Unverified Voracity Has Pipes

Submitted by Brian on July 22nd, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Caris smash. Caris LeVert came to Michigan after a high school career spent as a mizzenmast. I'm saying he's thin, people. That's the joke. Or at least he was thin. This year's edition of Michigan basketball player is all swole now:


Yes yes, Irvin and Walton are also adding weight (Irvin's up to 215 from 200) but I be like dang Caris. Let's check in with his senior year of high school…


…during which he probably ripped off and reattached his arms nightly. Caris is also a legit 6'7" in shoes, so he is tall and large and is hopefully poised to rip it up this fall. 

Freshman dimensions. Basketball has posted a roster. It lists:

  • Kam Chatman at 6'7", 210
  • DJ Wilson at 6'9", 210
  • Ricky Doyle at 6'10", 250
  • Aubery Dawkins at 6'6", 190
  • and MAAR at 6'4", 200.

Doyle's weight is a positive. Michigan's going to need him to bang, and he's now the heaviest guy available—Donnal added ten pounds but only got to 240. Meanwhile, uncertainty about Max Bielfeldt's status for next year is all but gone: they've ceased listing him as a redshirt junior and now have him as a senior.

Fireworks nyet. I'll have a column type thing about this tomorrow, but to recap the most important completely trivial news of the week: the Michigan regents shot down the athletic departments proposed fireworks for the Miami (NTM) and Penn State games despite separating the votes. Mark Bernstein's criticism was the most pointed:

“We are not Comerica Park, Disney World or a circus ... ” Bernstein said. “I love Michigan football for what it is ... and for what it is not. It remains and should be an experience, a place that resists the excesses of our culture; intentionally simple.

“The fireworks should be on the field, not above it.”

I probably wouldn't have gone with "resists the excesses of our culture" but the overall sentiment is one I can get behind. Mostly I just want Michigan to be like itself, to maintain a separation from other options. Not because those are necessarily worse*, but because a bright line between Them and Us is inherently valuable when you're trying to gin up some fake-ass tribalism.

This is the most fundamental divide between myself and Dave Brandon: he wants to copy the Best In Class Leaders because that's the only thing he's ever been able to do. He could no more start a business than I could be athletic director, because every attempt would be Chipotle 2 or Also Applebees or Pretty Much Still Ponderosa. His one strategy for success is to do the thing that everyone else is doing.

Anyway. The new president is being carefully neutral about the whole situation

“Personally, I didn’t have an opinion,” Dr. Mark Schlissel, who started his job this week, said Friday during a press conference with the media. “Having never attended a game there, I didn’t have a sense of the cultural aspects of it. The band marching out, I’ve never seen. I’ve never seen them at a halftime show. I don’t have context to really say whether fireworks matter or not. I didn’t really feel like I had a valid opinion.”

…but the message sent by the regents is clear. This is an organization that has just been sued because they decide things in private meetings and show up to vote things in unanimously. During the 116 votes previous to the fireworks there were eight instances of a regent voting no. Brandon just exceeded that in a single day.

The opportunity here was to provide a vote of no confidence without shooting something down that's actually important, like the budget. I mentioned that I thought a number of people towards the top were discontent but unlikely to do anything about it in the most recent mailbag; I must have underestimated the disdain.

Is this the beginning of the end? I'm not getting my hopes up just yet.

*[They are of course sometimes worse.]

Back on the market. Onetime Michigan target and temporary SMU commit Matt McQuaid, a shooting guard out of Texas, has reopened his recruitment.

For a second there it looked like McQuaid was very serious about Michigan, so I wouldn't be surprised to see the two parties reconnect. Everyone seems like a backup plan for Jalen Coleman at the moment, but if Coleman does do the weird thing and pick a Notre Dame program that hasn't really gotten off the ground under Mike Brey, Michigan wants to make sure they've got options. McQuaid is a pretty good one:

McQuaid is arguably the best shooter in the class of 2015 -- and he strengthened his case last week at the LeBron James Skills Academy, when he shot lights-out from 3-point range against the best high school players in the country. There were at least two games in Las Vegas where I didn't see McQuaid miss an outside shot. He can make shots from deep and is also capable of knocking down contested shots.

He's 6'5", so visions of Stauskas are dancing in various heads right now.

Old stuff. Wolverine Historian takes on 1986 Iowa:

Straight shooter. I may disagree with a lot of what Bob Bowlsby thinks but I can appreciate that he's not Bill Hancock:

"Enforcement is broken," he said. "The infractions committee hasn't had [an FBS] hearing in almost a year, and I think it's not an understatement to say cheating pays presently. If you seek to conspire to certainly bend the rules, you can do it successfully and probably not get caught in most occasions."

He probably thinks it's possible to fix that, and that's where we differ. I do wish someone in attendance at Big 12 media days had heard this…

"It is hard to justify paying student-athletes in football and men's basketball and not recognizing the significant effort that swimmers and wrestlers and lacrosse players and track athletes all put in," he said. "Football and basketball players don't work any harder than anybody else; they just happen to have the blessing of an adoring public who is willing to pay for the tickets and willing to buy the products on television that come with the high visibility."

…and asked Bowlsby how much harder he was working than the assembled press corps.

Etc.: Scouting Tyus Battle, Jalen Coleman, and Prince Ali at the Peach Jam. The Game will not be at night, because frostbite. CJ Lee looks back at his time at Michigan after taking an assistant spot at Marist. A preview of the band programs this year. I'm not enthralled with the idea of trying the sing-along thing again. Peppers and Funchess feature amongst the most watchable players this year.

I like lists of sports memories that include bad stuff, because bad stuff happens. So props to the Daily Gopher for including Mike Legg (and Holy Cross) on their list of Gopher hockey moments.



July 22nd, 2014 at 2:51 PM ^

Does anyone know why Bielfeldt isn't listed as a redshirt junior? Is it that the staff thinks they're better off using his spot for a recruit? Or what? He definitely redshirted.


July 22nd, 2014 at 3:10 PM ^

he probably won't get a fifth year. Michigan has already sent out 3 offers for 2015 and they have only one open scholarship without attrition. Right now, the only likely early NBA entrant is Levert. So they probably need his schollie for another recruit.

But who knows how much attrition MBB will have this year? Levert, Chatman, Irvin, Walton and even DJ Wilson have the potential to blow up and leave early. And who knows if Hatch is healthy enough to be in the rotation?

I suspect Levert and maybe Irvin are the only ones who leave early. With Bielfeldt gone, that would leave 3-4 open schollies (maybe 5 if Hatch is a medical). they will probably use 2 of these for a couple elite guard recruits and a third for a PF or C. If they end up with more open spots, they will probably leave at least one spot open for 2016 which looks promising with several elite recruits on the radar.


July 22nd, 2014 at 2:55 PM ^

When you hire a CEO as your athletic director, you are going to get a CEO as an athletic director, i.e., someone who attempts to make the most money possible for the organization. Dave Brandon has been successful in making organizations lots of money by emulating what other successful, similar organizations are doing. You are right, that is all he knows how to do and he is not going to change his approach.

I feel that if the higher-ups are discontent at this point, the relationship with the athletic director is not going to improve without a change of the athletic director, which, at this point, seems like a foregone conclusion, at least eventually.


July 22nd, 2014 at 3:29 PM ^

Its very hard to argue that he is trying to "make the most money possible for the organization" given what he is spending for improvements in nonrevenue facilities. If he wanted to "make the most money possible for the organization", he would just drop everything but football/basketball or starve the resources for the other sports.

The debate really is how big the athletic department should be...in essence, how much revenue should be squeezed out of football/basketball to pay for the expansion of the nonrevenue side (new facilities, addition of lacrosse, maybe add womens hockey). If you dont want upgrades to nonrevenue facilities, clearly you dont need to squeeze as much revenue out of football. That is a choice to make,

Im not arguing either side of this other than to say that I think that many miss this point because all they care about is football/basketball so they are only looking at one side.


July 22nd, 2014 at 4:27 PM ^

The goal of "make the most money possible" can be reached in a variety of ways.  While short-term revenue might look swell, some might argue that DB is failing in that goal because of long-term alumni alienation.  

Michigan doesn't need to be another chain restaurant, we just need to be Michigan.

Side note...Domino's is doing just fine without Dave, and so can we:




July 22nd, 2014 at 7:55 PM ^

Im sure that Domino's could do fine without him..but given that Dave Brandon is still the chairman of the board at Domino's makes your statement a little less meaningful since he clearly would be very involved in their strategy in that role.


July 23rd, 2014 at 10:53 AM ^

Of course I'm biased; I'm a Michigan fan and I want what's best for Michigan.  I'm sure that DB also wants what he feels is best but a pizza CEO isn't necessarily the best events guy in the world and the areas where he has made so many enemies are all events related.  Having produced events for over a decade, I see lots of non-experts give it a go and they're all like smaller scale Brandons.  They all assume more is more.  



July 23rd, 2014 at 12:56 PM ^

Not sure what you wanting the best for Michigan has to do with your previous comment. You trying to argue that DB cant be involved with Domino's because he would have looked for a camera/newspaper opportunity to show this is the point. Your comment is just petty and shows there is no interest in a discussion because you will just find some random accusation to tear down DB no matter what the topic is.


July 23rd, 2014 at 4:36 PM ^

So, was your dad involved in Domino's when he was the CEO?  Or is he more involved in a ceremonial role on the board?

I don't "need a random accusation to tear down DB"; he goes a great job making himself look foolish (uniformz, jock jamz, post-TD fireworks, skywriting, student seating, price increases, etc.).  The shame is that he makes Michigan look foolish at the same time.  

Zone Left

July 22nd, 2014 at 3:22 PM ^

The fireworks issue shows a huge disconnect between the AD and the University's leadership. They may have been sued for violating open meeting regs, but the idea this wouldn't have been socialized and de facto approved in advance of public announce.

At best, the AD has some work to do with its relationships. At worst, Brandon is on his way out.


July 22nd, 2014 at 3:41 PM ^

86 Iowa was a mini payback for one of the more painful losses Bo had the year before.  Had we won the 85 game (and we most definitely could have won the 85 game) Michigan is going to the Rose Bowl undefeated, ranked #1, and playing for the National Championship.

I still hate their fucking kicker.



July 23rd, 2014 at 2:27 AM ^

And if Michigan would not have let Froggy beat them at the big house they would have been ranked number 1 or 2 heading into the Rosebowl...but they didn't play as well against ASU and I had thought they would. Kind of let down that year. But very close to having an undefeated season.


July 23rd, 2014 at 2:31 AM ^

And I use to get upset at Bo for losing bowl games! I would be doing back flips if we could have a string of 10 or 11 win seasons and only win a few bowl games! My have times changed!


July 23rd, 2014 at 9:36 PM ^

I was visiting AA with a friend from high school to check out the school. We picked the best possible weekend. We scored tix to the game, sat in the 2nd row in the freshman section behind the endzone. Yes, of course we ran onto the field at the end of the game! It was the most fun I'd ever had at a sporting event.

The next year I was a student with season tix. My friend ended up at BU. (We still argue about college hockey.)


July 22nd, 2014 at 4:26 PM ^

I know with all the buzz about open meeting regs that this sort of view has been getting a lot of play.

But Im not really sure what you are trying to imply..which one of these scenarios do you think happened?

1) Because of fear of the lawsuit, there was no discussion in advance. Fireworks voted down. This scenario would have no special significance of a public message to Dave since it couldnt be compare to prior votes that were "discussed" beforehand.

2) They did talk beforehand and agreed that they were going to pass it...but then when it came to actual meeting time, they pulled the switch on the AD to deliver a public no. While this would be a public diss of the AD, I cant believe they would agree beforehand and then change at the meeting. So Im dismissing this one from being reality.

3) They did talk beforehand and had a large amount of disagreement but still put it on the ballot because they either wanted to send message to AD or they have no "relationship" with AD so couldnt tell them that it was likely to fail.

Are you saying that you think 3) happened or am I missing some other scenario?


July 22nd, 2014 at 4:33 PM ^

4) Mary Sue Coleman was better at "managing" these meetings than the new guy is, and President Coleman would have gotten wind of the oppositon and taken the issue off of the agenda, or worked out a compromise (such as one game only, and as part of a patriotic halftime show) between the regents and the Athletic Department before the issue came up.

The new President, because he doesn't yet have a working relationship with the Regents or with the Athletic Department, wasn't able to provide cover.


July 22nd, 2014 at 5:19 PM ^

if your scenario was the case, then you are saying there should be no special significance that it was a public "no" vote since the reason it happened publicly was because of new president not because it was Brandon's proposal. I think there alot of scenarios such as this that result in no special significance to the vote...but it wont matter as everyone will talk about it as if was a public dismissal of DB's agenda.


July 22nd, 2014 at 8:49 PM ^

I think there are 2 sides to this:

(a) President Coleman would have prevented this from happening either by taking this off of the agenda or arranging a compromise, but also

(b) Some of the Regents saw an opportunity to make a public statement against the changes in the athletic department without having to vote against something major, like a facilities improvement.  Facilities improvements in the athletic department are still quite popular with everybody, but these "window dressing" expenditures are less popular. 

So this wouldn't have happened with President Coleman still around, and it wouldn't have happened if Mr. Brandon weren't losing favor with some of the Regents.

Zone Left

July 22nd, 2014 at 5:02 PM ^

Yeah, I'm saying this was an intentional swipe at Brandon. This is basically airing dirty laundry in public. The only reasons to do this are because Brandon didn't socialize this beforehand and demanded a vote or because the Regents decided to embarrass him. 

I just can't believe Brandon would be stupid enough not to bring it up before putting it on the agenda. Just because there's an open meeting lawsuit doesn't mean you can't talk to people beforehand. It just means you have to hold public votes and allow commentary. It's like arguing Congress shows up without any prior knowledge or discussion to hold a debate and vote. It's both naive and would be a recipe for poor decisions.


July 22nd, 2014 at 5:24 PM ^

While you commennts in the last part seem logical, I think the Free Press would strongly disagree with you. Take a look at their complaint..their whole issue is that there was discussion beforehand and that the vite is meaningless because it was decided. There is the possibility that the regents are being careful and there will be more of this near term. Whether that was the case, who knows. Either way you or i are making assumptions about what happened without knowing.

Zone Left

July 22nd, 2014 at 6:15 PM ^

Let me start by saying the decision to have fireworks at a football game is basically the equivalent of putting up new men's room signs in terms of consequence.

We're talking about two different things here. Open meetings acts require Regents to hold open votes, hearings, and discussions in public. The Free Press is mad because they aren't getting access to programmed meetings where votes are being held. I'm talking about walking up to someone's office, saying hi, and proceeding to ask about fireworks. The first is clearly a meeting of a public body, the second is a discussion and no one is going to disagree with that. The state legislature and the state courts, which is where the Free Press filed suit, are subject to these same laws. To comply like you're suggesting, there would need to be an open webcam and seating in every State Senator's office and every phone call would need to be on speakerphone.

Public figures don't do things like this without trying to make a point. That's why everyone knows the outcome before a vote comes to the floor in Congress. 


July 22nd, 2014 at 9:10 PM ^

"The only reasons to do this are because Brandon didn't socialize this beforehand and demanded a vote or because the Regents decided to embarrass him."


Would this be the newest tradition, to publicly humiliate subordinates?  It wasn't an either or proposition, the second stands alone. It really doesn't matter what the reasons, I found it rather disgusting that a couple of Regents did in fact purposely and publicy embarass what amounts to an employee.  There was absolutely no reason why they couldn't make short perfunctory statements, vote no, and then make their feelings known to Brandon in a private setting.  What they did was childish and set a very poor example going forward.



July 22nd, 2014 at 9:33 PM ^

 There was absolutely no reason why they couldn't make short perfunctory statements, vote no, and then make their feelings known to Brandon in a private setting.

I disagree with this thinking. That would be true, if, and only if the regents had confidence in their ability to sway DB privately. That may not be possible, especially someone with an ego like DB is commonly known to have. Neither you, or I know what discussions have taken place behind closed doors, nor do we know every proposal from the AD that has been discussed with the regents. For all we know, DB could be planning much more radical history making, Super Bowl flattering events for Michigan Football. Maybe they're trying to rein him in before it gets to that... Who knows. 


July 22nd, 2014 at 9:43 PM ^

on board with Hoke and his coaches publicly humiliating players if they thought that was the only way they could get their attention?  Is that the standard, that public humiiation is warranted if one believes it will make a difference?  Or does the standard only hold for certain undesirables?



July 22nd, 2014 at 10:00 PM ^

Well, comparing a million-dollar administrator and grown-ass man to college students isn't a fair comparison for starters.  But you know what - if the players were really so rebellious and intractible that a public rebuke were necessary, why not?  I think it's safe to assume that one doesn't resort to that kind of thing without a really good reason.  Seven regents don't get together to say, hey, let's take this public for shits and giggles.  I wouldn't go so far as to call it humiliation.  Humiliation would be if they publicly fired him and aired the full load of dirty laundry.  But a public rebuke is a perfectly legitimate tactic, yes, when your previous ones haven't gotten results.


July 22nd, 2014 at 10:38 PM ^

First, Brady Hoke wasn't elected by the voters of the State of Michigan and does not hold a political position.  The Regents are a political body and the Open Meetings Act applies to them, which most certainly does not apply to Mr. Hoke.  Their entire constitutional purpose is to form opinions on how the University should be run, express those opinions during meetings and to cast votes based on those opinions.  It's hard to argue that they exceeded their mandate--it is their mandate.

Second, I think "public humiliation" is a pretty extreme interpretation of what happened here.  Yes, obviously asking an elected body for an appropriation and then being turned down for that appropriation is a rebuke.  However, personalities never entered into it.  As far as I can tell, Mr. Brandon was not once mentioned by name by any of the Regents, and the discussion never went beyond the immediate issue--appropriating money to fund (and insure) fireworks during two games at Michigan Stadium.


July 22nd, 2014 at 11:07 PM ^

Brandon because they didn't use his name?  Or are they excused from having done so because they were being open?  A bit of grandstanding went on at Brandon's expense, you and others were okay with it, I wasn't.  It's just that simple.  I don't know, maybe they thought they could motivate Brandon into tendering his resignation.  

And as for Hoke, part of his contract is to make public appearances at press conferences.  So yes, he does have to be "open", but only to the extent laws and his own character prevent him from being more so.  The question remains, should Hoke be using the same kind of public sarcasm about his players to get their attention or maybe even motivate them to leave?



July 22nd, 2014 at 11:53 PM ^

"A bit of grandstanding went on at Brandon's expense, you and others were okay with it, I wasn't.  It's just that simple. "

Well, no, it isn't just that simple, because you are misrepresenting me. 

I also don't agree that it was at Mr. Brandon's expense.  This was a rebuke of a policy direction, not an individual.  The Regents didn't want to pay for fireworks, so they gave their reasons and then voted against it.  I think the desire to make every Athletic Department initiative into a referendum on Mr. Brandon is a characteristic of people who comment on this blog (both his supporters and his detractors), but the real world is more complicated than that.  Certainly the idea that anybody was trying to get Mr. Brandon to "tender his resignation" is overwrought.

As for Mr. Hoke, no such question remains.  Obviously some coaches use public humiliation as a motivating tool, and some are even successful (Bob Knight is an obvious example).  I think Mr. Hoke would fail spectacularly if he tried those methods to motivate, though--it would be so far from his established persona that his players would find it comical rather than motivating.  Leaving Mr. Hoke aside, certainly 2 of his 4 predecessors, including the most revered coach in our school's last 80 years, wouldn't shy away from the occasional public rebuke of under-performing players to get their attention.


July 23rd, 2014 at 10:57 AM ^

Having reached out to a regent that I know to thank him for his vote, I can tell you that you're wrong with this statement:

This was a rebuke of a policy direction, not an individual.  The Regents didn't want to pay for fireworks, so they gave their reasons and then voted against it.  

This wasn't about paying for fireworks.  This was, specifically, about standing up for Michigan tradition and reigning in an athletic director whose actions (from piped-in music to uniformz to student seating to...post-touchdown fireworks) have upset many people beyond this blog.


July 23rd, 2014 at 11:37 AM ^

I still don't think that contradicts what I am saying.  As Michael Corelone said, "it's not personal, Sonny, it's strictly business."

I think many people (including the Regents you spoke with) are opposed to the direction the athletic director is taking, but this isn't a personal rebuke as the poster I was responding to was suggesting (the words he used were "public humiliation" and suggested that they were "grandstanding" and trying to "motivate Brandon into tendering his resignation"), and he compared it to Mr. Hoke sarcastically humiliating one of his players in public.  Those accusations suggest that it is all about personality, not policy.  I just wanted to point out that his interpretation of what happened was far beyond what actually happened.


July 22nd, 2014 at 3:24 PM ^

This is the most fundamental divide between myself and Dave Brandon: he wants to copy the Best In Class Leaders because that's the only thing he's ever been able to do. He could no more start a business than I could be athletic director, because every attempt would be Chipotle 2 or Also Applebees or Pretty Much Still Ponderosa. His one strategy for success is to do the thing that everyone else is doing.

This is pretty much the very core of DB critique right here.  Everyone else has uniformz so we should too.  I've made this point before but it's one of my better ones so I think I'll say it again:

Brandon is 100% correct when he says Michigan is in competition with, say, the Pistons or the Lions, for entertainment dollars.  But he doesn't seem to get a very fundamental principle of competition.  You can compete on price or you can compete on differentiation.  If you can do both, great, but you can't do neither.  Brandon is trying to do neither.  He's got the most expensive product in town - not just in terms of dollars but also time commitment required, given distance and traffic and all that - and he's working on homogenizing the product.  

You'll go to Costco because it's cheap, or you'll go to Whole Foods because it's unique, but you sure as shit aren't gonna pay Whole Foods prices at Costco.  DB is turning Michigan into Costco but charging a premium.  If all these different teams are competing for my entertainment dollars, I think I'll go to a Tigers game for fireworks, thanks, and the Lions play pretty good music on the speakers.  There's nothing unique about those big M uniforms we had against Notre Dame, because Wiscy and Nebraska were given the same template.  It goes on.  I don't think he gets that Michigan provides the wow factor, not adidas or the White Stripes.


July 22nd, 2014 at 3:31 PM ^


You'll go to Costco because it's cheap, or you'll go to Whole Foods because it's unique, but you sure as shit aren't gonna pay Whole Foods prices at Costco.


This is great. I've tried expressing this same idea before, but I've never been able to do it as concisely and clearly as you do here. I might need to borrow this in the future.


July 22nd, 2014 at 4:31 PM ^

Not trying to call you out, but you've never been to Costco or at least know the idea behind it?  That's amazing to me and I feel good that I own stock in a company with obvious market to grow.  It's the exact same as a Sam's Club.  If you don't know that one, I don't have an answer for you.  And, yes, DB is working on an expensive Costco that is getting its ass handed to it every year by Sam's (OSU).


July 22nd, 2014 at 9:17 PM ^

I don't go to outlet malls either for that matter.

So you're saying...what is being said, that DB should spend the departments money on rolling back changes over the last 20 years or so?  Does that mean those Big Azz scoreboards have to go?  Because I'll tell you, I'm getting on in my years and I find it easier to watch the games on the scoreboards rather than pushing people out of the way so I can see the field.