Band Not Going To Dallas

Submitted by Brian on April 19th, 2012 at 4:45 PM


Dave Brandon creates the future: the tag: the picture

The Michigan Marching Band has been informed that they won't be going to Dallas, presumably because it puts a dent in the pile of money Michigan will get by selling a home game. Sorry, people who bought tickets. Yes, seats for the band are in the contract. Yes, you've been duped. No, you can't get a refund unless you pay $500 to get on the refund waiting list.

Think about that as you look at a home schedule on which Michigan State is the featured attraction. Dave Brandon couldn't even get the Nebraska game to not be on the road in the same year OSU and ND are. He sold a home game to Jerry Jones because it sounded like a lot of money, then we found out that because the minimum ticket price was $125 he could have scheduled a home and home instead. Jerry Jones is probably laughing his ass off somewhere.

Anyway. I think we should start a Dave Brandon for Governor fund. I'd vote for him! With no ulterior motives whatsoever! #DB4MGov!



April 19th, 2012 at 8:27 PM ^

It's annoying, it's stupid, and you need to get over yourself. Look at the Internet pre and post MGoBlog.

Does Brian's opinion about Brandon deserve to get mentioned or discussed? Sure. But why be a total dick to a man that has done GREAT things for the Internet?

Quit whining. Quit being so emo. Quit exaggerating dumb shit to get upset over.

Or do... it's your comment.


April 19th, 2012 at 10:45 PM ^

Agreed Mr. Yost.

People can't just point to the surplus in the budget and say use that. The Athletic Dept may run a surplus each year but DB still has a budget to manage and will have to answer to MSC and the regents if he doesn't meet it. I am sure that surplus is already allocated to something for the future or pegged to contribute to the university's endowment.


April 19th, 2012 at 8:20 PM ^

There has to be more to the story than DB doing this because he's evil. I'm thinking that this game in Dallas isn't as good of a deal financially as they thought. Dave Brandon was probably given a dollar amount that couldn't be exceeded and when he asked for more $ Mary Sue laughed. Especially after the contract goergous Borges just received. Maybe a rich alum will offer to pay the travel expenses for the band. If the band doesn't go will they just play a recording of the victors over the loud speakers?


April 19th, 2012 at 8:24 PM ^

Per Angelique's Twitter:

"Spoke to Dave Brandon re: MMB. Said it would cost $400K to transport band (private charters), twice the cost of transporting team to Texas"

Brandon re: MMB: . "I would love to have the band there, but the cost is beyond what we can afford" said the $4.7 payout must go to ADept

Brandon is aware of the (YOUR) outrage: "I'm no happier not having our band down there than anyone else, but it's a practical reality."


Of course the Athletic Department can't afford the $400K to send the band to Jerryworld.  I mean, they're only expecting an $11.38 MILLION surplus for 2012...

And sorry, folks, but a $10.98 MILLION surplus ain't gonna cut it!


April 20th, 2012 at 12:05 AM ^


"I'm no happier not having our band down there than anyone else, but it's a practical reality."
Um, didn't this "practical reality" exist when this game was first announced?  Why announce it now?  Why have a clause in the contract for seating for the band in the first place?
What changed?  Was it decided just this month to save costs by not bringing the band and maybe make a little extra revenue selling their seats as well?  
Or were the proletariat never going to be allowed to go in the first place, but were not deemed important enough to get around to telling them that until just now?


April 19th, 2012 at 8:47 PM ^

make sense.  It costs money, we can't do it.  The money they give us has to go to us.  We're (apparently) not allowed to give our own money to the MMB becasue we can't?   It's not like they can't afford to front 400k then get it back from Jerry World in the pay-out.

If he was "no happier not having our band down there than anyone else", I feel like he would be less calling the band not going a "practical reality" and more "we're looking for other ways/methods of funding" something that opens the door and not just "too bad, so sad, I'm really chewed up about it too, oh drat.  This is very, very sad."

Bando Calrissian

April 19th, 2012 at 9:11 PM ^

He says that as if it's a surprise.

MMB on a bowl-sized roster is about, what, 250-60 students, about, what, 10 or 15 staff? Let's say about 280-5 total people.

The team is, what, 110 guys? Say about 75 coaches and managers and such? A little less than 200 people before you factor in extraneous Athletics folk, families, Schembechler Hall personnel...

So of course it's more to take a larger group of people. It's as if simple math is suddenly a case of sticker shock. They deal with MMB travel calculations every year for bowl trips, it's not like this is an unknown entity. And this might even be advantageous to bowl costs,as it's more notice to set up flights, there's a bigger payout to work with than most bowls, and no need to work around busy holiday travel traffic.

So what is the real reason?


April 19th, 2012 at 9:35 PM ^

Let's think this through....

At this point, M gets no additional revenue by bringing the band. It's just an expense. The benefit to UM comes through exposure of the band to a non-B10 audience. But is this the best venue? Let's face it, as band insiders, admit that the band is not very good the first few weeks of the season. They pretty much suck until week 3-4. All band officianados know this to be true. By Band-o-Rama the band is world class. Not in week 1.

If you're going to maximize the value of the band, Mr. Brandon, pocket the money and bring the Band to Nebraska. Embarrass Nebraska's grossly inferior band with the MMB at its prime in a game that does mean more.

That makes more sense than going to Dallas.

If it were up to me, I'd send the band to every game. But let's argue for the next realistic step in the right direction.

M Fanfare

April 20th, 2012 at 12:52 AM ^

On the contrary, Week 1 is usually one of the MMB's better performances of the year since that show gets vastly more rehearsal time than the rest of the halftime shows do. A standard one-week halftime show (when there are back-to-back home games the band only gets one week to put a new show on the field) is put on the field in about 9 to 10 hours of total rehearsal time. During Band Week, that 9 to 10 hours is just a little over one day's worth of rehearsal time.


April 20th, 2012 at 1:56 AM ^

That's like saying the team is at its best the first game of the year because it's had all spring and summer to prepare for that opponent.

To a lesser extent, certainly, (but the analogy still holds) the band is a progressively better unit each week. You have kids of all different talent levels, from all different high school marching styles, many of whom are petrified to be in front of 100k+ for the first time, putting on a show after only a week and a half or so together. Many of them are still trying to learn how to high step eight-to-five and play at the same time when it's time for "entry lines at the mouth of the tunnel."
I would wager any sum that never in the history of the MMB has the first show, pregame and halftime, of the season been one of the year's three best.


April 19th, 2012 at 10:44 PM ^


It's not that the band is needed for road trips.  They're not.

It's not that the band is cheap to move.  They're not.  In addition to a large squad of about 250 members, they cart around an awful lot of large, fragile and expensive instruments.  A bunch of sousaphones are more problematic than pads, which you can basically toss around in bags as they're designed to take hits.  No one is saying they're a cheap date.

It's not that the band travels a lot.  They don't.  1-2 road trips a year, by bus.

It's not that this is even remotely typical for a band trip.  It's quite exceptional they even considered it.

It's that this trip was planned as far as contracting seats for the band, and now suddenly out of the effin' blue, DB is behaving as if he's shocked about costs the band incurs EVERY EFFIN' YEAR IN BOWL GAMES.  This is a goddamn budget line item that would've taken fifteen seconds on the phone with the AD accountant to verify and this guy -- who ran a business for crying out loud -- is yanking the plug like it's Hurricane Katrina.  Because of. . . what?  He's shocked, shocked that the band (gasp!) costs money to travel -- just like it has for every single bowl game they've marched in??

Let me be clear:  If there was never a plan to send the band in the first place, there'd be zero outrage.  The issue is that actually planning to send the band, once you commit to it, is a good, popular idea and we all kinda thought he'd figured the cost to send them to Dallas because, you know, we figured a guy who ran a company and hired Hoke would not be retarded.  If we're allowed to keep that underlying assumption in place, he has zero excuse to act all shocked and change his mind about it.  It's not a money problem; the AD has a huge surplus.  It's not a surprise, as the MMB has been to many bowl games.  It's not any problem other than I some inexplicable I don't know what the hell is going on, like the Alabama drum major has compromising pictures of DB in a hotel room with a ruminant or something.

There was zero justifiable reason to cancel this plan.  It's like parents scheduling a birthday party for a kid and then canceling it because never in their wildest dreams did they imagine a cake would -- zounds! -- cost money.  No sane person would seriously argue a kid HAS to have a party, but gimme a goddamned break, what the hell did he expect?  It's the 180 that's pure stupid, and that's why he's getting heat for it.


April 19th, 2012 at 11:02 PM ^

I was on the MMB equipment staff for three years, and all the MMB equipment, from sousaphones to piccolos, fits nicely in an average Ryder truck. You're right on that account. But M just doesn't send the MMB on road trips. Never has, apparently never will. This is absolutely business as usual. The band goes to ND, MSU, Ohio, maybe one other gratuitous game, the bowl game, and that's it. Most every student involved is content with current arrangement.

Bando Calrissian

April 19th, 2012 at 11:12 PM ^

Tell that to the kids who have been told all along they were going to this game, and to their parents who tried to get seats near where the published seating chart said the band was to be seated, many of whom paid out the nose for trips to this event.

Athletics has been treating this like anything but a normal road game for every other facet of the event, except for when it came to the MMB. You wouldn't see this kind of outrage if there was consensus this was no different than traveling to, say, South Bend.

This isn't another away game, and every indication until today was that the MMB was expecting to be in Texas. So don't put words in these kids' mouths because you feel bad that Bo hired someone else to playn for a basketball tournament 20 years ago.


April 20th, 2012 at 12:27 AM ^

"Athletics has been treating this like anything but a normal road game."

That is exactly right.  They have been playing this up like it is a early-season bowl game.  You know ESPN will as well.  And we are being paid like it's a bowl game.  A BCS bowl game at that.

And now when it's convienient, it's just another away game at Minnesota?  Gimmee a fucking break.  

I'm tired of all the spin and the patronizing pats on the head.  It may work with drunk people ordering pizza delivery at 2:00 AM, but it does not work with fans and alumni of one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the nation.

What disturbs me more than the fact he does it, is the fact he thinks it works.  



April 20th, 2012 at 12:22 AM ^

I applaud your tireless commitment to the band I love. But part of the M experience is exactly what we see here. No 5-star recruit is guaranteed a minute of playing time. No band member ( in a much lesser role, I'm not trying to equate a trombone player to Denard) is guaranteed anything either. Join the MMB, and you'll get an unbelievable, life-changing experience. You might, like me, have five unforgettable bowl trips in five years. Or you might endure the RR years. You might, like me, hear Harbaugh's leg break and have the whole season fall apart. But the M experience transcends all the crappy little details. You get the privilege of being part of the legacy if you join MMB. If an unprecedented extra trip materializes, fabulous. If it evaporates, like our trip to Australia, then fine, you put that on your T-shirts (like our percussionists did), you laugh about it, and you add it to the heritage. It's all OK.


April 19th, 2012 at 11:20 PM ^

Just don't have Dave Brandon effin' lie to me saying he can't afford it.  That's BS.  I may not agree with whatever reasons you're coming up with but at least they make some level of consistent sense.  But these are not the reasons DB is stating.  Don't carry water for this dude when he's making outrageously obvious lies.  He should have the guts to speak for himself.

Michigan's getting a lot of money to play this game and he is nixing pre-existing plans for alleged monetary reasons.  I'm only 5% pissed the team will be taking on Alabama without the band (again, you and I know the band doesn't travel often in the first place) and 95% pissed about the snow job.  Honestly and in all seriousness, he'd do less damage to his rep with me if he just stopped the political BS and just said something like, "Well, I just decided I'm a greedy stingy corporate bastard and don't care about the band so I'm gonna have the team face Alabama without their support to save a measly $400k."  Of course I wouldn't be happy to hear something like that, but at least I'd know what to expect.  You know what I hate about liars?  It's very, very difficult to get anything done around them because nothing they say can be considered information.  It's not ideal, but I can work with an asshole.  Telling me we're getting paid a lot of money but there's no money. . . WTF am I supposed to do with that?


April 19th, 2012 at 11:33 PM ^

Your point is well taken, but this is business as usual at M. When I was in the band, we were promised a tour of Australia (I kid you not) that never materialized because one graduate assistant behaved unethically. All band travels, even those to minor bowl games, are tentative until you board the plane. That's always how it's been at M. That's part of what you get when you're part of the MMB. MMB is the best experience you'll ever have, but this is part of the ride.

The FannMan

April 19th, 2012 at 10:13 PM ^

That's it.  {Edit - too harsh]

So, he sells out a home game, screws over the ticket holders, schedules shitty non-conference schedules all in the name of making money.  AND he has the balls to say that he has to screw the band members to make the deal work.  He says that's a "practical reality."  This guy is too much. 

Are we sure that we can "afford" to send the defense too?

Hey, corporate genuis - if you can't make the deal work without that big of a compromise, then maybe it aint a good deal?  Or did you just get bent over by Jerry Jones?  [Edit - too harsh]


April 20th, 2012 at 10:28 AM ^

That is laughable corporate speak.  The term "practical" is only decided by the person handling the budget.  Its not a reality unless that person deems it impractical.  What we are all saying, Mr. Brandon, is that it should NOT be deemed a "practical reality."  We are saying that a man supposely extremely concerned about the Michigan brand should promote the brand by spending money sending the band.  If it costs a lot, scale back some of the money spent on marketing efforts for a few weeks to make it happen.  That seems much more practical than not sending the band to a very important game as far as marketing goes. 

Believe it or not, Mr. Brandon, there are many Michigan alumni that are as (if not more) intelligent and knowledgable about running a major corporation as you.  You might be able to fool "the masses" but you cannot fool us.  A--hole.

Mr. Yost

April 20th, 2012 at 11:35 AM ^

Now someone on this board that just whined and complained...


Explain to me, a person who was born and raised in Michigan...a state in the midst of a terrible ecominc crisis. Explain to me why the University of Michigan should pay twice as much money to get the school marching band to a football game than they're going to pay for the team PLAYING in the game.


...don't worry, I'll wait.


All of you want to jump down Brandon's throat...but I'm willing to bet some of you would've jumped down his throat had he decided to pay twice as much for the band as he is to travel the actual team. Lose-Lose.


April 20th, 2012 at 11:59 AM ^

What does the economic crisis have to do with this decison? If anything, spending to send the band down to Dallas pumps money back into the economy, via the money spent to hire the people to drive equipment down, and the state taxes they would pay on their new employment. If the money's just sitting in the AD's non-taxable bank accounts, it's not doing anything for the local economy.

Mr. Yost

April 20th, 2012 at 12:02 PM ^

It's perception, not reality.

Honest answer.

The fact of the matter is, if you told people in struggling area of Michigan that the University is paying $400,000+ to travel the band to one game...a lot of people who be upset or uncomfortable.

You make a valid point, it truly has little to do with local economy. But it's perception, would you agree?


And that really wasn't the point of the post to begin with, but I wanted to answer your question/respond...because I completely agree with what you're saying, but unfortunately the majority of people don't look at it that way.


April 20th, 2012 at 12:09 PM ^

I certainly agree that a lot of people don't understand the place of quasi-public spending in driving economic growth. But I don't think the AD should base its decisions partly on public ignorance of basic macroeconomics. 


April 19th, 2012 at 8:57 PM ^

I just donated my $50 to Hail to the Victors and just sent DB a short email asking him to reconsider and find room in the budget for band travel.


Would an Mgoaction work?  I would donate $100 for the band to travel - would another 3999 do the same?  Only 1700 donated to HTTV though Brian made his number in 72 hours.

Sons of Louis Elbel

April 19th, 2012 at 8:59 PM ^

I posted this in the Board topic on this as well, so forgive the repetition, but angry phone calls might have some effect as well.

DB: 734-764-9416

MSC: 734-764-6270


(Oh, and of course it's twice as expensive to send the band as the team; it's... twice as big. More so, actually. Also, why can't the Band fly commercial? I'm sure they'd be perfectly happy to fly SW to the game.)

The FannMan

April 19th, 2012 at 10:00 PM ^

They go to Bowl games too.  I think that this game should be treated in the same way.  It is a big game, at a neutral site, with huge national exposure.

Also, this game was a money grab that cost us a home game this year.  To grab the cash and plead poverty at the same time is flat out BS.  It's like walking out of a five star restaurant, adjusting your Rolex and getting into your Bentley while telling the vallet that you are too broke to give him a tip.


April 20th, 2012 at 11:18 AM ^

Yes -- the key point is that this is supposed to be a neutral site game, like a bowl game. The band has to be there, or it becomes an away game.

There will be a lot of Michigan fans there, but without the band we are at a disadvantage. The band has a galvinizing effect, especially when they play Hail to the Victors. Without the band, it's going to feel like an away game. 


April 20th, 2012 at 12:03 PM ^

And you're intentionally evading the point that this was never posed as just another road game, but a game that replaced a home game in order to put Michigan on a national stage that, in its contract, implied that the band would be there.