April 23rd, 2012 at 3:43 PM ^

the solution is him changing his mind back to the original deal.  He's making it sound like this is all part of some over-arching structure that he has no control over.  He's the damn AD, this is his call.  If there were a single person who could up and make the call, it's him.

Section 1

April 23rd, 2012 at 4:22 PM ^

We need a knowledgable guy like Bando Calrissian on this one.  Because I think that we've had lots of individual band programs in the past "sponsored" by special donors to the band.  I think that it doesn't always mean "travel expenses;" in fact, most of the sponosored programs have been home performances.  Kind of like being a day sponsor on public television or radio.  Your name gets broadcast.

But I do think that there is Michigan precedent for this, and that other universities have pursued the same funding model.

Calling Bando...

M Fanfare

April 23rd, 2012 at 4:38 PM ^

As for travel, if you throw back to the late '30s (from the MMB website):

"Since the Falcone years, Buick and Chevrolet had sponsored occasional trips for the Marching Band to attend out of town games. In 1938 in the belief that he was expressing appreciation to Buick for all it had done for the Marching Band, Revelli and the ROTC drill master came up with the idea of moving the letter "I" from a "Buck -- I" formation -- it was the OSU game -- and moving it between the "u" and the "c" in "Buck" creating the word "Buick" while playing the Buick theme song. Revelli thought it was a clever idea. The next morning, at 2:00 am, Athletic Director, Fielding H. Yost called Revelli at his home. "Young man," Yost shouted, "never do that again!" Advertising, after all, was not allowed on the gridiron!"

Bando Calrissian

April 23rd, 2012 at 9:44 PM ^

Yes, there are individual things people can pay to "sponsor."  You can sponsor a section for the season (basically, you donate a big pile of money, you pay for the section t-shirts, and there's a tailgate honoring you at one of the games).  You can sponsor a halftime show (which means you pay a pile of money and they announce your name, plus the MMB spells out your name or whatever you want after the postgame show).  There are other levels of giving with specific perks.

The MMB is funded in large part by donors, all of it contained under the Elbel Club.  There is a professional development officer employed by the School of Music who primarily works with the MMB, but has other duties with the School of Music as well, whose job it is to seek out these donors.  There are several big-name donors who give to a number of other things at the University, but there are also a number of people who give exclusively to the MMB, and a much larger group of smaller donors, many of whom are MMB alums.

Long story short, the MMB has a substantial endowment due to the hard work of the development person and the Elbel Club over the past twenty years or so.  This includes the development of the endowed chair for the MMB Director, major infrastructure improvements, new uniforms, instrument replacement programs (which are ongoing), scholarships (need- and merit-based), and the day-to-day costs like staffing, administration, etc.  As well as away-game trips.  The financial situation of the MMB, at one point, wasn't that great.  That isn't so much the case anymore.  That's not to say they're making it rain, but it's enough to keep the normal operations of the MMB going almost in perpetuity, or so it has been said.

As for what that means and how it translates for this trip, I don't know.  I suppose one could call Revelli Hall and ask.


April 23rd, 2012 at 9:40 PM ^

Donors should not be treated in this manner. The MMB is as part a part of the Michigan football tradition as are the tunnel and the banner. 

Bo knew this first hand and devotes an entire chapter to the importance of the band in his book, Tradition.  It is Michigan's tradition to always have the band with them, be it at practice or at game venues.  Brandon's role inn this matter is inexcusable. True, he knows M's donors will not allow a travesty such as this to occur, and he would make an 11th hr decision to have the band travel regardless. He knows of the importance of the band as it relates to Michigan football tradition and his attempt at minimizing their importance is inexcusable. 

Many of you are far too young to recall Bo's Sunday afternoon  Michigan Replay with Dave Brandstetter. I recall one such program when asked about the "controversial" decision on Bo's - not the AD's- decision to have the team fly to a nearby venue instead of taking a bus. Dave mentioned that many BIG X schools would have opted for the far cheaper bus trip. Bo's reply was the correct one. "This is Michigan, and at Michigan everything related to football is done on a first-class basis only." 

Brandon know far too well that such is the case and he should not have opted to attempt to extort money from donors when the band should be penciled in automatically.  Inexcusable is the only word for such action on his part. 


April 23rd, 2012 at 9:47 PM ^

and that's why we can afford to send our band to any game,anywhere, because our donors have assured us of this through their donations dating back some 100+years. The band is as much a part of Michigan football as is taking 4th string players that will take part only in preseason stretching and offering cheer support, along with the band, during the game.


There is, afterall, only one reason we're playing Alabama in what would have amounted to a Kick-off Classic only a decade ago.  It is because we are Michigan and when Michigan agrees to a game, it agrees to bring the entire "Michigan experience" which would be a disservice to all fans and prospective recruits setting in that stadium this coming fall.


April 23rd, 2012 at 6:21 PM ^

DB: "Hmm, somehow we screwed up the Cowboy Classic contract and profit is going to be tight even though it will drive great brand awareness. How can we cut corners?"

Staffer: "Why does the athletic department have to pay $400K for the banfd to go? Lets cut the band."

Chief Marketing Guy: "But that will mess up brand image measurements."

DB: "I know, just like we used the bloggers in the basement to smooth over the OSU / Michigan split in conference divisions, lets release that we're not going to bring the brand, get them all riled up, and then the donors will come out of the woodwork and pay for it. We might even get more than we need to bring the band - problem solved!" [Turns to Staffer} Leak this out, and make sure Brian Cook gets wind of it."

- OR -

Is Brian Cook in on the fix ..... [alternate ending]

DB: [turns to Staffer] "Get Brian Cook on the phone. Tell him I need to speak to him about a favor!"

Staffer: "Yes sir ... Mr. Cook is on the line, though he sounds loopy."

DB: "I need a favor. I am going to tell the press we cannot take the band to Dallas. Can you front page something that will get the blogosphere .....


April 23rd, 2012 at 3:50 PM ^

I'm not a CEO of a multi-million dollar company, but I believe I possess the necessary tools to rectify the situation.

Me:  Band?  You're going to the game.



April 23rd, 2012 at 4:36 PM ^

I wasn't really behind the idea at the time, but there were those who thought he leaked the Michigan-Ohio State game being moved just to create an uproar and backlash and get something to be done. I thought it might be giving him a little too much credit, but if a pattern continues to form.....

Feat of Clay

April 23rd, 2012 at 5:09 PM ^

That solution still disappoints me.  I'd love to see this flush some wealthy band-loving donor out of the woodwork.  But rather than using his or her money to bail DB out of this, get the donor to give $400,000 to the band's scholarship fund or some other aspect of MMB that is underfunded.

I say this because I continue to believe that the band was, or should have been, originally included as part of the deal the AD struck to send the entire "experience" down to Texas.  MMB should not be some nice afterthought you tack on if you can find someone else to pay.




April 23rd, 2012 at 3:54 PM ^

Thursday:  "It's an away game. We don't have an allowance for those."

Today:  "We've been trying to figure out a way to make it happen all along."


Ok, whatever Dave. You win. Just get the damn band to the game, please.


April 23rd, 2012 at 4:04 PM ^

things sort themselves out. Hyperventilating, social justice by iPhone, and blog posts aren't going to do a thing other than make some people feel like they did something today.

How's that petition coming?


April 23rd, 2012 at 4:13 PM ^

I'm going to go ahead and disagree with you on this point.  I think that the massive backlash that he received via social networking, news column comments and general emails to the department played a huge role in this.  If none of that happened, we wouldn't even be reading this recent article with his non-committing corporate speak.


April 23rd, 2012 at 4:16 PM ^

This was my initial reaction and actually my tweet to Dave Brandon (not that I think he actually read it). Basically, I understand if there was some budget reason or shortfall behind the band not making the trip. However, as the AD of the university in conjunction with the proper boosters, he should be able to raise the amount necessary to send the band or should have at least made it evident that he tried before announcing that the band will not be making the trip.


April 23rd, 2012 at 4:28 PM ^

I hope the Band gets to Dallas. However, there are a couple things I'm confused about. According to the Detroit News, "They were going to do sort of a bus tour and play their way to Dallas and that's what we planned on doing," Brandon said. "We thought that would be very cool and a more reasonable way to get the band to an away game."  I'm fuzzy on why they're not going to do that. 

According to the academic calendar for UofM, the first day of classes isn't until Tuesday, September 4. The band could easily get down via bus before the game. If the bus left Dallas immediately after the game, the students could sleep through the night, and would be back in Ann Arbor by Sunday evening around 7 or 8pm.

Somehow, somewhere, I vaguely recall reading that the band wasn't willing to take the bus. It seems to me that Brandon could come up with whatever portion of the bus cost  to Dallas is typical for Ohio or ND. Let's assume the AD underwrites 50% of the bus transportation cost to Columbus. The AD could cover 50% of the bus cost to Dallas, whatever that cost is. If the band wishes to fly instead of take the bus, they could be responsible for fundraising or contributing to the transportation cost.

The other thing I'm not clear on is why it costs so much to fly down. If the band and entourage totals 400 people, that would be $1000 per person for the round trip. That just seems extreme to me. Someone help me understand this.


April 23rd, 2012 at 4:45 PM ^

The band will be there one way or another. This is perfect timing.... summer about to start, rile everyone up and enough donors to cough up the money so the AD doesn't have to pay. The bad press will be over by the end of the summer and everyone will look like heroes for getting the "costly" band to Dallas. If for some strange reason no one coughs up enough money, I'm sure there is a back up plan. I would be SHOCKED if the band isn't there. I do have a question though, has anyone e-mailed DB directly and gotten a response? I haven't but I have gotten a response to every e-mail in the past.


April 23rd, 2012 at 5:01 PM ^

I wrote a strongly worded email to Brandon about the MMB not being in attendance at the Bama game, but never heard back. I believe he has gotten the message loud and clear.

Has anyone else gotten a response from Brandon or his office?


April 23rd, 2012 at 5:28 PM ^

Hopefully, they do in fact work out a way to get the band to Dallas. A game like this (or indeed, any game) simply would not be the same otherwise. Still, for a department that is projected, in Brandon's own report to the Regents, to run at a surplus of a shade over $11 million this year, statements like this intrigue me:

""We bring in $4.7 million for this game, and that's how we pay for 29 sports at the University of Michigan," Brandon said. "People don't need to understand how this business works, but how this works is football and to a much, much, much lesser degree, men's basketball, pays the cost of 27 other sports." 

It is well known that football, basketball, and sometimes, hockey are the only revenue sports at Michigan among the 29 varsity sports, but when you project a surplus of that amount and then try to even slightly overemphasize your reliance on this game to remain profitable, that irritates me for some reason. 


April 23rd, 2012 at 6:01 PM ^

This is quite transparent, though DB doesn't mean it that way.  This obviously means, "If I'd known I was going to take this much shit, I would have just let them go like I was supposed to in the first place instead of being so cheap.  Maybe I can show everyone how much I 'care' by making a "monumental effort' to get them there."

magnus_caerulus (not verified)

April 23rd, 2012 at 6:24 PM ^

Simply, when examining the cost benefit ratio during the planning stage, the ad office realized that they under cut themselves with that contract. They made a difficult decision that one liked. lose, lose and showing he is willing to be the bad guy as long as it doesn't put the ath dept in a marginal financial situation.

Or, DB has shown in the past that he thinks through his decisions through the media. It's an instant poll that costs nothing and he can use that to leverage the necessary support from uofm's admin, boosters and the fans. He may have realized that they need to generate athletic donations to curb costs.

I bet that they will get enough donations in the comings months to cover or cover enough of the cost to send them. I see them going as a fore gone conclusion.


April 23rd, 2012 at 9:36 PM ^

He knows it's important. Thanks in no small part to the very public social media reaction to the original decision. Good for the fans for standing up for what's right. Something will get done because it was a bad decision to start with.

He's a high-profile public figure. So everybody is free to criticize as long as they are willing to admit he's forgotten more in the last 2 minutes about running an athletic department then every person on this blog combined. It's that last part that doesn't get brought up much during the cyber bbq sessions he keeps getting put through on here.

Today's conclusion-selective numbers claims about the pay day for the Alabama game being  an example.  

When the starting premise is: David Brandon is a soul-less corporate cog who torpedoed the schematic offensive advantage we were building and cares nothing for tradition, anything the guy does or says will be perceived as bad.

That's no more fair and balanced than blindly claiming the guy is Don Canham part 2 because he hired Coach Hoke.