You are definitely not alone. I think Brandon has done a fantastic job.
Defending Dave Brandon
In all fairness he has done some things that were needed. I like the lights in the stadium and corresponding UTL games and like the long overdue renovations to Crisler. An alternate jersey every other year doesn't bug me and i like that he made the lacrosee teams varsity. It's the other stuff I don't like particularly that he's essentially failing in drawing the line between the tradition of Michigan football and the marketing of minor league baseball. I think the needle has truly fallen hard to the latter. I also think he's raising prices too damn hard (which sort of goes to the selling to the highest bidder). We're so deeply in the black there just isn't any reason to raise ticket prices/PsD's every single year when you're several million in the black yea after year. It's that CeO mentality and he need to draw that balance between keeping the Athletic Department on sound fiscal ground and making fans wince when they walk through the turnstiles because they know what it cost them.
Personally, one of the things I always liked best about Michigan Football in the old days was how the stadium was basically the same for everybody. Yeah, you could get a little better view of the game if you had been around forever and had tickets on the 40, but there were no luxury suites, no club-level seating, etc. When it rained, everyone got soaked. When it was cold, everyone froze. When it was 90 degrees, everyone was hot and miserable.
All of that changed with the stadium "improvements" after the '07 season, and the old days are not coming back. I just view Brandon as part of the new era of stratification; he is what he is. He made millions selling shitty pizza, and it's thanks to his kind that one of these days I will probably no longer be able to suspend my contempt for all things corporate and just enjoy college football. But hey, if the kids (supposedly) like it...
"and it's thanks to his kind that one of these days I will probably no longer be able to suspend my contempt for all things corporate and just enjoy college football." This is the one argument I don't understand. People keep talking about how money has ruined college football, hasn't that happened to everything else in the world? Money plays a huge part in everything we enjoy today. If you take the attitude that money and corporations have ruined everything then you will find little enjoyment in life.
Surely you must admit that there are some things money tends to cheapen or ruin altogether. That's why I don't visit strip clubs, for instance. Reasonable people can disagree on what those things are. Personally, I find that money tends to cheapen and degrade scholastic athletics. You don't have to agree with me--and it seems very few (or none) of the people with the power to make decisions in the area do.
I highly recommend the book What Money Can't Buy by the Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel. It's a very good exploration of this idea, about how money and corporations have controversially invaded so many aspects of American society, and profoundly changed them (for better or for worse). Here is a link to the Amazon page for it.
Don't get me wrong, I agree that money cheapens college athletics and I don't like it. It's just the whole idea that money has ruined college athletics that I disagree with. Some of the stuff people bitch about (like uniforms) are really not a big deal.
when strip clubs were cheap and the same for everybody?
Me too! The Champagne Room is no fun without the sex.
Here's the thing: Brandon has not removed from you the ability to be hot and miserable in early September, or cold and wet in late October. He (or rather, Bill Martin) has simply made it possible for some people with the resources available to enjoy attending a game without those things. If you would rather everybody be miserable, fine; but isn't that just resenting people who have it better than you? It's not like your experience is any worse.
In fact, it's actually better--the revenue from suites and such allow the Stadium to be improved in many ways that benefit everybody; it also allows Crisler to be improved in ways that benefit everybody. And, crucially, it allows the department to equip its teams to win. Paying assistants properly, for example.
In the average person's actual position, you can still go to a game, be miserably hot, and enjoy it--with better concessions, restrooms, and a better team on the field. The alternative is to make sure that everybody is equally miserable, and more miserable because the team is worse. Cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.
because the westside tower gives everyone some shade for the latter parts of the game in those 3:30 starts in September when it's hot.
That is a fair point. But I think there are a couple different responses.
First, the stratification of the seating arrangements--together with the massive increases in ticket prices--has resulted in a situation where tickets are distributed based more on who has money, rather than on who are the most devoted, loyal fans. That's one problem, and one that is probably going to worsen.
Second, I think the changes materially change the nature of the event. I can recall several threads on this site involving people who attended the 5-0 Purdue game in 1996. Everyone who was at that game remembers how crazy the weather was, because at that time anyone who was at the game had to experience it. There was a certain sense of camraderie among the people in the stands that day, which I think lingers even now. Today, there are people who can attend games without having to brave the cold, the rain, the heat, or whatever. If that 5-0 game happened next season, I think the feeling in the stadium would be different--and probably for the worse.
The sheltered experience of 2000 people changes the experience of the 106,000 who are still enjoying the weather in the bowl? I'm not buying that.
Regarding the most loyal, devoted fans, I presume you mean the older alums who had the most seniority. They are loyal and devoted, but they are the same people a lot of people gripe about for not standing up at the most exciting moments, and I wouldn't be surprised if some people saw the change as an improvement. I'm indifferent about it. But I do think that seats that are more valuable should cost more if the market allows it.
There's an inherent prejudice that people who spend large amounts of money on seats are less loyal or devoted than the regular guy-on-the-street who bleeds maize and blue. It's certainly possible for that to happen, but many of them (who are otherwise called "boosters") are not only loyal fans but also willing to give to the university anyway. To turn it on its head, let's suppose that at least one suite belongs not to Ford or Domino's but to some well-to-do lifelong Michigan fan who has a hard time dealing with the step and the weather but still wants to see Michigan football with his family, as he has done for so many years, and the best way to do so is in a sheltered space? He isn't taking the seats of the students or loyal fans elsewhere. He just gets to take off his jacket without it gettng stepped on or lost. Is that bad?
Anyways, whether it's good or not, it is the way of the 21st century, and no competitive college football program is doing it any differently. You either maintain the same unified experience with a worse program, or maintain a program with a stratified experience.
Yes, having 2,000 filthy-rich people watch the game in luxury, while the 106,000 hoi polloi stand outside in the rain or the heat or whatever does fundamentally change the experience, IMO. The message it sends is, "money talks." You are correct that that is "the way of the 21st century," but the whole reason I have always preferred college sports in the first place is that they aren't supposed to be just about the money. And that goes back to my original point--the more that money conspicuously dominates college sports, the less I will be able to look past those things and remember that most of the players on the field are out there because they want to represent the state I grew up in and the school I attended--and not because of some profane pecuniary motive.
Fair enough, but wealth is the elephant in the room. The ugly uniforms and RAWK music are not very important to me. What is important is who gets to be in the stadium, and on what terms. DB represents the view that people with the most money get to be in the stadium, and those with the most money should get the best experience. I think the experience should be available to all, and more-or-less the same for everyone. I respect the views of those who disagree with me, and I acknowledge the economic challenges that my preference would present. But I just think some things are worth not-paying-for.
The point is that Michigan Football is supposed to be a public good, not a luxury item available to the highest bidder. Yes, you can still buy tickets from scalpers and sites like StubHub and whatnot, but the above discussion was about what Michigan Football means and represents--not mundane considerations like how long you have to wait in line to pee. Having a stratified stadium environment sends the message that some fans are more equal than others. I realize my views are in the minority around here (I already admitted I don't go to strip clubs), but if you are going to call me silly then I get to remind you that ignorance is bliss.
Well, I don't want to get off on the wrong foot with you, 'Shoe, as I've been reading your posts for some time and have always respected your opinion. So, I don't think you are ignorant and would prefer not to dwell on that portion of my previous comment.
That said, if you feel that UM Stadium has always been a stratified environment and I don't, then I guess we'd be arguing facts and that's kind of pointless. But there's at least a difference in terms of degree. Giving somebody a better seat in Section 1 because they can pay, versus somebody in the end zone who can't, is still a form of stratification, I must concede. Yet at least everybody is still in the same bowl; the divisions are not so clear, nor are the reasons. When you build luxury boxes and physical walls, however, then it's pretty clear who's the cream and who's the chaff. Maybe you don't mind being told that you are chaff (or maybe you have a seat in the cream section, I don't know), but I don't care for it myself.
I mean, did you ever see a game in the bleachers at the old Tiger Stadium? They had a separate entrance, and the rest of the stadium was inaccessible to the "bleacher bums." You kind of felt like cattle going in and out. UM Stadium obviously hasn't gotten to that point, but the dynamic is the same. The difference, of course, is that pro sports are concededly all about money.
You lost me at this line,
The point is that Michigan Football is supposed to be a public good, not a luxury item available to the highest bidder.
When was Michigan football ever a public good? It is a form of entertainment, marketing, and athletic performance for the 82 Michigan student athletes on the sideline.
I suppose I should have clarified that, by "all," I didn't mean the entire population of Michigan. I meant something more along the lines of "reasonably accessible to anyone who wishes to participate, irrespective of income level."
I guess it comes down to this. As I see it, an athetic program at a public university is a public good, like a park or clean air. It shoudl be more-or-less equally accessible to all, and is intrinsically diminished if it isn't. But lots of other people think of Michigan Football as a more of a commodity, to be marketed and sold for top-dollar.
You forgot to rant about the unfairness of all tickets (except student tickets) being priced the same.
on the occasion of a holiday in the near past, I found myself in line at Edible Arrangements. In front of me were two women, iPhones and Bridge Cards in hand. They bought a total of $600 worth of fruit. It is little wonder that they can't afford a football game.
"I think the experience should be available to all, and more-or-less the same for everyone."
Well boys, looks like a goddamn Commie slipped in. And I thought the Red Scare only happened before The Game.
I don't always agree with what you say, but I find myself generally liking the way you say it.
Herm has reached upvote-before-read status in my book. I never regret the upvote.
To "communist football."
Is more people would have watched the game and cheered for the home team.
People in the boxes don't want to be in the elements. If they wanted to, they could afford seats there. Those same people in the bowl were among the tens of thousands who left VERY early, or didn't show up at all.
In fact, moving up the "rich" to the towers actually opens up more seats in the cheaper bowl so more of the masses have a chance to get in. I'm not sure when it was different. 20 years ago when you went to apply for tickets they said don't request seats between the tens. Everyone knew it was because you had to be ponying up money to get them.
The more you post the more it just sounds like you are jealous and resentful.
It's just a matter of perspective. With our football team on the right trajectory, basketball/other sports doing well, great facility renovations, the uniformz debate is rather trivial. Brandon is bringing UM lots of $$$ and that's fine.
It's pretty darn good to be a Michigan Wolverine now. I wasn't so optimistic four years ago.
I'd actually argue Oregon's has established a tradition of ridiculous uniformz. So they shouldn't even be brought into this anymore.
To paraphrase Bruce Lee, "their style is to have no style".
And like Bruce Lee, they are amazingly good at it.
I have zero MAJOR issues with Brandon. His job is to make our university a shit ton of money. And he is excelling at that. So it's hard for me to dislike him.
I have had some issues with some of the uniforms, but that was mostly because I thought they were hideous. I thought doing away with the Maize pants during last years MSU game was a poor choice, while I thought the Alabama bumblebee uniforms were atrocious. When it comes to sacred concepts like the Michigan uniform, I'm much more on the traditionalist side, since our regular uniforms are classic and timeless. But I understand that this is a new age, and kids like the idea of alternate uniforms. Michigan has to adapt with the times. I just don't want us to turn into Oregon and have the traditional uniforms start fading away.
Just don't screw with the helmets, DB.
Again, he doesn't make the University money. Athletic dept funds are kept over there. It's not like anyone outside the student-athletes benefits from DB's exploits financially though we all enjoy going to games and rooting for our team. So take that off the table. In fact he's taking quite a bit of criticism from those north of Hill St for really cutting access to athletics for the academic side people. He also tries to boost academic side people and even alumni association clubs to pay more fees to use their facilities.
I don't agree with everything he does (yellow jersey numbers?!), but with college sports becoming so much like Wall Street, I'm glad to have that steely-eyed son of a gun at the helm. Past Michigan ADs would get eaten alive in this environment.
I disagree, both Canhan and Martin were self made entrepreneurial millionaires. Brandon has risen up the corporate ranks and has done extremely well. I'll take a successful entrepreneur over a corporate manager many times
Hes done a Fantastic job..do I agree with everything? NO? the unis and the lets not take the band to Dallas Fiasco not withstanding his overall performance has been Very good,,,Michigan is a top 20 team in almost every sport , money is flowing in, the Brand is one of THE most recognizable college brands in the nation ..what more do you want?
Classy alternate uniforms that befit the tradition and legacy of the University of Michigan.
OSU and Michigan in the same division.
A decent schedule that does not involve sending games to Jerryworld. No more games with Div II teams like App State. I think he has done well which makes his minor mistakes more obvious.
Just to be that guy, App State is not a Div II school. They're an FCS school.
Definitely not alone
A friend of mine got to tag along with the 60 minutes crew when they interviewed DB. He came away with the impression that Brandon is actually obsessed with how he and his decisions are preceived by the fans. Unlike the coaching staff I suspect he does read the newspaper and blogs.
The fact that we even need this thread is laughable. Can one ardent DB detractor pick a single Athletic Director they would prefer to lead the department? Just one? And provide solid empirical evidence as to why?
Thanks in advance.
Co-signed and well put State St.....
But the fact that he gets slammed here for everything from the basketball schedule, to the music in the big house, to uniform colors, to the band's transportation to away games, to the teams the football team is scheduled against and how we performed against them, the preferred seat donations, to ticket prices and let's not forget the charity run cancellation angst argues we DO need this thread. And those are just the bitches that came to mind while I typed this - I'm sure there are lots more but-hurt he's responsible for to some people I've conveniently forgotten.
Sadly to me, he has been cast as public enemy #1 by a lot of people around here who seemingly ignore all the good he has done.
Well Mussolini made the trains run on time. Doesn't mean that he wasn't deeply flawed underneath his facade of "improvements".
Herm is fired up!
When is Herm not fired up? I mean, you can overplay the curmudgeon hand if you ask me.
So Herm gets a pass because he used Mussolini instead of Hitler? His schtick is getting old. And by the way, I'm in my 60's so I'm not falling for his elder statesman crap.
I'm very tired of hearing the justification of the constant uniform changes and other things because "the kids like them." "The kids" are NOT the most important part of what makes Michigan... Michigan. Every single person that went to Michigan in whatever year, and all of the contributors to the Universiity, and all the employees and fans that give time and effort and money to Michigan are, at minimum, as important to the brand and university as the kids.are.
The opinion of the kids is all that matters. Why should we care if alums like what they see on the field?
/Looks at PSL increases
Oh. Right. That.
Unlike many successful ADs, and just about all of us, he actually played football for the school he represents.
So did Tom Goss. If you are asserting that Mr. Brandon and Mr. Goss are equals in their Athletic Directoring skills, that would make you one of those lemmings that the OP was talking about.
Personally, as much as I dislike several of the things Mr. Brandon has done, I would never consider insulting him the way you just did.
I was actually saying that, while being a successful ad, he also understands what it means to be a player in the major sport he directs, or at least he understands it better than most ADs do. Bo was his coach, he was teammates with Miles, he played in The Game, he understands the value of character. Recognizing someone as a Michigan Man is not the same thing as being a lemming. I have no idea how you reached that conclusion you did from what I wrote.
Sarcasm is best left for the spoken word, I guess. My apologies for not being crystal clear and to the point.
My intended point was that having played for Michigan has nothing to do with whether somebody would be a good athletic director, as the case of Tom Goss made abundantly clear.
Also, I reject the entire "Michigan Man" concept here. Neither Yost nor Crisler (nor Schembechler) attended Michigan, remember. All were about as successful as possible as Athletic Directors at Michigan.