Punt-Counterpunt: Rutgers 2014 Comment Count

Brian October 4th, 2014 at 12:31 PM


darling, I'm sure you misinterpreted my jest


By Heiko Yang

I’m too tired to form an opinion about all the wonderful things that have been happening in Michigan football this past week. However, since we are on the subject of concussions, I do have a fabulous story about the time I got a concussion. Want to hear it? It’s a good one!

It was July of 2011. I was in a summer tackle football league. (Ahem. Just kidding it was softball. Tackle softball.) … I was in a summer tackle softball league, and I was playing center field. I think. Actually I can’t remember, because this story ends in a concussion, and it’s hard to tell a story in the first person about a concussion. Most of this is reconstructed from hearsay and/or imagination.

So let’s just say I was somewhere in the outfield. Dude stepped up to the plate and hit this bomb that sort of split the difference between me and one of my teammates whose name is Owen, as I would find out afterwards, not that it’s important. Owen and I both ran to the ball without taking our eyes off the ball and then boom! We collided. I did some sort of kickass ninja flip and landed on my head. I am told that I got up pretty quickly, was “out of it” for a few seconds, but then acted pretty normally. I didn’t feel injured or hurt. In fact I played the rest of the game.

The only thing anyone noticed was that I kept asking how I hit my head. I guess its because my head hurt, but I couldn’t remember why it hurt, and my brain couldn’t hold onto anything for more than 30 seconds. Clinical pearl: this is called perseveration! And anterograde amnesia! Most of my friends -- all med students, by the way -- thought I was just trying to be funny, because apparently confusion is hilarious, but none of them recognized that I was showing signs of a whopping concussion. Genuine concern arose only when I started asking how I had driven myself and where my car was, at which point I was brought to the emergency department.

Yes, some of this was caught on camera:

I was admitted to the hospital overnight to monitor for intracranial bleeding (which I did not have, thank goodness), and I began to recover the next day. Slowly I started remembering what people were telling me, and I developed a dull headache that subsided by evening. I’m fortunate that I never experienced any neurologic or psychiatric sequelae such as recurrent headaches, irritability, or sleep disturbances despite the severity of the concussion, although I did join mgoblog about a month afterwards, so I’ll have to check if “impulsive blogging” is an official symptom of post-concussion syndrome.

Anyway, I do think it’s kind of interesting to think that there will always be an 18-hour segment of my life during which I was conscious and sober that I have zero recollection of. Now if only someone could find a way to accomplish that to erase only negative memories, such as the last two weeks of Michigan football, that would be great.

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, am I right?

Go Blue!

Michigan 34, Miami 10


By Nick RoUMel

In tribute to Heiko’s brilliant deployment of his specialty, medicine, allow me to analyze the program in light of mine, employment law. Our once storied athletic department has all the hallmarks of a dysfunctional workplace.

When David Brandon took over, he cleaned house. He fired an alarming number of athletic department coaches and staff, including long term employees going back to the Don Canham years. He did this with little tolerance; employees were fired for minor and subjective offenses—or, significantly, for failure to exercise appropriate supervision over subordinate employees. I know because I and our firm represented a few of them. Sure, any new boss has the right to have his own minions, but this purging seemed to be done with little regard for employees’ loyalty, nor their valuable institutional memory.

Double standards are another feature of the dysfunctional workplace. In contrast to the scrutiny afforded lower level employees, management is free to commit a multitude of boners with no consequences. Examples are easy to tick off. Botched coaching searches resulting in the inability to land candidates that wanted to come here. Assaults on the game day tradition also turned off the fan base, like the well-documented student seating fiasco. Game day blunders ranging from the advertising noodle, to bans on water and seat cushions, the Coca-Cola ticket giveaway, to overdone productions, and unnecessary, meaningless old rock songs played ad nauseum.

Our coach, who is hired to win with integrity, doesn't win. And now the integrity part is in question. Not only does Brady Hoke’s team perform worse than the sum of its parts, but the man seemingly lied to us about Brendan Gibbons. Lying, meanwhile, is the best case scenario regarding Shane Morris. Brandon fired former star and loyal athletic department staffer Jamie Morris for allegedly lying. But maybe Brandon needs to keep Hoke around, because a classic boss is always happy to let his subordinate managers twist in the wind to take the heat.

Another classic sign of a dysfunctional workplace is micromanagement. Why does the Athletic Director attend practices, and hover during locker room meetings? Why is he the one hiring the coordinators, and not his head coach?

Ignoring customers is another symptom. Good leaders solicit input before making changes, and learn from constructive feedback. This administration plugs its ears and goes “Nyah, nyah, nyah.” To its partial credit they reversed decision on smaller issues like the noodle and seat cushions – but only after fan outcry. But why aren’t they seeking feedback before making these changes?

Retaliating against critics on the inside can be done in secret. But how do you explain such actions as taking away the press pass of John U. Bacon, who bleeds Maize and Blue, in apparent reaction to Three And Out? If they’re doing this petty garbage to journalists, imagine what they might do to anybody who dares speak against them from within.

For the most part, nothing can be done about a dysfunctional workplace. But at a public university, we have a trump card - at least theoretically. The athletic department is answerable to the President of the University and the Regents. The question will be whether they will have the courage to do the right thing and clean house, or whether they will bury their heads in the sand and do nothing.

Uncertain. Our new President, Mark Schlissel had no experience with a high profile athletic department while at Rhode Island. As such, the risk is that his ears will be bent by a select few with access. Former Texas coach Mack Brown explained that at his University, a cadre of four to five influential donors had the leaders’ ears and were able to accomplish their agendas. At Michigan, I don’t believe the power structure is that linear, but do worry whether anyone can be the change agent that is so badly needed, especially with powerful and generous donors like Stephen Ross backing Brandon.

The bottom line is that the Michigan Regents are government officials. Raise your hand if you still have faith that government officials will ever do the right thing. ... Anyone?

Fans who feel helpless can only vote with their feet. An under-100,000 attendance threatens this administration. But they believe last week’s crisis has blown over, and that the Penn State night game will provide a solid attendance figure, and then all will shortly return to normal.

Do Michigan fans have the guts to boycott? I believe that the public outcry, culminating in the impromptu rally against Dave Brandon this week, shows that people who care about Michigan football still have collective power.

With all this, the result of today’s game against the Scarlet Knights is almost superfluous. While it would be nice to win, it should not divert from the legitimate criticism that lies at Brandon’s feet. It is our duty to speak out and do what we can to end this dysfunction. That does not make us fair weather fans. When one party to any relationship is treated with such disrespect, they have the right to rise up and resist. That does not make you disloyal, or a fair weather fan – it means you care.

I for one cannot take this anymore. Yes, I wrote earlier this season that I was past the point of having a Michigan loss ruin my week. But when the entire department is showing signs of being rotten to the core, it hurts - as a fan, an alumnus, and a writer who tries every week to bring a light hearted approach to this sport.

Today, my heart is not light. I ache for the players who try their damndest and those of us who support them. And I will not bear this dysfunction without dissent.





October 4th, 2014 at 12:55 PM ^

It is a great pic.

Incidentally a cool story bro.. Bill Freehan was in the "stands" during a handball game 30 years ago and saw me run my head into a wall and get a concussion.  A couple hours later I was into the most painful vomiting episode I've ever experienced.


October 4th, 2014 at 12:52 PM ^

A friend of mine had very similar symptoms with his concussion, which he sustained after falling while skiing without a helmet.  He was by himself, but ran into mutual friends at the lodge after the fall and he seemed normal.  Later that night his dad picked him up and brought him home, and after he asked for a glass of orange juice about 7 times and generally acted very strangely, he took him to the hospital.  When they got there, my friend reached into his coat pocket, and found an unwrapped slice of pizza that he apparently purchased at the ski lodge and decided he wanted to save for later.  He had no recollection of anything until the next day.  


October 4th, 2014 at 1:00 PM ^

I'm in.  I'm a season ticketholder, and I'm not going to the PSU game.  I was going to write a post that suggested the same thing but I am not nearly the writer that counterpunt is, so I'll just add some drivel.  I miss the free programs.  Hell, I miss everything about how Michigan used to be.  After reading this, he's right.  I love this program almost more than life itself.  I'm not going to sit idle and let this clown fuck moron ruin what was a great thing anymore.  However, we need your help.  WHO'S WITH US???!!!  


Our goal:  Under 100k for the PSU game.  


October 4th, 2014 at 3:28 PM ^

Rutgers, Army, Central Florida, Farleigh Dickinson and Clarkson are all some form of Knights. Holy Cross and Valparaiso are the Crusaders. Idaho Vandals. Virginia's Cavaliers just miss the cut by a century or two.


Others: Kenyon Lords, Albion Britons. Amherst Lord Jeffs.


October 4th, 2014 at 1:46 PM ^

What in the fuck? Brian, can we get an exposé interview with Counterpunt and hear more about how exactly long term people left? I'll spend every TV timeout for the rest of the season chanting Fire Brandon in exchange.


October 4th, 2014 at 1:29 PM ^

Jaime Morris is, has been, and probably always will be my favorite Wolverine (he's part of the reason that this girl from a neutral Michigan household fell in love with the sport & UM as a pre-teen in the first place).  I didn't know anything about his dismissal from the U - can I read more about this somewhere?


Edit: nevermind, found some info online.


October 4th, 2014 at 1:36 PM ^

"When David Brandon took over, he cleaned house. He fired an alarming number of athletic department coaches and staff, including long term employees going back to the Don Canham years. He did this with little tolerance; employees were fired for minor and subjective offenses—or, significantly, for failure to exercise appropriate supervision over subordinate employees. I know because I and our firm represented a few of them."


Rich Rod caught hell from alums and former players for forcing Gittleson out with Barwis and   a few others.  What the hell.  At least RR had a reason for taking Barwis along with him.

Is this why Brian Cook stated in his podcast that longtime equipment manager Falk was "forced out"?

First time I'm saying it - Brandon, GTFO.  And any one of your nasty little toadies you installed can go, too.



October 4th, 2014 at 2:19 PM ^

(after Brandon took over the Athletic Dept.) "After an initial reduction of staff from 275 to 190 upon replacing Bill Martin, the former athletic director, the number of department employees has expanded to 308." That's a purge of 85 people - and a change of 0/275 that he hired to 118/308 being his own hires in just four years.


October 4th, 2014 at 1:47 PM ^

One sustained when I was run over during a JV game by a Royal Oak Dondero FB who weighed about 75lbs more than I did, once playing football in gym class, once while riding a motorcycle, and the last one while ice skating. Never lost consciousness, never had any headaches, vomiting, or sensitivity to light, and in each case knew what had happened immediately after the blow. Within 15-20 minutes, I had lost all short-term memory of what had happened, and the memory issues took several hours to dissipate. No long term effects that I can discern, but my wife disputes that when I forget to do something she asked.


October 4th, 2014 at 2:53 PM ^

Is there any reason that we should expect anything different than we have seen the last 3 weeks?   Is Rutgers as bad as Minny?  Rutgers is 4-1 losing a close game to PSU-very respectable.  If Michigan was 4-1 right now I think most of us would be ok with that. 


October 4th, 2014 at 5:58 PM ^

We'll lose again the same way we have been and the board will be full of shit again. Nothing will change until it UM changes and UM won't change until the alums & fans do. I said it before and agree completely with not spending another dollar or minute in that stadium until they have to change. Of course, it will take more than myself so are we willing to break a few streaks and continue being pissed to get it done? At this point I couldn't care less about 100k, recruits, etc. We need a total house cleaning. No cronies left behind.


October 4th, 2014 at 3:12 PM ^

And it was 16-inch softball that some guys from Chicago brought to my campus and I'd never heard of before. 

Was out in right field even though I've never played any baseball kind of sport and was tracking a deep fly ball without looking in front of me, right as the ball hit my hands I ran shin first into a concrete bench and did a spectacular front flip into a fence around tennis courts. I didn't really realize anything was wrong and was just super pumped I somehow caught the ball an didn't realize until I got back closer and was told my leg was bleeding badly and the bone was visible if blood wiped away. 

Softball is a rough ass sport apparently. 


October 4th, 2014 at 3:18 PM ^

For the simple fact that it bumped Brandon down the page. I hated seeing that ungly mug everytime I came here after that interview post went up. I appreciated the work by Ace, but man Brandon just infuriates me.


October 4th, 2014 at 3:25 PM ^

Another Douchebag, failure of a GM named Matt Millen did the same thing when he was hired by the Lions in 2000:  He fired most of the internal people who had worked for the Lions for many years, most without cause.  Later that year, Millen bragged about all of the firings in an interview with Steve Sabol which was featured on NFL films.

These 2 losers are so much alike...


October 4th, 2014 at 3:59 PM ^

D3... Was taken out of my last game as a senior when concussed after a tackle on a punt return. I couldn't remember anything for about 15 mins, plays, what I had for breakfast, my girlfriends name. I wanted back in but the team doc took my helmet and refused. This was in 1998. Also we had the Oberlin yeomen in our league..


October 4th, 2014 at 4:10 PM ^

I was not a critic of this feature when both of you picked Utah. The pick made sense and you both ended up being right so extra kudos.

I was also not a critic when you both said the haters can shove it (somewhat douchily when you both brought up your professional qualifications as a doctor and lawyer, as if that mattered but oh well) because we were right but we'll appease you by both picking Michigan.

This week though, come on. Both of your stories were interesting and I enjoyed reading them but this is supposed to be a humorously written prediction column for the Rutgers game. Can't you save the stories for a diary or something?

You both still care if this team wins today or not. Yes, a loss won't affect you like a Michigan loss is supposed to and a win won't mean the program is even close to cured with anything wrong with it but it still matters.