Unverified Voracity Bought A Suit

Unverified Voracity Bought A Suit Comment Count

Brian June 27th, 2014 at 1:41 PM

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A veritable flood. Congrats to Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary, and Glenn Robinson III as they embark on their NBA careers. I'm not even going to linger on the fact that if the Pistons didn't get jumped in the draft order their shooting-desperate butts would have been sitting at #8, where Stauskas went to the Kings. I'm not going to just stand over here banging my head against the wall and moaning "whyyyyy."

I will take off my ratty, old Pistons hat and put my Michigan one on so I can be happy:

Morgan signed a free agent contract with the Timberwolves.

Meanwhile Caris LeVert is projected as a lottery pick next year. #welcometothefactory

It's not impossible. A pretty stunning counterpoint to Michigan's claims that their issues with selling tickets are everyone's issues:

Penn State's fan culture has remained that enthused through all of that. There's something to learn there. Or we could just keep hiring people from the Knicks with no clue about college sports or Michigan.

Keeping the band together. Michigan's three basketball assistants have signed contract extensions. Finally, someone spends money on something that they definitely should.

The other draft. The NHL Draft starts tonight; recruit Dylan Larkin is likely to go off the board in the first round, so there are a number of "here's this guy" articles. USA Today:

Larkin might be the safest pick because he's a gifted skater who could be a team's No. 2 center for 10 years.

"He is probably the most fluid skater in the draft," said Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting. "He has a powerful stride, and he is also an intelligent player."

Red Line Report has him going 16th to… sigh… Columbus.

The Washington Post also had an interesting piece about how college players are underrated relative to their draft positions:

Of the players drafted from 2006 to 2009, 14.7 percent of players from Major Junior have hit that benchmark [of 40 NHL games]; players from collegiate programs, on the other hand, have hit that mark 17.1 percent of the time. And those players from Major Junior are picked close to a round earlier on average than those playing in college (97th pick vs. 121th pick).

This is not a huge surprise. College players play in a tougher environment against older players, in which points translate more readily to higher levels:

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Despite this, college prospects are actually getting drafted less often even as the percentage of players in the NHL from the NCAA ranks hits all time highs—30 percent as of last year. Meanwhile:

A study of players selected in the NHL draft from 2000 to 2006 shows that an incredible 70 percent of U.S. college players taken in the first round went on to play at least 300 NHL games (100 or more games for goalies drafted in the first round) compared to 57 percent of all other players selected in the first round through the same time period.

There is a Moneyball opportunity here for any GM who isn't a neanderthal.

That's going well, then. Stewart Mandel's final take on the O'Bannon case: there was something there to argue, but instead the NCAA trotted out a bunch of empty overpaid suits. ESPN's Tom Farrey was willing to declare "Game Over" at halftime. Grantland's Charles Pierce titles his story simply "How It Ends."

Etc.: Michigan plans almost $350 million in construction. Here's a charming story about bird shit at Michigan. Why our brains cannot accept randomness.

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Unverified Voracity Has Legal Arguments

Unverified Voracity Has Legal Arguments Comment Count

Brian June 10th, 2014 at 11:19 AM

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so so fast

Not so fast. Incoming transfer Ty Isaac wants to play next year, and has at least some sort of case to do so. Is it enough? While we are talking about an insane organization that could do anything, the consensus is probably not.

"(The family health issue) has to be a debilitating injury," said John Infante, a former NCAA compliance officer who operates the popular "Bylaw Blog" for AthNet. "It doesn't have to be life-threatening, necessarily, but it would have to be something that prevented her from working or getting around, if it's a surgery for hearing loss, I'm not sure if that'll qualify, but it might."

And then the 100-mile thing kicks in. If Isaac was 109 miles away, you could probably fudge the difference. Michigan's distance from Peoria might be problematic.

From Michigan's perspective, moving Isaac a year behind Smith and Green is better for roster balance… but not so good for this year, when offensive production is critical for the perception of the program.

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O'Bannoning. The O'Bannon trial kicked off yesterday, and there were highlights. The NCAA wanted O'Bannon to know that a man he respected thought college athletes should not be paid.

It was determined that Noted Legal Scholar Bill Walton has a legally binding opinion and the case ended 15 minutes later with a comprehensive NCAA victory. : (

In case the previous sentence is not true, you may want to read about the issues addressed on day one of the trial. The NCAA is trying to show that the college experience is worth something, which I guess sure it is. How that relates to publicity rights and the law is… well, there's a reason Bill Walton is getting brought up.

In related news, the NCAA blinks in the Keller case, settling that for 20 million. They have again asserted that current student-athletes who receive a check for their likeness will not have their eligibility compromised, because that's ridiculous. As long as compensation for your likeness is mandated by a court after the fact, you can profit off of it.

"In no event do we consider this settlement pay for athletics performance."

It's just getting paid for something without having to sue they have problems with. Delightfully, the NCAA is going to try to argue that there is no market for college athlete's images after settling two lawsuits in which 60 million dollars have been issued in compensation for those images. Oh, and EA says they would have paid if they could have.

Also a prime NCAA argument: the ban on compensation is required for a level playing f

“If you’ve got a $6 million athletic budget, you shouldn’t be worrying about what I do,” [Washington president Michael] Young contends. “You’re never going to compete with us. We don’t recruit the same players. We don’t even play on the same field. It just doesn’t matter.”

Hm.

A potential factor. The student section is collapsing this year, and MLive has a potential reason why. Prices:

Ohio State -- $252 for 7 games
Penn State -- $218 for 7 games
Wisconsin -- $188 for 7 games
Iowa -- $175 for 7 games, $165 with future alumni group discount
Michigan State -- $175 for 7 games
Nebraska -- $166 for 7 games
Purdue -- $119 for 7 games
Illinois -- $99 for 7 games
Rutgers -- $99 for 6 games
Minnesota -- $90 for 7 games
Indiana -- $60 for 6 games
Maryland and Northwestern -- tickets free with full tuition and student fee payment

Michigan's is 50 bucks more than Ohio State; unlike Ohio State, Michigan is barely above .500 since 2007. And Ohio State has a big game or two on the schedule. Once again, Michael Proppe sounds like the adult:

"We did a survey for students while we were researching the general admission policy, we told them 'assume the price stayed the same, here's the schedule for next year, even if we went back to reserved seating, how many would renew their tickets?' I think it was about 68 percent who said they'd renew.

"(The drop) was pretty predictable, actually, even with going back to a more attractive ticket policy that a lot of people would drop their seats."

And about 68% renewed. It's kind of amazing that it's the student government that had to survey the students.

Brandon:

"What we want is the students who buy tickets to show up," Brandon said. "If what we've done is lost some of the students that really weren't interested in attending, if you're looking at the projected reduction in tickets, that's almost the equivalent of the no-show average we had (last year)."

The no-show rate is not going to go down much, as the kind of people who no-show games aren't the ones for whom three hundred bucks is kind of a big deal. Michael Proppe for athletic director.

Everybody into the pile. I thought Michigan's hockey roster was going to be crowded this fall. Now it's going to be jammed. Michigan picked up a commitment from Ann Arbor native Niko Porikos a couple days back. Porikos is a '93, which means he'll arrive at 21. Generally this is a sign of a gentleman who is destined to be a healthy scratch for most of his career, and… well, yeah, probably.

In Porikos's favor, defensemen do take time to develop, and given the state of the roster it's not like they need a guy to be a practice body.

Michigan has seven defensemen on the roster, plus incoming freshmen Sam Piazza and Cutler Martin. Porikos is number ten…

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

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Zach Werenski and what appears to be a Swedish ten-year old

Michigan has not quite acquired a commitment from U17 defenseman Zach Werenski. Poke a guy on twitter, or especially Mike Spath—who was way out ahead of the story but has to be careful for the same reasons Sam Webb does—and he'll say Werenski is going to be in Ann Arbor. They'll generally do this with an "ugh" because Werenski is kind of a big deal, a potential top ten draft pick, and they are Boston College fans who thought they were going to get him.

The thing is: he's a potential top ten draft pick in 2015, and Werenski is probably going to be playing for Michigan this fall. IE: dude is skipping his senior year of high school. Thus the "eh, maybe" aspect of this whole thing, where Spath drops hints for months and all the news comes from the BC side of things.

Adding Werenski would put Michigan at a whopping 11 defensemen, and while a few of them are not real threats to play (Spencer Hyman redshirted last year; Mike Szuma didn't get a game after playing most of his freshman year), I thought there was some Title IX-related reason that Michigan couldn't have a really big roster. Maybe not? Title IX compliance comes down to a court saying you are or are not, because the law is written pretty vaguely.

While we're on next year's hockey team, Dylan Larkin is ranked ninth by HockeyProspect.com. That's the highest I've seen, and while he's more likely to go in the 20s than the top ten it does seem at this point that he's likely to go in the first round unlike some of Michigan's recent projected first rounders (Compher, Merrill).

So it's come to this. I assume that Erin Lennon of the Daily has not been around too long, so let me gently suggest that this

…expect Porikos and Michigan’s underclassmen to play key roles in coach Red Berenson’s defensive-minded system.

…is more a product of sad circumstance than intent, and that if you insist on claiming that Red Berenson is some sort of trap aficionado I will become desolately sad.

It was football. Someone remind me next year when the European American Football Championships are on, because when Germany and Austria face off you get reverse passes and squat kickers doing the Manziel:

Turns out the Germans and the Austrians have some bad blood here, and that's all you really need.

Etc.: Graham Glasgow was driving a merry car indeed. The NCAA hasn't even bothered to investigate North Carolina. The NCAA would probably prefer it if Washington's president would stop saying things. Mathlete's Lego stadiums make Yahoo.

Sonny Vaccaro's long feud with the NCAA is culminating in the O'Bannon case. EVEN MORE O'BANNON. Stauskas preps for the draft. This headline sounds inflammatory but it's really not.

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War On Students Over: Students Win

War On Students Over: Students Win Comment Count

Brian February 20th, 2014 at 12:53 PM

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For a brief period a few years ago, there was some weirdo in the student section who would head up to the concessions at halftime, drop fifty bucks on hot dogs, return to his seat, wave his arms about, and chuck foil-clad meat missiles at the most enthusiastic folks around him. He was a hero. A couple games into this era, the students started a rhythmic chant for him.

"HOT. DOG. GUY."

"HOT. DOG. GUY."

This was fun! It was ours.

Michigan kicked him out of three consecutive games, until he stopped. Or stopped coming.

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It's time for another internet-wide fret about the kids and how they don't like the live football anymore, this one spawned by a Darren Rovell article. (I know, I know. This article is good and does not expose you to Rovell's personality.) In said article, there's the usual platter of disturbing stats…

Arizona sold 10,376 student season tickets this year. But 47.6 percent of those students, for an average game, didn't even show up.

This year, the University of Michigan drew the most fans of any school for the 16th year in a row. But 26 percent of students who paid for their tickets didn't show up at an average home game this season. That's an increase from 25 percent last year and 21 percent in 2011.

…fretful quotes…

"We have to solve this because we are talking about the season ticket-holders of tomorrow," said Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione. "But interests and attitudes are changing so rapidly it's not easy to quickly identify what we need to do."

…and the hope that having wifi will fix everything, which it won't. (But don't let that stop you.)

While this is a nationwide problem, Rovell's article touches on Michigan specifically in a couple spots. He talks to a reasonable-sounding Michigan senior:

"I've kind of accepted that I'm not getting reception in and around Michigan Stadium," [Adam] Stillman said. "The problem is in all the other areas. There's nothing to do while I'm waiting on line for an hour to get into the stadium, and there's little added value from being in the stands watching the game."

I was pro-general admission when it was announced, but if its goal was to get more students to the game on time, it is a failed policy. The slight increase in no-shows is worse than it looks—possibly much worse. 2012's home schedule had one attraction, Michigan State. The other games were against Air Force, UMass, Illinois, Northwestern, and a 4-8 Iowa. 2013 had a night game against Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State. The only games after the season took a turn for the grim in East Lansing were those Nebraska and OSU games. What is the no-show rate going to be next year? I'd be shocked if Michigan doesn't crack 30%.

Is there anything that can be done about this? I mean, you're just not going to reach the people I had to deal about ten years ago who would wander in during the second quarter smelling like an overturned truck of Jack Daniels. Those folks seem to be proliferating, and the only thing you can do is figure out ways to punish them and drive them away.

The university's attempts to rein in bad actors with first the validation program and then general admission have made it difficult to flip student tickets and then made them unattractive to non-students. Tickets remain cheap enough that a large chunk of the students don't care about wasting that money. The result is large pockets of empty seats.

It's time to end the war on crappy student fans

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Yes, some of these 18-year-olds are intolerable. But fighting them doesn't do anything for you. The main thing it does is make things worse for the 75% who do show up. Michigan has continually raised the bar on the students at the same time their interest level is dropping. The results are, in retrospect, predictable.

The alternative is to offer carrots instead of sticks. Michigan tried that with the "HAIL" program, which was a failure in year one, totally revamped in year two, and is probably two or three years away from being quietly assassinated in an alley. This is because it offers you a t-shirt; it was always an attempt to give the appearance of a carrot without spending any money.

The right move is to be good to your fans. Michigan has gotten continually worse. Blasting an ad—and yes, it is an ad—for renting out the stadium or exhorting people to follow you on twitter is unpleasant. Having to scream at the person next to you to be heard is the kind of thing that makes you walk out of a restaurant. Michigan does that at every available opportunity. Ever-increasing prices, hour-long waits to get into the stadium, ushers who kick you out for throwing marshmallows… all of these things are a drag on your future revenue base.

It's time to be less focused on the next quarter's budget and more focused on building an environment that will induct the next generation into your cult.

Instead, the athletic department is more concerned with policing behavior that they cannot change. The current generation of suits spent their days at Michigan buying tickets for their kegs and throwing toilet paper willy-nilly. These days, a weirdo who buys hot dogs at halftime and tosses them around the section gets kicked out.

Football is supposed to be fun, and it's not really that much fun these days. The athletic department took the initiative to stomp on every student tradition they found 1% threatening. Now the students have taken the initiative away from the athletic department by not caring anymore. They win.

I'm not sure trying to make Michigan athletics the most awesome place in the country to see a game is going to work, but it's clear that something has to change if this slide is going to be arrested. Being mean didn't work. Try being nice. Meaningfully.

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