Unverified Voracity Looks Up, Continues Looking Up

Submitted by Brian on February 15th, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Had some issues this morning; apologies for the late content.

Mock Rock impending. Michigan's annual all-singing, all-dancing athletes for charity spectacular is Wednesday. It's at Hill; tickets are just ten bucks. If you can't make it you can still donate.

Ambivalence at maximum. Michigan now has a Chief Marketing Officer, which is a development I meet with trepidation. On the one hand, maybe he'll think that Michigan's main asset is not being a pro sports team and he'll put a replica of Special K's head on a pike outside Michigan Stadium and we will never hear "Let The Bodies Hit The Floor" at a Michigan sporting event ever again. On the other hand, he used to work for the Knicks and might think the thing that's missing from Yost is Saliva.

I have to say the guy's quotes do not fill me with joy:

"Digital marketing is a huge emphasis in the social media world," he said. "How do you take that to the next level?"


There's more like that. Hopefully the guy does more to fill Crisler than to explore "revenue opportunities."

As a side note: There's been some chatter on message boards from people who saw Brandon speak at one of those alumni things about Michigan charging for admission to the spring game and plastering ads all over Michigan Stadium for the event. We'll see if that actually comes to fruition or if it's just idle talk but it sounded convincing, and it was on the internet. So definitely true.

Impending largeness. Michigan's got five games left in the regular season, one against a Minnesota team that escaped Crisler with a narrow win earlier this season. There was a hockey game at the same time so I have no idea what transpired in that game but if it was anything like what happened against Iowa, it was large and lumbering:


That's the zone they played; 45, 50, and 32 are Colton Iverson, Ralph Sampson III, and Trevor Mbakwe, who are all at least 6'8". With 6'7" Rodney Williams getting a bunch of time and Al Nolen out for the rest of the regular season, Minnesota is just an enormous basketball team. They're 7th nationally in Kenpom's "effective height" metric. But wait, there's more: Michigan plays #1 Illinois next. Outside shooting is going to be important, as will the ball movement to exploit some plodders.

This film does not exist. The Fab Five beatiing Illinois in 1993:

The striking thing how Michigan just forces stuff up that goes down, but that might be an effect of Wolverine Historian clipping out possessions that don't end in scores. Also: remember when Chris Webber could jump?

They were totally voluntary, for real. Houston Nutt Roster Katana UPDATE:

Ole Miss releases scholarship numbers; Nutt says departures were voluntary

Houston Nutt Roster Katana UPDATE UPDATE [same article]:

[Nutt] encouraged me to try to talk to the players and ask them if he ran them off. I have tried, of course. Haynes wouldn’t comment when reached on Thursday. And attempts to contact the other players have been unsuccessful.

Houston Nutt Roster Katana UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE:

But soon after losing the competition for the starting job in late August, Bailey was approached by Nutt and (then-Arkansas special teams coach James) Shibest, who told the kicker he would have to pay his own way if he wanted to play football. As they explained at the time, they didn’t realize that Bailey’s partial academic grant would count toward the team’s 85-scholarship limit. …

Bailey and his family couldn’t afford the out-of-state tuition, room and board. His father, Gary, is a production technician at Metal Container Corp. who suffers from chronic rheumatoid arthritis. His mother is a wedding coordinator. So Bailey returned home before Arkansas’ 2006 opener and stayed there for several months. Here was the class valedictorian at Yukon Southwest Covenant, just hanging around doing nothing.


Etc.: Adorable child sings The Victors. I elaborated on the Fanhouse/Bleacher Report post for Dave Kindred, who published an article about sports media remaining relevant in the internet era. In a nutshell, I think guys like Luke Winn doing stuff so good ESPN steals it is the route forward for official journalists. Urban Meyer blasts NCAA corruption, provides no details. Darius Morris numbers: sexy.



February 15th, 2011 at 1:46 PM ^

The Bailey case is a great illustration of the human cost of over signing. The SEC is to college football what the assembly line was to American workers. The mechanization of the human being. These kids aren't assets, they're kids.


February 15th, 2011 at 1:48 PM ^

Brian talks about Special K all the time, but is there actually a picture/profile of this guy? I'm kind of interested to know more about the "man responsible for music at the Big House".....

Also, the idea of charging money for the Spring Game is somewhat ridiculous. At the very least, DB needs to wait until this team has some preseason buzz surrounding it before trying to extract gate money from the 30k who attend.


February 15th, 2011 at 1:50 PM ^

I think the Fab Five is exactly the opposite of a John Belein team. If the effective height Kenpom metric existed in the early 90's, my guess is that the Fab 5 was probably pretty high up in that metric. 6'8'' point guards like Jalen Rose have a tendency to do that. Man I miss those teams. It's a shame I would absolutely hate the Fab 5 if they existed today anywhere else in the country.


February 15th, 2011 at 2:02 PM ^

"I think the Fab Five is exactly the opposite of a John Belein team."

This may be true, but Fab 5 Michigan still held true to the longstanding tradition of having one extremely scrappy white guy on the team. 

I believe this is something that will transcend any coaching style or roster makeup.

Sgt. Wolverine

February 15th, 2011 at 1:51 PM ^

I would think twice -- or maybe even three times -- if I had to pay for the spring game.  It's a glorified practice.  Charging for a locker room tour might make sense.  But charging for the spring game?  That'd be stupid.


February 15th, 2011 at 1:52 PM ^

It's for the children, oh the humanity!

DB's Kirby vacuum cleaner sales pitch (you know, block the slamming door with your foot and throw a clump of dirt on the customer's floor) to foul our holy sanctuary with commercials.  Once we get used to the ads, BAM!


February 15th, 2011 at 1:53 PM ^

Before I go on an anti-DB rant, let me ask a general question:  Do other major university sports departments have a CMO?

Assuming that the answer is "no," rant:  This is yet another example of DB not recognizing the difference between being the AD of Michigan and running a wall street company.  Sure, branding is important, but I get the feeling that he just can't get away from his CEO roots.  Even his approach to the whole coaching change - done the way that the CEO of a corporation would handle it - with a process, that is religiously followed, so that he could say, "see, I had a process and I followed it like I said I would do so you can't be upset at me." At the end of the day, I was happy with the RESULT of his process (even though the timing hurt us), so maybe the new marketing guy will work out fine, but I doubt it.


February 15th, 2011 at 2:25 PM ^

Agreed.  When the unfortunate shift takes place, and all programs are run like corporations, DB will be seen as a pioneer. A marketing officer is not necessarily a bad idea, because, as you said, branding is important, but I have a real hard time equating a college football program with a corporation. I have no foresight, but it seems like it could be a terrible idea for a variety of reasons.


February 15th, 2011 at 1:56 PM ^

that was my favorite basketball team - EVAR!

james voskuil, rob pelinka and eric riley, michael talley, maybe demetrius calip, were still hold overs from the great teams of the late 80s and had a really rough year the year before when i think they were 14-15 or something like that.  solid veteran depth plus the energy of the fab five was a fun team.


February 15th, 2011 at 1:58 PM ^

of Brian to ask that Brandon work to fill Crisler when he goes on to say that he wasn't even at the game.  And yes.  I do realize that he was at the hockey game, but don't complain about something when you don't even go to the games.


February 15th, 2011 at 2:19 PM ^

I do not think "hypocritical" means what you think it means.  Do you think Brian actually does not want Brandon work to fill Crisler?  Really?  Perhaps one of the things that Brandon can try to do is ensure that basketball and hockey do not conflict with each other.  Would a person be "hypocritical" for advocating that?

Sorry if this comes across like a grammar nitpick, but accusing somebody of being "hypocritical" seems to have become the go-to argument on the internet, when it is not really an argument at all.

Also, count me as somebody else who would like to see Crisler sell out, but who does not regularly attend basketball games.  So there.


February 15th, 2011 at 2:43 PM ^

Also, count me as somebody else who would like to see Crisler sell out, but who does not regularly attend basketball games.  So there.

I like how the sycophancy of posters here has reached such a level that fans will freely trash their own commitment if it means agreeing with the dear leader.



February 15th, 2011 at 2:49 PM ^

Sorry; I had responded to an earlier post that you took down.  I have to edit my post as well.

I am not trashing anything; I just don't like basketball all that much.  I am happy when Michigan is successful in it, though, and I don't see anything wrong with that.  I remember being vaguely pleased when Michigan won the NCAA field hockey championship even though I don't follow field hockey.


February 15th, 2011 at 3:05 PM ^

I guess I wasn't clear.  Of course hypocrisy exists and arguments can be hypocritical.  What I am saying is that calling somebody else a hypocrite is not an argument against anything that they have asserted.  If I am a hypocrite, you may call me out for hypocrisy, but my hypocrisy does not make my statements false or your statements true.


Everyone Murders

February 15th, 2011 at 2:01 PM ^

The idea of a marketing officer is terrifying, because he's a gonna leave his stamp on "the brand" by hook or by crook, and dollars-to-donuts it will be based on dollars.

But I did like the following quote from the CMO:

"I want to sell out Crisler," he said. "That's a personal agenda. I've got to get to the bottom of why that doesn't happen. I want to get into the data on why people don't come to the games." via MGoShoe's Diary

The lack of attendance might have something to do with years and years of the program being, uhm, bad and the venue being, uhm, worse.  But the overall lack of attendance is surprising even in light of those obvious factors.


February 15th, 2011 at 9:27 PM ^

They wouldn't sell out for those Fab Five teams except for big games. There's just a lack of interest. It's a football school. Hockey wouldn't be any different if they were trying to sell 20,000 seats. If they couldn't sell out then, it's not a shock they're not close to selling out for a team that hasn't mattered for over a decade and is probably headed to the NIT this year.


February 15th, 2011 at 2:08 PM ^

I think it depends entirely how much DB is proposing to charge people. If the ticket cost is $5, I have no problem with it at all.

If it's $10, I think the weather would have to be spectacular for me to pony up. If it's $20, I'm going to do something else, regardless of how good the weather is.


February 15th, 2011 at 3:20 PM ^

Considering that about 30-35k show up when it's free, Its really tough to guesstimate how many would attend with a charge. 

For the last couple years, I've walked down there and watched for about 30-45 minutes. The weather is usually shitty, and it tends to get boring after just a little while. Unless I start using it as an excuse to tailgate beforehand, any ticket charge will probably cause me to just stay home and watch it on B10 network.

I'm likely not the typical Spring Game attendee though. I think a $5 ticket and more of a marketing effort could have a net positive on overall attendance, because more people would likely feel compelled to stay for the whole thing. I still think weather will be the main determinant for attendence though.


February 15th, 2011 at 2:12 PM ^

Watching that video and thinking of the bitter disappointment that was the national championship game that year - not to mention the NCAA sanctions - I realized one of the reasons that I just don't get that down about the football and basketball team's recent struggles.  Nothing* could be as painful as the end of the Michigan-UNC game...We Michigan fans ought to be able to ride out a few bumps in the road. 


*Within the context of sports, of course. 


February 15th, 2011 at 8:37 PM ^

Webber called timeout... tears welled up as I proclaimed how stupid a rule can be that penalizes a team for calling an extra timeout.... I was 9.  You take the good with the bad though.  It is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.

lexus larry

February 15th, 2011 at 2:34 PM ^

Sounded eerily similar to Homer Simpson's Internet company name development:

That's why I need a name that's cutting-edge, like CutCo, EdgeCom, InterSlice...

How about... CompuGlobalHyperMegaNet 


February 15th, 2011 at 2:37 PM ^

Minnesota didn't escape Crisler with a win.  They outplayed us, bigtime.  We were fortunate to keep it close.  They outrebounded us 38-13, which is just beyond description.  That was the game that prompted Beilein to go to the "Big men block out so the guards can rebound strategy" since then.


February 15th, 2011 at 2:39 PM ^

Sure, the quote doesn't make sense, but that's probably because most marketing trolls tow the line on the perceived super awesomeness of social media, and in so doing fail.

Nevertheless, Michigan athletics is a huge brand. Having someone in charge of that brand, messaging (through all channels, including social media) and advertising isn't just smart, it's normal. College sports is a big business, for better or worse. Having someone who's responsible for the marketing of a brand is ultimately much more rewarding than pushing out some half-crocked marketing soup. Especially when a brand is still recovering from angry factions and embarassing losses.


February 15th, 2011 at 2:46 PM ^

It's easy to think that as soon as you have a good team that the stadium or arena will be sold out every game, but for whatever reason, it doesn't work that way, at least in Ann Arbor.

In the 20 years prior to Bo's arrival in 1969, Michigan Stadium had capacity crowds only for MSU or OSU, with the only exception being Army in 1955. Even during good seasons like 1964 and 1968, it was common to have crowds under 70K; in '68, the attendance for the Navy, Illinois, and Wisconsin games was under 60K. The Wisky game saw a 7-1 Michigan team ranked #4 in the polls, but only 51K could drag themselves out to the game.

Bo blows into town like a hurricane, and quickly establishes Michigan as one of the two dominant teams in the conference. From '69 through the '73 season, UM was a cumulative 48-6-1. Regardless, for those years, the only capacity crowds were for MSU or OSU. In '73, for the November home games against IU and Illinois, the attendance was just a bit north of 76K, and that was for games when UM was undefeated, ranked #4 in the country, and headed for another huge winner-take-all game against OSU.

The first game against a team other than MSU or OSU that one of Bo's teams drew a capacity crowd for was in 1974 with Navy. Still, Michigan went into the November Purdue game that year undefeated and ranked #3, and yet only ~89K showed up. In '75 we were 4-0-2 and ranked #7 heading into the homecoming game against IU, and 93K showed up. It was only after that Indiana game that we started the streak of consecutive crowds over 100K, with every one of them after the '76 Navy game being listed officially as a capacity crowd. So in other words, we had to have seven consecutive top-notch seasons—'69 through '75—before we started selling out each and every game. And that was even with the widely acknowledged marketing genius of Don Canham at work.

It wouldn't surprise me if we would need a similar streak of consecutive successful seasons in basketball to sell out Crisler every time.


February 15th, 2011 at 2:53 PM ^

Chief Marketing Officer.  take it further Marketing,  what the hell do Marketers do? Oh! wait I'll answer that.   They find ways to sell you shit and if you don't want that shit they will find a way to convince you that you need that shit.  How do Marketers ultimately determine their effectiveness?  By how much shit they can get you to buy wether you want it or or need it or not.

Having said that in an inappropriate way, If a marketer tells you that he is not a Pimp and that he will not whore your traditions, values, and sacred culture then disguise this lie in  language  that only other Pimps understand then will do the opposite.  

Rant over!  Go back to your regularly scheduled programing.


February 15th, 2011 at 3:05 PM ^

when it comes to advertising in the Big House.  I don't like it.  Period. 

I'll swallow my displeasure and content myself with disgusted looks if it brings us the Big Chill or benefits Mott's, but there is a VERY fine line there that is constantly being almost-crossed and it scares me.  It could be one of those things that happens slowly enough that nobody notices, until all of a sudden in 2022, SuperRecruitRunningBackTouchdownTimTheThird scores a touchdown and Usher blares from the speakers as NewHipVersionofCarl proudly announces, "michigan touchdown!  Brought to you by ARBY'S!!!!!©  scored by...   Now who wants some FREEEEE PIZZZZAAAAA, sponsored by DOMINOESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!© and the scoreboards split time flashing "Mihcigan Touchdown" and ads in a 1:5 ratio.  OK.  It probably won't ever be that bad, but you get the picture.  It's a slippery slope.

That being said, according to MGoShoe's diary, only the very last bullet point had to do with marketing with sponsors and that was the only mention of it, so I think it's pretty fair to say that if the transition occurs, it won't be so much the new CMO.  Either way, if he decides he has to consistently fill Crisler before working on sponsorships, we might not have the above doomsday scenario until 2222...