Those Rumormongering Athletic Directors

Submitted by Brian on February 13th, 2012 at 5:10 PM

This from a Crain's Detroit interview with Dave Brandon got under my skin:

There was some chatter last year that the Ohio (State)-Michigan game could be moved in the future from its traditional spot in the schedule as the final game of the season.

Brandon dismissed such talk as gibberish.

"I think it's nonsense. I've never heard any talk of that," he said. "I don't think there's anything being contemplated as it relates to that. I think someone spewed something on a blog somewhere, and is usually the case by the time it gets told three times, people start to believe it. There's a pretty strong commitment on behalf of the conference that that game belongs as the last game of the season."

Brandon on the Michigan Insider about 18 months ago:

SAM WEBB: Would it be still be the tradition to keep that game [The Game] the last game of the season?

DAVID BRANDON: I think there's a distinct possibility that game will be a later game in the season, but not necessarily the last game of the season. …What you're really going to want is for that last game of the season to determine who's going to be the champion of that division and who is going to play for the Championship... Although I love playing OSU the last game of the year, I don't thinks it's necessarily a slam dunk.

That is all.


EQ RC Blue

February 13th, 2012 at 10:12 PM ^


Q. Was there discussion last year of moving the Game?

A. No, there was never talk of that.

i.e., never talk last year.  I'm sure he'd word it differently in a statement.  But the context suggests that's what he meant.  "I don't think there's anything being contemplated as it relates to that."  i.e., talk regarding the present 

And Brian is "objective" and "reasonable"?  Okay, if you say so.  Anyway, Brian has some good blogging skills and insights, but his views on Brandon don't strike me as those things you mentioned (as they didn't with Hoke, for that matter).  Plenty of other blogs are out there too, some of which do report stuff as fact that's probably made up or might as well be.  I think Brandon seems like a good AD.  And no, I don't want UM to be represented by the "best athletes."  I want amazing athletes who are also "Michigan Men," meaning that nebulous term in the most positive way.




EQ RC Blue

February 14th, 2012 at 2:47 PM ^

Exactly.  Why are we splitting hairs making a big deal out of a comment Brandon made that can be interpreted as a truthful statement or as some kind of skullduggery?  Do you think Brandon really forgot that he acknowledged at one point that the Game might be moved? It was kind of a big deal.  Again, blowing this up into a big deal doesn't seem like the work of someone supporting the home team...


February 14th, 2012 at 8:36 PM ^

What Brandon said ("I've never heard any talk of that") is ambiguous in the same way the science behind global warming is ambiguous. You're inventing the phrasing of the question then bastardizing the answer to create ambiguity and then concluding that since there's ambiguity as Michigan fans we should fall in line. Talk to a Penn State fan about where that approach can take you.


February 13th, 2012 at 10:22 PM ^

Brandon stuck his foot in it on that one. Still, the reality is that it's all just blog fodder for the over- informed among us to knock around and wring totally try. The numbers we bring to the table aren't of consequence to Brandon and his larger mission.

There are two areas where the blog has a decidedly different editorial stance from the fan base at large which relies mostly on MSM for University of Michigan sports information: 1. Rich Rodriguez' job performance. 2.  David Brandon, the person and his job performance. 

Among a huge percentage of the masses, number 1 is considered awful and number 2 is generally popular to extremely popular.  Both are cases where even if the blog is more correct, the practical application is the majority rules over whatever obscure facts exist to the contrary.

On here, our level of knowledge and opinions matter among the group. Out there, it's about the players first, the heavy hitter donor fans second, the casual fans third, and us way way down the list. It's not personal. It's numbers.


February 13th, 2012 at 10:45 PM ^

I feel a little uncomfortable about wanting to distance myself from the athletic director of the school I love. 

There are times I want to see him leave yesterday, and volunteer to help him pack his corporate-speak dictionary into his domino's boxes, ad there are times I begin to think, well, maybe he gets it. Then things like this happen, and I realize that his head is pretty far up the chute, and soon he'll see the back of his teeth.

The good Dave Brandon was the one who shouldered the load during the Freep Witch Hunt. The bad Dave Brandon talks out of both sides of his mouth on The Game (by the way, I don't care at all when it's played, because the B1G Championship Game really will change the dynamic of the season and the Conference forever), and talks about wanting mascots and in-stadium advertising.

The bad Dave Brandon led a very disorganized coach search too late in the year. The good Dave Brandon hired Brady Hoke, when he probably could have hired a bigger name, but believed in the guy. The bad Dave Brandon gave Michigan players Killer Bee suits for the MSU game.

Everything he does either works out very well, or makes me want to eat my shorts. He is a very frustrating and annoying man.


February 13th, 2012 at 10:58 PM ^

you left out the part though about how he loves himself some publicity.  i don't think he would ever turn down the opportunity to be on camera.

hell, i was watching the big 10 network story on zach novak and, low and behold, there is brandon taking about zach novak.  not beilein, not stu douglass but dave brandon.

i wish he would follow the lead of great owners like illich and davidson and be great supporters of the program while not being out in the forefront.


February 13th, 2012 at 11:31 PM ^

David Brandon is not a boy scout.  Neither is Brady Hoke.  Sometimes they deviate from the truth deliberately, sometimes--they just lose track of a past public statement. 

Sometimes Brian's posts read like a search for absolute consistency in Brandon's every utterance. 

Brian Cook is half blogger, half journalist, and he runs a great Blog.  But he's not a boy scout either, and he's not perfectly consistent.  None of is.  Jesus, even Christ couldn't count on his disciples to put together a coherent narrative.  Jesus was not a theologian on the hunt for the slightest deviation from an all-encompassing theology.  Jesus apparently sought to save people's souls, not monitor every utterance.

Dave Brandon is definitely not a theologian, nor is he a journalist or a blogger.  In his job, PR is King.  Right?  He was hired to lead and manage, which includes a large helping of PR.  I'm not crazy about some of his marketing schemes.  But PR and marketing aside, he's been a take-charge guy.  He's pushed through facility improvements in basketball and football, put the hockey program on the front page, and scheduled our first night game in the Big House.  We've got solid coaches and competitive, winning programs.  I think he's already the most effective AD we've had since Don Canham, and that period includes Bo Schembechler's tenure.

So this chicken feed stuff about "did he contradict himself" pisses me off.  Would it piss me off if Michigan and Ohio State didn't play annually on the last day of season?  Yes it would.  But I don't think Brandon will let that happen if he can help it. Is he a "corporate CEO type"?  Yeah, I think he is.  But if you could choose any other AD from the Big Ten, SEC, Big 12, PAC 10, ACC, or Big East (including Notre Dame), who would be better?  And how, exactly?


February 14th, 2012 at 12:04 AM ^

Yes, Brian, Brandon isn't a Boy Scout.

Yes, Brian, Brandon isn't fully consistent.

Yes, Brian, Brandon has made some bad decisions.

But all in all, I'm very glad he's the AD. Honestly, it took vision and cajones to bring on Hoke as coach. You can't praise Brandon for his so called "pimp hand" and then slam him when his hand doesn't stroke your . . . whatever.

Brian, you're definitely sounding like sour grapes on this one. This is starting to get like section 1 and the Freep. And, I daresay, both the mother of one Mr. Brian Cook and the current Mrs. Brian Cook might have a thing to say about consistency in promises kept.

Because you're the proprieter, and it's your blog, and it's your party, you can write what you want to. If I don't like it, I don't have to read. However, unlike a board post, the front page is kind of hard to ignore. It definitely is sounding like the refrain of a song . . .

It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to

Cry if I want to, cry if I want to

You would cry too if it happened to you.

Voltron Blue

February 14th, 2012 at 1:37 AM ^

...that, not only is Brandon "contradicting himself", he is doing it while blaming the problem on blogs (of which, Brian has a prominent one)?

Sort of like, if Section 1 was actually Brandin Hawthorne, know what...I'd forgive him his venom towards the Freep.  (not that I don't "forgive" him now, but you get my point)

It's not as if Brian is simply pointing out inconsistencies.  I could see that being petty and lame, depending. this case, he happens to be pointing out a pretty clear cut misdirection while being blamed for it.  Seems reasonable to me.



February 14th, 2012 at 1:17 AM ^

I got halfway through the comments and got tired of listening to people bitch at eachother over whether or not Brian is a hypocrite or not, and I have no idea what post to respond to, so here it goes:

Dave Brandon went on the radio saying that there's a possibility The Game might be moved, then realized it wasn't a good idea because people on sites such as this one got pissed off at him. 18 months later he denies that he ever said that and blamed the whole thing on guys like Brian.

Brian Cook said, before Brady Hoke was hired, that there was no way he was a serious contender for the UM job. If you didn't realize this was speculation, you're a fucking idiot. Brian has no control over that; his opinion literally means nothing to the Athletic Department. When Hoke was hired, he maintained his position that it wasn't a good hire and that DB screwed the pooch on the coaching search. 10 months later, he admits he was wrong after seeing concrete evidence of what Hoke did.

What do these things have in common? This is a serious question.

El Jeffe

February 14th, 2012 at 8:22 AM ^

Well summarized. The truth is that, even though this is a sports blog with, I daresay, one of the more well-educated and intellectually curious readerships that we have (/ Hubie Brown), there are still people, apparently, who cannot or will not distinguish between being wrong and lying.

Brian was wrong about Hoke (both whether he was going to be coach, and whether or not he would make a good coach).

Brandon was lying about the source of the discussion over changing the timing of The Game (NTTG).

Since these are not the same thing, it is therefore not hypocritical for Brian to call out Brandon. Petty? Possibly. Overblown? Perhaps. But hypocritical? No.


February 14th, 2012 at 10:09 AM ^

All Brandon had to say was: "yeah, there was some talk of that, but I never thought it was a good idea, and so we (the B1G ADs) decided to keep it at the end of the schedule." It still would have made him out to be the hero who "saved" the Game from moving.

Instead, he directly contradicted his previous statement about the topic. Instead of admitting that HE SAID HIMSELF it was a possibility, he scapegoated the blogs, a group of which Brian Cook is the most popular, prominent, and vocal. He blamed them for reporting a rumor to which he was the primary contributor.

The net effect, other than propping himself up, is to continue to de-legitimize the blogs as real sources of information of happenings around Michigan and Big Ten events. I don't know why they are so insistent on hating Cook et. al., especially when traditional media isn't even that friendly to the school, but apparently, for all Brandon talks about creating the future, he still does not understand modern internet journalism.

Expect another long meta post from Brian soon about how he is doing a much better job reporting and analyzing than anyone else, and that people should listen and trust him more.

Section 1

February 14th, 2012 at 12:02 PM ^

I would have never guessed how fast many of the MGoBoard members (exemplified by Brian's critics in this thread) would have become unthinking BrandonHoke fanboys.

I've been struck lately at how quickly our friends at places like Eleven Warriors turned on a dime and embraced Urban Meyer, who was previously an object of ridicule for them on a par with Nick Saban, Les Miles and Lane Kiffin.  Now, you can choose from nearly a dozen different Urban Meyer T-shirt designs.  They love them some Urban Meyer.

And I actually took all of that as a curious mark of Ohio State's strength and determination to achieve success on the field, above all else.  Just get the best guy.  Just put the best team on the field.  Just beat that team up north.  Forget what what we said last year.  It was, oddly, a sort of a credit to the Buckeyes.  "There's no crying in football.  Our side is always right; and our side is whoever we've got right now.  All that matters, is beating the other."

El Jeffe

February 14th, 2012 at 12:24 PM ^

Yay! My favorite MGoBlog syllogism, interestingly committed by both Section 1 and Butterfield in the same exchange:

P1. I disagree with [person X]

P2. You agree with [person X]

C. You are a sycophantic suckup of [person X] and I am a Galtian free thinker.

Fantastic! Love it!

My problem with this whole exchange has nothing to do with the people involved and everything to do with the logic used to make the case that Brian is out of line. If you think he shouldn't be dogging Brandon for a fairly small gaffe (IMO), fine. If you think he's think-skinned and, in the argot of the youth, "butthurt," fine. I have no quarrel with either of these points. I actually kind of agree with them.

But if your argument is that Brian is being hypocritical either because he totally whiffed on Hoke's hiring and subsequent success, or because he didn't sufficiently (for your taste) apologize for his blunders with Trent and Ringer (I confess I don't know the details of these, but I gather he reported something and then had to backtrack because it was wrong), then I say you are full of beans. It simply is not hypocritical to criticize someone for doing something that is not the same thing as things you have done (and perhaps not apologized for sufficiently).


February 14th, 2012 at 12:31 PM ^

Not going to lie, I take this type of criticism well.  Much better delivery than some others are capable of. 

I didn't start the "hypocritical angle", others took the quotes I pulled and it went off in that direction.  I just used Brian's introductory line about things that get under his skin and expanded upon it to things that get under my skin - I even tried to clarify in that first post the two were not one and the same.  I didn't say it was related.  It's almost certainly off-topic. But as long as we were talking about things that get under skin, I couldn't resist. 

I'm not accusing Brian of being a hypocrite.  He's pretty good at what he does, although he could use a tip or two about issuing an apology (Ringer).