Slightly on-topic given our Brandon debacle...
Earlier this summer, reports suggested Patterson was facing backlash from some Texas boosters who felt he was alienating the school’s coaches and fans. A report from HornsDigest.com said some prominent boosters felt Patterson was prioritizing money over athletes and coaches, “misleading football season ticket holders” and “alienating longtime donors as well as faculty and staff.”
The Morning News report on Wednesday said Patterson had not yet “reached the point of no return” with university president Greg Fenves, who replaced Bill Powers in June. Fenves and Patterson are scheduled to talk again on Friday as part of regularly scheduled meetings; according to the report, Fenves has in previous meetings “told Patterson of the need to change an approach that some see as impersonal or even arrogant.”
I guess money can't buy you everything.
Ok folks, sorry for the long absence from the posting world. The last two home football games were just not worth writing about for much the same reason that they really weren’t worth UFR-ing—namely, basically everyone that was responsible for any student section maladies is now gone. Sure, yes, Brandon was gone, but not with enough time for anything really to change. At any event, I’ll eventually get around to some closing thoughts that might still be relevant come next year, but for this article we’re going to talk about a different student section, namely that of Yost.
I’ve had hockey season tickets for a number of years, and in that time, Yost has always been a wonderful, fantastic, electric atmosphere. There have, however, been some up and downs. The renovation was a mixed bag: brighter, cheerier motif, more room, I think the foot stomping is more effective; however, the top rows have bad visibility, and the student section is smaller. Some of the other “recent” changes:
- Moving the student section around the bend: New this year, the student section extends from about Section 19 (behind the home bench) to Section 14 (south wall next to the band). Generally speaking, this is bad. The student section used to extend along the entire east wall (minus the band). This means less raucous Yost-worthy fans near the other net, it also means that the student section is no longer contiguous (more on that later). The reasons are likely Brandonian: side seats can probably be sold for more than those behind the nets. The only benefit I’ve seen is that it makes it marginally easier to get the “GO” “BLUE” chant started by bouncing between 17 and 14 rather than across the ice.
- Too damn much music. Not much to add here, choir.
- Moving the opposing parents behind the visiting bench: This is the one I want to particularly deep dive into. This has been unequivocally the most detrimental to the fan experience at Yost since I’ve been there.
- Making the student section just plain smaller: If I had to guess, this is a money issue, but not the cost of hockey tickets. I believe this is a cost of football tickets issue. If football tickets are stretching the bank, other season tickets are the first thing to go. Hopefully we’ll see some rebound here next year.
Why the parents being there is so bad
Let’s revisit contiguity. The reason that Section 17 (the heart of the student section) is so great is because everyone is clumped together; they can feed off each other; they can exchange cheers, ideas, etc. Imagine trying to start the wave in the Big House if there were a section of OSU fans in between two parts of the student section. Yeah, that isn’t working. For the same reason that moving part of the student section to the other side of the band is bad, so is putting the opposing parents behind the visiting bench. Worse, the (albeit minimal) upside doesn’t exist because the split up sections face the same way. So now we essentially have a core student section that maxes out at a full Section 16 and 17, which is loud and proud, but fundamentally limited in size. Compare that to when I started going to hockey games, where for the big games you could expect to fill the whole east wall with people who were pretty into it.
Also there’s utilization. Even when we’re playing teams that are nearby like MSU or OSU the parent section is half empty and the students aren’t even allowed to sit in the periphery. That is a full-blown, fully mapped DMZ that you better keep stepping through and not stop. So now we have students that don’t fit in Section 17, stuck above row 10 in Section 18 and a bunch of needlessly empty seats below them. And for what? So these parents can have some elbow room to look at their sons’ backs? That’s the area they want to be filming—they want to show the crazy passion fans have in promo materials. And now they take a picture and it looks like the student section abruptly fades to empty silver bleachers. Great planning that is.
Finally, it is just a fundamentally bad idea that has actually led to altercations and fisticuffs in the stands. I would love to have been at the meeting where this was pitched.
“Alright team, what if we move the opposing parents into the student section?”
“Dave, that’s insane.”
“I regret to inform all of you that Phillip will no longer be working with us. Does anyone else have thoughts about the move?”
“Seeing none, meeting adjourned.”
But actually, what type of sane human being hears that and doesn’t immediate respond “that’s actually insane”? Since the move, I’ve seen mortified parents trying to shield their children from the “cya” cheer. I’ve seen a UMass-Lowell parent push a UM student down the stairs. And just this evening I watched an OSU parent come up and jab a student in the chest. Fortunately—I suppose—I was close enough to observe the whole incident. From what I could tell the “instigation”, if you want to call it that, was that the student observed (albeit quite loudly) that OSU’s goal to make it 5-2 UM with like 30 seconds left would have no bearing on the outcome of the game (I must admit, he did have a point). What baffled me though was that this parent was not immediately escorted from the building, nor even the section. Worse still, event staff got on this student’s case and threatened to kick him out of future games if there were any complaints (despite nearby students asserting that he hadn’t done anything wrong). To be fair, most of my experiences with event staff folks have been positive, but I’ve also had a number like this, where one event staffer can sour the whole experience for the fans, which is a real shame.
Now, were there other things said that may have irritated the opposing parents? Probably. It is the Yost student section after all. But, really, that’s the point. Yost is a great place because the fans, especially the students, are insane and make it a loud and intimidating place to play. Putting the opposing parents in the middle of the students is asking for trouble, and that request has been answered too many times. It’s time to undo this tragedy of basic judgment and move the parents somewhere else.
I was talking about this with my wife and I saw that Brian tweeted about it:
It is backwards that Brandon gets to pretend he resigned and Hoke just gets plain fired.— mgoblog (@mgoblog) December 2, 2014
I get why ADs get to pretend that they
retire resign even when they have manifestly been fired: they are execs, and that is how it generally goes in the CEO/business exec mode.
On the other hand, assistant coaches are sometimes allowed to seek employment elsewhere rather than get fired; but head coaches never do that. Brandon didn't tell Rich Rod that it would be best for him to seek employment elsewhere.
So head coaches are always fired or take another job voluntarily (or retire from coaching). Why is that? Is it because football teams (at least non-professional ones) are like families that compete together, so no head of that kind of organization would voluntarily leave it? What is it about the position of head coach that means that they are fired rather than
EDIT: changed the title from retire to resign to be more precise in my language.
Read the whole story here
The main bit regarding the e-mails:
On Oct. 28, MGoBlog.com published dozens of e-mails reportedly from the former Athletic Director to fans.
“I suggest you find a new team to support,” Brandon wrote in one. “We will be fine without you. Have a happy life…”
Other e-mails reportedly from Brandon were also met with anger and disapproval from the public. He told one to “quit drinking and go to bed,” and wrote to another, “I am sorry you are ‘upset.’ ”
Two days after MGoBlog.com’s report, Brandon stepped down.
The negotiations resulting in Brandon’s settlement are “confidential to the extent allowed by the law,” according to the document, limiting Schlissel’s ability to discuss the extent to which the e-mails pushed Brandon to resign.
“One thing I will say is I expect everybody who works at this public university to treat the public with respect,” Schlissel said. “That’s a sort of condition of working at this university.
“Everybody should be respectful to the public we serve.”
Here's the URL: http://www.michigandaily.com/sports/michigan-mark-schlissel-mgoblog-dave-brandon-emails-resign-comment-controversy