Those will be announced next week. Current details:
- Contract runs to 2027 with a Michigan option to extend to 2031.
- Contract starts August 1st of next year.
- Michigan can use "Jumpman" apparel for their basketball teams—apparently this is a big deal.
- The Daily's Zach Shaw reports that employees were told that Michigan will be Nike's "top deal." I think they say that to all the girls.
I don't think uniformz are off the table unless the AD says they're off the table; that will be the next thing to watch for.
AHHHH PLAY FOR MICHIGAN
Ex-Harbaugh staffer: 'A great white shark, mouth open, staring at you'
That's from a longer profile he wrote in May on the often-inscrutable Harbaugh. I referenced this yesterday, but whenever these things happen I think about a Nietzsche quote despite never having read any Nietzsche. You see, there was this science-fiction Civ game called Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri and when you got one of the techs it always said this at you:
Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman—a rope over an abyss. A dangerous across, a dangerous on-the-way, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous shuddering and stopping. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end: what can be loved in man is that he is an overture and a going under. I love those who do not know how to live, for they are those who cross over.
-- Friedrich Nietzsche ,"Thus Spoke Zarathustra"
Pretentious! But sometimes Harbaugh does not know how to live, like when he's on a national radio show and the preening show host starts in by asking him if he's ever soft. The vision of masculinity presented by Cowherd is so disorienting to him that his mind goes blank in terror*.
The good news is that Harbaugh can now enact the Thought Control government form. So he's got that going for him.
*[Just as I recoil at the arrogant bro-dom presented by Jim Rome.]
More Harbaugh. Face time in the 1993 Rose Bowl.
Doesn't say much there, either.
Yes, please. The NCAA may be slightly loosening its tie when it comes to the NBA draft:
Under the proposal, which was a coordinated effort by the NCAA, the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the NBA, underclassmen would be allowed to attend the Chicago pre-draft combine in May, get evaluated by team personnel and given a true reading on their draft status. The players would then be able to decide if they wanted to stay in the draft or return to school. They couldn't sign with an agent, though.
The current draft rules don't allow a player to return to college once he officially declares for the NBA draft. The NBA would still have an early entry deadline of late April and an official withdrawal date of 10 days before the draft, as per the collective bargaining agreement. But the NCAA would then have its own withdrawal date moved up from the week after the Final Four to sometime in mid-to-late May.
That last sentence is confusingly worded and should be "moved back". This is progress of a sort—the kind of progress that takes you back to about eight years ago when this was the standard. College coaches hated it because they didn't know who would go and who would stay when the late signing period—which also starts about week after the Final Four—began. So they changed it. Now they might change it back.
Anything that acknowledges the reality of the NBA and NFL is a good change. This one is a bit half-hearted, and it seems like it's flirting with disaster to make this change without delaying the late signing period. Kid signs, other kid decides to return: whoops. You know that's going to happen.
The best solution here is draft and follow.
Exposure to price. When people start talking about the inevitable cable unbundling that is coming, they often make this calculation: if only X percent of people would get ESPN and ESPN costs Y amount of money, then ESPN is going to cost Y * (1 / X) dollars. That's a lot of dollars! Bet you don't want unbundling now! An example:
So you'd think a standalone ESPN app, with all their channels, would cost around the same [as Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc.]. As Lee Corso would say, not so fast. ESPN's perceived value and what the network actually needs to sustain their business model are vastly different.
One industry source I spoke to believes ESPN would have to charge sports fans at least $30 a month for an a la carte version of the networks to offset lost cable subscriber fees and advertising. MoffettNathanson Research believes Disney would have to charge $36.30 a month for ESPN to achieve the same level of reach it enjoys today.
At this point, we've reached a similar structure to European television. Channels such as Sky Sports, which carries popular properties like the English Premiere League, are not part of the basic service and run at $40 a month for the family of networks. Sky Sports even offers "day passes" for roughly $15. While hardcore American sports fans can justify similar prices here in the States, casual fans will balk and just catch the big event games on over-the-air networks.
But as taxi drivers and music labels and newspapers have found out, the internet tends to erode comfortable perches from which you can rake in piles of dough. ESPN has the advantage of still being a monopoly, but if the product was the only reason you could charge Y dollars you would not be able to get every song ever made for ten dollars a month.
The existence of Sling TV, which has ESPN and ESPN 2 and 18 other channels besides, for 20 bucks, is plenty of evidence that ESPN cannot reach that price point—and probably will not even try. Sky is a very different business model because the thing that is by far their main attraction, soccer, is virtually ad-free. You get some signage in the stadium, shirt sponsors, and halftime when everyone goes to the bathroom and gets a snack. That's it. The prime reason American sports keep spiraling in value (and can no longer fit in their assigned time slots) is that they are much more amenable to commercial breaks. Sky is trying to maximize its revenue; ESPN's attempt to maximize its revenue is going to come in much lower because 1) Americans are going to balk at the 40 dollar price and 2) advertisers want the eyeballs ESPN can deliver so very badly.
ESPN is currently subsidized by a lot of people who do not care about sports. When the internet is television, that goes away—and it does not necessarily get replaced one for one.
This is why adding Maryland and especially Rutgers was folly. In the near future the only people who get the Big Ten Network are going to be people interested in the Big Ten. They will no longer be able to snatch a dollar from the pocket of every cable subscriber in New Jersey who is a Tulane man. This is going to happen in ten years, at which point whatever short-term revenue gain will be spent, Jim Delany will have his bonus, and the Big Ten will be stuck with a couple of teams nobody cares about.
[HT: Get The Picture.]
Sauce relocates. Nik Stauskas is traded to the 76ers for… uh… stuff?
Many in Philadelphia wanted Stauskas last year. Now, 12 months later, Hinkie got him, a 1st rd pick, and 2 pick swaps for basically nothing.
— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) July 2, 2015
Stauskas had a rough first year in the NBA in a terrible situation, but that's awful quick to give up on a guy and dump him with some terrible contracts in exchange for cap space. Like the Pistons giving away a first round pick to be done with Ben Gordon, the main "asset" Sacramento acquired was the ability to not have Carl Landry on their cap any more. So they could go sign more free agents. Someone try to rip the face off the Kings GM just in case it's Joe Dumars.
Only incompetent Germans. Louisville's new helmet is… this…
Which I kind of like for an Arena League team. Of the future. Playing a life and death game against octopus space nazis.
Here is a conveniently-timed article titled "Adidas: Sports Apparel Laughingstock."
The old recruiting ghost story. Willie Williams has been revisited. It is a funny and sad story, one that you've probably heard before. Apropos of little, here is former Florida Gator on his trip to Penn State:
As if that story wasn’t juicy enough, Crowder spoke of his visit to Penn State as a recruit, which was “the worst.”
“They sit me in a room with two bottles of Mad Dog 20/20 Banana Red,” Crowder said. “They say ‘drink these, we’re gonna go out.’ Okay, I get all feeling good. We walk out of the door, go down two doors and go back into an apartment and it’s four big white girls sitting there and me. Big ole white girls. Talkin’ about 250.”
Crowder no doubt said his decision was all about the academics.
Here's this! It is a show featuring a bunch of Michigan guys, one a former walk-on QB under Moeller, and an mgoshirt.
It appears it is still looking for a home. If you are a TV executive, adopt it maybe.
Etc.: Here is a good thing about the buddha-fication of David Foster Wallace. Akron built a stadium. It's not going well. Warde Manuel($) is a name to watch for Hackett replacement. Bring Your Champions, They're Our Meat on the NBA Draft.
Harbaugh of the day.
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) June 20, 2015
The man knows his rappists.
Also, Harbaugh interviewed during the 1992 Northwestern game:
Battle stuff. Tyus Battle has not committed to Syracuse as of this instant. There's been no news from his visit as the Battles go radio silent:
"Ty and I are not making any comments until we figure things out," Gary Battle wrote in a text message.
Insider chatter holds that Battle will also visit UConn and that distance is apparently a problem. Publicly stated reasons are rarely the actual reasons, so take that with a grain of salt.
Michigan is not sitting on its hands. Four-star OH SG Jarron Cumberland, #62 on the 247 composite, is on campus right now. He will likely get an offer, and may drop immediately. Steve Lorenz put in a Crystal Ball for Cumberland at 8 AM today. (Josh Langford is off the board after he committed to—sigh—Michigan State.) Michigan clearly does not think this Battle decommit is a momentary dalliance.
At least he's still in the vaguely-affiliated other Big Ten conference. Potential name of the year running back Toks Akinribade has committed to Iowa. Michigan wasn't in the market for another tailback after taking Kingston Davis and Matt Falcon (and athletes Chris Evans and Kiante Enis), I know, but shades of LEVITICUS PAYNE here and it still hurts.
There is another, though.
More Steve Patterson stuff. Texas blog Barking Carnival is terrific, so I wanted to check in on what they were saying about the Chip Brown article on Longhorn AD Steve Patterson. Sound familiar?
Aloof and petty aren't a good combination.
The I’m smarter than everyone in the room vibe only works when you demonstrably are.
His decision-making is being driven by considerations that appear to be more about self-elevation (my running joke is that he badly wants to land a TED Talk) rather than balancing the considerations (or illusions) that make college fans unique from pro fans. I have zero interest in attending a Texas football game in person any time soon and it has little to do with the product. I sat patiently through some real dogshit in the 80s and 90s.
The current game day environment demonstrably sucks. At least for anyone with my disposition. It’s counterfeit. It’s false. And the season ticket holders we’re losing are some of the very best fans who are just tired of seeing their love of their school being exploited at every turn. Patterson wants to replace them with corporates and local transplants. Good luck with that, buddy.
Bottom line: he’s creating a situation where he will sink or swim entirely on his hires. He doesn’t have any good will banked.
That's a comment from Scipio Tex, one of the main authors at BC and one of the most incisive writers on the college football internet.
It is both sad and reassuring that Michigan isn't the only school having these problems as the old guard of school-oriented athletic directors gets invaded by a wave of spreadsheet people. (FWIW, Hackett doesn't fall in that category for me: a guy who is CEO at the same place for 20 years is not just looking to make a spreadsheet look nice and cash out.) If and when Hackett decides to go back into retirement, it's imperative that Michigan actually taps the network of high-profile athletic department employees they've seeded across the country.
Not so much, Boilers. 1985 Purdue-Michigan was a slaughter:
Apparel contract decision soon. Hackett:
"We're on our target to make our decision this summer and look for an answer soon," Hackett told gathered media after Thursday's regularly scheduled Regents meeting, adding, "We're still in the middle of that discussion."
Most rumblings indicate that Adidas is in a bad spot and is unlikely to retain the contract. Sam Webb has plenty of details($) at Scout; the upshot is that it's likely to be Nike. I had a mild preference for Under Armour, but it seems like most of the athletes have a strong one for the swoosh so whatever. The gap between the offers—reported to be significant—has apparently come down somewhat, so may as well "spend" some of the oodles of cash you bring in on making people happy.
My main reservation with going back to Nike is their tendency towards uniformz. They've been at least as demanding in that department as Adidas, and they also run the play where a bunch of their schools all have the same dubious design element at the same time. I do think a strong AD can push back against those kind of things—see Indiana basketball, Penn State, Alabama, Texas, etc.—and hopefully we've got one of those now.
A potential replacement. I haven't seen anything about this officially, but Chris Dilks is pretty plugged in and he notes that Michigan hockey does have an option to fill the holes in the roster created by early NHL departures:
[Cooper] Marody was on the edge between returning to Sioux Falls for another season of junior hockey and enrolling at the University of Michigan, but with Dylan Larkin deciding to sign with the Detroit Red Wings and opening up a spot on Michigan's roster, it looks like Marody will be playing for the Wolverines next season.
Marody had a 22-36-58 line in 52 games and should go off the board in the third or fourth round of the draft. He won't be Larkin; he should be a solid player as a freshman.
Etc.: Gasaway on shot clock overreactions. Maize and Blue Nation on how nice it is that Harbaugh is around. More budget stuff. Hyman to Toronto after forcing a trade away from the Panthers. Toronto's doing a lot of smart stuff lately. Tickets are moving like hotcakes. Mitch McGary is SNAKE GOD. Daily alum Ryan Kartje on satellite camps.
It's happening. Hail To The Victors is fully funded with two weeks left to go. I credit Harbaugh more than anything else. Thanks all the same; we will still be taking pre-orders through Kickstarter through the 18th.
Hail to the king. Oh nothing just Harbaugh hanging out with the first lady and Ciara.
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) May 1, 2015
Soon he will start appearing in historically significant photos and no one will remember that he was not, in fact, present.
Also sick beatz yo
— Coach Erik Campbell (@ErikCampbell) May 1, 2015
Seriously. I want to know what a Jim Harbaugh stadium playlist sounds like. Other than silence and the sound of manliness.
Hutch points with the best of 'em [Paul Sherman]
Hail to the queens. Softball locks down its eighth-straight Big Ten title:
On Sunday, No. 3 Michigan softball won the conference's top spot outright, beating Penn State 9-2 to improve to 48-6. It was the program's eighth-straight championship and 19th all-time.
Christner hit a walk-off, RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning to score Sierra Romero from second and end the game via the run-rule. Christner finished the day 2-for-2 with three RBI, and 8-for-9 in the series.
They will host the Big Ten championship and should get a home regional.
It could be happening? Michigan rattles its defection sabers in an interesting direction:
Michigan's process of figuring out whether or not it'll stick with Adidas or sign with a new apparel provider is ongoing. And this week, Michigan athletic department officials saw a pitch from Under Armour at its headquarters in Baltimore, a university spokesman confirmed.
A meeting is just a meeting and could be held for reasons other than "we are seriously considering Under Armour." I wouldn't read anything in particular into that. It is a move that implies Michigan is seriously considering a change despite having a contract that gives them Most Favored Nation status.
As for UA's pull, they just signed Wisconsin and their Notre Dame contract is rumored to be very big:
Under Armour has proven it can pay big money, too, though, as the supplier reportedly signed Notre Dame to a 10-year, $90 million contract in 2014. Though Notre Dame has never publicly confirmed those figures.
If money is the only factor it won't be Nike, which tops out at about half that. And if we're talking about Adidas versus UA my preference is for the latter.
Congrats draftees. Devin Funchess and Frank Clark went in the second round; Jake Ryan went in the fourth. Seems about right for Funchess and Ryan. Clark's spot is interesting for multiple reasons.
He got booted for a domestic violence charge, then failed to follow the contrition playbook in the aftermath. If you thought this might make the NFL wary you may have also had hopes the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight was going to be interesting. Nope.
The other interesting bit: that Clark got drafted in the second round, period. He was always a pretty good player who flashed high-level talent; he was not the kind of consistent threat I'd think is mandatory for anyone to be drafted as a DE in the first two rounds. I mean, Alan Branch went in the second round. I didn't think Clark was anywhere near his level in college. The Seahawks evidently did.
It sounds like they did do their homework. Nick Baumgardner has an extensive article on Clark's draft spot:
He said Michigan's staff and personnel were "shocked" by the arrest, and maintained that the team got enough information from U-M's staff to allow the team to feel confident in taking a chance on Clark in the second round. He also explained how there were a number of teams who were prepared to take Clark on Friday night, possibly early in the third round.
"It was a process," he said. "I was there two days after it happened. Our area (scout) went through there twice. Our regional scout went through there twice. We spent several days there. The easy thing to do was to dismiss this. But, over time and I don't want to get into specifics of it, things became clearer and clearer in the evaluation process.
"We brought him out here, he met with our sports psychologist. But to be there at the time, to see the secretary's reaction ... it was, like 'wow.' ... You get a really, really good feel for the individual (in doing that)."
As I said before, Clark's got an opportunity for a second chance that not a lot of people get. I hope he makes the most of it.
Etc.: MLive has video from a recent AAU tournament featuring commit Austin Davis and target Brian Bowen. Gardner pre-draft interview. He landed with Tom Brady, which is not a bad place to land. The NCAA's mission is disavowed by the NCAA.
Adidas released a group of alternate jerseys for the college hoops postseason today, including the uniforms Michigan will wear for both the Big Ten Tournament and, most likely, the NIT.
I'll withhold total judgment until I see these on an actual human, but they could be a lot worse, especially given adidas' standards. Remember, Michigan turned down that horrible zubaz concept a couple years ago. At least these have normal looking tops and understated shoes; the shorts would probably look pretty sharp if not for the whole two-tone thing, which is unfortunately the selling point of the uniforms.
Anyway, you'll see these on Michigan for the conference tourney and maybe a handful of postseason games, and then we'll all forget this ever happened.
When can we fire this apparel company?
What do you think will happen when the Adidas contract runs up? It's no secret around these parts the quality of garments that Adidas has put out have been sub-par to say the least. I know the majority of MGoBlog would prefer to go back to Nike, but there's a faction that would like Under Armour. Where do you see this going? Especially since I would anticipate the Nike contract not being nearly as lucrative as an Under Armour signing or a re-up with Adidas. Does Hackett (assuming he's still around) or a new AD listen to the fans or do you think they go for profit here?
I don't know. Nike isn't willing to spend bucks as huge as Adidas and Under Armor, which was a contributing factor in Miami's recent switch to the only incompetent Germans. Adidas has the four most expensive (FOIAable) contracts in college sports, with Michigan's whopping 8.2 million at the top of the list. That number is double what OSU gets from Nike.
Part of that premium is because Adidas isn't as cool to the whippersnappers and you have to weigh that, but this isn't a few hundred thousand a year Michigan is weighing. Switching to Nike would be a decision that costs Michigan a significant chunk of change.
The ideal situation may be Under Armour stepping in with an on-par offer. UA's done some wacky stuff with Maryland but they've been extremely reserved with Auburn's classic look. (An extensive Googling reveals no alternate uniform horrors.) I'm a huge fan of what they've done with Northwestern, incorporating a historical design element in a unique way.
Aside from the excessive logo frippery* that plagues everyone these days, that is a fantastic, distinctive look. Even the font is on point. I'd rather have UA take a swing at—or just, like, sit quietly by and not do anything weird with—Michigan's uniforms than Adidas.
But I don't wear the stuff so I don't know. It seems like the players are gung-ho about Nike and Hackett is listening; plus it seems like there is some real recruiting impact in basketball.
*[The best thing Dave Brandon did with Michigan's brand is render the mandatory Big Ten logo in Crisler as faintly as possible.]
Rate the get
How big of a get is Harbaugh compared to Ohio state landing Urban? Obviously OSU's down time was smaller than Michigan's, and Urban won national titles at Florida, but in terms of hires it has to be close to comparable, right? Recruits lining up and all that.
In terms of difficulty of acquisition it's a much, much bigger get. Meyer was momentarily retired and looking to get back into coaching, and his preferred style of offense makes him unattractive to NFL teams. It probably took the two sides about a half hour to come to an agreement after Tressel got axed. Michigan was in a much more difficult situation with Harbaugh, who could have coached at about 20 NFL teams if he wanted to.
In terms of impact and probable success, it's close. I would still go with Meyer, who had already won two national titles, over Harbaugh. Harbaugh's done kickass things in his tenure as a coach but he hasn't had the kind of sustained run on the mountaintop that Meyer did at Florida. That's splitting hairs in any case.
[After the JUMP: manball an aid? best coaching combos, NFL reporters, Milhouse.]