he grew a beard
I decided to move this to diaries since I put a little bit of work into it and it was already buried on the sidebar by the time I updated with results.. This is based on a survey a number of board members filled out earlier today.
I’d like to preface this with a warning: this is not intended to divide the fan base or claim that alums have more of a right to cheer for the team than anyone else. I simply had a hypothesis and decided to test it. I did not perform statistical analysis to determine validity. Obvious caveats of sample size, measurement technique, sampling procedures, etc. apply, but here it is:
My hypothesis was that those officially connected to the University (alums, employees, etc) would be more concerned with long-term damage to the program (and greater University as a whole) more than win/loss record, and thus would consider ousting Brandon the more pressing issue.
Caveats: (1) For people who indicated both Hoke and Brandon in their responses, I counted one towards each. Obviously this isn’t the best way to do it, but it was easier on me, so deal with it. (2)Also, I collapsed alums and employees together. For the sake of testing my hypothesis, they are effectively the same.
First, some demographics: 62% of respondents were associated with the University (student/alumnus, employee, etc.). 38% had no association to the University.
Of those associated with the University, 24% placed the majority of blame on Hoke. 86% placed the majority of the blame on Brandon (see caveat (1)). 3% said Hoke should be fired first, while almost 100% (see caveat (1)) said Brandon should be dealt with first.
Now for the fans: 43% said Hoke is to blame, and 56% said Brandon is primarily at fault. 18% said Hoke should be fired first, while 82% said Brandon should be fired first.
All caveats applying, it seems like my hypothesis was, to some extent, supported. It seems like those associated with the University harbor more ill-will towards the AD than the fanbase as a whole, while the fanbase is more willing to consider Hoke the problem, placing less blame on Brandon.
Take from it what you will, but I thought it was an interesting idea to look at. Just take it with a grain of salt.
Update 2: It is done! See the results in the diary.
Update: Holy crap. I totally underestimated the number of responses here. I love this site. There are already 435, and I can only see the first 100. Obviously this limits the validity of my findings, but as I said earlier, this isn't reallym science. I'm going to take some time to review them and will update once I do.
Reading through the abundance of content today, I found myself noticing some patterns, and I wanted to see if they bore out as I expect. I won't go into it here as not to bias the results. I'd appreciate taking the 30 seconds to complete the survey.
Nothing groundbreaking here, and this survey will do absolutely no good other than to sate my own curiosity. It may provide some interesting perspective on the divisions in the fanbase, or could end up showing nothing. This is the life of a researcher.
Seeing as this is an internet survey on a sports message board, with a limited number of allowed responses obviously limits the generalizability of the results. I am a researcher by day, so I understand the shortcomings here. As was said in the title, this is very unscientific. (Obvious sampling bias, etc.).
Without further ado, here is the survey. I will update with results once the maximum number of responses have been recorded.
IMO, since Bo left, UM has often looked not at the strength of its leaders but their weaknesses. So, it has often chosen opposite, new leaders who lack these weaknesses, but who often also lack the strengths of their predecessors. And that has led to serious problems.
Consider first coaching. UM went from the defensively-principled, tough-as-nails Bo to the offensively-minded Moeller. But Moeller was perceived to have an alcohol problem, which he reportedly refused to get help for. So (regardless of the truth or falsity of this perception), UM turned to a man they perceived as more principled and intelligent Carr. Yet, when Carr’s record began to plateau, he was called too old and predictable. So, UM turned to the inventive spread-coach, RR. But his defensive incompetence then made UM go the opposite way. So, now UM is back to a defensive-minded but offensively disorganized Hoke.
In choosing its AD, UM also has seemed to choose each succeeding leader as the opposite of his predecessor. For example, under the cloud of scandal, the aggressive fund-raiser, Roberson was replaced as AD by his opposite: the less profit-minded, more flamboyant and humanistic Goss. Then, after Goss led the UM AD to the brink of financial ruin, UM chose the opposite once again: a quiet, out-of-touch financier named Martin. Ill-equipped for the myriad public relations disasters during the hiring and demise of RR, however, Martin himself was then also was replaced by a dramatically different type of AD: the publicity-seeking brand-maker Brandon. His public relations campaign seemed to work wonders at first. But the obsession with publicity and profit ended up making UM look far worse.
So what can we learn from the past forty years of UM’s athletic leadership choices? Most clearly they have taught us what not to do—that is, just choose the opposite type of leader from the one you have now. It does not work for very long. Why? When you choose a leader, he fills his program or department with one type of student or employee. But if you then fire him and choose just the opposite type of leader, there is no growth in the program. It is like putting matter together with anti-matter. If they collide, what do you get? They annihilate each other in a violent explosion. In an organization, that means turnover, disorganization, and chaos.
So, no matter how angry we feel sometimes, we should learn from past experience. We should recognize not just the bad in our past leaders and seek their opposites. We should also recognize the good in our past leaders, then search for new ones with their best characteristics. The toughness of Bo, the fire of Moeller, the inventiveness of RR, the intellect of Carr, the likeability of Hoke. The decision about whom we should choose now I leave to others, who are far more knowledgeable than me.
But IMO, only if we seek to see the Best in our own past Leaders can we hope to find the new Leaders and Best.
This post is predicated on the concept that all open, or theoretically soon to be open, positions at the University must be posted. Maybe the later is wishful thinking...
Unfortunately, you are out of luck for athletic department or coaching jobs, unless you are:
- a volunteer coach (Women's Lacrosse)
- a video coordinator (Men's Lacrosse)
- a temporary personal trainer
- athletic facilities assistant
Go see for yourself:
I've done a little research, and I'm unable to confirm whether either Hoke, Brandon, or Nussmeier's jobs were ever posted.
So, any of you potential coaching or AD candidates, just move along. There's nothing to see here... yet.
Thank you for contacting us and sharing your concerns about the state of intercollegiate athletics at the University of Michigan. I greatly appreciate the thoughtful input that I and other leaders have received from you and many other members of our community. Such input only serves to enhance my feeling of pride at becoming a member of the Michigan family.
The passion you bring to U-M, and in particular U-M Athletics, is both amazing and apparent. We appreciate your commitment to the university and support of our student-athletes. This depth and intensity of dedication help make Michigan a great and special institution. We value your support and recognize your concerns.
On the issue of student-athlete safety, I am extremely disappointed in the events surrounding the handling of an on-field injury to Shane Morris, one of our football players. I have apologized for the breakdown in our system of responding to player injuries. New measures to correct issues identified last weekend and enhance player safety will be implemented for our October 4 game at Rutgers. I support these immediate changes in medical protocols that the Athletic Department has identified in its initial assessment, and I have instructed the Department to do a thorough review of our in-game player safety procedures with the involvement of experts from our Health System.
I pledge to make sure that our procedures going forward reflect the very best practices for student-athlete safety and will enforce the necessary accountability to protect the health of our players.
Is everyone getting this response to emails calling for new AD?
Since my arrival in July, I have spent a great deal of time getting to know our campus and students. I have been particularly struck by the conviction and drive of our student-athletes both on and off the field, and I am focused on doing all I can to support them in their academic, athletic and community efforts. Like all aspects of our university, I aspire for athletics to continue to be among the “leaders and best” and will work toward this goal in the months and years ahead.
We know that we must find the way to maintain the traditions we hold so dear while keeping our athletic program vibrant and competitive into the future. We are learning from our experiences and we are listening to alumni and fans. I feel that I owe it to our university community, our alumni, the many fans of our athletic teams, our student-athletes, and the dedicated leaders and staff of our Athletic Department to thoughtfully and deliberately consider the right way forward.
Thank you again for taking the time to write. I hope that you continue to support our student-athletes, our athletic traditions, and our great university as passionately as you always have.
I have never seen this kind of activism at mgoblog, but may be it's time for it. Could we create a petition demanding that Brandon have no part in the choosing of a new coach? I think it should say something to the effect that it is his bad decision-making and micromanagement that has led to this impasse, and a group of thoughtful, trusted alums and employees should be chosen to carry it out. There is too much bad blood now attached to his name for the community to trust any process he is at the head of. Is there something like a survey monkey to do this with? Who can set it up?
Meantime, if you find this idea persuasive, please post something like a "yea" with your comment.