Where was this last year?
I'd like to ask the question, why has this incident concerning Shane Morris, framed (quite appropriately) around player safety, been treated so much more seriously than say Devin Gardner having played against OSU with a broken foot?
it's an honest question, wondering your perspective, do you think it's because of the poor play on the field now as compared to then (although we are pretty awful no matter when you look at it), but then let's not kid ourselves and exploit the situation anymore than is warranted by the poor leadership failures, or is it people are treating a head injury as much more serious than a foot injury? I think that's true, but foot injury can also harm the student-athlete.
There are two layers of outrage/disgust here that should be separated.
1) There is disgust leveled at Brady Hoke and his program for being disorganized enough to send Morris onto the field. Much of the meta-backlash has focused on this aspect of the problems; they say that if Michigan was 5-0 this wouldn't be a problem, or compare the vastly greater level of attention to this incident than those that followed the Will Gholston a couple years ago and assert this is unfair.
The people in the Michigan community who are angry about this are not determining the media reaction. They are reacting to it. So the Gholston thing is not relevant unless you're asking Good Morning America*. By the time anyone on campus did anything that got on the news this had already blown up into a huge story, and the thing they didn't do is demand Brady Hoke's firing.
The 5-0 thing is also invalid. The shambolic state of the program now seems like the cause of an alarming incident instead of a punt return touchdown. If this happens at Alabama, are people as mad? No. But that is not just because Alabama is successful. It is also because if it happens at Alabama it seems like an aberration instead of a logical conclusion to the things we've seen before. When this happened the initial thought wasn't "I can't believe this happened"; it was "of course this would happen to this program."
And then there's the Brady Hoke Isn't Evil defense, which is an enormous strawman. I haven't seen anyone writing on this suggest that Hoke doesn't care about his players. Literally not one person outside of a message board post from a lunatic or two. It doesn't matter if Hoke is a great dude or not if he can't stay within 16 points of anybody in year four, concussion incident or not.
2) There is outrage leveled at the athletic department for their handling of the PR crisis. This went national quickly. Michigan's response was dishonest and insufficient, then laughably uninformed, then infuriating. Michigan's refusal to forthrightly admit error and lay out how they would set to fixing matters turned a one-day story into a week long debacle. It was only yesterday at 6 PM that an adult stepped in and gave the kind of statement that should have been issued on Saturday night.
The Brand was compromised, and not just the football team. The entire university's image has been through a ringer the past few days. This was unnecessary, and exacerbated by the incompetent handling of the situation by the athletic director.
@mgoblog I know professors in Communication who are already planning on using this as a case study in failure.
— Zach Evans (@dzevans) September 30, 2014
This, too, is a pattern. Michigan used the same playbook for the Gibbons story last year for a weeks-long period of press tension. They learned nothing from that incident, in which simply being honest about why when and how Gibbons was removed from the team turns that into a story about Gibbons and the university disciplinary process instead of the athletic department.
The used the same playbook after the skywriting incident, and were embarrassed when the company sold 'em out; caught red-handed in a lie they waved their hands, and the story went away because only Michigan fans care.
This was utterly predictable to anyone who had been paying attention. This is what they do. It will happen again if Michigan is unfortunate enough to have to handle another story like this. Meanwhile, no big time coach is going to want to sign on to an athletic department that just hung its coach out to dry spectacularly. So the AD has to go.
All of the stuff in bin 2 is not relevant to the above question. The stuff in bin 1 is, and to be clear: this is just another strike for Hoke. If it was strike one, people would cluck and move on. If it was strike three it would be a big deal. Since it's strike 486, it's almost moot.
But anyway: feet heal. Gardner was of sound mind and capable of making decisions about whether to continue or not. Brains, we are rapidly learning, do not heal completely, and immediately after a trauma is an extremely dangerous time.
As a culture we are pretty okay with a guy who walks with a limp. It sucks; it's not a life-ending disaster. We are not okay with Junior Seau. We are not okay with a thing that may cause you to point a shotgun at your chest and pull the trigger not being handled carefully and professionally. I feel this is too obvious to explain but there have been a ton of comments to this effect of late so I explained it.
*[And the Gholston thing at least had the semblance of competence. He was removed. He did not re-enter immediately. The nation did not see him stumble around after a helmet-to-helmet hit and then take a snap. The doctors had time to give him a legitimate examination. It wasn't as visceral.
The nation absolutely should have come down on Dantonio like a ton of bricks for his statement that Gholston "had the wind knocked out of him," but even a couple years ago concussions seemed like much less of a big deal.
In any case, the failure there is not with the response to this incident but the response to the Gholston one, for which MSU should have taken a lot more heat.]
[After THE JUMP: Good stuff Brandon did, Regents basics, a little game theory.]
The good bits?
As frustrated as I am, I always try to see both sides of an issue, just to make sure I'm being fair. Many of us have a laundry list of issues with David Brandon, so what I was wondering is this. Can we name five things that we've liked about his tenure that we'd want to see continued, or appreciate that happened, just so we can make sure we're seeing the full picture before we reignite the torches and sharpen the pitchforks?
The difficult thing here is separating out Brandon's performance from the performance of a hypothetical non-Brandon in charge of the department these last four years. It doesn't seem like Brandon increased revenues at an appreciably greater rate than peer schools, and spending money you have because your TV contract blew up is not much of an accomplishment. Meanwhile the incremental revenue increases are offset by how crappy they are to the fans.
I was going to include how killer the new Crisler is but when I looked into it I discovered it was almost entirely a Bill Martin gig, down to the PDC design. I thought Martin did some of that and then the final-phase PDC was under Brandon, but nope.
1. Re-introducing the legends numbers was good, especially when they slapped 98 on the QB. Weird is good. Weird makes tradition; weird is tradition. I'm not a fan of the frequent changes; once that's toned down that's a quality addition.
2. Brandon capably took charge of the stretchgate allegations, providing a serious response to the NCAA and absorbing media attention like the athletic director should in a crisis.
3. Michigan added lacrosse as a varsity sport after years of club domination.
4. I guess he got some big donations? I'm not sure if a different athletic director would have been appreciably worse at it.
5. … I asked various people about this and they didn't have anything either.
He renovated Yost, but the changes seem to have taken a lot of the oomph out of the building; he redid Schembechler, which I guess is good but again what's the differential there between Brandon and someone else with millions of dollars burning a hole in his pocket?
Other than that, he's hired a number of non-revenue coaches who haven't had time to pan out or not yet. Michigan's Director's Cup performance has faded in his tenure. Michigan finished in the top five from 1999 to 2009 and had never finished outside the top ten since the award's inception in 1994. Since Brandon took over they have only two top ten years since: #10 in 2012 and #4 in 2013. (He only took over in January of 2010 so that decline started under Martin; still, no evidence he's done anything to improve non-revenue performance.)
You've mentioned that you are going to run for Regents in the next election. There are also rumors running wild about the Regents and the "politics at play" as related to Hoke/Brandon's tenure's at the University of Michigan.
As an alumnus, I feel dumb for needing to ask this, but what are the Regents? What do they really do? What power do they have? What power do they not have? How would you run for a position? Who votes for the Regents?
A quick google search helped me identify the individuals who make up the Regents, and allowed me to see their meeting schedule and agendas, but I don't exactly understand what their purpose is. There is no "about us" section on the website :)
Thanks -- I imagine this would be a helpful primer for other readers as well.
PS. Would you be able to keep writing the blog if you were elected?
There are eight regents. Each is elected in a statewide vote to an eight-year term, with two terms coming up every even year. There are currently six Democrats and two Republicans on the board; they vote on budget items approximately monthly, and other things(?). They appear to be able to say yes or no to spending lots of money on stuff, at the very least.
I am not quite sure yet what powers they do and don't have because for as long as I can remember the regents have been an organization that flees from publicity, going so far that the Free Press threw a lawsuit their way out of sheer frustration earlier this year. In a year-long period they discussed just 12 of 116 proposals and fielded a total of eight no votes. The North Korean Senate is impressed by how lockstep the Michigan Board of Regents is.
I'm setting out to figure these things out, starting with the regents' candidate forum at Weill Hall on October 8th, at 4 PM. I'm also hoping to meet with the current regents in an effort to get some idea why they operate in the cloistered way they do… to just get some explanation at all about anything other than fireworks.
I would keep writing the blog, as I have no direct business relationship with the university and would never accept one as a regent. My wife is an adjunct, however. In the event that adjunct salaries get bumped up as the result of something the regents do, we will donate the difference back to the university to prevent any appearance of a conflict of interest—assuming she's still with the U down the road.
I guess people just want to talk about something else?
I really enjoyed your answer about two point conversions. I agree with your stance when down 23 (go for two), but I think there's a problem with one of your assumptions, that having more information about how many scores you need is always beneficial in a football game theory context. I can think of a scenario where not knowing how many scores you need is beneficial.
If a team is down 15 and scores with very little time left, they might be better off going for a 1 point conversion because of how it affects the opponent's playcalling. Here's my logic:
- Going for 1 means you will be down by 8 points.
- Going for 2 means you will be down by 7 or 9 points.
- Opponents will treat an 8 point game like an 7 point game to be cautious
- No matter if you go for 1 or 2, the opponent will treat it like a one-score game if you convert.
- If you go for 2 and fail, the opponent will treat it like a two-score game.
- Opponents have more conservative playcalling when they're up one score than two scores.
- If the opponent has more conservative playcalling, you're more likely to get the ball back.
Sorry if I missed a few links in that logic chain. What I would argue is that if you only have time for one more drive to begin with and need a defensive stop, you might be better off exploiting the opponent's caution in a one-score game than risking a two-score game. There are all kinds of assumptions in this, though.
I see what you're saying but I don't think it moves the needle very much. The opponent's strategy in either case is going to be biased towards running the clock at the expense of yards.
If there is a difference, I'd argue that you've got your assumption in 6 backwards. A team up two scores is perfectly happy to run run run punt; a team up one is going to be leerier of the possibility of giving you the ball back and more likely to operate with a first down as a priority.
This is necessarily feelingsball, of course, and I get your point that waiting on the two point conversion also gives incomplete information to the opponent; I think that the trailing team is hurt a lot more by that.
And of course it's not that important in the overall scheme of things. The permutations of trying to come back from multiple scores down just mean you're doing very badly in a game; the Romer stuff about going for it on fourth down is way more relevant.
I understand that all anybody wants to talk about is Brandon, Brady, and how quickly they can be fired, but let's stop for a moment and address the important questions first. Were you born in that hockey sweater? Or maybe your wife to be mentioned you looked good in maize early in your courtship so you bought out the MDen that night and have yet to run through them all? I don't know, maybe it's just a coincidence but I feel like every picture and video of you that I've seen look to have been taken on the same day.
I just like hockey okay