First, now-ceremonial photo of some dude very far away rocking colors he probably knows not wot of:
I was in… France. We had a free apartment to stay at and my mom turned in a bunch of airline miles, so it seemed like a one-time opportunity. It rained most of the time and the food was pretty disappointing but it sounds like everyone in the United States melted while we were gone so that's cool. Also if you ever get a chance go to a calanque, you should probably do it:
That is a real place, not the scene from Contact where the alien is all like "yo I'm your dad what up Jodie Foster."
The guy above was checking out a very serious bocce tournament we stumbled across in Marseille whilst trying to figure out how to get back to the bus. I'll probably throw up a trip report in the diaries if there is further interest, or even if there isn't.
Now presenting Things That Happened When I Was Going "Meh" At Escargot:
A large chunk of next year's attrition got resolved. Kellen Jones, Teric Jones, and Christian Pace are not on the fall roster and therefore not on the team. Kellen Jones reportedly got in some legal trouble that must be serious given the repercussions on his team status. Pace and Teric Jones got sent to St. Saban Memorial. Meanwhile, Terry Talbott is also expected to miss the season but it's unclear whether or not he has made the same journey. Rivals says Hoke confirmed he was medicaled($) in the hallway scrum following his media day time, so that's probably that for one Talbott. UPDATE: Misopogon reports that Ablauf also confirmed Talbott is done.
Three of the four are obviously not sketchy. Michigan needs linebackers and DTs like Mark Dantonio needs the collected Sophocles and Pace was the only(!) offensive lineman in his class. Teric Jones's departure is one you can question given his place on the depth chart, but since there's an entire football season between now and crunch time it's probably legit. In the Big Ten, sketchy medical scholarships are something to look for in January.
As for on-field impact, Teric found it impossible to contribute even in an offense suited to his scatback skills; his absence won't impact Michigan going forward. Pace removes one bullet from the chamber at center, but they'll still have Khoury and Miller once Molk graduates. That should be okay. Talbott's absence is bad. Now instead of a shaky three-star-ish redshirt freshman behind Will Campbell there are walk-ons and air and maybe Kenny Wilkins. Kellen Jones's absence will be felt keenly as well. My excellently-timed recruiting profile of him hyped him up as an immediate contributor and possible four-year starter due to his talent and the glaring hole at WLB. Now he's gone and WLB next year is the untested Mike Jones and two really small guys.
With those four off the roster the path to 26 is considerably less eyebrow-cocking. Michigan will have to shed another two or three players before signing day. A natural level of attrition should get Michigan to their projections without fuss.
Michigan got a fullback. Tim profiled Sione Houma, who is it. I hate giving scholarships to fullbacks because the difference between a walk-on fullback and a scholarship fullback is usually indistinguishable. Michigan's best in the last 15 years was walk-on Kevin Dudley. If they really take one DT it's going to be weird, doubly so with the uncertain status of Talbott.
Michigan got Chris Wormley. A foregone conclusion, that, but it's another head to head win for Hoke against the Bobcats. SDE is set in a major way and someone—possibly two someones—are moving to three-tech as soon as they hit campus.
San Diego State got a little less scary. Two of their receivers are out for the year with knee injuries, including presumed #1 Dominique Sandifer. Their new leading guy is the equivalent of Kovacs—walk-on made good. Ryan Lindley's good but he might not have anyone to throw to.
Something vaguely ominous happened with Devin Gardner's redshirt. Brady Hoke has been unusually wishy-washy about what Devin Gardner's eligibility status is after he saw a few snaps here and there as the designated Guy Who Replaces Denard For Three Plays Guy during the nonconference schedule. This is unusual. In the past the NCAA has just issued a ruling and been done with it.
The eligibility status of Alabama receiver Darius Hanks—still on the team and everything after five years!—may provide some insight into why:
… Hanks appeared in one game as a true freshman in 2007, hauling in one pass for six yards in a 52-6 win over Western Carolina. Accordingly, his fifth season required a waiver from the NCAA, which apparently attached the two-game breather to offset Hanks' contribution to that hard-earned victory four years ago.
Gardner appeared in three of Michigan's first four games. Against UConn and ND his box score totaled one rush for –4 yards but against BGSU he had 6 rushes for 25 yards and went 7 of 10 for 85 yards and a TD in the air. If I'm Dave Brandon I'm making the first couple of games of 2015 walkovers. Which Dave Brandon is going to do anyway because…
"I don't believe we can or should go on the road for nonconference games when we can put 113,000 people in our stadium. It's, financially, the right thing to do. It's the right thing to do for our fans, in terms of their ticket packages. And we're going to alternate with Notre Dame, so we're going to have one game on the road every other year. So the rest of those games, I would like to have at Michigan Stadium."
Kiss ever seeing an interesting non-ND nonconference opponent goodbye. This is another symptom of the AD's descent into full-blown corporate ninnydom: we get to play Alabama in Dallas because it makes incrementally more money than having an exciting home game. Brandon fails to understand that the point of an athletic department is not to accumulate the biggest Scrooge McDuck vault. (See also: renting the Big House for your special event, though that's far less offensive since I don't have to buy a 70 dollar ticket to the Jones-Wilson wedding. Unless I do. Do I?) Even if it was, the marginal difference between one home game against a real opponent and two body-bag games from schools charging a million each is not that much. People will suck up the difference on the ticket cost: a Clemson ticket that costs $80 will make people happier than an EMU one that costs $70.
At least we won't have to endure three pointless games against non-BCS opponents yearly for too long. Schools have been told to clear the decks in 2017. Presumably that's when the Big Ten will go to nine conference games. That's is not as cool as actually seeing teams from other conferences but better than our yearly battle for county pride.
Ohio State didn't get anything extra handed them by the NCAA. Time for a homer check. Matt Hinton:
Is it really possible for the people in charge to have that little interest in enforcing their own rules, as long as the paperwork is in order? …
The Ohio State and USC cases are similar in the sense that they both involve a star accepting a lot of money from shady characters on the fringes of the program, but the the case against OSU is on a different level. Where USC's violations (as chronicled by the NCAA's final verdict) involved a single player, Ohio State's involve at least six. Where USC consistently disputed that anyone affiliated with the program knew what was going on with Bush — as well as the sketchy evidence the NCAA used to reach that conclusion — the paper trail leading from Jim Tressel's hard drive is an indisputable smoking gun. Which he intentionally concealed as the offending players led the Buckeyes to another conference championship. Ohio State's star player(s) and its head coach did the crime, and no one denies it. Tressel's silence after being tipped to the investigation is the definition of a program failing to cooperate. He's the head coach: He is the program.
At this point, any athletic director with half a brain is going to set up a firewall between himself and the head coach. Oh, sure, there will be any number of compliance people who will be sent around wagging fingers at coaches about following regulations. But there will also be plenty of blind eyes turned to what those coaches are doing when the compliance folks aren’t in the room with them. So when the shit inevitably hits the fan, those ADs and the presidents they work for can blink their eyes vapidly at the NCAA investigators, claim they had no idea what was going on and swear they’ll get rid of the rogue bad apple. And it’ll work.
It’s pathetic, really. The rats see a ship sailing to probation, and it’s every dirty, cheating program for itself.
Ohio State got out first, and now North Carolina sees the opening. Soon enough, Oregon will too.
Here’s the best part of this growing, sordid tale: The NCAA is standing with open arms on the other side.
Want to blame someone for North Carolina’s utterly bizarre firing of coach Butch Davis, who was never mentioned once in the program’s lengthy NCAA Notice of Allegations? Blame Ohio State.
Better yet, blame the NCAA – and more specifically, president Mark Emmert.
Meanwhile Mandel, the guy who was predicting this would happen, hasn't taken up a position on whether it's good or bad. I haven't found anyone who doesn't have a framed Andy Katzenmoyer jersey who thinks this is anything other than total horseshit. Homer check tenuously passed.
Meanwhile, OSU confirms that Terrelle Pryor was ineligible for the entirety of last year and bans him from contact with the program without explaining why. Where is the extra violation that gets Pryor that treatment while the other five players remain on the team, associated with the program. Is the NCAA interested in this? Apparently not.
There is a recent precedent for a team not getting failure to monitor or LOIC (which come on) and still getting hammered: Alabama got 21 scholarships docked and a two-year bowl ban for various boosters paying dudes to go to Alabama. If Ohio State gets something similar, fine. The NCAA's two-eyes-for-an-eye policy could see at least 12 scholarships obliterated and two years of bowl ban even without LOIC if the committee is like "hey, your head coach lying to keep a half-dozen players eligible and hoodwinking us to let them play in a bowl game… that's bad."
loldantonio. Mark Dantonio called Jim Tressel a "tragic hero."
aaaaand eyyyyyeeeeeeeyyyeeeeeiiiiiii will always loveeeee yoooouuu
Then Jim Brandstatter was all like "loldantonio" and Dantonio was all like "paraphrase of insanely misused Teddy Roosevelt quote about being in the arena," because that's what people who say stupid things do when they are criticized for saying stupid things.
The Big Ten Network made itself into a feed. Press release:
BTN2Go features a live feed of all BTN linear network programming, including more than 40 football games, over 100 men’s basketball games and hundreds of other live events, as well as Extra Football Game Channels, on-demand programming and archived content.
BTN2Go will be offered exclusively through BTN’s participating cable, satellite and telco distribution partners as an authenticated digital service to subscribers who already receive BTN as part of their video subscription.
If the authenticated bit lets you watch the BTN if you're in Alabama despite the locals not giving a damn, that's great as long as it works better than the streaming service did a year ago when I tried it for an hockey game. If it's ESPN3 quality, lovely.
“But if you want to play the education game, then check this out. If they get my likeness for life, then they should be committed to my education for life. So if Mark Ingram 20 years from now, when they’re still selling his jerseys in Tuscaloosa, says ‘You know what? I want to get my Ph.D.’ Guess who should pay for that? They should be committed to his education for life. They’re still selling his jerseys.”
If a school is still profiting off a guy who had a few years in the NFL and now has some messed up knees and maybe wants a more saleable degree, he should be able to get it.
Wolverine Historian posted a bunch of games. Bo becomes the winningest coach in school history with a victory in The Game:
John Gibson defects to the OHL, Michigan picks up Michael Downing. Let's not mince words: dropping a college commitment less than a month before classes start is a dick move. I get that he'll get more games next year because he probably won't be splitting time, but exactly no information has changed since he committed and signed a LOI. Blah blah blah about "doing what's best for me" is what they say on Jerry Springer, too.
Michigan now has zero backup to Hunwick and is in a desperate search for his replacement next year. At least whoever they pick up—they likely need two goalies—won't have a midget dynamo blocking their path.
In happier news, Michigan's somewhat glaring hole on D going forward is smaller thanks to Downing's commitment for 2013. Downing was the third pick and first defenseman in the USHL Futures Draft. He's coming off a strong showing at the U16 Festival. OHL defection risk currently seems low: he's from CC, has an older brother already in the USHL, and was drafted in the flyer area of the OHL draft (8th round) by Sarnia, a team not known for picking up off college-bound folk.
People discussed ways to prevent "Jerry, Jerry, Jerry" events. Gibson's very very late decision spurred a round of "what can we do" from Yost Built and The United States of Hockey. Yost Built wonders about making a hockey LOI binding in the same way an NTDP commitment is. Someone will have to ping The Bylaw Blog for confirmation but that would redefine the LOI in such a comprehensive fashion it wouldn't be a LOI anymore. It's currently a non-legal agreement enforced by a non-NCAA organization of schools interested in reducing chaos.
The United States of Hockey discusses whether or not it's a good idea to allow CHL players to play NCAA. He says no, and he's right. CHL teams have no incentive to keep athletes NCAA eligible even now; removing that restriction would provide an incentive to actually discourage players from keeping up with their books. The number of players headed the other way would be few. Meanwhile, the USHL has established itself a high quality league designed to get kids to college. This would hurt it as some players choose the CHL over it.
It's a moot point anyway: the NCAA just relaxed regulations on foreign players playing with pros. Hockey specifically requested and acquired an exemption.
So there's not much the NCAA can do. The one thing I'd suggest is prohibiting American 16 and 17 year olds from playing CHL hockey in Canada. As we learned during the Max Domi song and dance, Hockey Canada currently prohibits Canadians from leaving the country to play junior. Domi's dad would have had to "move to" Indiana to get his kid eligible for the USHL, a major hurdle for anyone who didn't have a long NHL career.
USA hockey should adopt the same policy, limiting American high-schoolers who want to play in the CHL to the small number of American teams in the WHL and OHL*.
*[The Q just shut down their only American team, the ridiculously-named Lewiston MAINEacs.]
Zak Irvin picked Michigan.Covered yesterday, but dang if Beilein's recruiting hasn't been on a steady upward trajectory since his first class. It's got to plateau soon, but that plateau looks like a Sweet 16 team.
People covered ADs golfing like it was news. I don't care if it's July. A story about an athletic director playing golf against another athletic director is time that could have been spent on something more socially productive like spitting off a balcony. I'm not linking to any of this stuff. Sports editors across the state: you have suffered the mother of all eye-rollings.
Baseball made its RPI more Northern friendly. By acknowledging that—surprise!—having to spent the first month or two of the season on the road is a significant handicap, Big Ten teams that are actually kind of good will stand a better shot of making the tournament. They also eliminated some bonuses/penalties for teams at the extreme ends of the the range.
Getting those kind of good B10 teams remains a chore. As long as this is true…
Some schools are able to play 35-40 of their 56 allowable games at home, while other teams, due to factors such as weather, may play only 20 home games.
…the playing field will never be anywhere close to level, but good luck trying to change that.
In related news, Jonathan Bornstein moves to Honduras. Bob Bradley was fired and replaced by Jurgen Klinsmann as the head of the USMNT. I get people's reservations about Klinsmann's reputation, which is largely based on one World Cup with Germany and a flameout with Bayern Munich, but if there's one thing the US needs now it's a holistic look at how they develop talent and how it can be improved. The talent gap with Mexico won't be huge for the rest of this WC cycle, but it's hard to see the US not taking a back seat once the Dempsey/Donovan/Dolo/Boca generation ages out after Brazil. There are 100x fewer Uruguayans than Americans, man: there's no reason the US shouldn't be able to produce a few world class players.
In my experience working in university advancement (at another school, that was private, so I'll admit there's possible differences), the athletic department does, in fact, "pay" for its scholarships. It's not as if they university says, alright, these kids are coming here for free, and everybody else who is paying tuition is just going to have a bigger chunk of their bills go towards paying teacher salaries, etc. The athletic department gets a big ole bill from the university that it has to pay.
I understand but my point is that it's just an accounting thing, not an actual outlay. It's not like the University is hiring extra professors ot building new classrooms to educate the athletes. The financial burden the AD places upon the University of Michigan is no burden at all; in fact it is just the opposite. Sure, that can't be said for all athletic departments, but I don't care about those.
I see jmblue's point. I think he's right. I just don't like the pursuit of money being the justification behind avoiding a game or two here or there against someone who you might be nervous about playing.
They're not hiring more professors or building classrooms to teach the other students, but they're still charging them tuition. Athletes are just more students. The only difference is mommy and daddy paying the tuition are football ticket buyers and tv.
Yes, they are. The student body at large are the people that the buildings, faculty, and facilities of the university are required for. A drop in general enrollment changes how much of those resources are required, the addition or elimination of a varsity sport does not.
The University is capacitized to support the general student body, the athletes don't impact that one iota.
What, exactly, is so controversial about what I am saying?
The premise that we have to play lame match-ups in order to pay the five-FAKES-out-of-five tuition of student athletes is mularky. Raise ticket prices and give me better games.
As do the facilities, etc. How can an increase/decrease of these not change University costs, but the change of hundreds of student athletes not? You seem to forget, they're students too, and a rather sizable group...not just there for your entertainment and entertainment costs. Yes, maybe one Lacrosse team doesn't add that much in tuition cost, but you said the whole student-athlete population adds no cost, which is like saying enrollment going up by hundreds of students has no effect, which you just said it does. Not to mention the cost of things like facilities, travel, equipment, coaches and the like that ISN'T tuition but adds to a cost that Lacrosse is contributing effectively nothing to cover it. So the choice is eliminate sports, or at least not expand, or add home dates, or, as you say, jack up ticket prices. I'm not sure as many people would chose the latter as you think. And I often feel (though not in your case) it's a lot of people watching on tv telling others they should pay more so they can watch better games.
Let's get to the heart of the matter, we're not making any headway on the tuition front; I really don't care anyway.
As for the scheduling thing, why did the Eastern game get crammed down people's throats this year? Because it has no instrinsic market value in its own right; certainly any value it does have is way lower than the the $70 a head listed on its face. It is a throw in game for the ones people would really pay to attend - Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State. The SDSU and Western games are in the same boat, not worth $70.
Here's how I look at it. We have 16 home games every two years. Call it an average of $75 a head, and you get $1200 in entertainment value. But only 14 of those have real value to the purchasers of the ticket; EMU, UMass, Delaware State...do not command any value. In effecct the fans are willing to pay $85 per game for compelling match ups.
What I would prefer to see is for the AD to give us 15 games of value every two years for $1200. The AD gets the same total revenue and the fans aren't spending more money, they're just getting more for what they are already spending. Where is the crime?
As to the we want wins argument, you know that is BS. What we want is a play-off and a reasonably difficult strenght of schedule.
Trade Umass and Emu for a home and home with Georgia and make $1200 anyway...this is idiocy to you?
It may end up under the same umbrella, but the Athletic Department actually pays the University for all it's scholarships, one of the few to not be getting money from the University. And it's all at the out-of-state rate. Could the University wave the cost? Sure, just like they could for any other student. The cost is in teachers, administrators, research and everything else, just like those students. And the AD's #1 expense is just that - tuition.
jmblue is right. You can complain about making more money when you're all for having more sports than just about anyone else outside of Stanford. The numbers should be cut back if you want better games. Make a choice.
Apropos of nothing, in my last job search I found out I couldn't get my Michigan transcripts because the university had paid itself my tuition late--10 years ago. So that was funny in a not very funny way.
Me: Ma'am does that make sense to you?
Michigan Admin: No, we will send you your transcripts right away.
Frankly, as a ticket holder, I would rather have lacrosse as a club team and not have to pay for two or three games that will be horrible.
Of course, it should not have to come to that. Your choice is really just a strawman. If it is about money for lacrosse, then go ahead and charge more. I would rather pay 100 bucks a year extra (just 13 bucks more a game!) for a package that had tickets for Alabama (at Michigan), USC, or Florida and one less home game. Call it a non-revenue sports surcharge and allocage it to those teams. I would be fine with that. I suspect, however, that Brandon is going for profit for profits sake or to pay off debt earlier. I wonder if he gets an incentives if he does?
Look at the schedules that we used to play - BC was the "worst" game. (Houston was awful when we played them, but had been good shortly before that.) The season football ticket holder is Brandon's main customer and we will galdly pay for quality games. Forcing us to pay for Western, Eastern and SDSU while scheduling Alabama in Texas is, frankly, taking advantage of us. It is supposed to be about good teams playing good football. Not about branding, and profit maximization.
“Your satisfaction lies in your illusions/ But your delusions are yours and not mine”
But I'm not sure you're in the majority who would want to pay a hundred bucks every year for a good game every other year (because you don't really think they're going to lower prices in the away year...) People were incensed when Martin first raised ticket prices, and that was before seat licenses and such. Would they still pay? Sure, because they have to. But it doesn't mean they'd be happy about it.
I've met a lot of people who want to play ND, and Florida or USC or whoever, and Boston College. But I've yet to meet anyone who gives more than lip service about not being pissed off when we lose to Florida or USC or Notre Dame...they talk a good game, but only because they unrealistically expect to go undefeated against such a schedule. They want to play in the NFC North but end up in the BCS too. Heck, people are already panicking about how tough the schedule is next year....now imagine if we had to go down to Bama to play, too. People give you credit for a tough schedule- before the season. During it, they just want wins, not excuses.
Those people are unrealistic and would be pissed off with any loss. I would rather play an actual team and live with the fact that we may not go 13-0 every year. And remember - sometimes the cupcakes bite back. I will admitt that I hated losing to FSU in '91. However, I felt way better about that than losing to App State or Toledo.
You also slightly missed the point on the price thing. We are paying more right now by having 8 home games a year. Its just the quality that is down. I would be fine with paying the same price as now with one less game, but with a quality non-conference alternating home years with ND. The extra cost is about $65 a year right now. I am only adding 35 bucks a year to get LSU or Georgia as opposed to Western and Eastern
“Your satisfaction lies in your illusions/ But your delusions are yours and not mine”
Also, renting out the Big House is not that big of a deal
It is done a number of places. I have been to private functions in the Kinnick concourse where the person's name was splashed on the scoreboard in addition to several auctions and what not. Just happens when you have space like that.
If one side of the wedding party wore the home Michigan jersey, and the other side wore an away jersey I will buy a ticket. Hell, I attended to two Slippery Rock games at the Big House and neither team wore a Michigan jersey. So the truth is I will buy any ticket to any event at Michigan Stadium.
as luck would have it I'm existing in the filter bubble.
I know what you're saying, but that commercial is still 100% the diametric opposite of "get off my lawn." In fact that commercial was probably in large part responsible for the decline of Western Civilization as we know it, at least as it pertains to things like hideously shitty Pro Combat Uniformzzz and the kind of bullshit that Oregon wears every week.
If I read that quote about the Alabama player right, it looks like the NCAA imposed its 2 for 1 criteria. If that were the case with Gardner, he'd have to sit out six games of his fifth year since he played three last year. It's really a shame that Gardner's timing just doesn't seem to have worked out for him at UM.
Welcome back Brian. You brought the fastball on the first pitch. Great post
On Brandon's directon to not play non-conference road games, we should also point a finger at the current BCS system. It does nothing to reward playing challenging non-conference road games and actually encourages teams to hunker down, play nobody the first month, play the league schedule, and then claim the league was tough enough. The BCS points system doesn't really reward tough schedules, but pounds a team if they take a loss.
From the perspective of Michigan or any other big school, why risk it?
I agree with you and your position, but there are a lot of factors moving big programs away from great intersectional home and homes. Brandon is just riding that wave and has a decent economic argument too.
"Character, Cruelty" Find the money. Hire Jim Harbaugh.
Does anyone else think it's a really weird that Brian and Magnus both returned from extended vacations...on the same day...and both from honeymoons? Not suggesting anything, but it makes you wonder if there's an official U-M blogger calendar out there, specifying which weeks and even years bloggers can have their honeymoons.
I say that mainly because I really want them to be drilled. I also happen to believe there are logical reasons to expect it. There is nothing that indicates that by escaping the 'failure to monitor' charge, that necessarily translates to a slap on the wrist. Maybe they won't get a bowl ban, but I didn't necessarily expect that and, honestly, I'd rather see them eligible for the Big Ten title and fail to win it because they received several beatdowns on the field than have them not be eligible and hear their whiny excuses. I'd much prefer humiliating losses. And I hope they keep Gene Smith as AD. We've got that moron right where we want him.
It's quite clear the Tressel era of dominance was built on cheating from the time he signed Maurice Clarett and going forward -- cheating to recruit players and cheating by giving extra benefits to players after they got there, who would then entice more recruits by telling them about all the great cheating that goes on at the tattoo and bong parties, the readily available OSU sluts -- yes, that's redundant, I know -- and the great discounts on cars and car repairs. Getting paid by an agent while in school, Santonio Holmes? No problem. Just keep it quiet until the NCAA statute of limitations expires.
I think what is happening now in Michigan's recruiting will happen every year if the playing field is level. We have the better school, the better campus, the better town. Columbus is nothing but strip malls holding hands and academically speaking, Ohio State may as well be a GED reunion. Get the players on our campus and let them see what we have to offer, we'll get plenty of talent. Hell, we got Ohio players when Woody Hayes was the coach and now that Lyin Jim is gone, we're immediately back in the game.
I don't care if OSU goes the Music City Bowl. I want to see the NCAA hit them where it hurts -- loss of scholarships, recruiting restrictions on coaches and financial penalties. If that happens, the rest of it takes care of itself, starting this November.
Ah, Monday. Rant concuded.
Oh, welcome back Brian and congratulations on your marriage. The love of a good woman is a treasure. Happy wife, happy life. Don't ever forget it.
is serious business over there. when i was in paris for 5 days on business (not including the weekend, which was mostly just fun), they televised some bocce tourney on TV. those old dudes are INSANE, knocking those little balls 15-20 feet away.
For my privacy, my new username is "non-Oriental non-Andrew"
I disagree with Brian's sentiments on the non-conference games .
It seems rather Janus-faced of Brian to be in favor of adding luxury boxes, etc. to Michigan Stadium and berating the Save the Big House people on one side, then disagreeing with the premise that Michigan needs to have seven home games per season in order to pay the bills incurred by the project itself.
He seems to forget that all the facilities Michigan has recently built or is currently building cost money. If you look at the FY 2012 budget, the outstanding debt balance is nearly $210M. If you looked at it last year, the amount was $171M. In June 2008, before the stadium project and others were started, the debt servicing level was just $17.8M.
The spectator admissions for eight home games is $41.3M or roughly $5.3M per game. Add in a bit for concessions and parking and the net revenue is probably in the range of about $5.5M. No athletic director in David Brandon's shoes is going to opt to play six home games in order to have a second non-conference home-and-home opponent.
I'm not saying that the Michigan Athletic Department is looking in the seat cushions for loose change because the overall stadium project is more than paying for itself with the suite leases, PSLs and premium seating. But what I am saying is that the athletic department has a pretty large debt burden on it and that maintaining reveue is going to be an important matter as it gets paid down.
The other aspect that gets overlooked is that Michigan under Bill Martin and later with David Brandon has been actively advocating for a nine-game conference schedule. That means no more alternating years of seven and eight home games--UM gives up over $5M every two years because of that. If Brandon was really playing Scrooge McDuck, he (and Martin) would have never advocated a nine-game confernce schedule. Instead, UM could have settled for getting more money thru conference distributions from the Big Ten office for the media rights to the games and kept the alternating years of seven and eight home games intact.
Finally, if the conference does go to a nine game schedule, it probably means swapping out the home game with a relatively minor opponent for a road game with Wisconsin or Penn State (this assumes Michigan would play UW and PSU two years on, two years off with Illinois, Purdue and Indiana rotating on and off the schedule). That's going to make the conference schedule even more difficult. If the 2011 schedule had nine conference games and a game in Madison, WI replaced the home game with San Diego State, then it'd probably look something like this:
Sep. 3 vs. Western Michigan
Sep. 10 vs. Notre Dame
Sep. 17 vs. Eastern Michigan
Sep. 24 at Wisconsin (Leaders) - replaces home game with SDSU
Oct. 1 vs. Minnesota (Legends)
Oct. 8 at Northwestern (Legends)
Oct. 15 at Michigan State (Legends)
Oct. 22 Bye Week
Oct. 29 vs. Purdue (Leaders)
Nov. 5 at Iowa (Legends)
Nov. 12 at Illinois (Leaders)
Nov. 19 vs. Nebraska (Legends)
Nov. 26 vs. Ohio State (Leaders)
Not Playing in Big Ten: Indiana, Penn State
Home Games: (7 total w/3 non-conference and 4 conference incl. 2 Legends and 2 Leaders) Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, Minnesota, Purdue, Nebraska, Ohio State
Away Games (5 conference w/3 Legends and 2 Leaders): At Wisconsin, At Northwestern, At Michigan State, At Iowa At Illinois
When exactly should that Clemson game Brian's advocating be played again? As a replacement for Western Michigan as the season opener prior to Notre Dame? After Notre Dame and prior to the road game at Wisconsin in lieu of Eastern Michigan? Or perhaps during the bye week between the Michigan State and Purdue games--thus putting Michigan's first bye date on the third Saturday of September instead of mid-season?
If there's any complaint about the schedules, it's that Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State are all away or all home games thru 2014. For the paying fans, it's a bit of a feast or famine situation. Happily, Brandon's on the record saying it'd have to be rectified in the future or the Notre Dame series goes away.
In my last email exchange with David Brandon, he wrote that if the Notre Dame series is cancelled or curtailled, Michigan would look to schedule another major non-conference opponent in a home-and-home series. So yes, Michigan fans would probably get a non-conference schedule that includes two MAC level teams, but in lieu of ND, it could include another major BCS program.
Finally, anyone citing Michigan's conference schedules from twenty-some years ago is looking at a whole different world of college football. The Big Ten is no longer the Big 2/Little 8 anymore with the additions of Penn State and Nebraska. The 85-scholarship limit went into effect in 1993, thus helping to level the playing field. And now that every team is on television and the television revenue is going up, schools have a lot more resources to pay coaches, build facilities, make recruiting trips, etc. plus they have great exposure to potential players via ABC/ESPN and the Big Ten Network. Also don't forget the BCS where getting into the national championship game means your team had better not lose more than one game, because you're likely out of the running that crystal football trophy.
First - you missed the point where Brian said Brandon should just charge more. If we bring in good teams ticket holders like me will pay more. Having three tickets for shit games shoved down our throat a year is horrid.
Second, your point about how the world has changed from 20 years ago b/c schools have more TV money completely undermines the rest of your post. If you are right, and you probably are, teams like Michigan should be able to weather years with only two non-conference home games better than they did 20 years ago.
Third, as far as the Clemson game - any of those dates would do just fine. Are you really suggesting that we couldn't play a real team one week before Notre Dame or in between them and Wisconsin? Since when does Michigan football need a steady diet of cupcakes or off weeks?
Fourth, how about instead of two cupcakes, we just do one? A start of EMU, ND, @Clemson would be OK, even if the next year was Western, @ND, Clemson. If he has to increase every ticket package 1/2 of the lost revenues each year to make up for one less home game every other year than so be it. If a ticket price is 70 bucks, raise the price by 35 bucks a year every year. If you want to recoup concessions for the missed game every other year, raise it the full 70 bucks. Hell, I'd paid 100 bucks extra each year to have done with this crap.
Finally, the BCS point is probably true and is the most hateful thng about the BCS. However, we have spent the last four years playing Eastern, Western, Babby Seal U, Toledo and Appy State. We haven't made any BCS title games (and only one Rose Bowl), and the Toledo and Appy State games were horrid experiences beyond comprehension. I conclude that the trade isn't worth it and we should play real football teams. If we loose, that is a part of the game and part of being a fan.
However, I am yelling in the wilderness about a point that has been lost. Brandon has spoke, so let's hope we can eat the cupcakes rather than them eating us. Loosing to Eastern would make App State seem like good times.
“Your satisfaction lies in your illusions/ But your delusions are yours and not mine”
On your first point, if the nine-game conference schedule is implemented (and there's every indication that this will happen), then you won't be getting three "shit games" per year, but just two. That assumes, of course, that you definition of a "shit game" is one against a MAC-type team and not a program like Connecticut, San Diego State or Air Force. It also assumes that Michigan will not have a pay for play game with a good program like AFA in future non-conference schedules. We don't know what Michigan's future non-conference schedules even look like yet beyond 2012 outside of the ongoing home-and-home series with Notre Dame and the game at UConn in 2013.
Also on your first point, I understand that Brian would happily pay ten more dollars to see a second Clemson-like opponent at Michigan Stadium every other year (although given the pricing structure at U-M, the likely cost would more likely be $85). What will likely happen is that the nine-game conference schedule gets adopted and every other year Michigan fans will see Wisconsin or Penn State replacing one of the shit games you seem to have a problem with at this point.
But keep in mind that if the nine-game schedule goes forth and Michigan plays two home-and-home non-conference games, then you've effectively capped U-M's home games at six per season. Do you really think that's what the fans want to see happen because when I look at past attendance for games against MAC schools, I don't see a lot of drop off in the numbers of people in the stands. Also, do you really think the luxury box holders and the folks with PSLs and premium seating are going to be willing to pay what they do now for one less game a season? Do you really think losing the $5M plus per home game in tickets and concessions makes any sort of fiscal sense under your scenario?
Has the increased television revenue helped overall athletic department budgets? Absolutely, but while those increases might offset the loss in tickets/concessions in time, it doesn't replace the growth in priority seating and other gifts revenue that have been a major driver in the athletic department's revenue. Unless all those suite holders, etc. are happily willing to pay as much for six home games as they would be for seven or eight, then you're probably going to reduce one of the major revenue sources for the athletic department.
On your third point, I would be hard pressed to say Michigan would have a "steady stream of cupcakes" in the nine-game conference schedule I outlined above. Where do you see two cupcake teams in a row in that schedule? Take a look at it again and let me know where you see it because the only relatively weak teams on it would be WMU, EMU, Minnesota and Purdue--all the others are pretty good to outstanding.
Sure, Michigan could start the season at Clemson, get into a physical game in Death Valley, then play a night game against Notre Dame with no problem--except maybe starting with an 0-2 record and essentially being out of contention for the BCS championship game and probably any BCS bowl. All programs schedule strategically and most of them will start the season with a warmup game in this day and age. Michigan is no exception to the maxim that teams improve most between games one and two--that's why you open with a team like Western Michigan unless there's a special circumstance in place (like last year's rededication game with Big East champion UConn or a chance to play Alabama in Dallas, TX). I say it again--this isn't twenty years ago and the scheduling throughout college football reflects that.
To get into the BCS championship game, teams usually have to be undefeated or have suffered one loss. To get into a BCS bowl, teams have to win their conferences. Both of those circumstances got tougher when Nebraska joined the conference and Michigan was put in the same division with them, Iowa, Northwestern and Michigan State. Those last three programs may not be spectacular, but they have real stability and recruit to their strengths. They aren't the same calibre programs they might have been two or three decades ago -- they're actually a lot better. Put in an annual game with Ohio State, alternating years with Penn State and Wisconsin and a conference championship game and winning the B10 just got a whole lot tougher.
Brandon just got to take two teams to D1 status when other universities are slashing programs. Our stadium is getting awesomer by the minute. Crisler might even be bearable next year. And money money money makes it possible. So I forgive DB, somewhat, for slobbering over the thought of maximum moolah. I'm not saying it's right, but I see what reinforces that Scrooge McDuck frame of mind.
Candace: No... That why they make smart word box for tell monkey hard brain-hurty things.
Phineas: Removing prepositions makes it more condescending.