Defending Dave Brandon

Submitted by cypress on December 20th, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Downvotes be damned, here it comes anyway. Knowing full well what the opinion of this board is, and also being aware of how most fall at the feet of Brian Cook, I understand my position will likely be unpopular. Having said that, I feel very fortunate to have one of the best AD's in college sports at Michigan.

Dave Brandon is an AD who understands that his role is to make the university money, and he is one of the few who is honest enough to admit this. The results are in, and he is good at his job. Michigan is more profitable than ever, and I believe we can all see that the major revenue sports are in good hands, moving in a positive direction.

Speical I love them? No. However, I also understand that society is evolving, and kids today DO like special jerseys. What we may see as an insult to tradition, a younger generation (and especially the players) see it as something new and exciting. The point is, I will live with these type of things if it makes the university stronger as a whole, and Michigan continues to be one of the best and most profitable sports programs in the country. Brandon may not care what all the fans think, but he cares about Michigan, and I think Michigan is getting to the point where it will be stronger than ever before, due in part to his efforts.

I see all the Brandon snark on here and I realize it's trendy on this board to toe the line of grumbling and angst towards him, but I fall in the other category of being thankful we have an athletic director who is committed to making us stronger. Am I alone?



December 21st, 2012 at 12:51 AM ^

Hey OP (Dave),
It's great that you are one of the most profitable departments in college athletics. Just one question, is that the goal of athletics... To make money? I always assumed it was to provide just enough revenue to sustain all non revenue sports and keep facilities up to snuff. $61M in the black last year seems to be a little obscene, seeing as how we're not paying the student athletes a salary. So, remind me again why my PSD just went up 20% when we are running a huge fiscal surplus? It's all gonna crash down eventually DB,, especially if the football team is not winning NCs. That's when the improprieties will begin, and the USC, OSU, Oklahoma, etc " Win at all costs" mentality will begin. That will be the demise of Michigan football. Write that down.


December 20th, 2012 at 2:53 PM ^

One incorrect assumption:

"Kids love special jersies" -- I'm in my early 20s and this has been "common knowledge" for 10 years. I hated them then (in my tweens), everybody I knew hated them then, and i hate them now, as does everybody i know who is my same age.

Why do we just accept that "kids love them"? Where's the data? Do people buy them? Probably -- but people in any fan base would buy a pile of shit with a logo on it (Buckeyes would buy the cooler it's inside of as well). Just because it makes money doesn't mean its always a good idea. Oregon pulls it off but thats only because they have no tradition that it flies in the face of -- and even so I think if they stuck with their All Whites they wore against USC instead of changing uniforms all the damn time they would look better.


December 20th, 2012 at 3:29 PM ^

You think the players are actually going to be giving their real opinions on Dave Brandon's horrific uniform choices?  No.  They're going to give non-answers just like Coach Hoke.  They aren't going to fly in the fact of an athletic department which essentially owns their lives and gives them tens of thousands of dollars of benefits a year.  Of course they are going to say "Yes, I do enjoy the jerseys, very much so sir!"  I just want to know who the fans are who buy this crap and how they escaped from the short bus.



December 20th, 2012 at 3:46 PM ^

You are a dumbass if you think a player leaving has nothing to lose by burning the Brandon bridge.  Brandon is wealthy, powerful and has contacts throught the business and sports world.  Your best interest would be to make no waves.

Maybe the players do like them but there is nothing to be gained and something to lose by saying they are crap.



December 20th, 2012 at 5:44 PM ^

Do you like Oregon's uniforms?  All of them?  What have they lost?  We are not at risk of losing traditions by rolling out 1-2 alternates each year.  To think we are is ridiculous.  Deal with the fact that not every fan gets exactly everything they want.  In fact, fans don't really matter in relatively minor decisions like this.  


December 20th, 2012 at 7:05 PM ^

What have "they" lost?  They being Oregon?  Excuse me, but what the goddamn hell did Oregon HAVE to lose?  The teams who should be "rolling out" these uniforms are exactly the teams like Oregon.  Teams without tradition or history.  Teams without a solid, stoic fanbase.  Teams without a soul.  Those are the teams that should be playing dress up like a bunch of six year old girls at a damn tea party.  I don't know about the rest of you ninnys, but this jersey crap is the first and last straw for me! 

We absolutely are at risk of losing our tradition... look at the helmets, look at the night games, look at the neutral site games, look at disrespect shown towards the band, look at the "marquee", look at the rising prices, look at the utter contempt Dave Brandon and his athletic department has shown towards the alumni and the tradition of the University of Michigan.  I don't think the fans are asking for everything "they" want.  All we want is for Dave Brandon to stop playing grab-ass with his money grubbing schemes and just focus on the tradition and honor of Michigan.  I'll tell you what, fans will matter when we stop donating.  That appears to be the only thing Dave Brandon gives a care in the world for, the almighty dollar.  He'd let the banner burn in exchange for a sweet marketing deal. 

Would ANYONE here be willing to be AGAINST Dave Brandon sticking ads in the stadium within the next five years?  I wouldn't, because IT WILL HAPPEN.  The Michigan traditions you know can disappear as soon as we as fans become complacent and allow Dave Brandon to take control.



December 20th, 2012 at 9:31 PM ^

I'm not with all the way down your post, but anyone that compares us to Oregon literally knows nothing about the word tradition or, importanty in Brandon's world, the word brand. Brqndon knows nothing about branding, nothing. Because branding is about making your own brand unique--not doing what everyone else is doing because they times they are a changin and the "kids love it."  Becoming more like everyone else is the precise opposite of building a strong brand.


December 21st, 2012 at 12:41 AM ^

about what Oregon has or does not have to lose... In a word, nothing. They are now a perennial Top 5 team and regular BCS game participant. They recruit as well as any school in the middle of nowhere with not much history, and they really have acquired most of this in part because of Michigan. I will make this point as it was the genesis of Oregons meteoric rise to greatness. In 2003, running a gimmicky passing spread offense with two forgettable QBs splitting time, Oregon upset a ranked Michigan team that set records for scoring under Navarre and eventually went on to the Rose Bowl. Then, in 2007, running an even more gimmicky spread offense, they came to the big house and curb stomped the team that was supposed to make a NC run. They put an exclamation point on their first half performance by pounding our north end zone with an Oregon sledgehammer at the start of the 3rd quarter. Since then, they have been the pride of the PAC 12, and a national power. That's their tradition, that's their history, and that's why people pay attention to the Ducks today. They recreated themselves and packaged it all on a uniform that is ever changing, and we all talk about it. Michigan has been largely irrelevant for 15 years aside from the 2006 season, which by the way featured no uniform changes... just a typical Michigan choke job in Columbus and Pasadena once again. I love Michigan, but I'm also realistic when I tell you that our " tradition" means little to nothing to the young men that have to carry that forward. Those young men were 4 years old the last time Michigan won anything. If uniforms get their interest, so be it. If you dont like them, don't buy them. Thats the beauty of a free market. If they don't sell, they will stop making them. You are starting to sound like Bill Gates... Telling everyone how shitty the iPhone is... It's becoming white noise.

If you truly dislike anything about Brandon, you should pick on a relavent topic. That being the exponentially higher price to sit in that stadium each Saturday. He has a golden goose, and instead of tending to it, he is going to kill it. You should be outraged that he is using his position as AD to set himself up for his next dream job. Whether it be governor or Big Ten commissioner, Dave is using his power to further his career, and nothing more. You're getting fooled by the jerseys, the real damage is being done right before your eyes. DB is an allusionist, and you are being tricked. Slight of hand with jerseys, when the real crime will be an alienated fan base and an empty stadium if he's not careful. Remember, no matter how smart he thinks he is, you can't break the rules of supply and demand.


December 20th, 2012 at 10:55 PM ^

Have you ever held a job?  You don't burn bridges because someday you might want to be a coach and need an endorsement, or need a letter of recommendation.  You might need a job and a well connected Dave Brandon might be able to help.  If the players are smart they want to leave on good standing with a powerful man who can help in the future.


December 20th, 2012 at 3:25 PM ^

Kids...As in the kids who are on scholarship and wear them on the actual field and stuff. DB has repeatedly said that the jerseys are popular with the current players on the team, that they want to wear them. He's also said that the jersey line item on the athletic department income statement is actually very small after the retailer and addidas get their cut, so contrary to popular belief, it ain't about selling more jerseys.

As an alum, I feel I have a stake in how the team represents my alma mater, but that takes a backseat to the players on the team right now. The alternative jerseys haven't been my cup of tea, but it's a stretch to say they refelect poorly on the university as a whole, so I have to respect their choices.



December 20th, 2012 at 3:52 PM ^

So you're just going to take that trickster Dave Brandon's word at face value and not read into his statements at all?  And just because the players like it, it's enough for you?  Well apparently a few players also like the marijuana, so maybe we should follow their lead.  I don't think anyone cares about making money or the players fashion sense, it is about the slow degregation of tradition in favor of change under Dave Brandon's watch.



December 20th, 2012 at 5:31 PM ^

So the kids who are performing for your entertainment shouldn't have a say? So you want a large, complex organization to run itself and field respectable teams, all so you can watch and be entertained, and you don't want to pay for it? Give me a break.

The marijuana statement is a canard. Comparing mild modifications to uniforms to illegal activity is dishonest. By your logic, no parent should allow their kid to pick out their own clothes because giving in to their fashion demands is equivalent to giving in to their drug use demands. Just dumb.

I didn't realize Dave Brandon was a trickster. I thought he was an athletic director whose knowledge of income statements has never really been in doubt until you brought it up.

STW P. Brabbs

December 20th, 2012 at 9:54 PM ^

It already fucking paid for itself.  Long before Wow Factor, Michigan was one of the top 2-3 athletic programs in the country in terms of merchandising revenue.  We've been quite comfortably in the black ever since Cap'n Bill showed up.

Brandon whining about how fucking everything has to be monetized if there's no advertising in the stadium is just  a way for him to get leverage for all the self-aggrandizing bullshit he wants to do to the football program. 

Wanna save some money?  Let's start small with Special fucking K and the marketing fuckheads who now earn what I'm sure are very comfortable incomes to continue to augment the Wow Factor. 

STW P. Brabbs

December 21st, 2012 at 12:31 PM ^


First of all, as has been pointed out ad nauseum on the boards, we don't really have a very clear idea whether the current players actually like the jerseys or not.  They are very unlikely to say otherwise.

Secondly, the current players on the team are not the sum total of Michigan football.  Hence Team 133, etc.  If you polled all current and past players and asked them what to do with the jerseys, fine - I'd support whatever they came up with.  But I highly doubt that even the current players were allowed to give much input.  

Spare me the Empowering Our Nation's Youth argument.


December 20th, 2012 at 4:02 PM ^

There are numerous reaction videas from teams around the country when they find out they will be doing something different. I am in the "If you have tradtion sell it, if you don't, sell change" boat. I don't like a lot of the different uniforms because I think they are poorly designed. It would be ridiculous, though to claim Oregons flashiness does not attract young fans and sell apparrel. It's not just about getting recruits ( I don't think uniforms impact that). It's more about attracting attention. All you have to do is look at twitter on a fall Saturday and you can see that Oregon, among others, attract attention. I actually like the helmet. I like matte finish on about every helmet I have seen. I don't like the jerseys. I think they look cartoonish. Nike does a much better job with these things than Adidas has. 

Autocracy Now

December 23rd, 2012 at 6:37 PM ^

I am not saying you're wrong, but my assumption is that there is some process to anticipate public reaction to these uniforms. Brandon is a corporate guy who has been making money for the department, so I have to assume that these decisions are taken based on some data. At the least I'd think they do focus groups or something.

Even if the uniforms are not broadly appealing, the classic unis are always available for purchase. If someone decides they don't want to shell out for the special bowl design, they can still get a classic jersey--Michigan makes money. Long-term, I think it is a bad strategy, but Brandon is doing what he is trained to.


December 20th, 2012 at 2:57 PM ^

My only comment would be that while db sacrifices some tradition, he does appear to have boundaries. For example, I don't see him tampering with the no ads both electronic and nonelectronic in the big house even though that surely would be a source of great income.

James Burrill Angell

December 20th, 2012 at 3:12 PM ^

Yeah but it's clear he'd like to. It exists in the other venues and DB has allowed ads in the stadium, just not for fall games (lest any of you forget the Abundance of ads and the walking French Fries at the big Chill or the ads during the spring game). Don't give him credit there. He's not doing ads solely because he knows he'll be crucified.


December 20th, 2012 at 3:13 PM ^

I generally think Brandon's done a good job, but it's a myth that he has not tampered with advertising in the Big House.  

Inside the stadium bowl, there's no *third party* advertising, but the constant ads for weddings in the Big House, etc. are advertising, plain and simple.  Just because there isn't a fixed billboard doesn't mean showing ad content on the jumbotrons doesn't run afoul of the no advertising principle.

Outside of the bowl, we've seen more and more stuff, like the various static third party ads on pillars, etc.


December 20th, 2012 at 3:37 PM ^

Well, if you consider UM promoting its wedding facilities as advertising then advertising has been in the Big House for as long as I can remember.  Still remember the pre-Grapentine PA guy rattling off "Do you dream in maize and blue?  Well if you do, the Michigan Victors Club will make your dreams come true."....or something to that effect. 

Maize and Blue…

December 20th, 2012 at 3:31 PM ^

"Get married in the Big House" bullshit then?  It is an ad plain and simple.  Just because it isn't an outside company it is an ad trying to sell something other then Michigan sports.  There are plenty of ads in Crisler and under Brandon I guarantee you that they are headed to the Big House.  They were in the Big House for the Big Chill.

True Blue Grit

December 20th, 2012 at 5:33 PM ^

the stadium face to face at a local meeting several months back, and he told me and everyone there in no uncertain terms he won't do it knowing the huge amount of resistance there is in the U-M community.   He didn't say he doesn't want to do it - just that he won't because of the shitstorm (not his words) that it would create.  


December 20th, 2012 at 7:15 PM ^

The video boards had PNC ads taking up the entire screen.

Also, I would like to see how much revenue new uniforms and other streams Dave Brandon has implemented have generated. The argument is made that the AD is sitting on a pile of cash, but it clearly wasn't enough to pay for the band to go to Dallas.

Few people would complain about the jerseys if they weren't so damn hideous. Seriously, the design is something high school wouldn't wear.

Lastly, I'll be happy when the Dave 'The Wow Factor' Brandon leaves UM

/get of my lawn and I'm only 27


December 20th, 2012 at 9:21 PM ^

Does anyone have a picture of the ads on the "Marquee" which was supposedly only erected to show support for non-revenue sports.  If this proves to be true, it warrants a coup to oust Brandon from any position he can further tear down Michigan tradition.  This has absolutely gone too far.  I am disgusted.



December 20th, 2012 at 2:58 PM ^

He's definitely done a good job overall.  I understand (and agree with) the annoyance at the jersey changes, but the fact that this is the primary knock on the guy sums it up.  We're leading the Sears Cup, our facilities are top-notch across the board (or soon will be) and the athletic department is highly profitable.  We do, however, need to pick a road football jersey and stick with it.