Unverified Voracity Dances Way Off Team Comment Count

Brian December 17th, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Goodbye beard. Also the rest of Elliott Mealer at winter graduation:


Goodbye to you sir. Michigan suspends Hawthorne, Floyd, and Will Hagerup for the bowl game. A couple people told me this a couple days ago, and they both seemed to think Hagerup would not return. After a dramatically-timed suspension against Ohio State and another for the first four games of 2011, it would be surprising to find out Hagerup had a fourth strike.

But the AD didn't announce Hagerup was gone, so there's probably a last-ditch straight-and-narrow chance he can get back a la Stonum, except hopefully not a la Stonum. Michigan will be fine with Matt Wile for the bowl anyway.

Cornerback, on the other hand… yeah, Floyd spent the year tempting fate but the alternatives there are… uh. Moving Courtney Avery to the outside—probably to field corner since he's a lot smaller than Raymon Taylor—is probably your best one, and then your nickel guy is either Delonte Holowell or Terry Richardson. I'm still not sure that corner environment is any worse than Michigan's options at tailback, but at least the Norfleet-to-corner move makes some sense now. Hopefully it's temporary.

Hawthorne had been limited to special teams this year; his loss isn't impactful.

Now has more time for dancing. MGoVideo caught this oddly-timed dance festival just posted on youtube featuring Floyd:

I rate it an 0.8 Mike Cox.

And so it does not begin. Presenting Michigan's secret weapon in their recruitment of Derrick Green:

Dead period for football begins today and runs through January 3. No on- or off-campus contacts/evals permitted. Calls/email permissible.

Green plans on enrolling early; if he sticks to that plan he should be announcing at the Army game on January 5th, leaving virtually no time for anyone to catch up with announced leader Michigan. Does yoga, is huge.

This trend will probably stop soon. Will Leitch on the way the cable bundling model is going:

Not that many people are going through all the trouble to do this yet, but as cable fees keep going up, and more workarounds can be found (and we haven’t even gotten into pirated feeds), more people will cut the cord. We live in an information-wants-to-be-free age, and we’re still being held down by these media-company gatekeepers. In the real world it’s 2012; in the cable universe, it might as well be 1988. Eventually, this will have to change. It’s too insane and rigged-against-the-consumer for it not to. The problem, of course, is that, like so many capitalists before them, leagues and teams and sports networks are all assuming that it’ll always be like this, that these revenue will keep growing forever and ever, that this golden goose will always keep laying eggs. There are decades upon decades of Darwinian consumer trends that contradict that. In 30 years, we may have all unplugged our cable bundles and be paying a la carte. This is the nightmare situation, but I’m not the first person to suggest we’re living in a cable sports television bubble. Someday it’ll pop. Then, suddenly, we’ll look and think: Why in the world is Maryland in the Big Ten?

Rutgers is even more of an outlier but the point is a good one. At some point the rickety dam keeping all of these channels unnecessarily bundled is going to break, and then having teams that can't fill not-very-big stadiums is not going to be an asset.

Bacon. He considers the PSL increase:

Former Michigan Athletic Director Don Canham sold the experience – and we bought it.  Canham was a great marketer, but what impressed me most was what he would not do for money: solicit donors, put advertising on the uniforms or in the stadium, host night games, charge for tours – or ask for a raise.  He had already made millions in business, and didn’t feel the need to squeeze more from his alma mater.

The current athletic department now aggressively seeks donors and corporate sponsors.  It has brought advertising back to Crisler, in a big way, and has started sneaking advertising into the once-pristine Big House, too.  They now charge to host corporate events, wedding receptions, and even school tours, which had been free since the Big House opened in 1927.  Heck, until a few years ago, they didn’t even lock the gates during the week.

Michigan’s not alone, of course, and they will tell you it’s the cost of doing business – but what business, exactly?  When current Athletic Director Dave Brandon said on “60 Minutes” that the “business model is broken” – what he failed to grasp was that it’s “broken” because it was never intended to be a business in the first place.  After all, what business doesn’t have to pay shareholders, partners, owners, taxes, or the star attractions, the players and the band?

Raise your hand if you're sick of being told you can rent out the Big House for a wedding. That is everyone except the guy who emailed me pictures of his Michigan Stadium wedding over the summer in case I wanted to post them, which seemed like an awfully mean thing to do to a guy.

Brandon clearly sees the lack of advertising in the stadium as an annoyance, and has put it in anyway: just because the blaring thing trying to market something is a wedding or Michigan's facebook page doesn't mean it's not advertising. By pushing the boundaries wherever he can, Brandon indicates where he'd like to take the Big House experience if not faced with a potential fan revolt.

Bacon makes a great point: it's to the point that whenever you're putting down your money you feel like kind of an idiot for spending it. Thus the multiple "I bet I can scalp for cheap" projects on the internet and the regular stories about how you can get into most Michigan State games for two dollars or the Big Ten Championship for ten.

Speaking of: College Football Is This Other Thing post using Wall Street as the other thing is creepily accurate.

The Guys Running The Big Ten are Bain Capital

The Guys Running The Big Ten are Bain Capital

Step 1: Take over asset. Step 2: Exploit that asset with no regard for long-term consequences. Step 3: Laugh, buy a bigger summer house or a dressage horse or something.

In the Big Ten's case the dressage horse is a fancy building for a sport that brings in no revenue.

Yes please return. This will help the floundering hockey team:

Michigan coach Billy Powers on WTKA: "There's a good chance we could see (Merrill) immediately following the holidays."

I'm not holding out much hope for the GLI with Trouba at the World Juniors, and by the time Merrill makes it back Michigan's fate may already be sealed. Michigan is currently 36th in the RPI and would have to win 75% of their remaining games to get into the top 20, where a bid is vaguely possible. Either they rip off a streak for the ages starting right now or it's conference tourney or bust.

Etc.: can Rob Parker please stop existing now? On TV, I mean. He can remain in existence as long as he is not given a platform to express his thought-type-substances to the masses.

Derrick Walton profiled. Brandon gets dollars. Michigan was not fortunate this year. One way in which linear regressions are frequently misapplied. Key plays against West Virginia.


Ali G Bomaye

December 17th, 2012 at 11:50 AM ^

Excited about the Derrick Green speculation.  It sucks to lose out on Treadwell, but in Borges' offense I'm more excited about Green anyway.  With Fitz uncertain, we desperately need an every-down RB.


December 17th, 2012 at 1:51 PM ^

I have not heard Green say he is enrolling early.   I think Brian might have got mixed up between Green and McQuay.  Leon is planning on enrolling early and most believe Vandy is the leader.   

Leon needs to make a private decision pretty soon, so he can get his paperwork in.  He is planning on picking a hat on TV at the UA AA game.

yossarians tree

December 17th, 2012 at 11:57 AM ^

Bikram yoga. Nice. I do that too and I cannot endorse it more highly. It's a workout that kicks your ass and you are typically in a room with a couple dozen sweaty, half-naked women, usually 4 or 5 of which are pretty hot.


December 17th, 2012 at 12:15 PM ^

Yeah, except it sucks ass. My wife took me to Bikram Yoga when we were still in that part of the relationship, and the entire time I thought to myself that if the building exploded or I had a heart attack it would be an improvement.

I'm also the least flexible guy in the world, so that doesn't help. Yoga is relaxing. Bikram Yoga makes you wish for cardiac arrest.

EQ RC Blue

December 17th, 2012 at 11:59 AM ^

...about Hulu.  And the internet.  The B1G officeces need to know too, the fools.

Actually, they are very aware of the changes technologies will have on their business model.  If you'll notice, access to WatchESPN and such are predicated on your cable affiliate.  They are working every day on how to monetize (or whatever they call it) our obsession with sports.

Of course, they may get it wrong.  And longterm college sports interests may not be aligned with cable interests.  But the that idea sports networks and conferences are operating without thought to how games will be watched in a few years seems, well, not thoroughly reserached.   


December 17th, 2012 at 12:42 PM ^

If you mean to imply that ESPN3 access requires an account with cable TV, that is incorrect.  I only have U-Verse DSL (no TV) and it works just fine for me.  I've never been prompted for login credentials or the like.  Same with my parents who just have Verizon DSL, no cable.  

As for letting in Rutgers for a short term cable bump, the issue is in the long term you're then stuck with them, their 55k person stadium, and a total lack of national interest in the content they provide.  You whatever they bring in set top boxes right now, but in 10 years when we're all using ESPN3 type methods to get content, they have a lot less utility.  You maintain longterm stability by focusing on longterm revenue generation, not selling out for a quick spike.  

EQ RC Blue

December 17th, 2012 at 1:06 PM ^

From Wikipedia:

"In the U.S., [ESPN3] is available to individuals who receive their high-speed Internet connection or cable TV subscription from an affiliated service provider. Since 2008, ESPN3 has also been available to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers with college/university (.edu) and U.S. military (.mil) IP addresses. ESPN3 is only available to Internet providers who pay fees to ESPN."

You may have access through your internet connection, and presumably the site recognizes this.  Have you tried using WatchESPN via your phone/tablet while not at home?

As for Rutgers, I have neither the information nor the energy to discuss intelligently whether it was a good move.  However, I am confident that the powers that be at B1G considered and spent a bunch of money figuring out whether it was a good choice when assessing how the landscape will look in 5, 10, 20 years.  They may be wrong, but they're not going to be blindsided by these technologies, despite what some bloggers/writers think. 


December 17th, 2012 at 3:36 PM ^

This was my thinking as well.  It's a large reason why the Net Neutrality movement took so much heat.  The providers of high-speed data transfer control how, and in what capacity, it is consumed by users.  So while you may not have a cable box or disk network, streaming media through Hulu/Netflix/etc., any of the apps, or any particular site does, in a way, include a payment to the rights holders.

The BTN has been too successful for me to believe that this is a near-sighted play by them.  Yes, the cable model is fracturing, but people have been talking about the death of radio for years and people still listen, and other pay fees for satelite radio and the like.  Your cell phone probably has data charges that rival your "phone" services, and there's a reason for that beyond just maintaining equipment and access.  If the BTN cable model shifts, I still expect to pay a fee to see UM play outside of my market, and most likely even inside my market.  People talk about pirated feeds and getting around paying for service, but honestly, how many people will actually go through the trouble?  I use firstrow to watch Lions games because I am in NYC and you are stuck with the Jets and/or Giants every weekend, but the picture quality is poor, the lag immense at times, and the sites full of undesirable elements.  

Most people will just pay a fee, whether it is to Comcast Cable or Comcast Internet, to get the media they want.  Maybe it becomes per diem to an extent (so you don't need to pay for the SEC channel if you never watch, for example), but I see no real reason why adding Rutgers and Maryland won't be a financial windfall for the conference in terms of media.  Now, the product on the court/field is a different story, but these guys get paid millions of dollars for a reason; they know how to make more of it than the average person.


December 17th, 2012 at 12:01 PM ^

Is there a shred of evidence that Derrick Green actually plans to enroll early? I read this on a daily basis, yet all information points to this not being true. For instance, a recent mention of Green's recruitment said that his coach expected him to make his decision on signing day. That's not something an early enrollee does. I also have never read a reference from a pay-site mod discussing how his early enrollee status affects his recruitment, yet I see such articles in reference to McQuay often. I just get the feeling that this is not accurate information at this point in time. Please somebody correct me if I'm missing an unambigious quote from Green himself confirming that this will happen.


December 17th, 2012 at 12:03 PM ^

Avery has shifted outside a couple times this year in response to minor injuries, and instead of moving a new CB in at nickel, they shifted T. Gordon down and brought in Wilson. I'd expect that's what we'll see again, and while not ideal I don't think it's too much of a downgrade.


December 17th, 2012 at 1:35 PM ^

They've done that for short stretches, but you can't play the same 5 defensive backs for an entire game.  Well, you CAN...if they don't get injured or tired.  But it almost never happens.  I'm sure we'll see Hollowell, Richardson, Norfleet, and/or someone else at some point.

French West Indian

December 17th, 2012 at 12:07 PM ^

Funny thing is that since I've lived most of my life without a TV and would go to a bar to catch any game I'd want to see, paying à la carte for sports is pretty much what I've always done.  Not directly, of course, but with drinks & food I'd easily shell out $20-50 per game.


December 17th, 2012 at 12:26 PM ^

cash in even if the model hours ala carte... Prices will probably go up quite a bit though.

the biggest losers will probably be talk shows and niche programming.


December 17th, 2012 at 12:41 PM ^

Although last month Green said he plans to pick a school "soon," and despite vague assertions here that he will be an early enrolee, I don't believe Green himself has confirmed that he'll be enrolling early. Not recently, anyway. If he really were about to enroll, we'd be seeing much more breathless coverage on the recruiting sites, which dearly need page-views during the holidays/dead period.


December 17th, 2012 at 12:38 PM ^

Suprised to see Brian violate his own no politics rule.  I think he could have made the same point by just mentioning vulture capitalists in general instead of Bain Capital which will forever be tied to a failed presidential candidate and then post a picture of said candidate.


December 17th, 2012 at 1:04 PM ^

And an incorrect understanding of Bain's model, as well. 

Bain and others generally buy failing companies thru debt, try to improve them (often reducing staff and costs), and sell them later in whole or in pieces when they have become healtier. Sometimes it doesn't work, sometimes it does. Love Bain, hate Bain, whatever, but Bain and buyouts =/= equal Michigan football.

For that matter, "vulture" capital is another thing completely.

Big time athletics is changing, and Brian and others (me included) may not like it but it is certainly not "Bain" or "Vulture Capital". That's just lazy.



December 17th, 2012 at 8:53 PM ^

... but Bain is a private equity firm not a venture capatilist.  The two are very different in practice PE firms look to buy distressed companies, improve them (the definition of improve is where most of the controversy comes in), and sell them.  Venture capatilists typically invest in start ups, provide a varying level of support to the start up leadership, in exchange for an equity position in the companies.  




December 18th, 2012 at 3:04 AM ^

There is general misunderstanding of the difference between private equity and venture. Venture funding entrepreneurs is excellent. Sure, most fail, but that's how great ideas get built.

Private equity gets a bad wrap. Usually when you're distressed enough to get snatched up, you probably were going to fail spectacularly later anyway. Of course there are bad examples, but PI is a necessary thing.


December 17th, 2012 at 12:50 PM ^

My family and 5 others have a block of season tickets totalling 19 tickets. These have been in the respective families since the mid 70's. This next season will unfortunately be the last time we keep those seats due to the ticket price increase and introduction of PSL's. It is an unfortunate and somewhat shocking thing to think that after next season I may never sit in that same seat again that I watched Desmond and Charles return punts against OSU in. The same one that I got to sit in to witness Braylonfest, Biakabatuka's record breaking day against OSU, and Hokes first victory in the Game. 

What disappoints me even more is that I will never have the chance to take my son (future/hopefully) to a game and sit in those same seats with my dad and explain the tradition of the university and the football team. This is what pains me most about the change in college football.



December 17th, 2012 at 2:29 PM ^

This is incorrect, given you do have the chance.  They are not taking your opportunity to purchase those tickets away.  Your story may be a seminal, and may be part of what seems to be a tipping point of over-pricing in CFB, but it is only that.  You can choose to purchase these tickets or not, just as you could when prices went up from $20 (or whatever it was) decades ago to $85 today. 


What disappoints me even more is that I will never have the chance...


December 17th, 2012 at 12:51 PM ^

is at least 25 years in the future. we can talk all about how all you have to do is these 5 techie things to not have cable, but a large portion of people just want to hit the remote button and pay for cable, since they just watch law and order and paula deen, anyway.

while a portion of the money does go to funding non-revenue sports, a lot of it goes to the football and basketball programs. i hate the rutgers and maryland thing as much as anyone, but i am not sure that i am willing to cede the next quarter century to programs and conferences that are willing to squeeze blood from turnips. i am sure that cable's imminent demise is not news to delany and brandons of the world, but a) they won't be here when it happens b) they are charged with changing the present for the near future for their affilitates c) they are confident that the next generation of future-owners will own that future too.



December 17th, 2012 at 2:28 PM ^

I agree since I work in Cloud Computing, but when I get home I just want to turn the TV on and it works. That said, I am over 40 and already on my way to irrelevance.

Brian's general point that the current business model is likely to eventually expire is accurate, I just think his timeframe is off. In addition, there's no evidence that the "content owners" won't still be the ones making money down the road. The B10/Fox enterprise can simply shift to selling the content to us directly .

The downside for us who like our B10 Football is that future likely results in us paying more for it instead of having it subsidized by people who don't watch it... and the general problem for the B10 is they'll be making less money.

But if everyone's making less money, the B10 having the infrastructure and ability to generate their own content will still put them in an advantage.


December 17th, 2012 at 4:03 PM ^

over which content flows; everyone wants to control and sell the content.  The BTN controls the content, so no matter what the Cable-pocalypse looks like or what happens afterwards, they'll be in a good spot as long as they have content to sell.

In that future Cable-pocalypse, we'll also probably have completed the Great Collapse of College Football into the superconferences, and the B1G and the BTN have positioned themselves as one of those superconferences and its media entity.  Nobody will be asking "Why is Maryland part of the Big Ten?"  They'll be wondering what ever happened to Notre Dame and why they don't see it any more.



December 17th, 2012 at 12:55 PM ^

C'mon, Notre Dame isn't even in the BIG and we won't even be playing them anymore in a couple of years.  Can we please take them off the list?  Oh, sorry wrong thread...


December 17th, 2012 at 1:15 PM ^

Generally Brian sticks to things he seems to have some knowledge about and avoids politics but he seems to have bucked both those trends today.

There is plenty of evidence that private equity improves a company's long term prospects not destroys them.

So, with all due respect, please stick to football.