Unverified Voracity Is Unprecedented Comment Count

Brian June 24th, 2014 at 12:23 PM

They said it couldn't be done. As first reported by mgouser Canadian, hockey tickets are actually declining(!) in price this year:

Just got an email informing me that this seasons prices have been reduced. Endzone seats see a 15% drop, sideline 12% and centre ice 10%.
Also I noticed at the bottom of the email that season ticket holders will receive a 20% concession discount before the start of the game (for every home game). This is great news for myself as that's the only time i visit the concession stands (grabbing a bite to eat as I have to rush over right after work).

Wags immediately assert not to click on any links as this email must be written by a Nigerian prince, but no seriously I got it too:


I wonder when the last price drop in one of the big three sports happened. I certainly can't remember one, but you have to figure that basketball was walking back prices at some point during the dark period. Ticket demand for hockey must be very soft, what with two years out of the tournament and basketball going like gangbusters.

There's also an assortment of season ticket holder benefits. While none of them are particularly significant, it is a step in the right direction for a department that has basically laughed at the idea of loyalty since Brandon was installed.

Ty Wheatley tribute. Wolverine Historian releases a new version that's five minutes longer because why not:

A sizeable nerve hit. John U Bacon's article about Michigan's season ticket situation was so popular his server imploded under the pressure, and now Yahoo has asked him to consolidate and refine it for their site. I don't think the headline guy did him any favors by invoking "greed", but if you liked the original you'll find plenty to agree with in the sequel. It also gives me the opportunity to pull another money quote, so here goes:

Yes, advertising in the Big House does matter. Americans are bombarded by ads, about 5,000 a day. Michigan Stadium used to be a sanctuary from modern marketing, an urban version of a National Park. Now it's just another stop on the sales train.

Everything the ticket holders spend hundreds of dollars to wait for and pay for, they can get at home for next to nothing – including the ads -- plus better replays. They can only get the marching band at the Big House.

John might be attempting to set a record for "number of times single piece gets emailed to me," and I think he's just about caught that piece about Gibbons that every MSU/OSU troll in the world sent me.

Just when your life was running low on gravel trucks. Mike Barwis has a reality TV series coming up from the Funny or Die guys, who happen to be fanatical Michigan fans. Barwis is a natural for this, of course.


Well done, Jim. Jim Delany took the stand as an NCAA witness. For the umpteenth time, an NCAA witness went over a bunch of stuff the judge said she wouldn't be considering like the impact on non-revenue sports. Delany also issued more College Is Good statements that make legal analysts rend their garments at their irrelevancy.

That was par for the course. Then Delany firebombed his side's cause:

Delany is tired of athletes being asked to spend all year on voluntary -- read: mandatory -- workouts. He'd like to see athletes get a chance to spend a semester abroad if they chose. He believes they are supposed to be students first. As he said all this, he admitted he remains very much in the minority among the policymakers in college sports on those issues. (Case in point: The schools have recently passed rules allowing football and basketball coaches to spend more time with their players in the offseason.)

That admission from Delany hacked several questions off his cross examination.

The plaintiffs have spent the entire trial trying to prove that in today's NCAA, players are athletes first and students second. The NCAA's attorneys and most of its witnesses have insisted that isn't the case. They say the athletes are students who just happen to play sports. They say allowing football and men's basketball players to sell their name, image and likeness rights would drive a wedge between the athletes and the student body. The plaintiffs contend the wedge was driven long ago and extra money in the pockets of the athletes won't change that. Delany helped them make that case Friday by explaining the reforms he'd like to see that actually would make the players feel more like regular students and then by explaining that they'd get steamrolled if they came up for a vote.

People are just in charge of things, etc.

I only have one problem with Andy Staples's article:

Outside of the Big Ten, Delany is massively unpopular. He continually stood in the way of a college football playoff. He essentially claimed an SEC team beat a Big Ten team for a football national title because the SEC team was faster and dumber. He created a cash cow of a cable network while still banging the drum for amateurism.

He is massively unpopular to Big Ten fans as well after adding Rutgers and Maryland.

Meanwhile, in Emmertland. Staples covers Emmert's testimony:

Emmert discussed the "commercial pressures" to use athletes in a variety of ways. "One has to make sure, in an amateur context, that it doesn't go to a place where the student-athletes are in fact being used as nothing more than shills for a product," Emmert said.


Staples got a little snarky. I understand. It's hard not to be. As I've noted before, taking the NCAA's model and trying to justify it in a courtroom leads to progressively increasing levels of cognitive dissonance that end with you going ACK and snarking.

Oh no, what would that be like. Upside to the NCAA enforcement department ceasing to exist, from the NCAA's perspective:

Dinosaur hit by Google meteor. It must have been grand to be a sportswriter in the days when the collective memory of your readers was about six months long, tops, an you could just recycle your bits ad nauseum in between three-martini lunches. Unfortunately, these days you can just plug "out of touch sportswriter name" and "topic" and verily, thou art exposed.

So when Dan Shaughnessy wrote a "but I don't want to like soccer" piece that seemed 25 years old, it was quickly discovered that the reason it seemed 25 years old is that it actually was. Deadspin:

Hands are what separate man from beast

June 22, 2014

Soccer takes away our hands. This makes the game incredibly skillful and exhausting, but also robs fans of much of the beauty of sport. Hands and opposable thumbs separate us from creatures of the wild.

June 17, 1994

And what's with the hands? How good can any game be when you can't use your hands? Hands are what separate us from the animal kingdom.

July 5, 1990

Finally, there is the hands problem. Hands and thumbs, that's what separates us from the beasts of the jungle.

I'm terrified that I repeat myself too much when I go on about how punting is evil or the NCAA should keel over and die posthaste, because I came of age shaking my head at dudes like Shaugnessy and Rick Reilly who phoned in the same four columns for 20 years.

I used to be really mad at these guys because they were wasting the greatest job in the world. Nowadays it's more contempt than anger. Y'all are still doing this in 2014?

Hockey scouting. Over The Boards collects a bunch of scouting on college-hockey bound gentlemen, touching on a number of Michigan recruits. Zach Werenski, who may be on campus this fall:

He’s deliberate and doesn’t put himself in situations to fail. He doesn’t pick his battles, he just battles smart. His natural abilities, what he’s worked on, continuing to improve, I think the debate is what part of what he does is going to persist to the pro level, but his being well-rounded I don’t think makes him undefined like some toolsy kids that can’t figure out where they put their skills in the toolbox and when to pull them out, you know? He knows what he can do and plays to it: situational awareness.

2016 D Griffin Luce:

“Luce is arguably the best ’98 defenseman in the country. He has great size at 6’3, 200 and plays with an edge, throwing his body around in the corners and in-front of the net in his own end and is a presence on the offensive blueline. Luce moves very well for his size and age and handles the puck effortlessly with hard, crisp, tape to tape passes up ice. He can run the powerplay and with his reach and hockey IQ is an ideal penalty killer as his head is always on swivel and getting his stick out to take away passing lanes."

Luce is projected as a potential first-rounder. 2015 F Kyle Connor gets a brief mention as a kid who has really come on this year. That is understating it a bit. Connor was second in the USHL in scoring this year, highly unusual for a kid his age, and is one of three 2015-ish recruits at the WJC evaluation camp this year. I know Yost Built has been fretting about whether he'll follow through on his commitment, so hopefully this reassures somewhat:

“Growing up, that was my dream school,” said Connor. “I’m a Michigan football fan and Michigan everything, even my parents are big Michigan fans. When I heard they offered me the scholarship it was a no brainer.”

Saginaw drafted him in the 14th round, and they're not known for swooping in on college commits.

I will also take this opportunity to note that UNO has a kid named "Luc Snuggerud" coming in this year. That has to go high up on the list of most hockey names.

Etc.: EMU to install a gray field, start calling Rynearson "the Factory." "Why isn't EMU I-AA?" you ask, because that's what you always ask about EMU.

USC announces that all revenue sport scholarships will be guaranteed for four years. A collection of early Big Ten odds. Texas's AD is so Brandon, still.



June 24th, 2014 at 12:42 PM ^

Every sport needs something to make it difficult.  Baseball: here, you have to use this stick.  Hockey: it's on ice.  Basketball: you have to dribble.  Football: those other guys can try to kill you.  Soccer: no hands.  Simple.

I don't really blame Shaughnessy for repeating himself, because consistency is usually good.  Most of the rest of the time, gotcha-fiskers are hitting people for just the opposite.  ("This guy said X, but he said Y before!")  I do think that's a really, really dumb reason not to like a sport, though.


June 24th, 2014 at 12:45 PM ^

Those early Big Ten odds are interesting. I really like Iowa to win the West at +500 with that schedule. Pretty much all comes down to beating Wisconsin at home, giving them room to lose another game elsewhere, maybe @ Minnesota or home to Nebraska. So in terms of being +500 to beat Wisconsin at home, seems like an excellent bet.


June 24th, 2014 at 1:05 PM ^

I know the Western conference is weak, but Nebraska and Wiscy getting basically the second-best odds to win the whole conference seems crazy to me.  OSU, MSU, and hell even UM seem like better teams than either of these schools unless Wiscy rolls out a competent QB.


June 24th, 2014 at 2:03 PM ^

Wheatley is the most dominant Michigan football player I ever watched. He was nuts. I don't remember Rashaan Salaam much because I never watched Colorado, but how Wheatley wasn't the best RB that year I'll never know.

A whole lotta Jon Runyan in that Wheatley video. Would be cool if their juniors got to do the same.

Zone Left

June 24th, 2014 at 12:51 PM ^

Jim Delaney knew exactly what he was doing when he firebombed the NCAA's lawya-case. He is in charge because he is a smart dude.

Honestly, the NCAA's lawyers are probably having the time of their life. They can't win, they know it, and are basically spending time coming up with ridiculous crap to say in a court of law. The side bets must be awesome.

Zone Left

June 24th, 2014 at 1:23 PM ^

I don't think it helps him maintain his ideal state. He wants the NCAA system to remain in place.

However, he knows the system is in a lot of trouble and the small schools are blocking the reforms he sees as necessary to keep the Big 10-type model viable financially. Helping to kill the NCAA's case is his way of pushing reforms in the relatively minor scope of this case with the hope that the Kessler case doesn't push the reforms out of his and the other conference commissioners control.

That's my guess as to his motivation. Assuming he just f-ed up, like Brian seems to, is just not correct.


June 24th, 2014 at 1:23 PM ^

Hockey prices will probably hop right back up again after the team does well this year. I imagine basketball is indeed taking away many Michigan fans who aren't necessarily die-hards for the hockey team


June 24th, 2014 at 2:37 PM ^

As others have pointed out, athletes are in fact the only members of the student body who cannot sell their likenesses.  Didn't the actress from Harry Potter go to Brown or some other Ivy League school?  She was also selling her likeness in advertisements when she did that, IIRC. 


June 24th, 2014 at 9:29 PM ^

This comment about from the John U Bacon season ticket article gave me chills:  

"Michigan fans are not the canaries in the coal mine. They are the coal miners. The people who run college football should take note."

Ty Butterfield

June 25th, 2014 at 12:34 AM ^

For the most part I don't care about all the dumb stuff Brandon is doing. Yeah, yeah Special K blah blah. The thing that might finally make me decide to give up my season tickets is how bad the program has been since 2008. Nothing else will really factor into my decision. I renewed for this season way before the deadline out of habit. Another season with an embarrassing loss to Staee will make it a lot harder to renew for 2015.