In light of two separate board posts today, and a constant murmur of complaint on this blog about the rising cost of tickets to see our favorite Michigan teams play, I wanted to post a LINK to a random article about the hidden fees athletic departments use to finance themselves at other schools. There is nothing special about that article, it was just one of the top hits when I Googled "student athletic fees college," but it interestingly talks about two Virginia schools that happen to be notable right now--Virginia Commonwealth and Norfolk State, who both pulled off upsets last week in the NCAA basketball tournament. For the trouble of having a basketball team (plus all the other sports), each student pays over $1000 a year on top of tuition and all the other fees. While ticket prices for an individual game might be low, make no mistake, the students are paying for their teams.
Of course, this stands in contrast to the Martin-Brandon Michigan AD, which prides itself on being entirely self-supporting, even running a profit. As a recent graduate, I appreciate that the financial burden of school is not made worse for the privilege of having so many great teams. I want to thank everyone who supports the AD and helps pay for the successful athletes and wonderful facilities we all enjoy. Without them, we would either not have the resources to build skyboxes, upgrade video screens, or pay coaches, or the school would (metaphorically) go back to the parents for more cash--looking for a subsidy from the University itself.
Without becoming explicitly political, I generally believe that people should pay for what they consume, and not be forced into subsidizing anyone else. So, I am happy that our AD is not paid for by the general student body (or taxpayers of Michigan), but rather by the season ticket holders, donors, and TV networks. If it seems like I am defending Brandon's testing of the limits of price elasticity for Michigan sports, I am, because the alternative is much worse. As everyone knows, there is no such thing as a free lunch. If we agree that having college athletics is important, someone will have to pay for it, and as long as Brandon knows what he is doing (I trust he does), I am completely comfortable with soliciting more money from those most willing and able to provide it. I know that the passion for Michigan sports is limitless, and hope that the generous support continues well into the future.
ANN ARBOR, Michigan (AP) -
University of Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon unveiled a brand new look for the Wolverines football team in preparation for their January 3rd Sugar Bowl appearance against the Virginia Tech Hokies. The announcement caused a firestorm of controversy amongst boosters, university officials, and unemployed arm-chair blog-critics alike.
The audacious uniform design features a University of Michigan student known in fan circles as Lloyd Brady. Brady is screen-printed prominently above the familiar block M logo, holding a spoonful of sugar in rapturous delight to celebrate Michigan's BCS berth.
Ryan VanBergen models the new Wolverines designs and pensively contemplates suicide.
"This is all about extending the Michigan brand," said Brandon in front of an assembly of visibly shocked press correspondants and fans. "Lloyd Brady is an emblem of the plugged-in, 24/7 blogosphere. We worked hand-in-hand with Adidas to make sure he is presented in full splendor. These uniforms harken back to the great traditions of the past while looking forward, boldly, to the coming day when the tail of internet fandom will inevitably wag the dog."
When asked how the idea began, Brandon detailed a wild night of inspiration. "Well, the nebula of the idea started one evening at a local bar with Jim Brandstatter. Beers led to shots, shots led to harder stuff, and, well... Let's just say cocaine played a role. Jim was keyed up, to say the least. Rambling on about Michigan Replay, about how the spread offense was really an outgrowth of the homosexual agenda... lots of wild ideas. I saw his white, powdery mustache and made a comment about how apropos it looked in light of our sugar bowl appearance. Once we got on the subject of sugar, the rest is history."
From there, a team of over three-hundred Adidas designers set to work creating a Sugar Bowl uniform worthy of the annals of Michigan history. "I think, clearly, we're entering a new era in sportswear," said Marty Tisdale, senior game apparel supervisor at Adidas. "The front of the uniform makes a bold statement. This isn't your father's Michigan Wolverines, no way. This uniform is the sportswear equivalent of social media - it gets people talking. In fact, the uniforms are outfitted with smart chips and keypads sewn into the fabric. During timeouts, players can tweet messages, via voice recognition, to fans in real-time with the push of a button."
The eye-catching uniform backsides are sure to turn heads on Jan. 3rd.
"The front of the uniform is really the tip of the iceberg," said Tisdale. "The backside is where we really pushed the envelope. The forty-two block M's on the back represent Michigan's forty-two Big Ten championships. As you can also see, we've tastefully adorned the uniform with a ghost-twill, sweat-wicking logo decal of our marketing partners, Domino Sugar. We hope the fans will appreciate the surprising blend of unrestrained whimsy and soul-crushing corporate fellatio."
When asked what he thought of the design, head coach Brady Hoke muttered something indistinct, then caught Brandon's stern gaze. He then offered, rather half-heartedly, "Well, you know, I think they're... tremendous."
The only coach who didn't seem on-board with the design was offensive coordinator Al Borges, who missed the press conference. He walked into the Schembechler Hall after his lunch break, took one look at the uniform concept, and turned away. After minutes of staring blankly out into the distance, hands in pockets, he said, "What have we done? God in heaven, what have we done?"
Brandon pays no mind to criticism, however. "The future is a scary thing to some people. I mean, think of the first facemasks. At the time, the guys wearing them looked pretty faggy. These are the next step in that evolution."
If Wolverine fans are unhappy with the Sugar Bowl uniforms, they can take heart; they are not permanent. Brandon also announced plans to wear different uniforms for each and every game next season, a total of twelve unique Adidas Tech-Fit designs. "Right now we're experimenting with different looks. Brandstatter and I like black-on-black, maize-on-maize, really eye-catching stuff." Then, with a furtive snort from a rolled hundred-dollar bill, Brandon added, "And of course, there's always white-on-white."
Mgouser MASChicago posted this in another thread.
We're wearing the away jerseys for the Sugar bowl... but no! Not our "normal" away jerseys. Not Last year's away jerseys that we wore for much of this year (trim piping). Not the bumblebee awful-forms from the Michigan State game.... but a combination of them!
I personally don't like the Block M on the left chest. Or the shoulder stripes. The undershirt-as-uniform sleeves is a trend that I've found very interesting recently... but I dunno if the Blue Sleeve is as good as if it were a white sleeve, maize outline of a blue M (modern analog to the Thomas picture below). What is it with adidas and making us have stripes? In general I'd say these are OK, nothing earth shattering, and for a change not bad.
Those are the replicas you can buy.
Here's what he had to say about Ohio's extra coaches:
“It allows more coaching resources to work on the two primary responsibilities of any staff—coaching and recruiting. I am struggling to understand how this relates to the `level playing field’ the NCAA claims it is always working to create.”
Say what you will about Brandon (and I'm sure someone will complain about him in the comments), you have to love that he's calling the NCAA out. Having an extra set of coaches is a distinct advantage that makes a mockery of the NCAA's claims of fair and equal treatment. I'm surprised that it hasn't really gotten more attention from the national media.