I GET IT
Let me start off by saying, I’m not that old. I’m 24 (it feels really old compared to 2 years ago when I was graduating). Some of you might read the title and think “Get Off My Lawn” but that’s not what I’m going for. The more and more I’ve thought about the Notre Dame game this year, the more upset I get. I’ve got tickets, I’m going, I’ll love it… but it won’t feel like Michigan Football. I don’t care at all if we have a Fullback, or play a 4-3, that’s not what I mean. What I mean is the Game-day Experience. Yes, this will be the first night game, yes everyone else has night games, and yes, Prime Time exposure, etc. etc. this really seems like a net positive. But part of me thinks that with the whole thing we’ve sold out. I’m a 3rd Generation Michigan Grad, and I love that when I went to games from 2005-2009, it started just like when my mom and dad when to games in the late 70s, and when my grandparents went in the late 40s/early 50s. The Marching Band formed their block M,
the Fanfare M, they played the Victors, the team came out the Tunnel, and they looked like this:
- is that Henne? Devin? Leach?
- is that Arthur Walker, Paul Seymour, Jon Jansen, Jake Long, or Lewan?
Their seats looked like this:
Now, I can’t help but feel that we’re all of a sudden every other team in college football. We’ve got skyboxes (granted, the construction ended up looking great, and I’ve taken the tour, and they’re amazing). We’ve got Lights. We’ve got Special K and we’ve got (allegedly) Maize alternate/throwbacky/cash-grab Jerseys.
So, all the things that I (we?) have claimed to hate throughout the past few seasons we now embody.
Michigan will Take the Field and it will be OMG MAIZE JERZEYS! I CAN BUY JERZEYS?
After Michigan takes the field “I Got a Feelin’“ I know what Special K will play (I feel like every time they went to commercial in this game the damn Black Eyed Peas song played, I know that the movie has AC/DC) - Dunno if embedding is working, but Iowa 2009, when Iowa took the field: (link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsHF31w8-sU&feature=related)
The Fatcats in their Skyboxes will see the numbers, the ratings, the jersey sales and think that this was successful. And what’s next? Our old scoreboards looked like this
Will our new ones look like this?
Again, I’m excited for the night game, I’m going, I’ll love it, and I hope Denard gets 503 yards and we beat ND 77-0 (with at least 1 Mike Martin Pick 6). But part of me really likes that we’re (we were?) different. I hope to really enjoy the Night Game, but come November, on a Gray Saturday afternoon I’ll bundle up, trudge through snow and slush to my seat which looks like this
to see Michigan play in The Game, hoping the sun peeks through the clouds, and our team will look like this:
And the band will play the Victors and it’ll just feel… right
OK, after reading for the 1,234,123rd time that someone feels "queasy" about Gardner's application for a Medical Redshirt and comparing it to what Saban does at Alabama I thought we could do a brief overview of the two things and get them out there in the open. If this debate comes up again, point the person to this post. (Mods, if this should be board rather than Diary throw it there)
First, the terms themselves:
Redshirt: An extra year of eligibility to play collegiate athletics. Most linemen redshirt in order to spend a year in a college weight program without playing any games. Student athletes are allowed 1 RS year. You cannot play in any games and get a normal RS. This scholarship counts against a team's total (85 for football)
M Example: Taylor Lewan RS'd his Freshman year to build his hatred for donkeys
Medical Redshirt: An extra year of eligibility to play collegiate athletics - determined by a governing body. A player receives an injury that is not career ending, but they will miss a long chunk of the season. The player can apply for a medical redshirt and gain another year of eligibility, the thought being "let's not punish kids for getting hurt and have the whole year on the field be a loss." The injury has to happen early in the season and the player cannot participate after the 1st (3 or 4?) few games of the football season. I'm not sure the rules for other sports. Occasionally across the college football landscape this practice will be used to get someone young some playing time in their first year without losing a RS year/whole year of eligibility. Many people are skeptical of Gardner's back injury - and this is why there is the application/vetting process. This scholarship counts against a team's total (85 for football)
M Example: Devin Gardner tweaked his back this year and could not play after the injury. He is applying for a Med Redshirt.
Medical Exemption: A Medical Exemption is a failsafe for athletes who have career-ending injuries and can no longer participate at all in collegiate athletics. A Medical Exemption allows the AD to continue to pay for a (now former) Injured Athlete's scholarship. This is a protection for athletes such that if you can no longer play, your scholarship does not disappear. The Athletic Department continues to pay for the scholarship but the scholarship does not count against team scholarship numbers (85 for football) or Title IX Numbers, or anything like that.
M Example: Antonio Bass destroyed his knee in like 300 ways. His playing career was done. His playing career was paying for his education (I don't know if he could have afforded Michigan one way or not without it). Rather than lose his scholarship he received a Medical Exemption and the AD paid for the Scholarship without the football team being punished.
Those are the terms and their definitions. The issue with the SEC and Saban and Oversigning is they are forcing kids who with injuries but NOT career ending injuries to take medical EXEMPTIONS (not RS). Saban is ending these kids' college careers, but still paying their tuition. Essentially he is kicking kids off the team, but sending them on their way with a scholarship... they just are off the football team and can't play NCAA sports ever again. If you look at the graph below, either Bama had 12x the career ending injuries of every other SEC team, or he's abusing the system.
I hope this provides some clarification as to the different terms and the issues and how they are different. When the Med Redshirt system is "abused" it benefits the student athlete by giving them another year of eligibility (Devin gets out from behind Denard for an extra year. Yay!) When the Med Exemption system is "abused" it benefits the program/team at the cost of the student athlete. The athlete is off the team and the team has another scholarship to hand out the next recruiting cycle.
Hope this helps the debate. See here also for more details: http://mgoblog.com/content/axeman-publicized
Also see the comments, some great points brought up as always.
This is a call for calm. I’m not a writer, and a one-time-only-before-now diarist. I’m writing today to call for calm and patience. Sure, Hoke may not be what we all wanted, but we won’t know for a while. It’s been well documented that Rich never got the support he needed, and whether that’s his fault or the alumni/boosters/NFLer’s fault is up for debate, it could be 50-50% for all I know on everyone’s part. What’s important is not to make the same mistake. Just because Rich didn’t get a fair shake doesn’t mean we should set Hoke up for failure as well.
I was (am?) a Rich supporter. I thought we had the chance to be Oregon within a year or two. Since that train has sailed (thanks Austin), it’s time to get behind our coach and our program, and my reason for doing so is people who are a lot smarter than myself (and probably you). First off, Dave Brandon seems to have botched this royally. But just 6 months ago we were all celebrating the “Pimp Hand” and watching Dave dominate the B1G discussions, seal up the game at Jerryworld, the Big Chill, setting up the ND Night Game… Dave has done some good things. He also was tapped to run Domino’s – a giant corporation, and then hired by the University to be AD. Brady Hoke has been coaching football for years, and just might know what he’s doing. Mary Sue is a smart lady, and she’s done some pretty good things for the University too – including the largest fundraising campaign ever, netting (IIRC) > $2 Billion. With a B.
My point in mentioning this is I’m an alumnus, 2009 Mechanical Engineering. I consider myself decently smart, and as we’ve seen from MGoBlog, this is a place for smart people who know sports (especially football) to discuss sports (especially football.) We often say that this is the best place on the internet for a myriad of reasons. The analysis and discussion found here is ridiculous. When my Dad (who played high school football) asked me to explain the Zone Read and how to defend it, I showed him some MGoBlog diaries. We get amazing analysis of recruits, breaking Michigan news, etc. all right here. But we are not more qualified than Brandon, or Mary Sue, or Hoke when it comes to Michigan football. We are fans. Some of us live and die with the Maize and Blue. Some of us even coach football – and I often defer to you when I have football questions. But none of us are Athletic Directors at a D-I university, much less one as great as Michigan. None of us are college football head coaches. A few of us (Mainly Brian) make their living discussing and analyzing college football, but for the rest of us, this is a hobby. If we were such great decision makers, coaches, etc. we’d be doing it for a living.
This may blow up and be awful. This may work. I’m not saying we should blindly follow the leaders – we can question them and be supportive at the same time. But for the time being, until we hear from Hoke, hear from the current players, see the spring game, let’s not cry DOOM for Michigan Football. Make no mistake, I’m not thrilled with the hire either, but let’s support The Team and see what all of these people can do. Brandon was hired for many reasons. Hoke was too. They're better at running and coaching college football than I am (and probably you are too). Let’s give them our support and see what they can do.
In a large booming voice from the sky:
"Band, Take the field!!"
The greatest marching band in history pours out of the tunnel at 220 bpm, eventually folding out into the fanfare M
The band moves up and down the field, playing The Victors, Varsity, and The Yellow and Blue
In the north endzone, the drum major does his famous back bend to rile up the students even more
109,901 (or is it 115k?) rise as one, cheering on as the band returns to midfield, and forms up for the entrance of the team
A hush comes over the crowd, it is all of a sudden very dusty, as Brock Mealer makes his way out from the tunnel... a hush erupting into a roar as 109,901+ Cheer on his immeasurable spirit
109,901 Cheering, ready, ready for another year, football is back at last... It's happened before, it will happen again, but never quite like this. The rededication. Brock, Our readiness to avenge games from years past... the Victors blares from the band and the team storms the field, hitting the banner, and ready to make us all proud
But - remember December and January. Realize that this hockey team finished better than last year's team. (2nd round exit vs. 1st). The 2008-09 hockey season ended with us getting embarrassed, a number 1 seed ousted in the first round. This year's ending sucked too for all the reasons I listed above.
Just like last year's tournament was an ominous warning for the hockey team's performance this year, this year's postseason makes a GREAT case for the future of Michigan hockey (and how 2010-11 will be a great year for M sports in general).
Keep in mind that a month ago we were a seven seed in the CCHA tournament. Our #1 goalie just went down with a groin injury, and we were all clamoring for the hockey season to just end so that we could put a final nail in the coffin of the worst Michigan sports year in recent memory and kill 2009-2010 Michigan Hating God. But then... we swept Lake State at Yost. Then, this happened http://mgoblog.com/content/kobayashi-porcelain-co (sweep of State) and we ended State's hockey season and booted them from the NCAA tourney. Then a weekend sweep at the Joe happened and... for the first time since the ND game, we had Muppets. We had our own version of Rudy (but better than Rudy cuz ND sucks and Hunwick is amazing) lead us to a CCHA Tourney Title and we get to hang a banner in Yost.
We had Yost West in East Lansing, Yost East at the Joe, and Yost South in Ft. Wayne. For three weeks it was GREAT to be a Michigan fan again. The Board wasn't full of "I hate Sparty" "Denard at [insert random position here]" posts (well...) It was all about Michigan Hockey. We had hope, we had purpose, we had a great Cinderella run. We went toe-to-toe with the #1 team in college hockey for 85+ minutes and lost. Yes we lost in a shitty way, but look back on the past three weeks. Would you have taken a sweep of MSU and said "well, hockey sucked this year, but that was sweet"? I would have.
We won the CCHA Tourney. We made the NCAA's for a record 20th consecutive time. We played into double OT with the #1 team in the land. For me, Michigan Hockey 2010 was a success. A big "came out of nowhere" success.
And we got screwed out of a Frozen Four that would have been epic in Ford Field. And we're pissed. And if you think that a bunch of random dudes on the internet are pissed off about this game, then words cant describe how upset the hockey team must be. 3 posts in overtime, etc. etc.
But - that lights a fire. This team will come back next year with more fire and passion and things to prove than a Michigan hockey team has in a while. Any time Red needs any motivation all he has to tell his team is "Fort Wayne" and this team will come back with a drive to succeed.
Yes, we got screwed, our soul dongs got punched yet again... but I'll take the last month as a huge positive. Consider those calls as the last piece of bad karma we've banked in 2009-2010... and I can't wait to collect.
Your 2009-2010 Hockey Team. CCHA Tournament Champions, and most motivated team of 2010-2011. I can't wait for next year to start in all 3 sports. Go Blue