Brandon: I don't think Brady deserves any blame for what happened on the sidelines

Submitted by wlubd on October 2nd, 2014 at 5:29 PM

WARNING - This is a Freep article. I will put link at bottom but have copied a few relevant quotes from their story just published.

Not trying to bombard the board but this was just posted and wow. Presented without further comment.…

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said today that Brady Hoke had no fault in the handling of his quarterback's brain injury and that the ensuing firestorm will not affect how he evaluates the football coach's job status.
Brandon placed the blame on the school's medical staff for not quickly diagnosing the injury to Shane Morris and relaying the information to coaches, which led to the concussed quarterback staying in for another play and re-entering the game a few minutes later for yet another play.
"I don't think Brady deserves any blame for what happened on the sidelines," Brandon said. "Because Brady is responsible for coaching.


I Like Burgers

October 2nd, 2014 at 6:21 PM ^

Perhaps even more so than the law school and engineering school, the one sacred cow on this University is the medical school.  The fact that Brandon thought it would be a good idea to absolve himself and the coaching staff of any blame and instead direct it towards the medical staff and question their decision making and responsiveness should get him fired immediately.  The athletic department is small potatoes to what the med school does for this University.

If anything prompts Schlissel to fire him, it'll be this.  Know your place Dave.  Don't attack the golden goose.


October 2nd, 2014 at 10:26 PM ^

They're a huge, huge organization. As such, they can make mistakes, some well-publicized (e.g., the resident with child porn; the nurse & doc who OD'd this year). Again, that doesn't mean the vast majority of the people there don't do great work the vast majority of the time. But they're human beings, and if some of their employees made a mistake on Saturday, it won't be their first or their last.

No one at UM is, or should be, a sacred cow.

All that said, I'm less than thriled I'm (on this part of this one point) agreeing with a man I think should be fired, but DB is right -- it's the med staff job to diagnose concussions, not Brady Hoke's. If that gores a "sacred cow," so be it.


October 2nd, 2014 at 7:53 PM ^

Assuming that Brandon has described the actual organization of the program, the head coach is not responsible for the medical staff on the sidelines. You may not like that, but apparently that is how Brandon has organizd things. You can't hold Hoke responsible for people who expressly do not report to him. 

We can debate the wisdom of that organizational structure but apparently there is a strict division between coaching and the medics. If you think this is a mistake it's fair to add this to the fire Brandon effort, but it is utterly unfair to hold Hoke responsible for a failure outside his organization. 

The saddest part of all this is that it is entirely likely that this division was put in place to prevent things like this from occurring. 




October 2nd, 2014 at 8:22 PM ^

and it has to be.

Having the medical staff report to the coaches means they're always conflicted--it's in their boss's interest that the player play. The doctors' primary concern has to be for the safety of the player, not the welfare of the team, and their chain of command has to run through people that aren't directly invested in the success of the football team.

There was a time when it was commonly done the other way. It wasn't good.


October 2nd, 2014 at 9:42 PM ^

Responsibility isn't zero sum. The medics may have indeed failed here, but then that's more the reason Hoke needed to protect his player. He didn't. "No one told me" doesn't cut it.

Hell, I think the refs share in the responsibility too. The rule that you must be on the ground for a medical TO to be called needs to change.


October 2nd, 2014 at 5:37 PM ^

Yep. I've posted this in a couple other threads but it's appropriate again.

We don't make excuses at Michigan when we fail to reach our goals, and we never will. We recognize areas we need to address and improve -- and we will. We also know how to hold people accountable for the roles and responsibilities they have as part of the privilege for being a part of Michigan Football -- and we will.

Dave Brandon wrote that 10 months ago. In his blog post reiterating support for Brady Hoke.


October 2nd, 2014 at 5:46 PM ^

Accountability, when applied consistently and objectively through an organization, can do wonders for effectiveness and morale.

Too often, accountability from a megalomaniacal CEO means "I'm going to find someone else to blame anytime something goes wrong."  This attitude is then adopted by others in the organizatin and it crushes effectiveness and morale. 

First DB throws Hoke under the bus.  Now the medical staff.  The only person DB won't blame is himself.  Compare this to Schlissel's statement.  The sooner DB is gone, the better.


October 2nd, 2014 at 6:50 PM ^

I didn't absolve them of blame.  I have no idea whether they are to blame or not, depending on the circumstances.  DB is definitely to blame, at least in part, because he is the leader of the athletic department and (1) has mishandled this since Saturday and (2) is ultimately responsible for things that go wrong.

All I did was point out that buzzwords like "accountability" can take on orwellian meanings depending on how they are applied.  

I don't know if you have ever been in a meaningfully large organization, but there are all sorts of reasons why certain participants, notwithstanding their "one specific job" are hindered from performing if that "one specific job" isn't consistent with the goal of the organization.  I have no idea if that happened here.  


October 2nd, 2014 at 6:52 PM ^

aware enough himself. 

The point is that Brandon--as leader--needs to fall on his sword here. As Schlissel did. To say that WE did not have sufficient procedures, that HE takes the blame. At every step, both he and Hoke could have defused the situation by saying this. "I screwed up and I feel terrible" is what every wife and husband wants to hear from their spouse; Brady could probably have bought himself a few more GAMES with those words. Instead. . . 

This whole thing is getting old, and now looks like it's going to be played out over a course of months rather than weeks or days. But Brandon better hope like heck that some of the medical staff don't pipe up with a counter-narrative. A couple of medical staff--or more sideline witnesses--saying together that these guys are BS'ing and their gooses could be cooked. 


October 2nd, 2014 at 5:33 PM ^

Goodbye Dave. These interviews prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you're a smug, arrogant douche who will place blame on whoever's convenient at the time. 

Can't believe this guy blamed the medical staff. WTF.

I Like Burgers

October 2nd, 2014 at 6:10 PM ^

It would count for a lot if they did since the University will hang its hat on the medical school any day of the week compared to the athletic department.  In the grand scheme of things, this is a fishing boat taking on a destroyer.  The Med School has revenue of $1.4B.  The minute someone starts questioning our doctors should be a major red flag to Schlissel.


October 2nd, 2014 at 6:21 PM ^

Not just questioning the doctors, but doing so in the press. 

If Mr. Brandon is right he should make as many changes as he needs, but he is now calling out University of Michigan employees whose primary job is not in the athletic department.  I would imagine that Dr. Schissel would have preferred that this particular issue be kept internal.


October 2nd, 2014 at 6:36 PM ^

After Morris came out, someone I didn't recognize was talking to him. Their backs were to the camera so I couldn't read lips, but at the time I assumed this was someone from the medical staff. Was I wrong?


October 2nd, 2014 at 7:58 PM ^

That man in photo is Paul Schmidt, the head football trainer and the liaison between the coaches and the medical staff. When someone is injured, Schmidt will coordinate with the appropriate medical doctor.

Schmidt clearly spent time after the play talking to Shane. Clearly Schmidt did not tell the coaches that Shane could not go back in the game. You can conclude either one of two scenarios may have happened:

1) Schmidt would likely have assumed Shane was not going back into the game at least prior to a discussion as to whether he could go in next there was no need to run over to coaches immediately. But he may have turned his back for a minute or talked another staffer...and in that 20 seconds, there is a bit of chaos where Gardner's helmet pops off and guys yell for Shane to go into the game. By the time Schmidt turns around, Shane is already back in the game.

2) Schmidt had no idea that Shane may have had a head injury so didnt think he would be unable to go back in the game.

As much it may not sound great, the way the procedures work is the coaches play the guys until the medical staff or trainers tell them they cant go. The coaches basically concentrate on game and are just told yes/no on the guys. Coach Hutchins was on WTKA today and she explained it the same way as they basically have no authority over the medical staff / trainers and are notified when a player cant go into the game.


October 2nd, 2014 at 8:40 PM ^

You and Carol Hutchins are absolutely right. The coaches depend on the trainers to such an extant that they assume everyone can play unless they are told they cannot. And while Brandon's quote is stupid and gutless and tone deaf, that is what he's alluding to when he says Brady shouldn't be blamed. He depended on the trainers before Saturday and will depend on them after. This was a systemic failure. The trainers are just as responsible as anyone, and more responsible than the coaches.

Its me Dave

October 2nd, 2014 at 7:47 PM ^

Don't worry about the medical staff.  They field these sorts of allegations of blame on a weekly basis.  They're leaders in the practice of institutional disclosure.  If they are culpable, they'll admit it.  If it's a systemic problem (which it is) they'll dig into it and fix it.  Even if doing so somehow clears that rat-bastard and his athletic department.  No, they won't come back swinging, it's not their way.


October 2nd, 2014 at 5:58 PM ^

While it's ridiculous for Brandon to place all the blame on the medical staff, don't they at least deserve some of it?  It seems like they screwed up pretty badly too.

Also, at some point, we may want to consider moving on to other topics.  The horse isn't even recognizable any more.


October 2nd, 2014 at 6:08 PM ^

Uhhhh. How do you expect anyone to "move on" when the very athletic department at the center of this nightmare won't? This is day five since the Morris incident and it's the fifth day that the athletic department has continued it's campaign of shifting blame and obstuseness.

So far there's been three pressers by Hoke where he's had less than full information. Three press releases, of which two were awful (Brandon's) and one was acceptable (Pres. Schlissel). And now Domino Dave has decided to Expand The Brand by providing one-on-one's with every outlet in town.

Don Canham is fuming right now. Never turn a one day story into three.


October 2nd, 2014 at 6:17 PM ^

Maybe by not following every word he says about the incident?  It happened. It's over. Time to let it go. We have 5 Brandon threads on the front page right now, and I can't be the only one who would like to discuss other things going on in sports. 


October 2nd, 2014 at 6:58 PM ^

Right, so you're pointing out they could be spending their time focusing on more worthwhile problems. Meanwhile, here you are focusing your attention on an internet message board when you could be focusing your attention on more worthwhile problems. 

So not only are your priorities pretty much the same as the people you are criticizing, but you're also a hypocrite. 


October 2nd, 2014 at 7:11 PM ^

No I get your point: Why focus on firing an AD when you can focus on something that matters like the police state or child hunger. 

I just find it odd that someone who would take such a noble stance would spend so much of his time on a football message board, especially on a thread that he claims he doesn't want to be on, rather than doing something better with his time. 

I mean you're a hypocrite and a troll. Own it dude. 


October 2nd, 2014 at 6:31 PM ^

There are plenty of places to discuss other things in sports. Go find them. The fact that you continue to haunt all the Dave Brandon threads and comment on them shows you're not all that ready to move on yourself.

Seems like you've got a little bit of Dave in you, blaming others for your own failings.

By the way. Expect the story to continue. It has major traction.