Unverified Voracity Has Legal Arguments

Unverified Voracity Has Legal Arguments

Submitted by Brian on 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.

Mailbag: Funk As Gibson, Opt-In Student Tickets, Bag Man Rehash

Mailbag: Funk As Gibson, Opt-In Student Tickets, Bag Man Rehash

Submitted by Brian on April 17th, 2014 at 12:37 PM

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YOU'RE GONNA HAVE A BAD TIME

Brian:

You asked today “how Borges is Nuss?”   I think equally appropriate is “how Gibson is Funk?”  It seems to me that their respective backgrounds, personal ties to the HC and seeming invulnerability in the face of terrible performances on the field are quite similar.  And, my fear is that loyalty to Funk – like RR to Gibson before him – will ultimately lead the HC’s demise.

Do you agree?

Don

I am about to conjure forth a firestorm of controversy and despair. Be warned.

Gibson's miserableness is likely overstated. Back when everyone was like "this secondary is the worst secondary in the world" I went back and looked at WVU's passing D performances under Rodriguez and found that they were decent. Tony Gibson coached Ryan Mundy well enough to get him drafted by the NFL—something that did not seem in the cards when he was at Michigan. Tony Gibson is… possibly not a complete twit.

/rain of blood

/skies turn black

/rabbit graveyard sees rabbit corpses assemble itself into evil zombie rabbit voltron

He is obviously not great, as secondaries he has been around since tend to be disaster zones. But the things that made him look like a twit at Michigan are some of the same things afflicting Funk: his coordinator doesn't know what he's doing week to week and therefore his players don't know what they're doing, everyone is confused and miserable.

Then someone shoots the glass in your underwater research lab. When the structure is so broken there's only so much you can tell about which part of the rubble was marginally less sound than other parts of the rubble.

You are right that we can take a look at heuristics in an attempt to find out if there are reasons other than perceived competence that Funk is around. Funk does not appear to meet Good Ol' Boys standards. Whereas Gibson came up with Rodriguez all the way from Glenville State, Funk has bounced from coaching staff to coaching staff on his way up the ranks. Hoke hired him from Colorado State just before his last year at Ball State, whereupon the Cardinals rushed for nearly five yards a carry. San Diego State went from 115th(!) in yards per carry to 28th in the two years Funk was there. And he did rather well to start at Michigan before the full weight of Rodriguez's recruiting came to bear.

Funk's track record with Hoke is pretty good, and he is not a guy who has been around forever-forever. I'm not sure we're going to get much clarity about whether he's a good coach this year given the issues with personnel, but it's put up or shut up time no matter what.

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Brian,

I'm curious to hear your thoughts on using an opt-in system for student tickets. In my opinion, this would solve several problems. First, it would immediately reduce the number of empty seats by identifying non-attending students and allowing the University to resell their tickets. Second, it would condense the student section which--in the opinion of a recent alum (2006-2013)--would improve the stadium experience for students and, in turn, encourage more students to show up.

Under the system I envision, you would pay a fixed amount (approximating the price of season tickets) which gives you the right to opt-in to each individual home game for no additional fee. During the week leading up to each game you have the ability to "claim" your ticket online, up until some cut-off period. For example, maybe you have until 12:00am the night before the game.

If you don't claim the ticket by then, you cannot attend (I have mixed feelings about whether you should get some sort of small refund. maybe $5). Any unclaimed tickets would then be assigned the upper-most seats in the student section and  then be resold by the university the morning of the game. The students would have to be alerted, somehow, as to which rows of the student section have been resold and are no longer part of the general admission section.

There would also have to be some penalty for students who claim their ticket but are no-shows. For instance, if on two separate occasions you claim your ticket and don't show up, you lose your right to claim tickets for the rest of the season. Obviously the University would have to start tracking student attendence (maybe by putting the tickets on the MCards like in bball), but I dont imagine that would be difficult.

-FingerMustache

This is what Michigan did for basketball this year except presumably Michigan will not be overbooking the student section by 50%.

I'm opposed. A claim system does allow the university to sell seats that would otherwise be empty; it's a pain for people, though, and as part of my withdrawal from the field of the War On Students I'm in favor of making the process of going to games as easy as possible for everyone but especially the fickle next generation.

The question then becomes: how do you reward loyalty without annoying overhead? Michigan's revised student section policy is a major step forward:

By 2015, seat reservations will be based entirely on loyalty. Attendance points will be accumulated the following ways: each game attended is three points and arriving 30 minutes prior to kickoff earns an additional three points per game, for a total of six points per game.

Groups of up to 100 students can reserve seats together.

Groups get the average priority of everyone in them. That's simple and effective; it does not put any onus on the students except to show up early, and it was obviously concocted by the student government because I mean seriously the guys in suits have been trying to fix it and came up with HAIL and the world's worst GA policy. (I hope that my repeated rants on the subject had some influence there, but probably not.)

It's a step forward. Others can be taken. The new priority system does not solve one of the main reasons the student section ends up  looking empty: it is extremely difficult to flip tickets. The university decided it wanted full price for a student ticket not used by a student way back in the day and put a cumbersome validation process in place; if that was ditched most of those tickets not being used would get sold and deployed.

This brings back the unpleasant specter of the dudes I knew in college who bought tickets just to put them on eBay. I don't think that's going to be nearly the problem it was when student tickets cost $295 for the privilege of watching Penn State and nobody else. If Michigan's not capturing full value there they have to be close. Michigan should let tickets be sold normally while still scanning M-Cards for priority, and if you don't go to at least three games you no longer get to buy tickets.

Ugh. Capturing full value. I'm going to go take a shower now.

Brian,

What's your solution to the Bag Man?

I put up a post on this on Bag Man Day that was immediately stepped on by the Horford transfer; I wanted to expound on some questions I got in the mailbag and picked this guy's email from about a half dozen.

Part of college football's draw is amateurism; kids playing for education not money. Obviously this is all smoke and mirrors anymore, but it's hard to let go of that aspect of it (if for nothing other than nostalgia's sake). I have a passing interest in the NFL as compared to college football. There's just a sense of cynicism when everything is commercialized and athletes are getting paid big money to play a kid's game while the "rest of us" slave at work for crumbs. Here are some questions you may be able to give your opinion on assuming some sort of compensation is awarded to student athletes.

Shouldn't we just make college football a D-League or create one for those who want to skip college?

Is the draw amateurism or the fact that these guys are students like the other students? Amateurism proponents are quick to mention the Insane Dollar Value of their scholarship. Some even go so far as to include all the world-class training and such in their effort to portray the college athlete as already well-compensated. If they're successful in their arguments, don't they just defeat themselves? They're already being compensated. Now we're just discussing the price.

Might as well go all in and not try to walk some line between amateurism and professionalism right?

Walking a fine line is dumb but neither should we upset the entire apple cart if we can at all help it. College has a lot of good effects for players even if they're not getting engineering degrees, and with most of them headed for brief pro careers at best the current model does a lot of good for a lot of people. We've done a half-dozen events  with Carr-era players, and man they make you glad that college football is the way it is instead of being minor league baseball or the CHL.

Why stop at a fixed stipend? Should there be some kind of salary cap? If there is a stipend or other form of compensation, won't there still be bag men to get top recruits extra money to attend certain universities?

A stipend is only one way to approach it. The Olympic model is another. If the NCAA was to say "we won't pay you, but we don't mind if you get paid for your likeness" that sidesteps Title IX issues and mitigates bag-man issues. The difference between ten grand and zero dollars is a lot more compelling than 40 grand and 50 grand. While it'll still have some influence, other factors actually become more prominent.

I mean isn't this really just bidding wars for free agents that we see in pro sports?

Even if this is a negative, and I'm not sure it is, it is already happening.

Should all the athletes get the same wage and who decides the pay scale? Wouldn't there then be problems with different "salaries?"

We seem to have figured this out for everyone else in America. I don't understand why this is a particular issue for athletes.

Do "student athletes" also get a scholarship?

Yes. I mean, it's a perk that costs the university almost nothing and has great symbolic value.

Is competitive balance a casualty? Poorer and smaller schools certainly won't be able to afford top recruits, and maybe not even the stipend, so do we just have the same handful of teams who can  actually afford to be competitive and get national exposure, eliminate the "Cinderellas" and certain universities' football programs altogether?

Unless you can find a kid who chose the MAC over the Big Ten right now this is just the status quo.

I guess I just don't see a fix to an already broken system. There's a ton of money to be made and everybody wants a cut. Paying the athletes, which I'm not totally against and there are legitimate arguments for, isn't going to solve the problem entirely because the NCAA doesn't have any teeth to enforce their rules. Athletes will get a stipend but then there will still be bag men steering athletes to certain schools. In essence, they'll be getting paid twice.

-Anthony

There isn't a fix, other than dropping the Victorian-era approach to amateurism. Probably the most ludicrous regulation of all is that athletes can't sign with agents and maintain their eligibility. An agent! Someone who's job is to be an advocate and aid for your career, and you can't even say "you will be my agent" even without getting money and the NCAA yanks your eligibility. It's ridiculous.

Simply, the NCAA needs to look at the rules and decide which of them are even vaguely enforceable, then dump the rest.

War On Students Over: Students Win

War On Students Over: Students Win

Submitted by Brian on 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.

----------------------

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.

Unverified Voracity Is Probably Named Pappy

Unverified Voracity Is Probably Named Pappy

Submitted by Brian on May 17th, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Brace yourself. LSUFreek spent yesterday swapping rival coaches' hair. Paul Chryst/Dana Holgorsen:

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Aaand our local rivals:

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As Orson says, that makes Hoke look like a senator straight out of O Brother Where Art Thou.

Point Gene Smith. OSU's AD on the possibility of playing The Game at night.

"Are you crazy? What's wrong with you? It'll be noon. I have to be open to 3:30, but noon is my favorite time for that one."

Grudging respect meter: incremented.

Oh come on man. I'm gonna need some more detail on this($), Wyatt Shallman, before I agree this is a thing that actually happened:

In elementary school, he once caught a 10-pound bass using nothing more than a Spiderman fishing rod and a Lifesaver candy.

I wasn't born yesterday, Wyatt Shallman.

Goodbye, stupid o'clock bowl. The Big Ten has (likely) dumped the Insight.Chicken bowl in Arizona, not that Michigan ever showed up in it since any vaguely bowl-eligible Michigan program got snapped up as soon as the Big Ten bylaws allowed it and they were too far down the pecking order. I mean, that 7-5 outfit a couple of years ago got snapped up by the Outback.

For people looking for more variety in their bowl destinations, it's still grimly central Florida in the consolation prize area:

The Gator Bowl and Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl previously had rotated the No. 3 Big Ten selection after the Rose Bowl. The Holiday Bowl is expected to get the No. 3 Big Ten pick, after Capital One and Outback. The next Big Ten team could go to the Gator Bowl or Music City Bowl, depending on the year.

They've only managed to insert the Holiday in there and lessen the big ten presence in the Gator Bowl. Meh. The Pinstripe and Please Change The Name Of The Bowl In San Francisco are likely to be added, but again so far down the pecking order that it's unlikely Michigan is around when those bowls are picking. Also slightly alleviating the central Florida malaise is the Orange Bowl, which will get a Big Ten team at least three times over the next twelve years. In those years the ACC will send a team to the Citrus. Miami, while inconvenient to get to, is essentially its own insane tinpot country that is at least interesting.

More helpful than the bowl switch up is the Big Ten taking back some of their autonomy as far as who goes where:

"We'll probably be somewhere in between (a bowl committee) selection and a conference placement," Delany said after the league's athletic director meetings in Chicago. "So what we'll do is give a lot of conditions to each bowl, and they will have to get conference approval for the selection that they choose.

"The goal is going to be that we keep these games fresh and also that the bowls create the best possible lineup. I think there's been some fatigue."

So if fanbase X that's been to central Florida six straight years ends up in a big pile of approximately equal teams they'd probably ship 'em to the Holiday or Music City.

Also in annoying things, the Holiday will feature the #2 Pac-12 team against the #3 Big Ten team. The Big Ten has a couple extra teams, yeah, but with the road-ish nature of that game that should be an even 2-for-2 or 3-for-3 if it's going to be even in the long run. The Big Ten doesn't help perception of itself much when its quest for maximum dollars continually puts them at a disadvantage in bowl matchups.

Weird thing I just thought of in relation to all this: if we do get a Ten Year War II going on the Rose Bowl is going to be the consolation prize for the loser of The Game. Ew.

Are we dumping the only incompetent Germans? This is admittedly a bit of a stretch that Drake Harris would be the one guy who knows what Michigan's plans are in re: their apparel contract, but he's tweeted out "when we got back to Nike, I hope we get [appalling uniforms that prove seventeen year olds are blind and/or insane]" and responded to a guy asking him about it that he thinks it'll go down in two more years. That's not accurate according to Angelique Chengelis, though the door is going to be open:

Brandon on WTKA says 3.5 years left on Adidas contact. Will honor contract. And then....negotiations begin

It is possible that they're telling recruits they plan to switch in an effort to assure them they won't end up having to play skins in a critical conference game. There are many, many reasons to do this, from Adidas's uniformly (ha!) appalling alternates to the labor kerfuffle to the fact that the only incompetent Germans can't supply Michigan with non-tearaway uniforms or replacements for the tearaway ones.

Well, yeah. Brandon says the 2014 Penn State game will likely be at night:

"That's a good hunch," Brandon said when asked the likelihood of a Michigan-Penn State night game at Michigan Stadium. "I would expect that Penn State game would be a terrific game in early October to have as a night game against a Big Ten opponent."

…because the other three are Maryland, Indiana, and Minnesota. Dave sounds a little defensive, must be getting a lot of heat for the Worst Home Schedule Ever. At least he acknowledges it's a problem:

"Football can be pretty boring in September if you've got all your teams playing down to competition," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said. "It's boring for the fans at the stadium and it's boring on television. We don't want to be boring, so we want to strengthen the schedule."

Also in October and November when you're playing Rutgers and Maryland every week. My mind is still struggling to interpret those as football games instead of extra byes.

Chrome it up! Death comes for us all. YOLO. Synergy. Brandon:

Michigan ended last season by making a rare alteration to its winged helmet, adding a matte finish for the Outback Bowl. That theoretically could open the door for more changes, including a chrome helmet, which many teams already employ for their alternate looks.

The idea surely would ruffle feathers in some corners of the fan base. But Michigan has also shown a willingness to push the envelop during the Brandon era.

So, would he do it?

Brandon said he is reluctant to alter the helmet so drastically -- but added, "never say never."

He cites "some polling done," which… I mean it's already locked in your brain or it's not. Also he calls college football "the platform" at some point. I hope MBA programs know they're killing the language.

/buys even more Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork stock.

I'm with Dave here though. The MSA president, still as useless as ever:

"The students are upset to say the least, they feel that the athletic department broke its long-held social contract with the students," said Michael Proppe, Central Student Government president for the 2013-14 academic year.

Oh I see they've changed the name to something more evocative of Stalin to emphasize their extreme lack of power. Anyway. Ahem.

YOU broke the "long-held social contract," Michael Proppe, by not showing up. You and lots of other people. The deal was: you get cheap tickets, show up, and be loud. You have altered the deal. Pray Dave Brandon doesn't alter it any further.

Etc.: Oh goody: "dead is a strong word" for expansion. Big Ten ADs want seven wins to be the minimum for bowl eligibility. Rutgers' new AD was on the wrong end of a lawsuit about discriminating against pregnant women. Kicker: is a woman.

Yes please can we ignore the twitter losers with five followers who rant at players? Rick Reilly, world's most overpaid man. Hawaii goes back to "Rainbow Warriors." Thumbs up.

Sports On Earth's Matt Brown demolishes MSU. Ugh protected basketball rivalries, ugh. Denard profiled. Single plays suck in a 14 team conference.

Unverified Voracity Lives On As A Hat

Unverified Voracity Lives On As A Hat

Submitted by Brian on May 2nd, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Derrick-Walton-at-Michigan-OSU-Game-597x398[1]

Tim Hardaway's hat lives!

Erm, okay. ESPN's Paul Biancardi was tasked with finding sleepers outside of ESPN's top 25 players who would outperform the rankings, and struck upon Derrick Walton:

1. Derrick Walton, PG, Michigan
Final ESPN 100 rank: No. 30

… Walton, who will replace Burke and take the mantle as Michigan's point guard, has some similar traits to Burke as he is small, tough and competitive. Although we have Walton ranked No. 30, which is relatively high, he still has to fight for everything he earns -- which is what makes him special. Walton will lead the Wolverines and will have a wealth of talent around him with a mixture of scorers, size and a strong incoming freshman class coming in with him. Look for him to push the pace with a high-speed dribble and find teammates off penetration with his peripheral vision. Walton is battle tested and has played on the travel team circuit against some of the nation's best point guards and had his way. Don't be surprised to see him get more assists than points in any given game, yet he can also make big shots when his team needs them most. He is a clutch performer with the perfect mindset for his position. The opportunity is there for Walton; look for him to capitalize on it.

Then Reggie Rankin was tasked with doing so with recruiting classes outside the top ten and picked three of the next four, one of which happens to be M:

2. Michigan (No. 12 class)
The Wolverines have added three ESPN 100 prospects who are not only talented and will excel in John Beilein's system, but also who address some of the team's needs after losing Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the NBA. Derrick Walton is an excellent point guard who pushes the pace and can deliver the rock at high speeds or execute when the defense is set. Zak Irvin is a quick fix on the wing because of his size, athleticism and ability to flat-out get buckets with his aggressive approach on the offensive end of the floor. Power forward Mark Donnal is skilled and can finish in the paint or stretch the defense with his range to about 18 feet. This class will excel in Beilein's system because all three have the IQ and skills to make high-level plays. Expect this Michigan class to be an NCAA tournament mainstay as long as it is together.

These are not bold forays onto the limb, but they do say nice things about Michigan, and from two different people. I might have gone with Donnal as more of a sleeper than the #30 player in the class, since Donnal's headed for a perfect fit for Beilein's offense and could blow up into a huge matchup issue down the road.

BTW, ESPN moved Zak Irvin up to #22, their last five-star spot, and Walton rose 10-20 spots as well, IIRC. I told Seth this and he was bored, because this is always what Beilein recruits do.

Now do it with your arms behind your back. Devin Gardner hits Jeremy Gallon with his eyes closed:

No, Jeremy Gallon did not change his hair and severely reduce his resemblance to Snoop from the Wire. No he did not. Shush.

In other news, this bodes well for throws made when Gardner is sneezing next fall. You'll have to think up something other than a field made of cat hair, Mr. Dantonio, if you're going to boringly cackle your way to victory this fall.

He may be biased, but the numbers are going his way. Netflix's CEO talks up the future of TV and includes some numbers:

The number of consumers turning to Netflix and other online entertainment providers has taken even Wall Street by surprise. Netflix has 30 million U.S. subscribers, a bit more than HBO and about 9 million more than the nation’s biggest cable company, Comcast. Hastings audaciously projected Netflix’s audience to grow to as many as 90 million as it expands globally. Its revenue, which exceeded $1 billion for the first three months of 2013, was a record. Minutes after the figures were announced Monday, Netflix stock soared more than 23 percent.

Eventually this will turn into various streaming buckets of content you can take or leave as you please, thus undermining the Big Ten's desire to expand into areas that have a lot of people who don't really care to watch Rutgers and Maryland play.

You might have to turn in your card. Brandon on the ticket hike:

"We raised the ticket prices, but we wanted to make sure the ticket price increase was not at all perceived to be an opportunity for us to make more money off of the students," Brandon said. "The incremental revenue that comes from the student ticket price increase, we're going to contribute (that) to the rec sports program up on campus -- which has nothing to do with Michigan athletics, but it's a way that we can take those revenues and support something that will benefit all the students."

So… instead of letting the students who play rec sports pay for rec sports, everyone who wants a football ticket pays for rec sports? That doesn't seem particularly Repub—[POLITICAL CONTENT REDACTED].

He does make an assertion that maybe if the tickets are more expensive students will be more inclined to use them that seems plausible. As previously mentioned, I don't think that'll move the needle with many out-of-state students with money to burn. Meanwhile, any student will be able to buy tickets no matter how disinclined he or she is to use them:

Michigan has no plans to cut the size of its student section inside Michigan Stadium -- which is roughly 22,000 seats.

"Every student who wants to buy a ticket will have the opportunity to buy a ticket," Brandon said. "That hasn't changed, and that's the way it's always been."

That's the way it's always been? Dave Brandon used this as an argument in favor of something? I am going to go lie down and panic at the possibility I have fallen into the mirror universe.

On the other hand, the angle of the sun will be right. Thumbs up to this:

OSU's Gene Smith says he has also spoken to Michigan's David Brandon and there is a consensus that "The Game" should be played at noon.

That's the way it's always been? I guess?

Sometimes the burden of proof should be on you. Remember that Duke player who put down 30k in cash and got a 70k loan for some jewelry in 2009? This is how the investigation went:

NCAA: Jeweler guy. Do you want to talk to us?

Jeweler: No.

NCAA: What about you, Lance Thomas?

Thomas: No.

NCAA: Okay we're done here.

As a result, no violations, but much eyerolling. Just dump the amateurism business so no one has to care about Lance Thomas buying some jewelry. Not only is it immoral; it's also unenforceable. This is not a winner.

Speaking of, Patrick Hruby won't stop bombing the NCAA, and it's beautiful.

Between 1985 and 2010, they report, the average salary of head football coaches at 44 Division I schools increased by 750 percent, from $273,300 to $2,054,700. During the same period, the average salary of university presidents rose by 90 percent, while the average salary of full professors rose just 30 percent.

Which group is more essential to the collegiate educational mission?

The OBC is on board with paying guys. Go OBC.

Etc.: Talking with Derrick Walton. Penn State @ 5PM is good news for people making the trip. Brady Hoke : Charlie Weis : Lincoln : Kennedy. False. True.

Mailbag: Scrimmages, GA Strategy, Big WRs, Cute

Mailbag: Scrimmages, GA Strategy, Big WRs, Cute

Submitted by Brian on April 30th, 2013 at 12:21 PM

101709_SPT_UMvDelaware_MRM

this would have been far less awful to behold if it was officially an exhibition

brian,

i seem to remember that rodriguez had some idea about doing spring game scrimmage with d2 or d3 schools. after this year's boring spring game, is doing something like that becoming more appealing to either fans or dave brandon types? bring on slippery rock!

trppwlbrnID

RR's idea was actually to have a preseason game a la the NFL against a I-AA team to kick off the year a week early. It was his third-best idea ever, just behind inventing the zone read and recruiting Denard. I liked that idea for a lot of reasons:

  • More football.
  • …but of the sort that doesn't significantly increase injury risk since most starters will exit after a couple series.
  • Fewer bodybag games, nationwide.
  • An opportunity to have an interesting nonconference game along with ten conference games and still have seven home dates.

Excepting that one year the Mott Scrimmage was all punting drills I've happily paid near-game prices to watch Michigan practice. Maybe this makes me a freak. Even if it does, an annual exhibition game is more interesting stuff to watch because it gives teams an extra slot with which to schedule an actual opponent. If your objection is "you're adding more games and not paying these guys," I am with you on that.

That doesn't fix spring. Hoke has expressed a desire to have an actual game a la MSU, OSU, and ND, but he hasn't had the roster to do so—and neither did Rodriguez. Next year, you'd hope.

Dear Brian,

I'd like to hear your opinion as to what time you think students will need to show in order to get great sideline seats (sections 26-27, rows 30-50) for premium games like Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio in 2013. I'm a rising senior and I've shown up 45 minutes to an hour early for every game over the past three years, and up until this year's basketball season, I would have thought an hour would probably be enough time to secure a pretty good spot in GA football seating. But after showing up to the Ohio basketball game this year at 4:20 pm (9pm start time) and seeing that there were already 1500-2000 students ahead of me, I'm less optimistic about the situation. Ditto for the NCG viewing (by the time they started letting people in there were at least 4000 people in a line that stretched from Crisler all the way through the parking lot, around Keech, and up to Main).

For basketball, it seems like all of a sudden it has become "cool" to show up to premium games outrageously early even for fans who couldn't name a single player on the basketball team (seriously). It's about to become "cool" to show up to football games outrageously early too. I only see two semi-plausible arguments as to why the lines won't be as bad.

1. There's no clear border between good seats and bad seats for football. In basketball, there's a pretty big drop-off if you don't get in the Maize Rage, so there's a lot of pressure to get those first 500 spots.

I'm not so confident with this one. It's not as if we don't know where the good seats are in the football student section. People are going to want to be in the first 5 rows all around, as well as sections 26 and 27. Those will fill up fast. Show up less than three hours early for UTL or the Ohio game and you will be in the corner or the end zone.

2. There's pretty much no pre-gaming tradition for basketball games.
For this one, it seems to me like a pretty big assumption that all the people who were pre-gaming up until halfway through the first quarter will continue to do so now that there is a competition for seats. The game has been changed. People will go to great lengths to make sure they get better seats than everyone else at a marquee event. It confers a feeling of superiority, whether or not the person actually cares more about the event than everyone else.

Sincerely,
Alex

I guess it depends on what your definition of "good seats" is. Personally, I think you have to be nuts to want to sit in the first ten rows, especially in the endzone. The worst seats I ever had were on a trip to Iowa: temporary bleachers actually on the field. I had no idea what was going on most plays until I saw it on the replay boards. 

Others disagree; those will go quickly. From my experiences at other stadiums with GA student seating, if you're in the stadium 45 minutes before gametime you'll have your pick of seats outside the might-hug-Devin zone. I've been to plenty of Michigan State-Michigan games at Spartan Stadium where the student section is half-full 15 minutes before kickoff. When I went to the UGA-Tennessee game last year, Georgia students filed in at a desultory pace. The number of seats that are at least okay is an order of magnitude higher, so I do think that cliff you reference is a major control on fan insanity.

Another you don't mention is the average level of commitment of a football ticket holder versus a basketball or hockey one. Football has 10x the number of students that either of those sports do, and many of them get tickets not because they're hardcore sports fans but because it's part of the college experience to show up in the second quarter with HOTTT on your ass barely able to walk. (I was even more curmudgeonly about these people when I was in college, thank you very much.) A lot of people aren't going to care much about where they sit.

I'm confident that anyone who gets to the stadium when I do will be able to pick damn near any seat they want outside of the first ten rows. If Michigan's taking on OSU to go 12-0… I still think you're good, actually. If 50% of students aren't showing up on time, do they really care enough to secure better seats for themselves? By definition they don't really care about what they're watching. They're going to feel superior anyway. Their ass is HOTTT.

Brian,

I heard Hecklinski quoted as saying the speed in a WR is over-rated. Michigan's prototype now seems seems to be 6-3 strong WR with fair speed while OSU prototype is 5-11 inch burner. To me, I would rather have the burner. I do understand it is a different offense with need for blocking more important with pro style offense, but I cannot believe speed in a WR that you are hoping to stretch the field is unimportant in any offense.

Peter F

It's not necessarily the case that big receivers have to be slow. The fastest guys in the world seem about evenly split between outside receivers (Usain Bolt, for one) and slots. Michigan's brought in a couple of guys—Jehu Chesson and Drake Harris—that are both large and very fast. Most of the top receivers in any given year will be both large and fast, and Michigan will take those guys when they can get 'em.

When they can't, like most people most of the time, Michigan will take large over quick. Those guys stretch the defense in a different way: by being just too damn big for cornerbacks to consistently cover one-on-one. As long as they're quick enough to get on the right side of a cornerback, those midgets can have all the recovery speed they want, it's not going to help. Despite being just 6'1", Junior Hemingway was an excellent example of this style of deep threat. Notre Dame's been running them out for years: Michael Floyd—yeesh, that guy—Jeff Samardzija, hell, Tyler Eifert. None of those guys were close to burners, but they certainly stretched the field anyway.

Michigan does give something up in the quicks department by going this route. They're not going to be a great WR screen team. Al Borges is fine with this. He hates throwing behind the line of scrimmage. He also loves the deep ball. I mean, come on, this is Al Borges we're talking about, the offensive coordinator who wants to call a 30 yard pass every down.

Title: Dave Brandon run for Senate?

Me: Go away!
DB: "Go away?"
[DB laughs as I begin crying]
Me: I hate you, I hate you.
DB: Where would you be without me, dollar, dollar? I saved us! It was me! We survived because of me!
Me: [stops crying] Not anymore.
DB: What did you say?
Me: Hoke looks after us now. We don't need you anymore.
DB: What?
Me: Leave now, and never come back!
DB: No!
Me: Leave now, and never come back!
[DB screams in frustration]
Me: LEAVE! NOW! AND NEVER COME BACK!
[DB is silent]
Me: [looks around] We told him to go away... and away he goes, Precious! Gone, gone, gone! Michigan is free!

Sincerely,

Brian Hale

No comment.

Hey Brian,

It's been three and a half years since you posted a pic of my son as a 7 WEEK old in a post.

I made a "vine" of him Tuesday. He's keeping up with this "Mgoblog's biggest fan" moniker at the ripe old age of almost four.

Go Blue,

Rob Nakfoor

Your head might explode if you turn the sound on here.