I thought you might have, but I'm under the weather so I couldn't tell. My point was mostly an aside, in that while is is a successful AD, being a former player means he also has a,personal understanding of the traditions he holds custody of. While I don't necessarily love some of the things that's changed I'm not worried he's going to go crazy ang change the schools uniforms like Maryland or Mizzou, or even their colors like ASU. I think he makes the changes that's gone on carefully.
Defending Dave Brandon
You are kidding yourself if you don't think that any savy business man could take the lead of the University of Michigan athletic department and make money. All you had to do was exactly what DB does.... squeeze the ticket holders. Because of ticket demand and fan support, Michigan ticket prices are pretty elastic. DB has exploited this. Martin didn't raise ticket prices for the last 5 years he was AD. Instead he cut spending. He even opted not to take a base salary. DB? He had the highest base salary of any paid administrator at U of M. Michigan certainly didn't have the revenues we have now under Martin. That needed to change so we could have nice things, but Brandon will have you believe that Michigan continues to lag behind our competitors.
Do you realize that Michigan has the highest Athletic Department of any Big 10 University? Yet ticket holders are being subjected to a significant ticket price hike for the third year in a row. Yes, we have new facilities. Yes, we pay our coaches more. These are good things and they have to be paid for, but sometimes the easiest way is not the best way. If I thought for even one second that ticket prices would drop again once the notes for the new construction were paid off, I'd give him a break, but there is no way in hell that will happen. So no, I don't applaud Brandon for pricing out the middle class. Sure, he will continue to sell out the stadium, but get ready to see more and more empty seats as the most loyal fans gets pinched out of being able to afford tickets and the corporate donors choose to not fill the seats for games other than our marquee matchups.
Ah, that would explain the strange choices for alternate unis then.
....and even better response.
Should have said Athletic Department revenues.
I've grown too accustomed on relying on others to correct my grammatical miscues.
in 2000 and 2001 when the Athletic Department was operating in the red and needed an infusion from the General Fund. Martin did that to keep sports from being eliminated. It greatly helped convince the Regents to agree to bail out the department. Once the department was back in the black (2003 I think), Martin took a salary of roughly $300,000.
Martin also was the one who implemented the PSD program back in 2005 and he raised football ticket prices more than once.
....remained static for 6 years prior to the price hike for the 2011 season.
He did implement the PSD. He also provided an opportunity for ticket holders to choose to move to non PSD sections in the end zones. I wonder how those ticket holders feel now.........
The frustration is more with college sports in general than DB. Same $ grab goes on at every big time school. Since this is a Michigan blog we make fun of Brandon. If you went to a Texas blog I am sure you would see the same thing.
Exactly! People seem to think that we hired a CEO for an AD, and he came in, looked around, and said, "we should start monetizing everything!"
The reality is that the desire to start monetizing everything was made at the president of the university level, and they then went out to find an AD who would be good at monetizing everything, and decided a former CEO fit the bill.
Creative revenue generation is part of Dave Brandon's job description. People may not like it, but he's just executing the strategy of the university. If not DB, it'd be someone else.
The funny thing is, all the bitching seems to boil down to some pretty petty complaints:
- I don't like the newfangled music in the stadium.
- I don't like the newfangled alternative uniforms, that still aren't half as garish as a lot of the ones I've seen (The two face helmet that ND wore comes to mind).
- I don't like having to pay more for being entertained.
- I don't like those pom-pom things.
Meanwhile, the legitimate benefits of this revenue increasing focus is discounted.
- Significant Football, Basketball, and Hockey stadium improvements.
- Promotion of a club LAX team to a full D1 LAX team.
- Payouts to retain high caliber coaching staffs.
- Increased support and resources for other olympic sports.
I just don't get it. Would people really prefer to go back to the old Chrsler and Yost arenas in order to get rid of seven nation army and alternative jerseys?
You're creating a false dichotomy. There's no reason our AD shouldn't be able to implement those positives without fucking with tradition and alienating much of the fanbase.
Downvoted before I finished reading sentence 2. Did not read further.
You're doing God's work, son.
There's a certain amount of arrogance you display when you imply that everyone thinking that DB has made some missteps with his branding campaign is a blind follower.
Not everyone who agrees with Brian falls at his feet. Sometimes people just share the same viewpoint; that doesn't mean they're sheep.
Your post seems to ignore that, on an issue by issue basis, people may agree and disagree with one another, even going so far as to form so-called consensus opinions, without invoking the bandwagon effect you seem to abhor. I like some of DB's decisions, and dislike others, for my own personal reaons. Some of those reasons are also articulated by the purveyor of this blog, but because people often share viewpions, assumptions, and processes (i.e. not for the reasons you think.). For example, I have disliked the increased presence of crappy pump-up music and unrecognizable uniforms in our most high-profile games. Personally, I think alternate uniforms should be worn in the least important games.
If you're in the minority, sometimes that just means that your opinion is less prevalent than those of the group at large. Doesn't mean everyone in the majority is playing follow the leader. It's lazy to brand the majority as sheep, because it disregards what might be a legitimate and justified weighty opinion in opposition to yours without any fairness of addressing the core of their ideas.
That having been said, your post was interesting and it's great to read everyone else's opinions on here.
The dinosaurs that don't want ANYTHING to change are gonna hate whatever he does regardless. Just something I accept.
I don't want Michigan's ADept, brand etc lagging behind everyone else and anchoring themselves to tradition. Tradition is the winged helmets, the M Club Banner, The Victors, Michigan Stadium, Maize and Blue and more.
Dave Brandon is doing nothing but trying to keep things fresh and make money.
Tradition is the winged helmets, the M Club Banner, The Victors, Michigan Stadium, Maize and Blue and more.
Why do you get to decide what "tradition" is? Seriously. I consider the jerseys to be "tradition." I consider "No Rawk Music" to be a tradition. I consider "ANYTHING BUT IN THE BIG HOUSE" to be a tradition. Where do I go to get those considered for tradition status?
This is the primary mistake I think Brandon has made. He has sacrificed at what HE considers to be the fringes of Michigan Tradition, but there are plenty of us who disagree.
Tyrannosaurus BiSB. Class of '05.
Why do you get to decide what tradition is?
Tradition is tradition. You shouldn't have to explain it.
I don't get to decide. Neither do you. Neither does Dave Brandon.
Tradition IS tradition... but if you think that makes it a discrete and discernible set, the contents of which are wholly and completely protected, and beyond which anything and everything should be subject to the whims of the moment, you're nuts.
Didn't miss it. But the inescapable implication of his statement was that there are things that must be protected, and there are things that are simply an "anchor" on the ship of progress. I was merely speaking up for the dinosaurs who want to point out that there are those things which, while not black-and-white untouchable, still help to comprise the tapestry of "tradition."
Such things may not be discarded without striking at the heart of that which comprises 'Michigan Tradition'. Just because a helmet has wings doesn't mean it comports with tradition, and just because people sing The Victors doesn't mean that everything is hunky dory.
Dave Brandon is doing a pretty good job of running the Athletic Department. Which is good, because that's his job. He's also doing a good job of making money, which, while not his job, is an important ancillary goal.
That doesn't mean that he hasn't done some painfully myopic things. He inherited a brand that, while imperfect, was INCREDIBLY powerful. And when you inherit a historic thing that has been built over the course of more than a century of work, it is hubris of the highest order to decide that it is your job to "create the future" by eschewing some of the tenets of that history.
Look no further than the days of RichRod (/ducks) (/peaks) (/ducks again). The guy suggested... ONE TIME... that he might give the #1 jersey to a defensive back. And people (myself included) wailed and gnashed our teeth over the failure to respect the traditions of the famed Michigan jersey. One guy, one jersey. And then we get this:
It's not just about the jerseys, but they are emblematic of a guy who is throwing up wallpaper in the Sistine Chapel in the name of making it better. Some changes are good. Some are bad. But he's moving at a ridicuous pace in an effort to reshape in his OWN image that which Yost, Crisler, Canham, and Schembechler built.
to be innovative and care what the public thinks. If DB were to take the Michigan fan base into account, nothing about Michigan would ever change. They don't care what WE think, we're already fans, read the blogs, buy the shit....they want thise who aren't fans to start buying the shit, going to games etc
They don't care what WE think, we're already fans, read the blogs, buy the shit....they want thise who aren't fans to start buying the shit, going to games etc
I hope... nay... PRAY that you are wrong, and I trust that you are. If you don't think that the opinions of your MOST devoted customers are important, I feel like Dave Brandon would slap you silly.
Tne pizza at the stadium is overpriced and less than delicious. Really if you don't want to look at your seat license as a donation, you're stupid not to just buy from a scalper(or stubhub). Our standard white jerseys remain pretty lame. Aside from this, I don't think he has missed the mark once.
I actually liked the UNIFORMZ at the State game last year. More than anything else they've tried to pull off before or since, including the UTL outfits. I think it was the white pants. The absence of color contrasted well with the excessive shoulder striping and the winged helmet in my opinion.
For a road uni, I don't mind it. Michigan has, unfortunately, a terrible record playing in the white pants, though.
is based on the assumption that, "Dave Brandon is an AD who understands that his role is to make the university money" But that's the problem. His job is not to make the university money. The university should not be making a concerted effort to make money. Its mission is to educate. Athletic opportunities fit well within that mission. Money is obviously necessary to sustain such opportunities, but profit is not. One could counter that athletic department profits, even when compromising tradition (which is important to a university's identity and reputation), are good because they are put back into the university to benefit all students. However, when our Athletic Director makes more than our President, I question if that is truly the case. Putting the dollar in front of tradition is unnecessary and disheartening.
Is the only part of the University concerned with making money, I don't think you've been involved with any part of the University. From having one of the highest paid public presidents in the country, to the Health System making cuts because they're not going to make a profit tis year, everyone cares about money. The rate of ticket price increase is laughable compared to tuition.
THAT'S something to get worked up about. All these people worried about football becoming something only for the rich; their outrage might be better pointed at the more greedy academics keeping education as something you have to have more and more money to obtain.
he has done anything agregious just yet. Some people don't like them, and i think there are plenty who do, may not speak up for fear or attack on here. He's marketing the school like it's a business, in a more progressive way. It seems liek the old marketing ploy was "its Michigan fergodsakes, that's all that needs to be said." and that may be true for those who already love Michigan, but it's not bad to bring in newer younger fans who may have nothing to do with the school or state. I know a number of people who are my age (32) and became Michigan fans because of the Fab Five. They weren't very "Michigan" at the time either. Maybe we should ave judgement for the long run and see how this turns out.
Of course, I think anyone with their head on straight has to acknowledge that Michigan has an extremely savvy businessman running the athletic department.
Whether or not people think that's a good thing...
...doesn't have much to do with David Brandon.
I think the dividing line comes between making money for the university vs. a problem with stressing profit while compromising other M elements.
Some people stand for the former, some for the latter.
I don't like bumblebee jerseys, but I do like bumblebees, and I bought an UTL jersey.
I like a lot of things and I don't like many other things.
This has been a declarative statement followed by the expression of personal preferences, concluded with an affirmation of the existence of ambiguous and subjective opinions.
for many of the reasons MGrowOld inadvertently listed, but let's face it: the single most important decision David Brandon will ever make is who to hire for HC of the football team. By that standard, Brandon's done his job very well. I think he handled the whole Practice-gate/NCAA investigation horseshit quite well, too.
I'm just an average alum—I'm not a donor or a season-ticket holder, so Brandon doesn't need to give a shit about what I might think or want, which is why I don't bother emailing my outrage at clowniformz or not taking the band or scheduling Appy St. etc. etc.
I'll be very curious to hear Cypress's reaction when DB introduces the mascot, though. I guarantee it's coming. Don't know when, but it will. I'm going to enjoy the shitstorm here when it does.
I mostly disagree with your statement that "his role is to make the university money." In fact, I believe that one of the problems with DB is that he shades too far in the this direction.
There may be a job description out there for the AD position. However, there are a number of factors I would include.
- The AD is responsible to oversee all athletic programs which are part of the university in a way that fits with and complies with the overall mission of the university.
- The AD is responsible to oversee coaches and facilities with the goal of seeing them be successful.
- The AD is responsible in oversight to maintain a balanced budget. The one caveat is that some capital expenditures need to be amortized over a significant period of time. (i.e., you can't pay for the stadium upgrades or the Basketball facility inside of one calendar year.)
The OP major flaw? Confusing profitability with a balanced budget. Profitability is the goal of a business. A balanced budget is the goal of a non-profit institution. I will grant that profit is better than loss. I will also grant that profit allows for expansion and growth.
My problem is when the AD sells out the culture of Michigan in order to maximize profitability. There was a link recently to an article by Bacon on the increasing cost of being a Michigan fan. Call me quaint, a dinosaur, whatever. But sports just aren't important enough to me to spend thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars. The professional sports industry is based on the notion that people will spend exactly these thousands to support their team. In my naivete, I like the idea of an "amateur" non-professional team. I refuse to be fleeced by the entire complex and industry.
I never had a problem with Michigan making money. After all, they have to pay for the facilities, for the utilities, for the scholarships, for the coach's salaries, for all the non-revenue sports. I get this, and I don't resent it. But for me, I think the straw that breaks the camel's back is the "seat license fee" for every last seat in Michigan stadium. Yes, I do feel that DB is whoring after money. And it just isn't worth it to me.
Now, full disclosure: I don't have cable TV. I don't go to lots of games. I am, in a word "cheap." But what is happening is pushing me even further away. I mean, when I was an undergrad in the 70's, season tickets were maybe $50 for 7 games? As a young alumni, I could afford a pair of season tickets to basketball. Those days are long, long gone.
I guess it is the world we live in, but I hate it when some bean counter is trying to figure out every last way to get every last dime out of my pocket. When I fly, being 6'3", my knees are tight against the seat in front of me. When I go to a game, I can't bring in a sealed water bottle.
What's next? Commandeering all the streets within a mile of the stadium to make sure there is no more free parking? For crying out loud, it's only a game. It's only a game.
I want to the AD to be wise, and for Michigan to be profitable. But I don't want to be gouged and taken advantage of. I am now at the place where that's how I feel. And it isn't worth it to me.
Stupid TL;DR of me. Simple summary: DB has gone too far in the goal of making money, and I don't like it.
I could not have said it better myself. Amen.
I have given you grief on occasion for some of your views and contributions, but I will also give you due credit.
This is, IMO, unequivically the best response in this thread.
Well said, sir. At what point is the amount of money grossed, fruitless? For a businessman, probably never. But for a university, an institution, serving the people? At some point exploiting the masses must hit a point where there's nothing left improve, and then what? The money goes elsewhere and it becomes a real exploitation. I too feel like the college sports industry takes advantage of the masses and more importantly, like SRK states, takes advantage of me.
I don't know. I'm asking all of you. Isn't that the central issue here? Is his job closer to Mary Sue's, or the president of the Detroit Lions?
It's a bit amazing that someone has to "defend" Dave Brandon to anyone. By pretty much any reasonable standard of evaluation, he has been fantastic. He has hired great individuals (e.g. Brady Hoke), taken on bold renovations, increased revenue for the administration, and has generally been seen internally as being very adamant about focusing on academics.
The only reason this ridiculous thread even exists is because Brian doesn't seem to grasp the very simple fact that the AD is a business. Do we all love tradition? Sure. But we also love competing with the best teams, and being able to drive enough profit to invest in other sports, cool infrastructure projects, and generally driving P&L improvements. I know it's tough for some of you to realize that it's not all about "Michigan Man huzzah", but that's the reality. He's done a pretty damn great job of balancing revenue and tradition, and has also seemed to listen when fans complain (e.g. marching band to Bama).
Most of the complaints that have been railed against DB on this blog are pretty asinine. Unfortunately, Brian is usually so spot-on and reasonable that people just tend to blindly latch onto anything he says. This is one instance where he is just obviously wrong.
"He's done a pretty damn great job of balancing revenue and tradition, and has also seemed to listen when fans complain (e.g. marching band to Bama)."
Exactly how has he done a good job of BALANCING revenue and tradition? It appears to me, that at every single impasse when forced to decide between potentially increased revenue or protecting tradition, Dave Brandon has chosen the former. In regards to the band to Dallas idea, I believe his hand was forced by a big donor or the donor paid for it himself.
Dave Brandon would burn the Little Brown Jug if he was allowed to fill it with gold first.
I agree with lots of things he has done, but why mess with the uniform so frequently? 6,000,000+ voters are probably wondering the same thing:
I guess I'm led to believe "kids" didn't take part in this.
So, I do believe you need to give credit where credit is due. Some areas where DB has done a good job:
- Hiring Brady Hoke as Football Coach.
- Providing the funding for Hoke to compete and pay for Assistant Coaches.
- Unified with the coaching staffs (i.e., no longer the in-fighting and backbiting happening when RR was at UM.)
- Following through with building upgrades begun under Bill Martin.
- Going beyond Bill Martin with a master plan for the entire athletic campus.
I believe that DB needs to be given credit for at least the above items.
There are several minor issues that bug a lot of people, but which while annoying, aren't critical to me.
- Dayglo / varied uniforms. While I like the traditional uniform, I realize that styles and fabrics change.
- Pop Evil "In the Big House" and other Michigan themed music. Music is too much a matter of personal taste, and you'll never make everyone happy. I can't get too exercised about this.
- Weddings in the Big House. Seems really tacky to me, but whatever. I guess, to a significant subset of the population, Michigan Stadium functions as their major house of worship and focus in life. I suppose it is emblamatic of them and of the culture for some to want to get married in the High Temple of Michigan Sports. But again, I can't fault DB for allowing this to happen.
My only major issue with DB is the sense that he is gouging fans in order to maximize profitability (see post above.) I think it is great for Michigan's athletic departments to operate in the black, and even to have a small surplus. But I fear that DB and the athletic programs have gone far, far beyond just being in the black.
Don't forget, he launched a D1 lacrosse program at a time when other schools (cough..Maryland...cough) are cutting back.
Dave Brandon is an AD who understands that his role is to make the university money, and he is one of the few who is honest enough to admit this.
Dave Brandon's job, as the athletic director, is to see to it that Michigan is set up to win as many games as possible in as many sports as possible.
PERIOD. EXCLAMATION POINT.
Not one trophy exists for having the most profitable athletic department. Not one award is handed out for the biggest bottom line on the balance sheet. We do not measure ourselves against Ohio State, Michigan State, Notre Dame, or any other school in the country by the number next to the dollar signs.
You have lost sight of the goal. You think the goal is making money. Ask yourself WHY this money is necessary. We need money because success costs money. Not because money is success. When you are set up to be successful, why do you need more money?
Tell me what prize, what award, what trophy, what prestige, what bragging rights come from having more money and I will rescind my downvote.
but, having more money, and building newer buildings are universally understood to help athletic departments be full of teams (both revenue and olympic) competiting for championships.
If there isn't any cash, then a school ends up like Maryland....broke, begging from the state for the money to pay for your head coach, AND shutting down 7 sports teams.
If there isn't any cash.....as if a well-managed Michigan athletic department is ever in danger of running out of cash, uniformz or not. This is not a choice between no cash and enough cash. This is a choice between more than enough cash and way more than enough cash. After you've built sparkling new facilities everywhere (which we're doing) and hired the best coaches you can find and paid them all very well (which we've done), what is left to do?
By the time you pay off the loans they need to be modernized or upgraded. Coaches salaries go up and up. Scholarship costs go up at a ridiculous rate. You're not doing the bare minimum of what's adequate. You're competing with Texas, Stanford, Notre Dame, Oregon who are spending to not just have good, but the best.
And it's kinda disturbing that you think his job isn't about money, but winning; with the education of student athletes no where in there. Priorities seem to be off everywhere.
...drop once all facilities have been modernized?
Let's put it this way: The Ohio Turnpike was only supposed to be a turnpike until the bonds for its construction got paid off. That was 57 years ago.
Will coaching salaries, tuition, and loan payment costs drop?
eventually drop.... yes. And that was my point. When the notes are paid off, will ticket prices drop?
The stadium renovations cost $226 million. Crisler renovations and player development center - $79 million. Yost improvements will cost $14 million.
Coaching salaries? If salaries are increasing at the same rate as those notes are being paid off, then we better be swimming in championships.........
....a surplus automatically needs to be put back into campus improvement projects that may not immediately be necessary.
Our coaches and players perform and practice with integrity. Hoke was the perfect hire - he believes and upholds Michigan tradition and has had more success than i could have hoped for in his first two years - with a brighter future. Beilein does the same and has brought our Basketball program to its prime.
Having alternate jerseys, hashtags on the 25 yard line, night games etc. doesn't change anything about the tradition of Michigan football and the level of respect that comes with that. It's important that Michigan blends both the traditional and modern sports landscape. Brandon is doing that.
Brandon isn't pushing special jerseys because "the kids like them" he's rolling them out because they make the school/atheletic department money. ......
You have the income statement line item to back that up, I assume?