"In response to CBSSports.com's request for Michigan's concussion management protocol, the athletic department sent the NCAA's 11-page document for treating head injuries."
Avast ye! Though I may be best “known” for philosophical musings and general nonsense, I do dabble in quantitative studies from time to time.
To the Number Crunching Gods, I offer up my crude financial analysis, so that we all may be enlightened regarding the scheduling practices with which we are so dissatisfied.
In FY08 M made $139,410,000 in Other Auxiliary Enterprises [heretofore referred to as "OAE" -ed.] Revenue -- which consists of revenues generated by "intercollegiate athletics, parking, student unions, university press and student publications." The order of that list, I am sure, puts the biggest moneymakers first and goes down from there. I'm not going to bother trying to figure out exactly how much athletics contributes proportionally, and it doesn't matter a whole lot, as we shall see.
They give some detail in terms of Auxiliary Enterprise Revenue, enough to figure out how much each category contributes to the total. OAE contributes 6% of the total revenue for this category.
Now, here is the weak spot in my analysis. They do not give detail for Auxiliary Enterprise Expenses (just the total figure), so I assumed that the proportions of costs in each category were distributed according to the proportions of revenue generation. This is almost certainly a false assumption, but it gives us an approximation to work with, and is probably not terribly far off.
So, with that in mind, I estimated OAE Expenses to be $133,760,370. Subtracting costs from revenues shows a yearly operating surplus of $5,649,630 for OAE.
What does this have to do with our emasculated football scheduling practices? Yes, that's right, now we are getting to the good stuff.
Using attendance figures and an estimate of 20,000 student tickets per game, and not counting validation stickers (data unavailable) I calculated the average revenue generated per home game at $5,455,438.14. The least profitable game was Miami (OH) at $4,876,700.00 and the most profitable was MSU at $6,399,490.00.
Given our estimate of the operating surplus for OAE (of which athletics is only a part – albeit the most significant part, financially) we find that the average revenue per home game is 97% of this surplus. So, on average, one game creates almost the entire operating surplus for those activities (see above to be reminded of other programs/departments under the auspices of OAE, in addition to the other sports under the athletic department). Even the lowest revenue generator (Miami) constitutes 86% of this surplus.
Behold the power of football.
No wonder Bill Martin is unwilling to have another away game, which would basically discard the entire operating surplus for the athletic department et al.
So it seems that Brian is right: It’s hopeless.
But not entirely! As you can see from the table below, variability in ticket pricing leads to significant results. A high-profile game like MSU cost $65/ticket while the average ticket price (excluding MSU) was $53.83. If we get a big-name team to play, then surely the ticket price could be jacked up enough to compensate for a good portion of lost revenue from the subsequent away game (see the table: total revenue for the MSU game was more than one million dollars above the average, again excluding MSU from the recalculated average). Given the positive externalities generated by these high-profile match-ups (namely, being taken seriously as a national power, which leads to increased revenue in the long-run) it seems reasonable to schedule them once in a while and make adjustments (in costs –do you really need another opium den, athletes?— and ticket pricing) to minimize the harm from lost revenue.
But will this happen? I doubt it, as the stated reason for the Endless Domer Duel (EDD) and the data available indicate a highly conservative financial philosophy… they just don’t seem willing to take risks. However, when (if) the economy rebounds and the financing of the new stadium construction becomes more manageable, we may see a decrease in this conservative approach. Let us pray.
This was originally a response to the Fiesta Bowl What thread, but obviously became too long. It may be blasphemy to some and undermine what little credibility I may have around here but here goes nothing...
I must admit, I feel a sort of pity/sympathy for our Scarlet-haired stepchildren. Though we may beat them furiously from time to time, their unwavering obsession with the University of Michigan is somewhat flattering and has, over time, garnered a slight bit of empathy from me. After all, they would be nothing without us and so the question we must ask ourselves is basically, should we wish for the total humiliation of our ingrate, bastard stepchildren? This is purely a judgment call. Personally, I find it very entertaining to behold but simply cannot muster enough spite to actively wish for its occurrence.
In considering this, I am compelled to philosophize. Bear with me at your leisure. Is it not the lot of resentful, bitter losers to wish misfortune upon their enemies? In particular, enemies who happen to have had a recent victory? Consider: Having lost to Oohi U this year, a victory for them in the Fiesta Bowl would, in a small way, vindicate our loss (conversely, should we have won the day, their other successes also add to our glory). Despite gains in prestige and respect that would come from an Oohi U victory, shall we, in irrational contempt, invest our energies in hopes for them to lose? This may be the role of a fan, in the minds of some. But how, then, would we be different from Dantonio, in that case of his dismissing a Rose Bowl opportunity due to his hate, or the Browneyes themselves, who, throughout history, have been looking up at the mountainous glory of MICHIGAN with hatred and venom in their hearts, always guided by the will to destroy that which is more beautiful and powerful than they? Shall we too succumb to that fevered state of mind? Shall we reduce ourselves to petty herd animals, simply reacting to an increasingly adverse environment with hostility and resentment?
Though we may have lost significant games in recent history, I vouch that we should not let our pride, our dignity, or our sense of nobility diminish. That is the ultimate battle -- do not let ourselves be reduced to their level! The greatest victory for them would be to fill our hearts and minds with resentment and hatred; reducing us to their level of pettiness, that is, to perceive of ourselves as dependents, as subservients, as subjugated, as they do perceive themselves. That, I say, is the most crucial contest of all.
In these times I always remind myself of the ultimate truth: No matter what, WE ARE BETTER THAN OOHI U. We are superior. We, the mighty Michigan Wolverines, are ALONE masters of our destiny! Our greatness is self-sustained, outwardly-imposing, self-perpetuating and independent of favorable or unfavorable outcomes of specific contests. That is, ultimately, what separates us from the Browneyes, the Spartines, and the rest of the unworthy -- they depend on their tangible, short-term successes against US to determine their sense of self-worth. WE, on the other hand, generate our sense of self-worth for ourselves and from ourselves because we know in our hearts that WE are Wolverines, and no one else is (except in Helsinki, home of our noble Finnic namesakes who, at least, have demonstrated supremely good taste). At the very least, we have the option to take the higher path of power while the unworthy are forbidden from it, due to their inherent ...unworth. And why, then, should we opt to trod upon the path of smelly herd peoples who are only able to react to the will of the strong?
One final point; I hope that my condemnation of hatred is not understood as a condemnation of a feeling more befitting men of power and wisdom, which is cruelty. Indeed, though I do not actively wish ill toward our quasi-educated and unhygienic bastard imitators from the southron valley most foul, I still delight in their suffering as they get their asses handed to them by the likes of Florida, LSU, USC, and so on. Cruelty, in moderation, allows us to enjoy the failure of our enemies without lowering ourselves to their level; for to hate something is to give it legitimacy because in hating, you invest energy and concern in a particular outcome. Cruelty is neutral in this regard, as there is no need to feel threatened by or even hostile toward something to savor the sweet fruit of its ruin. And if its ruin is prolonged for another day (until our next encounter!), then so be it. Our greatness remains.
And now let us return to the original question: To hate or not to hate. Specifically, "should we wish for the total humiliation of our ingrate, bastard stepchildren?" Alas, though we have traversed through many considerations, I fear many shall divide over the answer to this. Thinking of "hatred" as a state in which cruel desires are dominant, a question of simple economics can reveal a great deal. What is the worth of gaining prestige from an Oohi U win compared to the sheer entertainment value of their loss? How much do you value pride, and how much do you value cruelty? Although my delight in the misfortunes of the god-forsaken Browneyes is truly enormous, personally I find myself following my ancestors' way and seeking greater pride. Cruelty will just have to wait ... until the 2009 football season.
So, either way, I will be smiling tonight. It's a good way to be. Whatever your valuation may be in this regard, I urge you to be mindful of our overall position as Wolverines. That position, in a word, is simply this: Superior.
Lo! Praise and heraldry of the glorious Wolverines has been heard far and wide. Our standard is bright among stars and without peer on this earth! Bring forth your ears with great intent as tales of majesty resound in your mind, for darkness endeavors to consume it. Whence does this commendation arrive in most timely fashion? Reason spake thus: None of humanity but the glorious spirit of Michigan is worthy of praise.
The power and virtue of these lofty Michigan Men has driven them far and wide. Compassionate stewards of Prometheus's flame, into lands most foul they bring glory and greatness unto the unwashed hordes of our vulgar cousins. Though by the nature of those vile knaves who dwell in pestilence shall our heroes' offerings be rejected. Wherefore, then, traverse they thus? Reason spake anew: That which is noble shall ever drive itself into the wicked; light shall proceed into darkness and vanquish it with hasty abandon.
Through battles in sight of the eternal sun and under shadow of cloud or cover have our heroes made their mark. Forsooth! Many a time have they triumphed o’er the profane masses of otherlings. The most recent siege and assault having ceased at Columbus, the Great Rodriguez returned our heroes from the darkest absence of civilization known to man—yet darkness persists therein. Verily, oh brothers and sisters, have the blackened hearts of the weak become many and, by virtue of their numbers alone, grown strong.
And now we, the witnesses to those mighty Michigan Wolverines, in their pride and prime, who, albeit untriumphantly, gave their greatness to the worthy cause of forwarding the Michigan spirit face a dilemma of our own. Shall we despair and flounder at the enormity of the loss? Though we writhe rightly in agony, there is no need to let the shadow into your soul. Though some have already, by corruption’s cruel forces, crashed ruinously into shambles and scattered as sheep with smote shepherd—though they have perished, shall we follow suit and plunge headlong into the void? No! I implore you, though the skies may crumble around you, stand tall and with proud heart! Thus shall we remain ever-full of vitality. Yet a doubt persists—what to do with those emptied husks of the once-proud?
We must strive against those agents of contagion, who seek to undermine the Michigan spirit! Combat their villainy at every turn! Let not fools with the minds of embittered servants tarnish what we know to be ultima virtus. We, the proud and mighty Wolverines, are not creatures of reaction! No! For we are masters of our own destiny, and masters of our values, too, so none but ourselves must define for us our worth among men—we alone are worthy! Our great leaders of yore boast peerless influence among the unfallen in what this greatest of enterprises, this collegiate football, has been and has become, that those who challenge our greatness must also challenge that by which they endeavor to glorify themselves. Fools! Their scorn is akin to a child’s cursing of the gods or a shallow man’s quest to conquer nature itself—enterprises doomed from the start and amounting to nothing but desolation of petty souls.
With these words I bid you farewell, oh brothers and sisters. We are one in our glory, made strong by the spirit that binds us; that bind made strong by the noble ones who came before us; and those noble ones made strong by the merit of their actions performed for one sake—the glory of Michigan! Be swayed not by the doubters and the haters, those envious spirits who mock us in their forged vanity. We remain now and forever worthy of pride and glory, we Michigan Men!
Hail! Hail to Michigan!