At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
Dave Brandon Interview with 11W
One Turd's endorsement:
That's a very good interview. Well worth reading.
How quickly will Brian be on the phone with Gene Smith?
sits down with a blogger, let alone a Michigan blogger.
I suspect he's still too busy covertly being a dirtbag
Dave Brandon "brought Michigan into the 21st century without trampling on traditions."
Not to hear this fanbase whine about Uniformz, corporate sponsorship in the Big House, etc.
I disagree with the continuation that it was the renovations and first night game that brought Michigan into the 21st century, and I disagree with the implication that Michigan was a decade behind modern programs (like Ohio State, given that it's an OSU blog making the statement). Not to mention there are plenty of things I don't want Michigan to do even if it makes them more "modern", like redesign its uniforms, sell out advertising to the extent of OSU, or vacate wins in successful seasons due to NCAA violations.
I did think it was a nice read, with some good insight from the man himself.
Very good read, thanks for sharing.
Wow, bold move by Brandon, but I commend him for it.
Whoa. Brandon's got some brass balls talking to an Ohio State blog, but they were both pretty civil. I also appreciated the slight retraction on the "Catfishing" thing.
Brandon sounded like a corporatist. If anyone thinks he's not 100% all about Business, read this interview.
Of course he is going to be a corporatist.
Corporatists are why UM as a school can afford all that it has. Bash such people if you want, but then you'll be a hypocrite as corporations and the wealthy are responsible for a great amount of what UM has to offer.
No one will deny that he brings a business mindset to the job. But I give Brandon credit for knowing an awful lot about the entire U-M enterprise. He was a Regent (and by trusted accounts, a good one) and then dedicated himself to fundraising for the hospital. Even if we don't always love the decisions he makes, I think Michigan is fortunate to have an AD who brings such a range of perspectives to the job.
I'm gonna go out of on a limb and say that Brandon DOES know what future expansion plans are. Call it a hunch.
That was a good read. I'm glad he was asked about the saturation point as it relates to ticket prices. When you combine the PSD with the ticket prices, we have got to be right up there with the most expensive college football ticket in the country.
and wonderful write-up + interview. Thanks for posting. Would not have seen it otherwise.
Very good read...good find. As someone else said, Brian should see about an interview with Gene Smith....and maybe even an interview with Brandon.
I thought Brandon was somewhat stand-off-ish toward what he deemed the blog community so to see him do this interview with an OSU blog is interesting. I wonder if he or members of the AD would be willing to do one with MGoBlog.
When you are the "face" of the athletic department, criticism comes with the territory. If DB is going to maintain a high public profile, he should consent to an interview with the best blog, not only for the Michigan fan base, but in college sports.
DB seems to want a high profile, but be exempt from criticism. It doesn't work that way.
Talking to an OSU blog tells me that he isn't afraid of "criticism". Since neither you nor I know if Brian has even approached him your send paragraph is an assumption based solely on your prejudice, not on anything substantive.
One: I think Brandon was motivated to do this interview almost entirely to address the Catfishing micro-scandal. I think that choosing an e-format was meeting that issue on the same terms as how it originally broke. In the blogosphere, essentially.
Two: I think Brandon & Co. are smart enough and well-informed enough to know what sort of an outlet Eleven Warriors is. That it is a very smart, well-written, and well-informed blog.
Three: Oh Sweet Lord Jesus how I love this part. Brandon could easily have done an interview with Mark Snyder of the Free Press, and thereby could have gotten out his message that no-Dammit-we-do-not-Catfish-our-student athletes-we-have-professionals-to-do-that. Snyder could have put a story on the front page of the Freep. But Brandon didn't do that. He continues his embargo on any big interviews going to the Freep. May God Bless Dave Brandon.
Even Brandon gets that Blogs are not going away, whether he likes them and their proprieters or not.
Blogs = eyeballs. That's all he needs to know.
That the AD of your own University feels more comfortable talking to your arch rival's blog....and that they were the ones to reach out to him in the first place?
I had thought that Rich Rodriguez cured cancer, and that he was condemned for not doing it sooner! Matter of fact, Rodriguez cured cancer and AIDS!
And after that, Brady Hoke cured cancer. Again.
Would you be as supportive of Dave Brandon if the Michigan-OSU game was moved into October in 2011? Because Dave Brandon was in support of this move, and it took a biblical-style plague of Michigan and OSU fan protests before the motion was ended. So as a Michigan fan that feels very passionate about beating Ohio State each year, it's very hard for me to simply forget this idea that Dave Brandon worked to nearly kill the greatest rivalry in sports with very little benefit in return. Given Brian's passion for Michigan football, I imagine he agrees; therefore, it's hard to see Dave Brandon as the ideal leader of Michigan athletics.
Dave Brandon has done some right things at Michigan (the renovations come to mind, though Bill Martin was the primary catalyst for Crisler renovations). However, continuing to hear the message he represents (we want to ensure we make a lot of money for Michigan and the Big Ten) does bring about a big disconnect between the Michigan athletic department and the long-time fan of Michigan football.
Is that last sentence sarcasm?
Brandon thinks he's still selling pizzas.
He just doesn't get it.
That's a very sincere question ... I'm curious on two points:
- What about Brandon today do you think tells you his mind is still in the pizza business? (He views Michigan as a commodity? What?)
- Related: what in your mind is "it" that he does not get?
I'm not snarking ... I'm totally serious ... this is the kind of discussion I think can be fascinating when approached reasonably and civilly.
Brandon sees collegiate sports as a business like any other business.
Can't afford tickets? That's your problem. Supply and demand baby.
What factors motivate Big Ten expansion? Money.
Should we play at opponent sites in college settings or at a neutral site? Wherever gets us the most money.
I disagree with Brandon's approach. I think the Athletic Department should not be so concerned with money. I don't want logos on Crisler's floor. I detest the gradual inclusion of advertising in Crisler and the Big House, done quietly enough that we are lulled into apathy. And I don't care if all this means that we don't have the money, the facilities, that we can't win the Big Ten, and that we can't send more guys to the NFL and NBA.
But I was trying to say that the Athletic Department's current obsession with money may be necessary if we want to have the best facilities and top-ranked teams. However, as an alum and a fan, I would be willing to suffer through crappier facilities and worse-ranked teams than withstand the unabashed commercialization of Michigan's football and basketball programs.
As an alum and a fan, I think that you are the worst alum and fan since 1817.
You would actually prefer the teams not be as competitve. Good god.
You want success no matter what you have to sacrifice?
Would you sell the Big House to Arby's if it would increase our chances of winning a national championship?
Here is a slightly more realistic example: would you cover up sexual abuse if it meant that you could continue winning without any complications?
I think you are misunderstanding my point. I'm saying that the Michigan Athletic Department should embrace certain ideals. We should stick to those ideals regardless of whether it costs us a game or a recruit (we did this last year, for instance, when Stonum didn't play). Of course all Michigan fans want to win, and I want our team to win more than anyone, but not at the expense of our ideals.
You may not give a shit about ads. That's fine. Say that. But personal attacks seem like a bit of an overreaction.
I admire the candor of your response.
To my eye the key was: "I think the Athletic Department should not be so concerned with money." [emphasis mine]
That's a matter of degree, and that's a fair debate to have.
It's hard for me to say with certainly how much money is needed to maintain a program like Michigan's at the level expected. More than $0, to be sure. But so much as to require things like logos on the field and shoulder patches of the players? That I'm not so much convinced of. Maybe. But I'm not convinced.
In general I'm more inclined to be accept Brandon's leadership than to rebel against it. I confess that's really just a statement of opinion based on little more than a hunch.
your critical reading ability. It's nice to know someone read it carefully, because I wrote that sentence carefully.
I certainly agree we are dealing with matters of degree ... a slippery slope, so to speak, and we are slipping ever so slowly toward running a public university's athletic program like a Fortune 500 company. From a fan's perspective, it's almost imperceptible. A couple of ads over the gate entrances at Crisler. An occasional Arby's ad on the scoreboard. From the AD's perspective, however, it's a purposeful crawl toward the ultimate objective of maximizing revenue by any means necessary.
What I disagree with is your hunch. But I suppose we can let bygones be bygones.
Should of ended the interview with BEAT OHIO.
Should've. It is a contraction of "Should have."
If you are going to make fun of Ohio, and especially if you are going to do so on a Michigan blog, you need to use proper grammar. And if spelling and grammar are subject to typographical errors (God knows, I have made many of my own in the blogosphere), they shouldn't (contration for "should not") be quite so glarlingly obnoxious.
"You’re trying to build conference continuity and cohesion. We want to travel to their campuses, they want to travel to our campuses, and you’re going to put yourself in position where you aren’t going to be able to do that." - Dave Brandon, talking about the problem of 8 conference games with 14 teams
I found his answer to this question interesting - If you actually start drawing out combinations on paper, this sort of bears out and I understand what he is getting at. It seems like 14 teams is in a gray area between needing and not needing to go to something akin to the "pod" system, if you will. I just wrote out the numbers 1-14 and made 1-7 a "division", and assuming you play everyone in your division, you leave room for two interdivision games, which you could arrange so you played each team in the other division once every three years. I would agree that this doesn't seem to foster the cohesion that they might want or really need if realignment competition is going to get more fierce in the future and they want to ensure the Big Ten only gets bigger.
Great interview and thanks for sharing it, DenverBuckeye.
I strongly suspect we'll see the Big Ten go to nine conference football games, but per Purdue's athletic director, the AD's have been given guidance that they can schedule four non-conference games for 2014/5, three for 2016 thru 2018 and two four 2019 and 2020.
That would suggest there is a possible timetable in place for getting to nine-conference games with the first season we see this happening being 2016. At that time, however, we may be looking at 16 or more teams in the conference by then.
But for 2014/5, expect Michigan to keep the four non-conference games on the schedule with some shake up on the conference side. All indications at this point show that UM and OSU will be joining Penn State, Rutgers and Maryland in an eastern division. The remaining question then seems to be the seventh member in the east--Purdue or Michigan State. My guess is that it will be the latter, especially with eight conference games on the slate for 2014/5.
That means Michigan will play two teams from the western division those two seasons. The current pre-expansion schedules have at Minnesota, Iowa, at Nebraska and Northwestern for 2014 and Wisconsin, Minnesota, at Illinois, Nebraska, at Northwestern and Iowa in 2015. Maryland and Rutgers will replace two of those teams each year and Penn State will be added as a division game for 2015. If Nebraska is kept on the rotation, it means having the Cornhuskers, Buckeyes and Fighting Irish games all on the road in 2014, so perhaps Nebraska will be dropped for those two seasons.
As far as Brian interviewing Brandon is concerned, who knows? Brian's been critical of things the conference has done (such as expansion) and it's no secret he doesn't approve of Brandon's corporate approach to running the athletic department. Perhaps this is an interveiw that is best left undone . . . .
When a rival interest (not sure how else to categorize it) gets an interview like this... it usually turns out great in my opinion. Mostly because it becomes a very classy discussion, sometimes candid, and doesn't go out of bounds. I think the hard part would be an interview with this blog wouldn't re-hash but try to forge into the unknown... not sure how it would turn out. Good work by 11W, they are a better site than most, as long as you don't read the comments.
I wonder if DB is positioning himself to become the next commissioner.
I think he is positioning himself to be the Junior Senator (R) from Michigan in 2018.
After reading the interview I believe we have different expansion scenarios planned out for any number of specific target schools to add, but those plans are on hold until they figure out our conference realignment, future scheduling, and play a little wait-and-see with what the other conferences are doing, what opportunities present themselves.
I think future conference expansion will cease when, as he said, we start playing fewer home games every year, sacrifice the ability to play marquee OOC matchups, and players lose the ability to play every team in the B1G during their college careers due to over-expansion.
I also believe his offhand statement about (paraphrase) "who said 16 was the ultimate goal, and not 18 or 20?" that he was simply refuting 16 teams being everybodies universally acknowleged goal, not that we're all actually headed to 18 or 20 team conferences, but instead saying that it's fluid, and nobody knows yet what the finished product will be.
You can bet he does know what the finished product will be.
I think DB has a general idea, but I don't even think they're done figuring out how our current conference will operate. They being the operative word because 14 different sets of AD's and Presidents will decide what the finished product will look like in agreement with whichever new ones come in in the future. Once they all come to an agreement, hash out the details of realignment, home game scheduling, then OOC scheduling, then they can worry about new markets, and conference realignment all over again.
Thanks for the link. I wasn't thrilled by the first sentence, but other than that it was an interesting read. It really doesn't sound like 10 home games will happen, and he was very open that seven home games were a requirement to make the economics work.
I wish there were somewhat tougher questions though, but you can't have everything. 11W is constrained by being an enemy site, and is thus required to be rather restrained to not seem partisan.
We added Nebraska and we were quite content. That was important to get to 12 games because we got the divisional structure and the championship game. But to go from 12 to 14 was more of an elective decision than anything that we needed to do.
I'm not quite sure how much I should be reading between the lines here, but to me, this parses as "From Michigan's perspective, adding Maryland and Rutgers was not something we needed." Which in turn suggests that it was schools other than Michigan who were driving for this. I sometimes wonder - Brandon is so politically savvy in how he talks that I'm pretty sure he'd always speak positively in public about decisions he was vehemently against in private. That leaves us fans wondering "why did he support this thing we think is idiotic," when in fact he may not have been in support of it at all.
And I think it makes sense to suspect that Indiana, Minnesota, MSU, etc were bigger drivers in the move to 14 teams than Michigan and OSU were. Michigan and OSU view adding Nebraska as adding to the competitive strength of the conference, and getting us a championship game we otherwise wouldn't get. Adding more schools does nothing for us. Whereas from Minnesota's perspective, adding Rutgers helps add competitive balance more than adding Nebraska did, because it adds another school they can actually be competitive against. I think this is also why there's less push for having "competitive balance" in the divisions this time around: the less competitive schools are less worried because any way you slice it, they'll see more beatable schools on their schedule going forward.