Thursday, May 20, 2010

Double Jeopardy?

The Detroit News ran the following report, which I will summarize:

Such penalties could include probation, a requirement reports be filed concerning the status of remedial actions imposed by the NCAA and limiting time spent at practices. While other sanctions are provided by the NCAA up to "the death penalty," a permanent prohibition from competition, a severe punishment appears far beyond the scope of the current allegations against Rodriguez.

Now, I'm just a cave man lawyer, but the above paragraph doesn't sound good. In fact, if they find ANYTHING at West Virginia - and God knows how much they love Rod there now and are probably bending over backwards providing the NCAA with every detail imaginable - Rod could be in big trouble. And it probably wouldn't have anything at all to do with David Brandon.

The NCAA could pull a Kelvin Sampson or, as Lynn Henning pointed out, MSU football head coach Denny Stolz. The sanctions against the individual would be so damning that it would leave the university no choice but to let the Rod go....And then where are we?

If this happens, and right now I'm in the camp that this is a big if and if the NCAA is going to come down on a little extra practice time and the actions of one graduate assistant working with players in the off season and call this a major violation, well, all I can say is USC better be banned from football for 10 years for some of the shennanigans they have been pulling.

However, I'm also a realist. I realize that this whole Rod experiment just might not work. But, strangely, I'm not blaming Rod.

My finger is pointed directly at Bill Martin. If he does his job better, none of this would have happened. Too much business, not enough attention paid to actual coaches and sports. Lloyd and all the love I had for him had too much free reign.

But, I digress. Let's see what develops.....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Beer Sales at Michigan Stadium?

Thanks to Maize and Brew (Who else when it comes to alcohol?) for catching this one...

Minnesota Legislature reviewing beer and alochol sales at New TCF Gopher Stadium.

If you don't click on the link above, allow me to summarize: They are reviewing and there's a very slim chance that anything happens this year with respect to getting legislation passed. So, it's just being debated at this point. And this won't be general beer sales to the public, ONLY THE PREFERRED SEATING in the stadium....About 1/3 of the seats.

Hmmmm....I have often said that there should be privileges for people willing to spend more at Collegiate Sporting events to support their alma mater. I always thought that it was incredibly "unfair" that the University of Michigan for a century charged one ticket price and where your seat ended up was based on seniority and loyalty - that was it. I would have paid extra to move to a better seat, having been stuck in the end zone for the better part of 20 years.

However, now that I see what the University CHARGES for this privilege, I'm surprisingly happy in my endzone seats. Strange, isn't it? As soon as the option was put on the table, at the ridiculously steep price of $375 for the cheapeast annual PSL's all the way up to $500 for the 50 yard line, I decided that my end zone seats are perfect for viewing the University of Michigan. Funny, isn't it? I can't imagine dropping another $700-$1,000 annually to watch a football game 7-8 times a year that's 20 yards to the left of where I sit now. It simply doesn't make financial sense for me.

But this puts a different twist on it....Suddenly, what if Michigan decides to follow Minnesota's lead? And this isn't a stretch folks, it's the reality of this economy and trying to get more money into the athletic coffers. Other schools have tried it to support revenue and, contrary to popular belief, the NCAA DOES NOT HAVE A RULE against it during the regular season, leaving it up to the individual institutions and public legislatures to decide. They, The NCAA, does ban beer sales at National Championship events to the general public. However, that's even a little hypocritical as anyone who has ever attended an NCAA basketball event in a suite (for example, at the Palace - I was able to get the company suite when the Palace hosted the 1st and 2nd round) knows that you can pretty much do whatever you want in the suite and the beer and alcohol sales were just fine.

A little research indicates that $1.2 - $1.5 million of additional revenue could be realized if beer sales were made legal in Michigan Stadium. That's an additional $9.6-$12 Million per season. Think there's not some thought being given to that? But would it change my mind about moving to an "alcohol priveleges" seat if I had an opportunity to do so?

I know, those of you that know me know that I enjoy a cocktail or two during sporting events. Is that not an American past time? Yes, I have certainly gone the temperance route when situations dictated it. Like having kids at the game or another commitment after the game that required me to be straight and on the up an up. So, while it's possible to go to a game and not drink, I believe there is an enhancement realized when one can have a beer pre-game and get fired up. That's just me and I am not ashamed at this point in my life to admit it, political correctness and MADD be damned.

But in this case, do I want or need to drink WHEN I'm in the stadium? Believe it or not, I don't think so. I was recently at a Tiger game and paid the exorbitant fee of $8.50 for a suds to wash down the $3.50 peanuts I bought. And that one beer, while it was cold, frothy, and tasted delightful when combined with the salty peanuts, didn't taste nearly good enough to entice me into getting another one. And it certainly wouldn't have tasted as good as the $10 felt in my pocket.

So, I guess it again becomes a question of economics, for me personally. And $8.50, or whatever Michigan Stadium would try to charge, would simply be too much for my budget to really be able to drink and enjoy it. So, I'll still drink my 2 or 3 beers at the pre-game tailgate and enjoy the activity outside of the stadium and pocket the extra $25 or so it will cost me to drink inside.

Assuming of course, it will ever come to this....

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ernie and Bo

You know, there aren't many people that remember, or rather, care to remember that Bo worked in the Tiger organization for about 2 years. Part of that reason is because Bo did something that to this day, always kind of baffled me and other Tiger and Michigan fans by letting one of the most famous announcers of all time go. Yes, Bo was the President of the Tigers when Ernie Harwell was given a 1 year contract before being sent to pasture and replaced by Rath"buns" and the clown...Whoever he was....

I remember it actually happened on my birthday and I would like to thank MVictors for providing some of the missing details, and also adding that Bo was doing what he thought was the best for Ernie, The Idiot behind Dominoes, and the Tigers. Needless to say, Bo still holds a special place in my heart, I still LOVE the Tigers, but I don't eat Dominoes Pizza - Even when I'm starving.

So, while it was a screwy time in Tigers' history and was yet ANOTHER lesson as to why outside consultants don't necessarily know shit from shynola, I think both Bo and Ernie made the best out of a bad situation.

And the Idiot is still living the life of a born again catholic and is at least out of professional sports....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Morgan, Lloyd and Rod Inspire a Letter To Brandon

By now you’ve heard what happened, and if you haven’t, you’ve been on a deserted island somewhere or just don’t read the paper or listen to sports radio. There’s a Book titled, “Draft Season: Four Months on the Clock”, written by Bobby Derren. He follows 4 NFL prospects through the entire draft process quoting them throughout. On the 2nd to last page, there’s a quote attributed to Morgan Trent

In the second-to-last page of the book, under the chapter heading, "The Aftermath," Deren wrote the following:

"Shortly after the draft, Morgan made good on his promise to pay his former head coach (Carr) a visit. Morgan was always happy to see Coach Carr and gave him a warm greeting. However, it didn't take long for Coach Carr to get to the main reason why he wanted to see Morgan. It was there that Coach Carr told Morgan why he wasn't drafted until the sixth round.

"Apparently, current Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez had cost Morgan quite a bit of money. Rodriguez had bad-mouthed Morgan to every NFL scout he could. Rodriguez claimed that Morgan was lazy, he had an attitude problem and he was a big reason why the Wolverines finished with a 3-9 record, the worst in school history. In essence, an entire draft season and an entire college career of hard work were decimated by a few petty words. Those words may have meant the difference between a $1.86 million deal and a $2.86 million deal. It may have meant the difference between the sixth round and the third round."

From the Detroit News:

Carr disputed the representation of the meeting during a phone interview on Monday with The News.

"That paragraph is completely a distortion of my conversation with Morgan," Carr said. "That is a complete distortion, and it is not accurate. I have never spoken with the author. I have never met him. I have never had a conversation with him to the best of my knowledge."

Trent on Monday told The News he initiated the conversation with Carr about what he had heard from NFL scouts regarding comments attributed to Rodriguez.

"Lloyd didn't bring any of this to my attention," Trent said. "When we spoke, I brought it up to him, and he said he had heard some of the same things."

Rodriguez issued a statement Saturday through the Michigan athletic department denying he ever said anything negative about Trent.

So, the facts are:
1. Morgan Trent was drafted in a late round.
2. Carr denies the conversation, or rather, the paragraphs substance. He DIDN’T DENY that the conversation took place.
3. Rich Rod Denies that he ever said anything negative about Trent.

The MMQ’s Speculation:

1. Morgan Trent was a sub-standard corner that got burnt more often than an Albino in the tropics. Whether or not he was a “good locker room guy” probably had little or nothing to do with the fact of where he was drafted. When you suck, the free market has a tendency to discover that fact.
2. Carr said something to Trent about Rodriguez. That I believe. I’m sure it was along the lines of, “Well, Morgan, you didn’t produce as much in your Senior season as you did in your Junior Season and Coach Rod probably put that in his assessment of you.” Which, when it came out of Trent’s mouth, sounded like, “Coach Rod bad mouthed me to the league, according to Carr.
3. Who cares, really, if Rod did or didn’t bad mouth Trent? I mean, at the end of the day, Trent is what he is. A late round CB with limited skills for the NFL. Brandon Graham spent his senior season busting his ass, getting better, and making NFL scouts take notice. And he went in the first round. Attitude and desire, anyone?

Here’s what is getting under my skin and while I haven’t read all of the local blogs, I have seen other references to the fact that Brian at mgoblog is pissed and that he’s pissed at Lloyd and Morgan. So if some of this repeats, so be it. However, with respect to being pissed at Lloyd and Trent, I only have this to say:


What the hell is going on in Ann Arbor? First, David Brandon dismisses Jamie Morris, a true BLUE BELIEVER and disciple of Schembechler, for unspecified reasons. Well, if you’re going to dismiss a guy like Jamie Morris, someone who I knew on a personal basis, then there’s a whole list of guys I want to review for performance and loyalty. That’s my opinion.

Lloyd Carr retired. It’s time to let Lloyd go to where ever Lloyd wants to go full time and let him read his books and quote authors and be the youngest old guy in the old coaches home.


He’s a poison right now and whether or not he did anything or said anything is beside the point. A school can’t have two head coaches. David Brandon should know this. Gently nudge him out the door and let it be done.

With respect to Trent, I really don’t know what to say. There’s always going to be dissent when a new coach comes in. It’s like getting a new boss. You still love the company, but if you don’t like the new guy, you’ve got a problem. Morgan tries to tap dance around that in the quote, but he should have just kept his trap shut, plain and simple. At this point, he’s put himself in a bad spot with ever coming back to Michigan. For anything.

Therefore, weather he reads it or not, I was inspired to write an open letter to AD Brandon.

Mr. Brandon,

In your short tenure as the University of Michigan’s Athletic Director, you have taken bold steps towards creating a better environment for all athletic personnel to achieve the goal of becoming the Leaders and the Best.

However, it has become apparent that you may have not gone far enough and while your sound support for all the coaching staff in all sports is admirable, there is still, apparently, discontent in the ranks, whether it’s visible to you or not.

While you were running the $6 Billion empire known as Domino’s Pizza, you undoubtedly came to understand when there were capable people working for you that were knowledgeable, action oriented, and above all, got results all you had to do was get out of their way and over see the progress as it was made, making small agenda adjustments along the way. The other personnel were either doing minor support, or in some cases, detrimental to the performance of the achievers and had to be dismissed.

I hope that in this position you are measuring each person and their capacity to affect change and, most of all, take you to the ultimate goal as stated above, becoming the Leaders and the Best.

While this letter is written strictly as an observer from the outside, as a Michigan Family member, I would like to think that it has an impact none the less.

In closing, I wish you the best in taking on this task of steering athletics ship at Michigan. It’s clearly not an easy task and tough choices need to be made.



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Rod's Love Affair with the Domers started at WVU...

Hee-hee.....Special Thanks to Maize and Brew for catching this one....

It seems that Rich Rod's love for Notre Dame (read - JEEZ I HATE THESE GUYS!) started at WVU when in 2002 the 9-3 Mountaineers were displaced by the 10-2 Domers for a New Year's Day Bowl game....

Quoting the Rod:

"I don't know if slighted is the right word, but I do question sometimes what is Notre Dame's affiliation with our league," Rodriguez said.

Notre Dame, an independent in football but a Big East member in nearly every other sport, was added to the league's portion of the BCS mix after the 1997 season.

"I know this agreement was made earlier," Rodriguez said. "I'm just a football coach and our players are just players, but we don't understand some of the political things. I don't understand why Notre Dame is getting the best of both worlds. I think the Big East is a great league and we can stand on our own. In my opinion, Notre Dame either needs to get in or get out."

So, it would seem that the "Get in or get out" mantra is also true for the Rod at Michigan...That victory over Weis and company last fall was obviously pretty sweet for Rich. And I believe that, given time, he'll have a few more over the Domers before it's all said and done....

And the Domer's are going to get forced somewhere, that much I'm sure of. The Where is the only thing left that remains to be seen.

Monday, May 3, 2010

No More "Fed Ex" Orange Bowl?

Is this a sign of the times or a sign that things are a changing?

FED EX bows out of the Orange Bowl Sponsorship.

The report in the Sports Business Journal said that FedEx informed ESPN it is bowing out of its sponsorship because the company didn't want a larger season-long sponsorship platform in college football, which is being asked of all BCS sponsors.

Huh....I thought that college football was the hottest thing out there...NASCAR has waned in recent years...the NFL is struggling for viewership. Why wouldn't someone want to keep an alliance, supposedly successful, after all, Fed Ex has sponsored the Orange for 21 years!

If you read the entire short announcement, the answer lies within the last two paragraphs, which should have been in the first paragraph:

Renewals for sponsorships in the other major bowl games (Fiesta Bowl/Tostitos; Sugar Bowl/Allstate; Rose Bowl/Citi) are ongoing, the Journal reported. All of the title sponsorship deals ended after last season.

The Orange Bowl has struggled in ratings recently. The 2009 game between Virginia Tech and Cincinnati drew a 5.4 rating, the lowest ever for a BCS game.

Uh, see it, sports fans? The Orange Bowl, which is now shown on January 2nd, the DAY AFTER all the other bowls are on, or worse, on some weeknight after the world has gone back to work, has seen the lowest ratings of all the BCS games. Think it has anything to do with the night it's televised? Uh, Yeah, maybe? And you can bet that there has been some discussion about moving the Orange to another time slot to improve ratings, but who is going to take the hit and move to another night? Think that might be the reason no one else has signed a long term deal yet, either?

My guess is I'm right.

The solution to me, anyway, seems simple. Put the Orange Bowl back on New Year's Day. Get Fox and ABC to work out an every other year deal as to who broadcasts the Sugar and Orange. Start the Orange a little later and start the Sugar a little earlier. Sorry Mr. Rose, but your exclusivity isn't that big a deal anymore. And you can start around 1:00 PM PT (4:00 EST). If the Sugar started at 7:00 and the Orange started at 9:00, you'd have a pretty good crossover viewership on the other station.

And then the fans would get a choice(like they used to) on New Year's Day if one of those games is a stinker....

So, the question is, who are they going to get to sponsor it?

Home Depot owns ESPN Game Day...

Lowe's anyone?