I'm surprised to see that this hasn't been posted, but Bacon has written a very thorough analysis of where things currently stand with respect to the AD and football program. It's a bit long, but worth the read:
In the discussions surrounding Brandon I feel that Olympic (aka non-revenue) sports have come under fire. The strawman argument that gets portrayed is that without Brandon’s brilliant money gathering methods, all those Olympic sports wouldn’t have their wonderful facilities. But further, the tone is more “they don’t deserve those facilities because they don’t make any money.” That pisses me off, for many reasons, which I haven’t bothered to list out. Until this came across my Twitter feed:
The University of Michigan is a public university. The open market system is not necessarily supposed to me the one and only ruler of all things at the University. Some things are expected to lose money and that’s okay because we all recognize the greater good they provide. Non-profit sports provide a greater good.
- They allow hundreds of student-athletes to attend amazing universities on partial or, in some cases, full, scholarships.
- They help create various kinds of diversity (racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, religious, hometown etc) among the campus community.
- They give young kids, girls in particular, a group of role models that don’t exist in the professional sports world.
- Each sport, in its own right, is a great sport. Each sport has wonderful tradition and people who care about it greatly, even if not every sport is “made for TV.”
- Sports are fun. All types of sports are fun. It is fun to go to soccer, baseball, softball, volleyball, field hockey games and take in high-level competitions.
- If I ever have a daughter that loves Field Hockey, I will be eternally grateful for the University of Michigan and the ability to take her to games and let her dream of playing at that high level.
Back to the money, though. The football team makes almost all the money made by individual teams, true. It also spends the most. Did you know football has 85 full ride athletes, but baseball has just 11.7 full ride scholarships that need to be split up among its 34 players? Field hockey gets 12.
While field-hockey and softball may have some of the best facilities in the Midwest, let’s not forget that football’s facilities are world-class. They are not ignored.
Finally, let’s not forget that Michigan has ALWAYS been devoted to non-revenue sports. In fact, Michigan’s performance in non-revenue sports has declined since Dave Brandon took over. I believe Brian noted that before Brandon’s tenure we were in the top 10 of the director’s cup for a decade straight.
Let's stop acting like all these other Michigan teams are lesser because they don't make the money that football does. For many reasons, football evolved into what it is today. It's popularity is great, it's a sport I love, but I can't say that it is a better sport than any other sport. Athletic competition is something we love because it represents the human competitive spirit, sportsmanship, dedication, work ethic, respect and teamwork. All of Michigan's teams do that, and many do it at an elite level. Nobody that calls themselves a Michigan fan should discount their importance.
EDIT: Okay, this was meant to be a fun, postitive thread that has clearly spiraled out of control, so I'm changing the title to what I meant the OP to convey. Are a ton of people attacking non-revenue sports? No. But there seems to be a general dismissive attitude towards them right now and that is understandable given the football price gouging that Brandon has going on. I don't know the numbers well enough to say what percent of your $500 PSD goes towards the new Field Hockey facility. I'd love to know those numbers. But I don't know those numbers and the bigger point is that nobody does, so instead of getting upset that field hockey has a great facility, let's be happy for field hockey while still demanding fiscal responsibility from the athletic department - especially in athletic administration personel and salaries.
Sorry to stir the pot so much.
John Niyo has a front page, above-the-fold ARTICLE on the Flint regents meeting and the general discontent with Brandon. It's a well-balanced piece, but with little that would constitute news to the board. That's not the point.
The point is that this remains an above-the-fold article on discontent with Brandon. This is how what is obvious (and old hat) to frequenters of MGoBlog becomes well-known in the mainstream. Including putting the issues in front of those who vote for regents, consequently increasing pressure on the regents to foment change and girding their loins (iccchhh) for a fight.
So thank you Detroit News and John Niyo. Keep spreading the word!
The U-M athletic department will announce the new student ticket prices next week.— Mark Snyder (@Mark__Snyder) October 17, 2014
Statement from U-M AD Dave Brandon pic.twitter.com/hl9zF4W2j1— Mark Snyder (@Mark__Snyder) October 17, 2014
UPDATE: As announced on MGoBlue:
CSG President Bobby Dishell made a presentation to the Regents regarding the findings from a CSG survey about the student experience at football games and the student body's relationship with the athletic department. He outlined the following agreements between Michigan Athletics and CSG that will take effect immediately:
- Athletics will work to design a new plan for next season that will include a significant price decrease for football student season tickets. Athletics will announce student season-ticket prices for the 2015 football season next week.
- Rental fees for athletic facilities will be eliminated for student groups with a charitable focus.
- The department has committed to work with the Big Ten to create a blackout weekend where Crisler Center will be available for MUSIC Matters in 2016.
- Monthly meetings with students will be held with Athletic Director Dave Brandon to address topics relating to all 31 teams and Michigan Athletics.
- Dishell and Brandon will have regular standing meetings.
- The athletic department will create a student advisory board comprised of student-athletes, non-athletes, season-ticket holders and non-ticket holders.
When people anxiously follow twitter accounts of Regent meetings, hoping for any sign that the current Athletic Director will be thrown to the wolves, it seems clear that his days are numbered.
If and when the (proverbial, people, let's not get carried away) guillotine falls, we hope for a competent and passionate replacement. I look forward to an introduction at a basketball halftime, where, like arch-nemesis Jim Tressel, the new AD announces: "You will be proud of your team--in the Stadium (which will have no advertising and lower ticket prices), in their uniforms (which are awesome exactly the way they are and will be the same for every game), and especially next November, on the field, led by new coach Jim Harbaugh."
Ok, maybe not exactly. But I hope for some walkbacks of the recent "innovations" shepherded into the program by DB.
However, not every "innovation" is necessarily bad. There have been good developments in the past few years that we tend not to associate with Brandon precisely because we don't associate him with good things; yet some of his decisions, like retaining John Beilein and choosing to pay football assistant coaches market prices, are unquestionably good.
DB has made night games a thing. The lights installed in the Stadium for that purpose are classy and effective. He has also worked, successfully, to bring other major events (The Winter Classic, the soccer game, etc) to the Big House. These seem to be popular moves.
We all want ticket prices to go down and stupid stunts like skywriting to stop; however, not everything has been bad. What DB-era innovations do you want to see continue?
Title says it all. Didn't see this posted but I am sure it's in one of the threads. Looks who's trying to make the PR move of PR moves the day he knows his fate will be determined.