Warde Manuel Introductory Presser 1-29-16

Warde Manuel Introductory Presser 1-29-16 Comment Count

Adam Schnepp January 29th, 2016 at 3:37 PM


President Schlissel

Good morning everyone, and thank you for coming. Before today's very special announcement I want to acknowledge the University of Michigan Board of Regents. Their support, their dedicatio,n and their advice during this process was invaluable. Joining us today our region's Bernstein, Ilitch, Dietch, White, and Diggs, and I'm sure the others are busily at their day jobs and watching us on television.

I'm pleased to announce that I have selected Warde Manuel to serve as the next Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics at the University of Michigan. [/clapping.] My work here is now done. [/aughs.]

Warde will begin on March the 14th. Warde knows how to compete and succeed in the classroom and on the field. He is a three-time University of Michigan alumnus with a degree in general studies and a focus in psychology, a Masters in social work, and an MBA from our Ross School of Business. He was a University of Michigan student athlete in football and track and field and played under Bo Schembechler.

I want to thank interim A.D. Jim Hackett for his exemplary service to the athletic department and the University of Michigan. Jim, could you please stand up? [/clapping] For more than a year Jim served with a level of distinction and integrity befitting the University of Michigan's highest values. He accomplished a great deal in a very short time and leaves the department in wonderful shape. He brought us Coach Harbaugh, contract extensions for coaches John Beilein and Kim Barnes-Arico, a new apparel contract with Nike, and most importantly has upheld the high expectations we have for the academic, social, and community success of our student athletes on our 31 teams. Jim's willingness to assist with the A.D. search has helped me identify an outstanding successor.

In addition to him I also think the six other members of the search and advisory committee. I thank student government president Cooper Charlton for advice, and our search consultants Len Perna and Gene DeFillipo from Turnkey for their excellent work. We reached out and solicited broad community input and we set the bar high in our search for a permanent athletic director. We considered a large pool of outstanding candidates. Central criteria included a focus on the success and well-being of our student athletes in the classroom, in their sport, in the Ann Arbor community, and with respect to their health and safety; uncompromising integrity with an absolute commitment to play and win by the rules; competitiveness at the highest levels – at Michigan we strive for league and national championships, every team, every year; a passion for integrating athletics with the entirety of our campus community– we are at our best when our strengths as a university complement and enhance one another; respect and appreciation for the U of M's traditions, including the importance of athletics to our students, our alumni, and our fans. We were looking for an innovative but financially responsible steward for our self-supporting athletic department, and someone who can be a national voice for maintaining and enhancing the collegiate model of athletics.

Warde brings outstanding athletics experience to Michigan and embodies all of those characteristics and values. He has worked in our athletic department under former A.D. Bill Martin. Since then he has served as an A.D. at Buffalo and Connecticut, where his teams have won championships and dramatically improved classroom performance. Michigan athletics is celebrating its 150th anniversary this academic year and our University is gearing up to celebrate it's 200th birthday. Nowhere else are traditions of excellence in academics and athletics measured in centuries. The amazing accomplishments of our teams and student-athletes bring our community together in celebration of the values and success and we are known for worldwide: 56 team national championships, 307 individual national titles, 376 Big Ten championships, and 121 academic All-Americans. I have every confidence that our future will be even brighter, and Warde Manuel is the right individual to lead Michigan athletics into that future. Warde, on behalf of the Michigan family I welcome you, your wife Chrislan, and your family back to Ann Arbor. I look forward to working with you, and let me be the first to say to our next athletic director Go Blue.

[After THE JUMP: Manuel's remarks, in which I will butcher someone’s name and I apologize for that but I think he thanked the entire staff of the University and Google only gets you so far]


Unverified Voracity Advises Ponchos

Unverified Voracity Advises Ponchos Comment Count

Brian September 29th, 2015 at 12:08 PM

One year ago. Not quite today. But close:

The beginning of the end and the beginning of the rebirth. The Daily's Jake Lourim takes the opportunity to look at Jim Hackett's tenure:

Schlissel said student backlash went “beyond having a football team that didn’t achieve a record that met people’s expectations.”

“It was part of the issue, why people were anxious, but it wasn’t the main issue,” he told the Daily in September. “I think, what people felt was, football in particular and perhaps the other sports were becoming more distant from the campus. That they were becoming more of an enterprise and less of an activity. I think our non-athlete students … felt estranged — they felt like customers.

“I think we’ve gone a long way in the months since … to reset the way the Athletic Department views its role on the campus,” he added.

Schlissel is in charge of things for a reason.

Save a garbage bag, bring a poncho. The Maryland game is going to be in the vicinity of tropical storm Joaquin. How close is going to mean the difference between a nice night and seeing Jake Rudock hit in the face with a soaked, flying cat. Monday's storm track was looking pretty ominous for the football game; Tuesday's is less so:

The Monday track had the storm right off the coast of DC at 8 PM Saturday. Worth keeping an eye on still. A thunderous downpour would be advantage Maryland in the same way playing checkers instead of chess is advantage Borges:

So they've got that hypothetically going for them.

Whoops. When Vegas put out a Michigan –11.5 line for this game, I thought "that seems low." Maryland fans glumly asked if that was a first-quarter line. And sure enough, that line was pounded until it was pulled off the board and returned at M –14.5. Even now only a couple of books are offering a line at all, and the "consensus" is M –16.

A move that big suggests that Michigan and Maryland combine to break whatever models are used to set lines—possibly because the amount of deviation from preseason expectations for both overwhelmed them.

Mark Messner tribute. From Wolverine Historian:

Keep that anger inside where it can be used to hit people hard. The prospect of getting trash-talked by BYU is appealing. In my experience Mormons have the ability to turn an innocent word into the vilest thing you've ever heard with their intonation. When you don't swear the swears leak into the rest of your language; it's quite a trick. So when I wonder what might have made Jabrill Peppers mad on Saturday

For whatever reason, Michigan's redshirt freshman defensive back found himself on the receiving end of an unusual amount of trash talk Saturday early on against BYU.

He did his best to ignore it, and almost engaged once. But, ultimately, his pads prevailed.

And by the time Peppers wrapped up and, literally, tossed 6-foot-5, 225-pound receiver Terenn Houk out of bounds just before halftime, the talking had officially stopped.

"We play between the whistle, so I'll try to hurt you as much as I can between the whistle," Peppers said Monday. "Especially if you're jawing at me. ... (They were saying) things I can't repeat on camera.

"I just let my pads speak for me, that's how I react to that."

…I hope it's "I welcome this upcoming athletic contest" twisted into a pulsating black sphere of hate.

Also: Harbaugh banning trash talk is 1) amazingly hypocritical and 2) another anger factory. I don't want to hear about how this country "used to make things" when Jim Harbaugh is the world's #1 exporter of harsh feelings.


Side note. Who taunts Happy Fun Peppers? That seems just amazingly unwise.

It is your destiny. So my Hackett statue concept is that he's wearing the outfit he's got on in that shot of Harbaugh exiting the plane at Detroit Metro and he's got a microphone in one hand that he has just let go.

Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett agreed with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly on Saturday, speaking on Michigan's pregame radio show, saying he'd like to see the Wolverines and Fighting Irish resume their rivalry.

In fact, he believes it's "destined" to happen.

"Nothing has happened in that regard from my desk," Hackett said. "But the way I think about the Notre Dame thing is, that's a rivalry that should be restored and it's destined to have that happen.

"The challenge is making the schedules work. Because of television, because of the Big Ten having 14 teams. We've got to find holes in the schedule."

I think that would be a good statue.

Surprise! Larry Brown got hit by the NCAA with a suspension and SMU was banned from the postseason this year.

It turns out that SMU academic support was doing coursework for the players. Sun round, full of hot bits. Michigan travels to SMU on December 8th.

Five are in a dark black. Eighty are in a slightly darker black. PREPARE THYSELVES


ANN ARBOR -- Maryland will be sporting its "Black Ops" alternate uniforms when it hosts No. 22 Michigan on Saturday, according to InsideMDSports' Ahmed Ghafir.

Maryland is 0-2 while dressing in tactical garments, having lost by a combined score of 78-29. The Maryland football team is on the verge of seriously pissing off America's most dangerous special forces troops.

Spartan injuries. No information forthcoming:

Conklin is an OR on the most recent depth chart.

Hart profiled. Via the Daily:

“All I knew was, kind of, Michigan,” Hart said. “With Coach English, Lloyd — that’s the only way that we did things. And not bad things. But I needed to open my horizons.”

For Fleck, hiring Hart wasn’t a tough choice. Being Michigan’s all-time leading rusher bought him instant credibility with recruits, and Fleck had already been hearing rave reviews about Hart from prospects.

“(They said), ‘Mike Hart, I love Mike Hart.’ That’s what I continued to hear on the recruiting trail,” Fleck said.

Hurst profiled. Via Brendan Quinn:

But this isn't about who wasn't there and what hasn't been in Maurice Hurst Jr.'s life. This is about what's been there all along.

Nicole Page will board a flight tonight to watch her son play football.

"As long as I can see him a couple of times a month, I'm good," she says. "But it's still tough. I miss him all the time."

Uncharacteristically blunt. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has always come off as one of the smartest guys in college football's administrative class and his recent comments on the unionization drive the NRLB essentially punted on are going to prove prophetic, I bet:

“I’m glad the unionization process has cooled for right now,” Bowlsby said. “But the fact is — and it probably will be in the sport of men’s basketball — there will be a day in the future when the popcorn is popped, the TV cameras are there, the fans are in the stands and the team decides they’re not going to play. Mark my words. We will see that in the years ahead. We saw some of it for other reasons in the ’70s, but I really believe that we aren’t finished with the compensation issue or with the employee-vs.-student issue.”

The right combination of ornery dudes and it will happen. If the Fab Five happened today it would be them, for sure.

Bowlsby still comes from a point of view so blinkered that he's startled when a Big 12 athlete tells him that he feels like an employee, but at least he's able to accept that fact and start communicating why that is the case and what that means in the near future. So many NCAA administrators are busy trying to shore up a dike that's about to bust; Bowlsby is trying to whittle a canoe.

Etc.: Is that bad, Bret Bielema? Basketball depth is deep: how will they use it? This is not at all unreasonable. Harbaugh marriage advice is exactly what you'd expect. Texas fans have gone Falling Down on the reffing in the Oklahoma State game. Wheatley to Rose Bowl hall of fame. Top analytics articles. Mud Bowl on the rocks but apparently still a go.

Gameday with the MMB. Butch Jones is under fire.


Mailbag: Retaining Mattison, Coach Before AD, Hackett Long-Term, Braxton Transfer, Schlissel Concerns(?)

Mailbag: Retaining Mattison, Coach Before AD, Hackett Long-Term, Braxton Transfer, Schlissel Concerns(?) Comment Count

Brian November 14th, 2014 at 11:23 AM


Left: via Eric DeBoer. Right: ICE ICE BABY TOO COLD

Retaining Mattison?

Dear Brian,

It seems very clear that Hoke is gone at this point. Is there a scenario in which we could fire Hoke, but keep Mattison at DC? This is a top 25 team with a competent offense. I actually like Nuss too as I believe the playcalling has been good and Gardner just isn't executing, but he also seems as good as gone right?


It's rare for assistant coaches to be kept on after a head coaching change. OSU kept Luke Fickell, but they've devolved his responsibility repeatedly and their defense is not up to par with their offense. You get the sense he's mostly around for recruiting. Other than that I can't recall a coordinator-level assistant who survived their head man getting axed.

Making an exception for Mattison depends on a lot of things. For one, is he pissed off enough that he just retires? Mattison's pressers have been feisty, full-throated defenses of Brady Hoke over the last couple months. It's clear Hoke commands seriously loyalty from him, and it was expected he'd be retiring in the somewhat near future anyway. He would take some convincing to stay, and making that pitch is a delicate thing I'm not sure certain targets *cough*HARBAUGH*cough* would be good at.

Meanwhile, there's the question of how good this defense actually is. Yeah, they're seventh nationally in yards per game and 12th in yards per play. They've also faced a selection of completely horrible offenses. Yards per play rankings of Michigan power 5 opponents, out of 128:

  • PENN STATE: 121st
  • UTAH: 89th
  • MINNESOTA: 68th
  • INDIANA: 57th, but most of that is w/ Sudfeld
  • RUTGERS: 50th
  • NOTRE DAME: 38th

There are two teams in there that are better than average and if you take Indiana's QB situation into account (Indiana has averaged barely 200 yards a game since Diamont took over) there are three of the very worst teams in the country. #91 Maryland and… uh… #11 Ohio State are pending.

That plus Michigan's notoriously slow tempo means the advanced stats have a very different perspective on Michigan than raw ones. FEI has Michigan 35th(!) in the country, which is barely average in a schedule adjusted system. Michigan is 31st in S&P.

It's not hard to see why. They gave up 400 yards to Gary Nova, got plastered by David Cobb, and folded on the second drive in East Lansing against the one legitimately good offense they faced. The man press misstep was costly, and I don't have a lot of hope Michigan is going to throttle Ohio State.

So. Given that and the likelihood Mattison's going to call it quits sooner rather than later anyway, I wouldn't put a high priority on retaining him. It might be different if there was a guy on staff that looked like an heir apparent, but Mark Smith keeps getting bounced to other roles, Roy Manning is probably still too young, and Kurt Mallory was interviewing at I-AA schools last summer.

I don't see anyone sticking around after the transition except Manning, who's established himself a great recruiter and can go back to his natural LB spot. I still think Nussmeier's track record is an excellent one, especially in QB development, but it's going to be a hard sell to retain him after this year's performance.

[After the JUMP: AD hiring stuff, prez stuff.]


The Way Forward

The Way Forward Comment Count

Brian November 13th, 2014 at 3:16 PM


unguarded remarks

Our latest thing/apology cycle comes courtesy of the president, who told a large faculty meeting that he didn't really get it when it came to sports.

"We admit students who aren’t as qualified, and it’s probably the kids that we admit that can’t honestly, even with lots of help, do the amount of work and the quality of work it takes to make progression from year to year,” he said. “These past two years have gotten better, but before that, the graduation rates were terrible, with football somewhere in the 50s and 60s when our total six-year rate at the University is somewhere near 90 percent, so that’s a challenge.”

Schlissel said an individual’s academic deficiencies are often overlooked to fill competitive rosters.

And that's fine. It's fine that he said it, fine that people reacted to it, and fine that the next day the university issued the lawyered-up CYA statements that large organizations always do when someone does something remotely controversial.

The main disconnect here is the opposite of the "muggles" thing. Muggles supposes that student-athletes are a breed apart when I guarantee 99% of them would self-destruct in EECS 100, let alone that f-ing networks class. That's fine. Guys like that one hockey player in my EECS 380 are true marvels. That kind of dude is not nor should be required for universities to feel good about their big ol' sports programs.

Sports are a valid pursuit for someone in college. They are hard as hell.

College sport is a weird enterprise where people are admitted to a University because they have a particular skill, are expected to hone that skill upwards of 40 hours a week, and also get a meaningful degree in something totally unrelated. I do not think I would have done well at football practice after yet another f-ing night spent trying to convince the automated grader that I had in fact replicated TCP/IP precisely.

We have a model for this: music. Applicants to Michigan's School of Music have to submit a headshot, a resume, a "repertoire list", and submit to an audition. Also this:

Pre-screening recordings, portfolio, video interview, studio teacher preference, and/or writing samples required by your Department

SAT scores are not really that important. Music gets lumped in as an acceptable academic pursuit; sports do not. Music people get to go music and then get a liberal arts degree around it; sports for credit is ludicrous.

Why? Tradition and momentum. Sports started out as an extracurricular thing and the history of the NCAA has been a futile attempt to keep it from moving to its rightful place. I mean, scholarships used to be controversial.

The unfortunate thing is that football's towering media profile blots out the various other extracurricular-type activities that fulfill the same purpose. Poke a newspaper sports section in this country and you will find Daily grads crawling all over its staff. When I was in school some friends and I started the Every Three Weekly, and contemporary alums from that include this guy who writes movies and this lady who writes for Modern Family. They did not get their jobs by having a shiny GPA.

There are a number of professions out there in which chops are everything. These often follow models that boil down to "show me." Football is one of these things, along with any creative pursuit you care to name. A degree in it is a valid idea, and erases a bunch of the supposed hypocrisy that comes along with the model. You know, the stuff that causes some yob at the WSJ to lead off with this:

Who believes in the myth of big-time college sports anymore? The polite fantasy of the student-athlete playing gratefully for pride and tuition has been stripped away by an overwhelming financial reality that became too big and rich to ignore. The hypocrisies can be seen from outer space, and public opinion—not to mention the courts—are catching up.

The force of my eye-rolling threatens to detach my optic nerves. Over the past few years I have met many former players, and they are universally impressive. From Vincent Smith to Marlin Jackson to Brandon Williams to Todd Howard, all of these guys got out of the University of Michigan what they put into it: a ton. I bet some of them didn't pay too much attention to their grades because that is a reasonable thing to do when you are doing something as demanding as football. People do not have infinite reserves of energy, and their grades won't matter—even if they end up in something else. For history majors, GPA is a demonstration of effort. For athletes, that's assumed.

Universities would be better off saying "yes, this is weird but it is valid" instead of clutching their pearls. Michigan needs to take kids and prepare them for existence outside the university; in my experience they are terrific at this.

Let them graduate in their field, with a liberal arts distribution attached. Test them when they arrive and when they leave to make sure you're doing a good job of educating them. I'd much rather be affiliated with a university that takes kids with some academic questions and turns them into the guys I've met than one that snootily says "not you" because of things outside that kid's control.


Wednesday Presser 11-12-14: Brady Hoke

Wednesday Presser 11-12-14: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 12th, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Hoke presser 2


News bullets and other items:

  • Dennis Norfleet will play against Maryland
  • Derrick Green may or may not be back against Maryland. He, like Devin Gardner and Jake Butt, are getting healthier every day
  • President Schlissel called Hoke to apologize for his comments regarding academics and athletics. Hoke said that they recruit kids that fit the Michigan blueprint and that it’s not for everyone
  • Hoke said the Northwestern game was the offensive line’s best of the season
  • Nussmeier and Fred Jackson make the decision on which RB has the “hot hand,” and the decision can be made as early as the third series

Opening remarks:

“Thanks for coming out. Number one, yesterday we had a good chance with the players to look at the Northwestern film [and] make the corrections we need to make, but really emphasize the good things because really that's what you want to see are the good things. We've got to keep emphasizing those things. We practiced and it wasn't long but there was a lot of energy and a lot of good timing, and the one thing when you talk about bye weeks a little bit is the timing. You don't want to lose that part of it or if you need to get a little better you need to get a little better, especially in the pass game and all those things, so that was really productive.

“Start a little bit on Maryland today. I think the most exciting part of it is we are going to scrimmage some of the young guys against some who have played a little bit and those who haven't. We'll do about 30 minutes, probably 25 to 28 plays. When we do that we have to make sure it's going to help the team because those are your look teams going into the next week so I think it will be very good for us.

“Bye week again gives us a chance to rest some guys. I think getting Dennis [Norfleet]back will be very good for us. He'll be healthy. I think the health of Devin keeps – Gardner keeps improving and so in a lot of those guys there's a lot of guys who're just beat up a little bit. That's the way it is in football.

“The other thing is the president made some comments and I've talked to him. He called and apologized for his comments and I'm not going to speak for him. He put out whatever statements or interpretations that he needed to. We have always believed that this is truly an academic University. I was here for eight years before, as you all know, and I think the one thing you know being a former player and a coach is you only play so long and that's what this degree, a Michigan degree, is all about. And being the truly academic institution that it is, that degree will last forever so we take it very seriously. We try and recruit the best football players, the best student-athletes, and people that fit the blueprint here at Michigan. It's not for everybody because it is demanding and that's the way it should be.”


You kind of had the incident with Jake Butt. How much is he a work in progress on and off the field in terms of what he can be?

“I think Jake, he – from an athletic standpoint and all those things he continues to get healthier. He's one of those guys who another week, if we continue to do the right things with him… and the double edge sword is the timing of the routes and all that because you do want to rest guys so that they get a little healthier. I think he’s always developing and we are happy with his development.”
Have you seen the jerseys that his family where is when they come to games?
“I have not.”
Papa butt and headbutt and stuff like that. Have you seen him embrace that? He talks about getting teased about his last name.
“Yeah, he gets teased but… he gets teased.”
[After THE JUMP: We are grinders. It is stupid. Also some academic stuff.]


Mailbag: Dead Yet, Duderstadt Days Again, Turnaround Timeframe

Mailbag: Dead Yet, Duderstadt Days Again, Turnaround Timeframe Comment Count

Brian November 5th, 2014 at 11:51 AM


[Eric Upchurch]

Could he keep his job?

You can't twirl a dead cat anymore without hitting someone claiming, "if Brady Hoke wins out he could keep his job." If you ignore the fact that at no point has this team even competed with a competent team, there is still too much against him, right? If somehow the stars align and a UM team that was embarrassed in New Jersey can beat an OSU team that will probably be favored by 20+, Hoke is still gone, right?

I'm terrified that all this smoke about him still having a chance means there's fire. The last thing UM needs is to have Hoke Wayne Fontes his way into another chance. Pleases just tell me that a New AD means a new coach and I can enjoy watching Drake Johnson run roughshod over NW.

-Dylan [Ed: not that Dylan]

It's worse than that, actually: there are a number of people asserting crazy things about what happens if Michigan squeaks into a bowl game.

First, that is not likely. Michigan is a dog to a Northwestern team that just got blitzed by Iowa, and they'll probably be a slight favorite against Maryland before being a two-TD dog against OSU. Going to a bowl at all is a 30% proposition.

Even if Michigan finishes the season "strong" I can't imagine Hoke returning for a thousand reasons we've all seen. The major one is what happens to the season ticket base. It has to take a significant hit if Hoke's back, and with Brandon expanding his expenses even more rapidly than he expanded Michigan's revenue that could see Michigan dip into the red. That's not tenable.

Neither is Hoke. Without a miracle upset against Ohio State this year's resume consists of wins over some of the worst teams Division I has to offer and comprehensive blowouts against any team with a pulse. In year four, with an offense that is more experienced than Ohio State's.

Are we going back to the Duderstadt attitude?

What's up mgoblog,

I have read a lot about " be careful what you wish for" in terms of firing Dave. I think all football fans agree that we need to pay our coaches competitive salaries and Dave was on the same page.

It has been discussed most recently by Sam Webb that Schlissel has little interest in paying a coach top dollar.

Do you think there is some truth to this or do you think this is just speculation.

I am worried Michigan will hire a decent coach and be content with 8-4.

Mike V in CT.

I don't have much to go on in this department and I don't think many people know what's going on inside Schlissel's head. But: I seriously doubt that Schlissel is going to say anything to his athletic director about appropriate salaries as long as the department stays in the black. He's a doctor and a biology professor; he's going to look at numbers and do the thing that makes sense.

Since one of the best ways to keep the department in the black is to hire a real good football coach, I doubt a couple million a year is going to make or break M's ability to get the right guy.

If there's anything resembling a reconfiguring of priorities I would expect it comes in the academic component of the athletic department. That's something I forgot about in the previous mailbag when I was searching for good things Brandon did—under his watch Michigan pulled out of the Rodriguez transition APR disaster and graduated literally every senior FB player under Hoke. I don't think an emphasis on getting plausible students is going to have a ton of impact since Michigan is avoiding borderline guys already.

Michigan might scale back some of the more extravagant building projects for non-revenue sports, but I'm of the opinion that's a good thing. Palaces make some sense for the revenue sports because they, you know, generate revenue. (And those are all done anyway.) Adding permanent maintenance and debt service costs to the U's bottom line puts more stress on the fans to provide money and reduces Michigan's ability to get quality coaches in all sports.

[After THE JUMP: student attendance against Indiana, turnaround timeframe, WHYYYYY]


Unverified Voracity Gets Rehab Profile

Unverified Voracity Gets Rehab Profile Comment Count

Brian November 4th, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Basketball approaches. Save us, basketball.

Schlissel speaks. Mark Schlissel sat down with the Daily to talk about the future of the athletic department. Schlissel has mastered the executive's ability to talk without sending people running for the 72-point font, but there were some interesting bits in there. It seems like the timing here caught everyone off guard:

“I would imagine that we’ll begin the process of organizing a search in the coming weeks,” Schlissel said. “I can tell you with certainty I haven’t talked to anybody at all — no matter what you read in the media — about whether they’re interested in a permanent position here.”

It seems like the decision-making process was winding towards that mid-November date when things got accelerated. Not sure I like the overtones of "begin the process of organizing a search in the coming weeks." That sounds like an extended timeline, and Michigan has some pressing priorities.

Schlissel flat out admitted that the names being floated in the media are people he's "never heard of before," which again shows his refreshing ability to say "I don't know" but I hope doesn't extend to the Michigan guys—at this point you'd hope he had a handle on the Long/Manuel/Bates group. He also said the usual bit about how they're not going to focus exclusively on Michigan guys.

In a second article, Schlissel cited Brandon's resignation as a reason he couldn't say much about exactly what went down but did offer this:

"One thing I will say is I expect everybody who works at this public university to treat the public with respect,” Schlissel said. “That’s a sort of condition of working at this university.

“Everybody should be respectful to the public we serve.”

That's the general outline; I'll round up the AD chatter in a separate post.

A bit of a difference. Nebraska folk are looking at their schedule and that of various Big 12 teams and noticing that one is not like the other:

Let’s pretend that Nebraska stayed in the Big 12 and West Virginia never received an invitation. Let’s give NU the Mountaineers’ 2014 home conference schedule. Ready?





Kansas State

I don’t have enough exclamation points at my disposal for that list. I get pumped just thinking about it. That’s a schedule from paradise, full of teams with speed and skill (OK, not so much Kansas). Or maybe it just seems that way based on Nebraska’s rice-cake diet this fall. Ready? Are you sure?





I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Look at those two schedules. Look at 'em! The latter looks like an old catcher's mitt. It must be a sick joke, right?

This really hits home when you look at the basketball schedules: single-plays everywhere, even less balance than previously. Bleah. If the league was as responsive to legit criticisms as individual schools were, Delany would get run out of town on the same rail Brandon's on. But he's got that insulation.

Chaos in Bloomington. The last time things got so wild in central Indiana, Lucy left the barn door open and one of the cows got stuck in a police car. In the immediate aftermath of a freshman hitting one of his own teammates with a car, while intoxicated, Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson have been hit with four-game drug suspensions. That brings the number of IU players involved in drug-and-alcohol-related incidents up to 6.

And guess which newspaper just hired the human molotov cocktail that is Gregg Doyel?

Firing Crean for his team's fifth alcohol-related incident in a year could be expensive.He has a $12 million buyout this year unless he's fired "for cause." Would nearly 40 percent of his roster -- five of 13 scholarship players -- being cited for alcohol-related offenses count as "for cause"? A judge might have to decide, if it gets that far. But if a fifth IU player is cited, then that's where it should go. Because the coach overseeing that program, I don't care how much I like the guy, would have to go.

Yep. The Indy Star. Dan Dakich, meanwhile, went off on his radio show:

"Gregg Doyel was dead on. Indiana players, you're getting ready to get your coach fired... I love Indiana basketball down to my core. It's who I am. But not this crap...

"When did you fans become so soft, become so accepting of mediocrity, promotion and crap?"

Sounds kind of like a blogger there.

It's funny because we suck. If we did not suck it would be somewhat less funny.

Something like injury information. Gardner is not right and it's obvious; he limped around to finish the Penn State game and is still hobbled:

After a play broke down in the second half against Indiana, Michigan's fifth-year senior quarterback tucked the ball near the 50-yard line and took off.

His mind said go, but his sore ankle wouldn't let him. He ended up rushing for a first down, but it was obvious things have changed.

"(A year ago) I probably would've scored," Gardner smiled Monday. "But I got the first down, that's what the team needed, it kept the chains moving."

Let's just put that on the pile then. Soon we will ski down Mount Devin Gardner Problems.

Please? The Hoover Street Rag points out that fixing the current schedule imbalance in the Big Ten East is not a difficult thing as long as 1) MSU is also amenable to that change and 2) IU doesn't care:

Since Indiana is in the East, both Michigan and Michigan State play them every season. Fortutiously, Indiana played MSU at home and Michigan on the road this year. Therefore, all you have to do is flip the Indiana game from a home game to an away game and flip MSU from an away game to a home game. Everyone still ends up with the same number of home and away games, and the bottleneck is cleared.

Current 2016 Schedule
UM at MSU, at OSU, vs IU
MSU vs UM, vs OSU, at IU
OSU at MSU, vs UM, vs IU
IU vs MSU, at UM, at OSU

Proposed 2016 Schedule
UM vs MSU, at OSU, at IU
MSU at UM, vs OSU, vs IU
OSU at MSU, vs UM, vs IU
IU at MSU, vs UM, at OSU

Seems like all three programs in the MSU/OSU/M troika would prefer to have one at home and one on the road for balance and ticket sales reasons.

Alert! Alarm! The word from Boston:

Never! Mind! The word from Boston:

This is a big bowl of awkward.

Tommy Amaker is set to coach No. 12 seed Harvard against No. 5 seed Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday, and when the Crimson lose their next game, Amaker is gone. He’s Jacoby Ellsbury gone. Harvard’s loss will be Boston College’s gain.

BC hired Ohio coach Jim Christian instead. On the bright side for Shaughnessy, Jacoby Ellsbury was never found again.

Number one. Would you like a lot of quotes about Jim Hackett? Angelique has them for you:

"Number one, he's nice," Gilmour said. "Number two, thoughtful. Number three, clearly deep. … He is a thoughtful and organized person. And he may be the interim (athletic director) but he won't be a caretaker. He will be moving the athletic department ahead."

The Schiano rehabilitation project begins now. A long Pete Thamel piece on Peter Kings site finds Greg Schiano looking up at nothing in particular while exposing his teeth for reasons he doesn't understand.


I know that feeling of panic whenever someone points a camera at you and says "look like a human being," bro.

Anyway, Schiano makes breakfast, he is enamored with Urban Meyer's juice, he sings songs about chores to Red Hot Chili Peppers songs, he won't be an enormous Brandon to NFL scouts anymore, etc. Schiano's image was run through the woodchipper over his two years in Tampa and he's trying to be… well… that guy above instead of the guy who has his players go after people on a victory formation play.

(Also, what is that diagram? Is he demonstrating Notre Dame's last touchdown in 2011? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?)

Etc.: I was on Drew and Marc Friday talking about what happened and what's next. Hackett intro. Niyo on Hoke chatter. The Brandon timeline. Slate on the ouster. Drake Johnson breakdown.

2015 GA SG Jaylen Brown, the #1 kid nationally, will take a visit to Michigan. Ricky Doyle is going to be critical. Good think he doesn't look like a freshman physically.

Stuffing the Passer is now an animated comic strip, because of course it is.


President Schlissel Presser 10-31-14

President Schlissel Presser 10-31-14 Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 31st, 2014 at 9:29 PM



President Schlissel:

“Good afternoon everybody, and thank you for coming. This morning I accepted the resignation of Athletic Director David Brandon. Dave feels that it would be in the best interest of our student-athletes, the athletic department, and the University community if he moved on to other challenges and allowed the important work of the department and the University to continue without daily distractions. I agree with this decision.

“I’ve spoken regularly with Dave over the last few weeks and we both want what’s best for Michigan athletics, which is to be able to pursue the highest levels of excellence in all of our programs for our 931 student-athletes, and to advance the strong bond that athletics has helped the University foster with our students, our alumni, and our fans. I believe Dave has always had the best interest of the University of Michigan in his mind and in his heart. He is fiercely dedicated to all of our student-athletes regardless of their sport or background. During his nearly five years as Athletic Director he worked to ensure the well-being and the athletic and academic success with programs and facilities that helped them grow as individuals as well as teammates, and to succeed as students.

“For years Dave’s commitment to Michigan has touched many other parts of the University as well. He co-led the campaign that raised funds for the construction of the new C.S.Mott Children’s Hospital. He and his wife Jan personally donated $2 million for the creation of our neonatal intensive care unit. Dave has also provided support for the arts on campus, student scholarships, and many other academic and educational priorities. He served on the Board of Regents also from 1999-2006. Dave’s first connection to the University of Michigan was as a student-athlete himself when he played football under coach Schembechler and earned his undergraduate degree. There is no doubt that Dave loves the University of Michigan and wants to see us move forward and succeed. I thank him for his long service and life-long commitment to Michigan.

“I’ve appointed Jim Hackett as the Interim Director of Athletics. The interim appointment is effective immediately and will become formal with approval by the Board of Regents at their next meeting. Jim is a highly experienced and respected business leader, a man of integrity, and a devoted member of the Michigan community. He was a student-athlete and graduated from the U of M in 1977. In 1994 to 2013 he served as Chief Executive Officer of Steelcase Incorporated, the office furniture company based in Grand Rapids. He led the company in their transition from traditional manufacturing to an innovate global company and now brings that success and experience in heading a complex organization into his interim role here. I’m also very pleased with his interpersonal skills, his value system, and his long-standing commitment to serving the University. Jim is currently on the Board of Trustees at Northwestern Mutual Life and on the Boards of Directors at Ford Motor Company and Fifth Third Bancorp. Perhaps most importantly he serves on the Board of Advisors at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy and Life Sciences Institute.

“I am confident Jim will immediately begin the process of moving the department forward, including working closely with me to develop a plan to identify and recruit Michigan's next permanent athletic director.

“To our alumni and others in the Michigan family, I want you to know that we are working to establish the right balance between academics, the competitiveness of our athletic programs, the financial stability and the athletic traditions that we hold dear. To our students and student-athletes, I want you to know that the University of Michigan is behind you always. To our fans, I want you to know that we value your input, your support, and your spirit. Recent events have only reinforced my belief that it is important to listen and to engage in dialogue with all of our stakeholders.

“It is clear that Michigan athletics helps unite us as a community. It has an enormous reach that I've seen firsthand and the connections it fosters are deeply personal. These connections cross state and national borders, they spans decades, and they're shared across generations. The force that has this amazing power to join us together, the connective tissue if you will, is the heartstrings of the Michigan faithful.

“At a recent fireside chat with students, a student in the crowd further illustrated this point for me. She had lived in a major city in another state, but she could always count on hearing “Go Blue” when she walks down the street wearing her Michigan sweatshirt on a Saturday in the fall. Those moments, those uniquely Michigan moments, take place because of our unique sense of community. Before I turn things over to Jim I invite everyone in our community to help us as we begin a new chapter in the history of Michigan athletics. I hope we can join together as we move forward to preserve and enhance the qualities that make us truly special for the ultimate benefit of Michigan athletics, our students, and our great university. Thank you all very much and ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to introduce Jim Hackett.”

[More after THE JUMP]


President Schlissel Announces Dave Brandon's Resignation; Jim Hackett Named Interim AD

President Schlissel Announces Dave Brandon's Resignation; Jim Hackett Named Interim AD Comment Count

Ace October 31st, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Interim AD Jim Hackett speaks as President Mark Schlissel looks on. [Anbender/MGoBlog]

"This morning I accepted the resignation of athletic director David Brandon."

Adam will have the full—and lengthy—transcript of today's press conference up later, but U-M President Mark Schlissel's opening statement obviously contained the most important part. Brandon met with Schlissel on Wednesday to discuss his resignation, saying he thought it would be best for the student-athletes and the university if he stepped down; Schlissel agreed, saying it was best for the department to continue "without daily distractions."

Jim Hackett, incidentally a former M teammate of Brandon's, will take over as the interim athletic director effective immediately. Hackett served as the CEO of Steelcase from 1994 until February of this year; he currently sits on the Board of Advisors for both the School of Public Policy and the Life Sciences Institute.

The search for a permanent replacement will begin immediately; in the meantime, Schlissel made it clear that Hackett has the power to run the athletic department as he sees fit, including evaluating the football coaches, especially if a replacement isn't in place at the end of the season. Hackett mentioned Bo Schembechler and Gerald Ford as personal heroes of his, saying "both would be quite certain the future of Michigan is not in doubt."

When asked if he would be looking for a candidate with Michigan connections to permanently replace Brandon, Schlissel said that he simply wants "the best man for the job," adding that he'll take as long as necessary to find the right person. "I have excellence in mind," he said.

Terms of Brandon's resignation will be released later today, according to Schlissel. 

UPDATE: The terms of Brandon's resignation have been released. Full PDF file is here; the short version:

  • Brandon will receive $3 million over the next four years.
  • Michigan has the right to reduce his compensation should he take another job.
  • The University will pay the cost of COBRA for Brandon and his dependents' health benefits through June 30, 2015.
  • Brandon will retain two "Regents Emeritus" seats for football, men's basketball, and hockey.
  • Brandon retains the use of two company cars through the end of the year.

The rest is mostly legalese; here's the fun part of said legalese:



Unverified Voracity Has Pipes

Unverified Voracity Has Pipes Comment Count

Brian July 22nd, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Caris smash. Caris LeVert came to Michigan after a high school career spent as a mizzenmast. I'm saying he's thin, people. That's the joke. Or at least he was thin. This year's edition of Michigan basketball player is all swole now:


Yes yes, Irvin and Walton are also adding weight (Irvin's up to 215 from 200) but I be like dang Caris. Let's check in with his senior year of high school…


…during which he probably ripped off and reattached his arms nightly. Caris is also a legit 6'7" in shoes, so he is tall and large and is hopefully poised to rip it up this fall. 

Freshman dimensions. Basketball has posted a roster. It lists:

  • Kam Chatman at 6'7", 210
  • DJ Wilson at 6'9", 210
  • Ricky Doyle at 6'10", 250
  • Aubery Dawkins at 6'6", 190
  • and MAAR at 6'4", 200.

Doyle's weight is a positive. Michigan's going to need him to bang, and he's now the heaviest guy available—Donnal added ten pounds but only got to 240. Meanwhile, uncertainty about Max Bielfeldt's status for next year is all but gone: they've ceased listing him as a redshirt junior and now have him as a senior.

Fireworks nyet. I'll have a column type thing about this tomorrow, but to recap the most important completely trivial news of the week: the Michigan regents shot down the athletic departments proposed fireworks for the Miami (NTM) and Penn State games despite separating the votes. Mark Bernstein's criticism was the most pointed:

“We are not Comerica Park, Disney World or a circus ... ” Bernstein said. “I love Michigan football for what it is ... and for what it is not. It remains and should be an experience, a place that resists the excesses of our culture; intentionally simple.

“The fireworks should be on the field, not above it.”

I probably wouldn't have gone with "resists the excesses of our culture" but the overall sentiment is one I can get behind. Mostly I just want Michigan to be like itself, to maintain a separation from other options. Not because those are necessarily worse*, but because a bright line between Them and Us is inherently valuable when you're trying to gin up some fake-ass tribalism.

This is the most fundamental divide between myself and Dave Brandon: he wants to copy the Best In Class Leaders because that's the only thing he's ever been able to do. He could no more start a business than I could be athletic director, because every attempt would be Chipotle 2 or Also Applebees or Pretty Much Still Ponderosa. His one strategy for success is to do the thing that everyone else is doing.

Anyway. The new president is being carefully neutral about the whole situation

“Personally, I didn’t have an opinion,” Dr. Mark Schlissel, who started his job this week, said Friday during a press conference with the media. “Having never attended a game there, I didn’t have a sense of the cultural aspects of it. The band marching out, I’ve never seen. I’ve never seen them at a halftime show. I don’t have context to really say whether fireworks matter or not. I didn’t really feel like I had a valid opinion.”

…but the message sent by the regents is clear. This is an organization that has just been sued because they decide things in private meetings and show up to vote things in unanimously. During the 116 votes previous to the fireworks there were eight instances of a regent voting no. Brandon just exceeded that in a single day.

The opportunity here was to provide a vote of no confidence without shooting something down that's actually important, like the budget. I mentioned that I thought a number of people towards the top were discontent but unlikely to do anything about it in the most recent mailbag; I must have underestimated the disdain.

Is this the beginning of the end? I'm not getting my hopes up just yet.

*[They are of course sometimes worse.]

Back on the market. Onetime Michigan target and temporary SMU commit Matt McQuaid, a shooting guard out of Texas, has reopened his recruitment.

For a second there it looked like McQuaid was very serious about Michigan, so I wouldn't be surprised to see the two parties reconnect. Everyone seems like a backup plan for Jalen Coleman at the moment, but if Coleman does do the weird thing and pick a Notre Dame program that hasn't really gotten off the ground under Mike Brey, Michigan wants to make sure they've got options. McQuaid is a pretty good one:

McQuaid is arguably the best shooter in the class of 2015 -- and he strengthened his case last week at the LeBron James Skills Academy, when he shot lights-out from 3-point range against the best high school players in the country. There were at least two games in Las Vegas where I didn't see McQuaid miss an outside shot. He can make shots from deep and is also capable of knocking down contested shots.

He's 6'5", so visions of Stauskas are dancing in various heads right now.

Old stuff. Wolverine Historian takes on 1986 Iowa:

Straight shooter. I may disagree with a lot of what Bob Bowlsby thinks but I can appreciate that he's not Bill Hancock:

"Enforcement is broken," he said. "The infractions committee hasn't had [an FBS] hearing in almost a year, and I think it's not an understatement to say cheating pays presently. If you seek to conspire to certainly bend the rules, you can do it successfully and probably not get caught in most occasions."

He probably thinks it's possible to fix that, and that's where we differ. I do wish someone in attendance at Big 12 media days had heard this…

"It is hard to justify paying student-athletes in football and men's basketball and not recognizing the significant effort that swimmers and wrestlers and lacrosse players and track athletes all put in," he said. "Football and basketball players don't work any harder than anybody else; they just happen to have the blessing of an adoring public who is willing to pay for the tickets and willing to buy the products on television that come with the high visibility."

…and asked Bowlsby how much harder he was working than the assembled press corps.

Etc.: Scouting Tyus Battle, Jalen Coleman, and Prince Ali at the Peach Jam. The Game will not be at night, because frostbite. CJ Lee looks back at his time at Michigan after taking an assistant spot at Marist. A preview of the band programs this year. I'm not enthralled with the idea of trying the sing-along thing again. Peppers and Funchess feature amongst the most watchable players this year.

I like lists of sports memories that include bad stuff, because bad stuff happens. So props to the Daily Gopher for including Mike Legg (and Holy Cross) on their list of Gopher hockey moments.