Unverified Voracity Has An Anniversary Comment Count

Brian December 30th, 2015 at 1:07 PM

Happy anniversary. Today is one year out from Harbaugh.


Max Harbaugh. To commemorate the event, Harbaugh had a radio appearance on Stoney and Bill. He completed that radio appearance and then CALLED BACK IN to advocate having Wrestlemania at Michigan Stadium, where he could referee a match between Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan:

“Why not the Big House?” he said. “Why not? 140,000 – I bet we could get in there for Wrestlemania. They’re trying to break the attendance record at Jerry Jones’ stadium in Dallas. (There’s) a great Canadian presence in wrestling. Why not Michigan and the Big House?”

When a producer on the show suggested that Harbaugh participate as a referee in a Flair vs Hulk Hogan matchup, Harbaugh didn’t hesitate.

“I’m in,” he said.

The chances of that match are not great since Flair and Hogan are a combined billion years old and Hogan was dropped by WWE after tapes of him being racist-uncle-level racist were released as part of a lawsuit he's embroiled in. With Gawker, because of course.

But other than that, yeah, sure. Unfortunately it's too late for Michigan Stadium to get it this year, since last year it was in the 49ers' stadium and that symmetry would have been perfect. Screw you, Jed York! (Actually, thank you, Jed York. Thank you so much for all that you have done for Michigan athletics.)

Either way, AJ Williams is in.

And now let us reflect on the previous gentleman. The Washington Post has an article on ballooning costs for athletic department administrators. If that sounds like an article in which Dave Brandon features, you would be correct:

Last December, at a conference on the business of college sports, a panel discussion involving Michigan athletics executive Hunter Lochmann turned to the topic of paying players. Lochmann, according to media reports, expressed skepticism about whether players deserved any of the millions sponsors paid to have their logos seen during Michigan games.

“Those are fleeting, four-year relationships,” he said of the careers of Michigan athletes. “At Michigan, it’s the block ‘M’ that has the affinity and power globally, not [former Michigan quarterback] Denard Robinson.”

The response was interesting coming from Lochmann, a former longtime National Basketball Association marketing executive who himself had just a four-year relationship with college sports at that point. In 2014, Lochmann made $225,000 performing a job — chief marketing officer at Michigan athletics — that didn’t exist before 2010, when then-Michigan athletic director Brandon created the position, luring Lochmann from the New York Knicks.

Lochmann was not the only new face in Michigan athletics. Between 2004 and 2014, records show, the department added 77 new full-time positions, contributing to an administrative payroll surge from $14.7 million to $27.7 million.

That 89% increase considerably outpaces the national average of 69%—this is national trend that Brandon managed to beat out. The returns on those additional staff were nil, as by the end of Brandon's tenure the Big House was three-quarters full and the athletic department had suffered a never-ending series of PR gaffes culminating in the concussion fiasco. The article revisits Lochdogg a bit later:

Michigan’s front office has gotten a bit smaller since last year, however. A few weeks after Lochmann’s controversial comments about Michigan athletes — which sparked backlash from university alums, including some NFL players — the university announced that Lochmann had resigned to “pursue other opportunities.”

In the year since, Michigan athletics has not needed to fill the vacant chief marketing officer job.

Except insofar as Harbaugh fills that role.

Anyway. The article ably details the flood of money going somewhere. That is an increasing army of administrators and higher salaries for extant ones, because, and I quote this quote "We’re no different than any other corporation that wants its business to be successful.”

I can think of one way it is different.

Bobby Bowden and IU athletic director Fred Glass come off well, FWIW.

Florida things. Suspensions and early NFL draft announcements may indicate a Gators program that is not fully checked in at the moment. Four players have already announced they're out the door for the draft after the game. DE Alex McCalister was dismissed from the team a couple weeks ago. Three players, including a starting OT, have been suspended. That starting OT projects to be replaced by a true freshman, which would bring the number of first-year players starting along Florida's lines to four.

That's all good news for a Michigan team that ended the year with a bit of a thud.

Brian Cole mystery, resolved. If you follow the premium sites you've noticed a hard split on the first year of Brian Cole at Michigan. Cole disappeared from the field after a few games thanks to an injury and never returned. Rivals repeatedly asserted that he was deep in the doghouse and unlikely to ever emerge; Scout said he'd moved to safety and was doing well after an early Internal Matter. RJS helps clarify:

"B-Cole's at safety, he's been coming down and bringing a lot of havoc," senior linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone said Monday. "He's been good." …

"Everybody's getting some time to play, we've been doing a lot of scrimmaging with younger guys," Jenkins-Stone said. "Coach Harbaugh's putting people where he feels like they'll be best for the team.

"Coach Harbaugh feels like (Cole) can make that happen, and I'm pretty sure he'll be able to fill a void next year at safety."

0% chance Cole plays in the bowl game since he's got a medical redshirt coming, but good to hear that Michigan's top athlete from the 2015 class is not in the same boat Derrick Green is.

The boat Derrick Green is in. A fast one, going anywhere but Ann Arbor. Ty Isaac will stick around; multiple reports had him taking most of the first team reps before the OSU game.

A less dangerous Indiana. #CHAOSTEAM may be a bit less chaos-y next year thanks to departures. RB Jordan Howard and DT Darius Latham have declared for the draft. IU loses most of their OL and Nate Sudfeld. I find it hard to believe that Zander Diamont is going to replace Sudfeld's production. Kevin Wilson is pretty great at offense but all they have to do is take a half-step back and the chaos turns into something like the LSU-Texas Tech bowl game where it's close for a while and then whoops it's 42-20.

Etc.: Chris Wormley reiterates that he will return next year. At this point I think the only person we're waiting on is Willie Henry. IU guard James Blackmon has a knee injury of undisclosed severity. This is a good vine. Holy crap, Baylor. Three pointers are suddenly easy. Harbaugh Christmas.



December 30th, 2015 at 1:12 PM ^

that Henry might not return. Well now. That just modifies the anxiety level a bit. 


I hope Green departs and finds a better fit. I really want Isaac to make this work out. 


December 30th, 2015 at 11:55 PM ^

I think Isaac will start the opener next year, just a crazy feeling he is ready to go beast mode. I thought that would happen for OSU, but maybe Harbaugh will make that happen after making him sit over the offeason. Craziness. 


edit:  oops, was a response to below, quit drinking, going to bed. 


December 30th, 2015 at 1:19 PM ^

Brian Cole apeared in three games and has three years of eligiblity left even if he doesn't get a medical hardship waiver for this season.  He really was apparently hurt at one point, but now Michigan is making no effort to hide the fact that he's fully involved in practices.  Yet he'll presumably get his waiver.

Mario Ojemudia appeared in five games and has zero years of eligiblity left.  And he suffered a genuinely season-ending injury.  But he is not allowed to come back to try to show the NFL he's healthy and still improving as a player. 

This does not make sense. 


December 30th, 2015 at 3:41 PM ^

I'm happy to have Cole get his waiver.  I described his circumstances only to point out that Ojemudia lost out to an arbitrary rule.  Him losing the chance to make, say, $50k in the form of a free agent's signing bonus is bad.  Him playing four years plus fives games instead of three years plus five games would be neither good nor bad. 


December 30th, 2015 at 1:36 PM ^

that administrative payroll etc. increases in the Athletic Department are part of a general trend of increasing salaries and positions for University administrators, and so it's probably fair to see what happened in Brandon's AD as part of a broader process of administrative bloat that took place across the country but was particularly pronounced during Mary Sue Coleman's regime as president at the University of Michigan.

Since Brandon was Coleman's pick, it's not too surprising that similar things were happening in their respective areas of authority.

According to a letter written by some concerned UM faculty (and I'm quoting the MLive article because the open letter is apparently no longer online), 

  • "supplemental pay — in the form of administrative differentials, salary supplements, compensation for services unrelated to appointments and added duties differentials — grew by $33 million between 2004 and 2013, reaching $46 million." [If I'm reading that right, supplemental pay grew from $13 to $46 million in less than 10 years!]
  • "U-M's compensation rates for those officers are between 27 and 41 percent higher than the rates' of administrators at peer institutions such as Berkeley, Texas and Virginia"



December 30th, 2015 at 3:35 PM ^

Being an "administrator" in the upper reaches of public/private universities is a very fine thing.  They are shielded from almost all market forces with their massive donor bases, the 6-9% annual hike in tuitions, and influx of foreign students - many of which will pay any price to go to some of these schools.   In private business you are happy to get a 3% raise, and expanding workforce is a live vs die sitution over the long run - every hire neesd to in theory win a cost-benefit analysis that doesn't apply in the university business because you can jut raise prices nearly double digit a year.  And 95% of business outside Silicon Valley startups dont hire new staff at these rates and even those (many who fail) are shooting stars who peter out after 5-6 years except for rare cases.  It's a nice little ivory tower world.


December 30th, 2015 at 4:45 PM ^

Outside of sports, just administration in general at colleges has simply exploded in the last twenty years. There used to be more teachers at unversities than administrators, a situation that generally speaking was true for a couple hundred years, but that disappeared a few years back. Administrators far outnumber educators now. 


December 31st, 2015 at 11:10 AM ^

Like Healthcare in the United States, wherever you have customer base that (in the aggregate) is not particularly cost-sensitive, pricing is probably going to grow faster than inflation (whether its for profit or rolled back into the product/service offering in order to "compete" on the criteria that the customer does care about). Of course that is not sustainable forever, and it feels like the titantic is trying to turn to avoid the iceberg.  The idea of "value" for dollar in terms of college education was almost non-existent in the public conciousness prior to the recession of '08-'09, but today "spiraling college costs" are a widely known and accepted trend.

Further study on rising college costs is incomplete without taking a look at what former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is doing as President of Purdue University, where tuition is actually declining:



December 30th, 2015 at 2:49 PM ^

I feel like Briles has Baylor in the zone. They could solely run triple option and still go 10-2. They have been recruiting excellent speed and some massive fellas on the lines

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December 30th, 2015 at 3:28 PM ^

Texas Tech has a guy run for 300 yds, Fournette runs for 200+, Baylor runs for 600 as a team.  Damn this makes me more sad than usual about the state of our run game.