I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
Today, the Marketing and Sales Executives of Detroit (MSED) hosted their "Summer Tailgate Luncheon: The Business of Branding College Athletics" featuring Dave Brandon and Mark Hollis.
The event was livestreamed and is now available to watch at the MSED link above, but I didn't catch onto it until I saw a Kyle Meinke retweet of new A2.com Michigan basketball reporter Nick Baumgardner (give him a follow, BTW).
Baumgardner's article at A2.com focuses on the issue of paying athletes.
...Michigan’s second-year athletic director got right to the point when asked his thoughts on the pay for play debate.
“I’m flatly opposed to this notion of paying student-athletes,” Brandon said. “I don’t think you could possibly coach a team where part of them are being compensated and part of them are not.
“Once you start paying them as if they were employees, then you’re going to be 1099ing these folks, bringing in accountants and lawyers to work through tax issues which leads to contract negotiations and probably even a union. It’s just absurd.”
Meinke's article is broader in its focus with quotes about the lacrosse program, social media, revenue sources, what "wow" means, among other items.
Brandon said building brands — which is a primary reason why he took the job at Michigan — is about more than the product that is put on the field.
“We’re trying really hard to do some things with event execution that makes our events special. So, when you see people parachuting in with the game ball, when you see Lady Gaga tunes being performed by the marching band, when you see fans using technology in the stadium that afford people the ability to watch replays and keep track of scores, when you see fireworks when we host the largest hockey game in the history of hockey … our first (home) night game in 132 years of Michigan football Sept. 10, we’re working really hard to create events that are memorable.
“Above and beyond the competition, which is most important, we want to create wows for our customers, those fans and those reporters who make that programs work.”
Here are Baumgardner's and Meinke's tweets from the event. Caution, these are tweets that were made as the event unfolded. They aren't always exact quotes and they often lack context.
- Meinke: Theme of banquet is branding in sports. With respect to Mark Hollis, Dave Brandon seems like a pretty appropriate speaker.
- Meinke: Brandon: sports are the "front porch" to universities.
- Baumgardner: Brandon says if you want a strong brand, first up is 'you'd better run a clean program.'
- Meinke: Brandon: the impact of NCAA violations on brands is "phenomenal." Pointed to example he "walked into" and at Michigan, situation at Miami.
- Baumgardner: Brandon discusses importance of creating 'wows' for customers/fans. Night game, Big Chill, etc.
- Baumgardner: Brandon says adding lax was part of the department's 'grow in every way' strategy. Also, allows school to build brand, increase donors.
- Meinke: Brandon on why he added lacrosse: strategic initiative to increase number of sports/athletes. Lax adds 85 athletes, 25 scholarships.
- Baumgardner: Michigan received $5 million in lacrosse donor money in six months.
- Meinke: Brandon said plans under way for fundraising, planning for new lacrosse facilities. Plans to invest millions in program.
- Baumgardner: Hollis jokes with Brandon 'I wish I had your budget -- I wish I had half your budget.'
- Baumgardner: Hollis jokes he's glad UM has vid boards this year, because MSU is doing the same next year -- and will make them 'bigger and better.'
- Meinke: Hollis said he knows he has sports at MSU, such as wrestling and swimming, for which the school doesn't give its teams a chance to compete.
- Baumgardner: Brandon: social media creates great opportunity for college athletics, but also brings a big risk factor.
- Meinke: Hollis said he has two or three meetings ever week with athletes/coaches regarding use of Twitter.
- Meinke: Brandon: 'I think every athletic director sleeps with one eye open because of the temptation that faces their kids.'
- Baumbardner: Brandon states the obvious -- football moves Michigan's needle, and so he watches the program 'real close.'
- Meinke: Brandon said he's fortunate bc as economy soured, UM's revenue has grown double-digits bc of Michigan Stadium suites. Expects same this yr
- Meinke: Brandon said UM football accounts for 66% of AD revenue. "if you're going to put all your eggs in 1 basket, you better watch your basket"
- Meinke: Brandon, on today's recruiting: "If I would have told Bo I was going to announce my decision at a press conference, he would have killed me"
- Baumgardner: Brandon gives big props to @BigTenNetwork and its impact on the brand of every league program.
- Baumgardner: Brandon says he's flatly opposed to notion of paying student-athletes.
- Meinke: [Brandon] said almost every athlete has no "commerciality"
- Baumgardner: Both ADs asked if it's time to come up with a new name for the conference. Hollis: 'No.' Brandon: 'Hell, no.'
- Baumgardner: Brandon says he gets more advice than ever with his job, jokes that 'and I thought people were serious about pizza ...'
- Meinke: Brandon: I used to think people had strong opinions about pizza. Now, if I piss off 20% of the people, I think I'm doing pretty good.
Lots to chew on there. Have at it.
A2.com's Mike Rothstein just published this story with the results of an informal poll conducted with Michigan football players. Topics covered include:
- Most exciting player in the Big Ten this year (John Clay)
- Most overrated player in the Big Ten this year (TP)
- Hardest hitter on the Wolverines defense (Jonas Mouton)
- College football team you rooted for before joining the Wolverines (Michigan)
- Most embarrassing football memory (Various)
Best answer to the last question:
"When I was in sixth grade, I was playing a game and my pants were way too big, so I had them taped on. I ran for a long touchdown, and as soon as I crossed the goal line, my pants fell to my ankles." - Stephen Hopkins.
Apparently, there's going to be a part 2 to this.
I noticed this article over at thebiglead.com, noticed it was written by tyduffy, and figured it would be a hatchet job. Good to know I wasn't disappointed.
The premise is that Birkett should not have been reprimanded for his "snarky" comment regarding Dorsey in the chat a couple of days ago. Now, without rehashing what others have said, I'll remind people that we are talking about a grown man on one side, with a captive audience and the ability to have his voice heard across a broad range of mediums, and a teenager who was just accepted to the University of Michigan to play football but with some skeletons in his closet. Those skeletons were dealt with by the legal system and his record is officially clean, but in the court of public opinion he certainly has a stained and imperfect reputation.
I think what people like tyduffy forget is that we are still talking about teenagers when we rail against recruits, and while this is not necessarily the case with Dorsey, oftentimes they come from less-than-ideal backgrounds both socially and economically. For some reason, we expect these young boys to act like professional athletes, scholars, and good citizens, completely ignoring the fact that many of their peers could barely qualify in one or two of these categories when they step onto campuses across America.
15- and 16-year-olds make mistakes all the time, breaking laws and social norms in ways that are perplexing to the 20, 30, 40, and 50-somethings that love to pass judgment on them. That doesn't mean we should condone delinquency in minors, but we should also not brand them as incurable and cast them off forever. To do so would be an unnecessary overreaction to the maturation process that everyone has gone through in their lives and needlessly imposing draconian punishment on relatively minor offenses; the proverbial "throwing out the baby with the bath water."
It is clear that Demar Dorsey was involved in some activities that, at best immature and at worst criminal. But the legal system took stock of these offenses and meted out a punishment (community service and rehabilitation) it felt was appropriate. Now if you have an issue with the punishment, take it up with the Florida legal system, but don't impugn Dorsey's character simply because he complied with their orders.
Tyduffy counters that while the legal system may be content, society at large should not be some quick to accept Dorsey back:
If someone pled down from convictions in two sexual assault cases and was acquitted at trial in a third, he doesn’t deserve to be treated as upstanding when he applies to coach the girls’ soccer team. AnnArbor.com acting as though he’s wholly innocent is laughable.
Now, beyond getting into the extremely tenuous and misguided logic applied here (comparing a potential rapist to a 17-year-old who stole some electronics), the author clearly is of the opinion that Dorsey is guilty of greater offenses than he admitted to, and that he escaped his "proper" punishment. Now, as an equal citizen under law, men like Tyduffy and Birkett is entitled to their opinions; but so is Rich Rodriguez, the UM athletic department, the admissions office, and everyone else who signed off on Dorsey being admitted to UM. Society allows you to be unhappy, but it doesn't mean everyone else has to share in your unhappiness.
But the author goes on to argue the rather obvious:
Demar Dorsey is receiving a second chance, because he’s a talented football player. As a mere student, that marred past most likely would have kept him from being admitted. Apparently, improving the football team trumps kids feeling safe with their laptops in the dorms.
Yes, Demar Dorsey received a second chance because he is good at football. And guess what - this favortism has been going on since the beginning of organized sports, and will continue well after Demar Dorsey leaves UM. Of course, if both his parents were alums, he was a valedictorian from a disadvantage region, he penned a popular or critically-lauded short story, or was a genius programmer, perhaps his transgressions would also have been overlooked. We have no idea how often such "exceptions" are made for other students because those stories aren't bandied about on talk radio, dragged out in excruciating detail by talking heads on ESPN, or haphazardly vilified by largely anonymous bloggers. They occur behind closed doors and in dusky admissions offices across America, and those individuals go on with their lives. Some surely fall into recidivism, but others learn from their mistakes and become upstanding members of society. They are given second chances because someone, somewhere decides that just because you make a mistake when you were 17 shouldn't define who you are for the rest of your life.
Now this post has gone on for far longer than I expected, so I'll be brief - Birkett's comment probably wasn't meant to be as offensive as it appeared, but it was also immature and unnecessary. This was acknowledged, and both sides would be best served to move on. But as for authors like Tyduffy who demand their pound of flesh from everyone who seems to have "beaten" the system, remember that just because you choose not to give someone the benefit of the doubt doesn't mean they shouldn't be given a second chance to prove you wrong.
So, if anyone was wondering how much AnnArbor.com sucks, here's a true testament. Here's their top article: http://www.annarbor.com/news/gay-porn-director-to-invade-university-of-m...
So there's a gay porn director secretly filming on Michigan's campus, as The Michigan Daily "reported today." That's pretty funny news, definitely worth swiping and posting as your lead story... Except it's an article from 2005. Ruh-roh. Maybe you shouldn't have fired 95 percent of your staff and replaced them with illiterate imbeciles who are willing to work for peanuts. And then, created the situation that allowed them to pass off other people's four-year-old work as original content.
The Daily put a disclaimer at the top of the article on their website. It reads: "For our annarbor.com visitors, this story is from 2005. It was inexplicably linked. We apologize for the inconvenience."
EDIT: The AnnArbor.com "article" has been taken down from the front page, though the link remains live.