Football Bust Night: An Open Letter to the U-M Club of Greater Detroit

Submitted by Section 1 on December 12th, 2011 at 3:23 PM

To:  The Executive Committee of the University of Michigan Club of Greater Detroit

Dear Committee Members,

Tonight, the Club hosts the 91st Annual Football Bust.  It is the continuation of a grand tradition.  Not only is it the celebration of the team's successes; it is also the single largest annual gathering of the Club's members and friends.

The U-M Club of Greater Detroit is, almost by definition of its membership, more than a sports-booster organization; it is an extension of the University's alumni.  Our university, whose seal since 1895 has borne the motto "Artes ~ Scientia ~ Veritas."  Veritas; truth.

In the spirit of "Veritas," I'd ask that the Executive Committee take a moment today, to reflect on truth and the pursuit of truth with respect to the U-M Club of Greater Detroit.  This past fall, the club scheduled its December 6 meeting at the Detroit Athletic Club, which was to feature John U. Bacon, author of Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football.  But for reasons that the Club has not provided, Mr. Bacon's engagement was cancelled, and on November 21 it was announced, with no other explanation, that another speaker would address the December 6 lunch meeting.

Mr. Bacon's website announced only that his engagement had been cancelled.  Mr. Bacon, I am assured, did not cancel his engagement.  The U-M Club of Greater Detroit, as far as I know, cancelled it.

To date, Mr. Bacon's fall book tour has taken him to alumni gatherings across the country, from Chicago to San Diego to Austin, Texas and all points in between.  He's drawn record-setting crowds of alumni wherever he's been, and his book appears not once but twice (hard copy and Kindle) on Amazon's list of top-selling football books.

Your action, in first scheduling and then canceling Mr. Bacon's appearance, defies understanding.  Respectfully, I suggest that the onus is now on the U-M Club of Greater Detroit, to explain whether or not this is an instance in which "Veritas" has been sacrificed for other interests.


Officers and Governors of the University of Michigan Club of Greater Detroit:

President: Jeff Cohen
1st Vice President: Jared Buckley
2nd Vice President: Bill Wenzell
Secretary: Rich Hale

Board of Governors 2012 - 2015
To June 2012

Jeff Cohen
Tony Finn
Heidi Haite
Mike Khomutin
Edmond J. Olejniczak
Dave Roberts
Roger W. Smith
Adam Valentine

To June 2013

Jared Buckley
Mia Chilman
Mark Colosimo
Ted Efros
Jill Gordon
Dana Mcallister
Terry Mcewen
Bill Wenzell

To June 2014

Brodie Killian
Susan Klotz
Ray Pittman
Tom Stroup
Jason Wanecek
Bill Wenzell

To June 2015

Matt Delecki
Lee Flake
Rich Hale
Dan Jokish
Susan Orozco
Marcy Tucker

 PastLiLList LLL



December 12th, 2011 at 3:31 PM ^

I must say that I was skeptical of this post based on the title.  No longer.  Well done Section 1.  Bacon's work is admirable and there is nothing to hide from.  Least of all the truth.  Go Blue.


December 12th, 2011 at 4:11 PM ^

These are valid points and this is something I didn't know about.  But if the issue was the December 6th meeting, and not the football bust, why not pen this letter prior to that engagement?


Section 1

December 12th, 2011 at 5:43 PM ^

And that replacement speaker was someone from UMHHC who no doubt does remarkable work for C.S. Mott and the other hospitals.  That speaker, and her speech, about the Childrens and Womens Hospital Replacement Project, did not deserve to be tainted by a football controversy that did not involve her at all.  She filled in, all credit to her.

Additionally, I did not have what I considered to be a satisfactory basis to write this until December 7.

Finally, tonight is the U-M Club of Greater Detroit's big night.  This is the night to call attention to the issue.  It is a very simple question.  If they have a response, fine.  If someone wants to ask Jeff Cohen or Jim Stapleton or any of the other Executive Committee members, buy them a drink tonight and ask them.  Straight up.


December 12th, 2011 at 4:14 PM ^

For better or worse John Bacon was not able to get versions of the truth from key people - though he tried. As such, readers are required to make assumptions about those that declined to be interviewed. There is more to the truth than what is documented in Three and Out.

Section 1

December 13th, 2011 at 10:15 AM ^

I was not talking about a Bacon appearance at the Football Bust.  John was never invited to the Bust; he never had any intention of appearing.  I don't think anyone ever had the slightest notion that John would be a speaker at the Bust.  In fact, I think John was at a long-scheduled book-signing last night as the Bust was occurring (unless his voice was still too sick to go).

Read the OP again; what I was talking about was a U-M Club lunch meeting at the DAC on Dec. 6, for which John was scheduled, and then uninvited.


December 13th, 2011 at 9:49 AM ^

Michigan just wrapped up a 10-2 regular season.  They beat Ohio State.  They welcomed Nebraska to the big ten by beating them to a bloody pulp.

The fan base has healed, and David Brandon and Brady Hoke have EVERYTHING to do with that.

Do you think anyone even wants to think about the Rodriguez era?  Since when have these banquets been about truth anyway?  Maybe we can all get together afterwards and talk about the holocaust.  Because Bacon's book isn't depressing enough.

The fan base has healed, but still you insist on drudging this divisive crap up out of the riverbed.  What the fuck is wrong with you?  Seriously?  Are you one of Rodriguez's kids or something?  Where did this unhealthy obsession start, and how can we help you move past it?

El Jeffe

December 13th, 2011 at 10:40 AM ^

I can't believe Section 1 has waited this long to respond, since he's usually all over it, but I'll try in his stead.

First, wipe the spittle off your screen and read his post. It has nothing to do with the Bust, it has to do with an offer to speak on December 6 that was rescinded with no explanation.

Second, your point seems to be that since we are winning now we shouldn't take stock of what happened in the past. That, to me, is a disgraceful attitude and one that any Michigan alum should be embarrassed even to contemplate. Is winning some football games so important to you that you support the shoddy treatment of both a former coach and a highly respected author and supporter of Michigan?

If so, that's obviously your prereogative. But in that case I'll wait patiently for the time when Brady Hoke struggles at Michigan (and it will happen, just like it happens to everyone, especially in these modern times) and Section 1 and I are defending him on the grounds that he is a decent, honorable, Michigan man and you are pillorying him for not winning enough football games.


December 13th, 2011 at 11:16 AM ^

I like how you ask him to wipe the spittle from his scream, then drop "DISGRACEFUL" and "EMBARASSED" immediately.

Look - it's a private club. They decided they didn't want to hear a guy speak. That's it. That is all that happened. It is not condoning the action of the Free Press, or condoning poor treatment of Rodriguez or anyone. It is not a decision to remain willfully ignorant. It is a decision to not listen to a guy that wrote a book speak.


December 13th, 2011 at 1:01 PM ^

In what way did Rodriguez NOT fail the University of Michigan?

I'll say this--he did bring some great kids out of the state of Florida into Michigan's program.  

But then you look at all the Academic All Americans he fostered, and his tremendous skills with public relations.  And lets not forget about his integrity beyond reproach, his humility and his selfless tendency to put the program before himself.  And his calming restraint on the sidelines.  I'm surprised HE wasn't awarded coach of the year.


December 16th, 2011 at 9:53 AM ^

It has nothing to do with LC or RR and everything to do with what might happen the next time we have to suffer through a coaching transition.

Personally, I'd like to see my Alma Mater be able to go calling on a list of the top young coaches that might be available and have them at least entertain our offer.  Say what you want about RR, he was viewed as one of the top coaches out there in 2007, young or old. 

Winning would have helped RR's case to remain.  That is certain, but it is also blatantly apparent that he wasn't fully accepted from day 1.  Even his biggest detractors cannot deny that.  His leash was short.  I see it as a teriible hinderance that we have announced to the world that if you want to coach at Michigan, you better have previous ties to the University and those ties better not be severed.  It may not be that black and white, but that is how it is now perceived.

So yeah..... I would like to see the " behind the scenes" details of the book not be ignored.  I am embarassed at how RR was treated, not because of it being RR and not because I needed him to remain coach, but because of what it means for us down the line.  Airing our dirty laundry may not change a thing..... but avoiding the issue certainly won't.


Sextus Empiricus

December 13th, 2011 at 10:42 AM ^

The fan base is as split as ever.   The only difference is 10-2.  Winning isn't everything though.  Michigan fans are best served by careful reflection on the issues of the late LC and entire RR era.  There are organizational lessons that are best dealt with openly.  College sports is a mess.  I don't see where reflection on the recent past is a negative.



December 13th, 2011 at 12:09 PM ^

I honestly have yet to meet a single Michigan fan in the real world(outside of this blog) who is still mooning over Rodriguez.  I've met lots and lots of spartan fans who were sorry to see him go.  They freaking loved him, and why wouldn't they?  He was our John L. Smith.

Michigan was a solid 8 win program before Rodriguez.  They were a 5 win program under his watch.  Now (with a limited sample) they are a 10 win program.  I have to believe that if the fan base(and that includes but is not limited to the limited sample on this blog) had really been SPLIT on Rodriguez we'd still be cheering on Greg Robinson's muppet show on the sidelines.

What exactly are we split on, and how would listening to Bacon recount the most painful part of Michigan's football history accomplish anything?


December 13th, 2011 at 12:29 PM ^

So Brady Hoke lost to Sparty too, so do they love him as well?   Yes there are many Michigan fans who approached Rich's firing with a "don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out" point of view, and would love for the whole mess to be buried and never brought up again. There are also many who think that in theory Rich could have succeeded, if he cleaned out his entire defensive staff. Given who Rich has hired at Arizona, I don't think that would have ever happened. So we are better off now, and I am happy. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't recognize and learn from what happened.

I believe Section 1's point is not to dredge up "ooh Rich was so wonderful and he got screwed", but to support John U. Bacon, who wrote a book about a painful point in Michigan Football history, and exposed several underlying issues to an institution we had all previously viewed with something akin to piety. (Clearly I am in the crex camp here.)

I would bet Mr. Bacon would not get up and drag people through his book or the last three years, but rather have something to say in relation to this year and Michigan Football history. However, if Lloyd Carr is to present or honored, I can understand why the club would want to avoid discomfort or embarrassment. For my part, as long as the club approached John U. Bacon in a respectful way when they rescinded their engagement, I see no harm, no foul.



December 13th, 2011 at 12:40 PM ^

     Mostly you get fear, hatred and fat jokes when Hoke is brought up.  Because Hoke isn't conceding the pro-formation talent to East Lansing.  And Hoke isn't playing right into the toxic local media's hands at every turn.  And despite Michigan's loss on the field, America(and the Sugar Bowl) has seen what Hoke and Michigan brings to the table and cast their votes with their dollars.  Big brother is back.

Section 1

December 13th, 2011 at 1:17 PM ^

Hoke is getting such favorable press now, it is laughable.  He doesn't have to worry about any "toxic" local media.  Actually, I'm forced to agree with you; local sports media is toxic.  But they have determined this year to be the Official Brady Hoke Honeymoon.  Brady Hoke is the current beneficiary of the hate-Rodriguez meme, if only by comparison.

You raised an interesting point about Michigan fans "outside of this blog."  I meet lots of ignorant Michigan fans outside of this blog.  Those fans, and indeed some former Michigan players, are really better-informed when I suggest to them that they read this blog.  They have all become much better informed after reading Bacon's book.

I could not care less what ignorant Spartan fans or ignorant Ohio State fans think.  I don't even care what ignorant Michigan fans think.  (I much prefer the informed portion of the OSU fanbase, to the uninformed portion of the Michigan fanbase.)


December 13th, 2011 at 1:39 PM ^

     You've embarrassed the name "Section 1" to the point that few if any are going to take you seriously.  I absolutely believe that the informed portion of OSU's fan base loves you to pieces.

     Much as I am sure they loved Rich Rodriguez.  Just so long as you're okay with being the object of ridicule.  I've often wondered if you actually exist as a human being, or maybe you're just a schtick invented by a rival fan to annoy Michigan's fan base.  Or maybe just the pen name Brian has taken to express views so radical/insane that he wouldn't voice them himself, lest he should lose all semblance of credibility.

     And I have to agree with you that Hoke has gotten a lot more respect from the media than Rodriguez.  But I can hardly fault Hoke for that.  And I understand that you want to blame all of Rodriguez's failures on that negative media attention.  But I'm not buying it.  You prove yourself in practice and on the field.  And Rodriguez did not.


December 17th, 2011 at 7:12 PM ^

Could you repeat yourself?  Are you implying that there are Michigan Fans that do not read this blog?   Blasphemy I say....Blasphemy.

I submit, you cannot be a Michigan fan UNLESS you read this blog. You are a real Michigan fan if you participate in this blog.


December 13th, 2011 at 12:10 PM ^

I disagree in your assertion that the fanbase is as splintered as ever.  The football bust last night was sold out for the first time since 1997 I believe.  Hoke has done a hell of a job so far and people can sense the positive attitude around the program these days.  I think most of the people who are still really upset about the ending of the RR era frequent this website and are a small minority of the fanbase.  


December 15th, 2011 at 5:12 AM ^

I think you're right in commenting that the fan base is unified regarding Hoke and the future. We loves us some epic double points and 10-2 seasons which were only a couple of plays away from being even better (4th and 1 play action fail + botched PI in the end zone).

I think the fan base is also fairly unified regarding Rodriguez' firing. I think most or all of us felt that the firing was at least justifiable, and at worst a year too late.

Where the fan base is divided is regarding the parameters that were in place for Rodriguez to succeed, which is partly what Bacon's book discusses. I think we can easily agree that when Hoke got the money to attract Mattison, his opportunity for success was improved over an alternate universe where he had to hand the reigns over to a lesser DC. Contrast that with the contract Rodriguez could offer Jeff Casteel according to Bacon, and it's fair to say that his opportunities were restricted.

Rodriguez failed as the HC at Michigan. He may have succeeded with a better opportunity to hire top notch coordinators and coaches on the defense, but he may still have failed. The complaint some of us have of the administration at the time is that the HC at Michigan should be afforded the trust and given every opportunity to succeed, and not be restricted to hiring second rate coordinators.

Others (most fans) either feel that Rodriguez had all the support he deserved/needed and failed, or that he should be good enough to succeed regardless of the framework in which he operates.

Sextus Empiricus

December 15th, 2011 at 11:40 AM ^

Hoke is great at coach speak - in part because he knows who has his back...and it isn't the fanbase.

I like Hoke and am behind him and the team 100%.  Even with a 10-2 season I can see dissention in the fanbase however.  Excellence is a life long adventure. I'll  judge nothing before the appointed time.

I was tempted to write a diary about what divides the fans despite the 10-2 record this year - but then I read through the 199 comments to Brian's Ennui post from yesterday.  Read those and tell me there isn't dissention and we aren't splintered.

We are all on board for quality football - no doubt there.  

I was proud of the teams' reaction to their two losses this year.  There were no excuses given.  The team is unified and that, for sure, is different than the recent past and a tribute to the upper class leadership and all around quality of the students on the team.



December 13th, 2011 at 11:16 AM ^

I want to know the truth.  I am happy Hoke & Company is here.  I am glad (gulp) Brandon is here (I thnk).  I am glad that RR is gone.

The Band is back together again.  However, it does not erase history.  I want the truth to come out.  Did Brandon, in effect, fire RR in Dec 2009 by not hiring Casteel?

I think so.  I think Brandon wanted RR gone BEFORE he took the AD job.  That is why he offered Casteel a one year contract for the 2010 season.

"The Process" was a way to stall everyone; to give the appearance of DB "performing a complete investigation".  It looks like DB did a great job of looking at all the facts.  He is known as a smooth operator (some call it Snake Oil Salesman), with a Silver Tounge.

The facts remain that DB did not have to pay RR money.  This also prevented him from seeking another coaching job.  IMO: it was wrong.  DB lied about Denard too.


December 13th, 2011 at 12:15 PM ^

DB owed Rich Rod jack-shit when it comes to firing him after OSU so he could get another job.  DB looks out for Michigan and not for Rich Rod's job opportunities, and that includes financial obligations like large buyouts. Anyways,  I still question the validity of people suggesting DB waited until after the bowl game so the buyout would be lower.  I think he really wanted to see what Rich could do with a month to prepare.


December 13th, 2011 at 12:15 PM ^

DB owed Rich Rod jack-shit when it comes to firing him after OSU so he could get another job.  DB looks out for Michigan and not for Rich Rod's job opportunities, and that includes financial obligations like large buyouts. Anyways,  I still question the validity of people suggesting DB waited until after the bowl game so the buyout would be lower.  I think he really wanted to see what Rich could do with a month to prepare.


December 17th, 2011 at 7:34 PM ^

remember that the University of Michigan is a state-funded school of higher learning.  It is controlled by the University Regents whom are elected by the People of the great State of Michigan in general elections held in November in even numbered years.

DB MUST follow the contract.  He has no authority to pay RR anything more OR less than the contract allows.  Only the Regents can approve an increase in the buyout.  This is public information.  So the University paid RR what his contract allowed. 

What is the big mystery?

Did DB obtain funds from outside the University (fat cat donors etc)?  Who knows?  But that is completely independent of the University.