Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Game is About To Change "IV" and Potpourri

Today’s Word:  Potpourri – Extensively used in Jeopardy to signify a category that can mean anything…Today’s entry is kind of a big bag of crap with no one main topic…just stuff that’s happening around collegiate athletics and Michigan.

The O’Bannon vs. NCAA Trial started this week without a whole lot of fanfare, I think only because the issue has been openly debated for so long in the mainstream media and the blogosphere that everyone is simply waiting for the NCAA to make whatever impossible or lame argument it’s going to make and the judge is going to slap them with a “You’re so full of BS that I’m baffled you can stand there and make that statement” verdict.  O’Bannon took the stand and did not mince any words.  He openly stated that he was steered into curriculums that made it easier to keep his eligibility and he was a student in “name only” and was there to primarily play basketball.   He also stated he spent 50-60 hours a week performing that duty and took final exams in a hotel while at the NCAA Tourney.  Well, surprise, surprise.  I think we all saw that coming.  The question becomes, what can the NCAA possibly throw at the plaintiffs and who can they put on the stand that can somehow demonstrate that a “Student-Athlete” is more of a student than….An Athlete.  It’s not going to be easy (in fact, I think it’s impossible) and the idea of amateurism and a level playing field are going to become insurmountable issues to defend.
In fact, Washington’s AD is making statements that are going to be difficult for the NCAA to explain away in any closing argument, no matter how brilliantly contrived.  From the Seattle Times, here’s a quote that more or less directly contradicts what the NCAA stands for:
“If you’ve got a $6 million athletic budget, you shouldn’t be worrying about what I do,” Young contends. “You’re never going to compete with us. We don’t recruit the same players. We don’t even play on the same field. It just doesn’t matter.”

So, I expect the NCAA to bring a parade of former players and or coaches/AD’s in (including Brandon and Hollister from MSU) to make the case that the college “experience” has some value to it on top of the scholarship money.  Well, sure...  But how on earth do you put a monetary value on that?  And where’s the cash that goes along with it?  On top of that, DB, why not say that the experience is better due to the fact that fans value it more because they are paying high ticket prices?

Speaking of Ticket Prices did a little research and was able to come up with the following student ticket prices for all the B1G schools. 

Ohio State -- $252 for 7 games
Penn State -- $218 for 7 games
Wisconsin -- $188 for 7 games
Iowa -- $175 for 7 games, $165 with future alumni group discount
Michigan State -- $175 for 7 games
Nebraska -- $166 for 7 games
Purdue -- $119 for 7 games
Illinois -- $99 for 7 games
Rutgers -- $99 for 6 games
Minnesota -- $90 for 7 games
Indiana -- $60 for 6 games
Maryland and Northwestern -- tickets free with full tuition and student fee payment

(get a load of Maryland and Northwestern…I remember when Michigan Hockey, Track Baseball and probably a handful of other sports had the same policy – show your student ID and come on in!!!  Sigh…It must be hard to be a student fan nowadays…)

Is it any wonder WHY the student season ticket renewal is DOWN at Michigan, much less the average ticket buyer?  Michigan student tix are $50 higher ($277 for the season) than OSU and Michigan is barely 0.500 in the last decade….Michigan used to have a general population waiting list for 30 years to buy tickets because fans thought it was a good value and hey, you could always scalp a couple of games for more than you paid…Now when you try to scalp, it feels a little bit like visiting the proctologist.  You are absolutely tickled if you can get $20 for a pair when the opponent is the likes of App State.  And you’re happy because you “only” have to eat $150 for a game you can’t attend…John Bacon also pointed this out and his blog entry is worth the read…
Brandon attributes the 68% student renewal to be about the same as the no-show rate for certain games.  Uh, Dave…The kids that are “no-showing” are going to be the same group that $300 doesn’t mean crap to because Mommy and Daddy are footing the bill from some far-off locale and the kids are telling them, “Oh, yeah…I was at the game!!” while they are partying at the frat – dorm – apartment, whatever.  My guess is the no show rate stays about the same for lousy games and next year’s renewal might improve a little, but once you lose the good student fans and they find “fun alternatives”…well, they might be gone forever.  When is all of this going to sink into DB’s little BB brain and it’s going to hit him that this is not his kingdom…It’s history that is built by the team and especially…by the fans.
Brandon’s legacy is getting worse by the minute…He’s pissing off many loyal fans and has gotten me to the point of wanting to take some sort of action – and that’s pretty hard to do.  I should have recognized that IMMEDIATELY when he canned Jamie Morris-a more loyal Michigan Man you will never meet.  I want to stand in front of DB and ask him if he remembers how his former coach openly argued against noon and 3:30 start times because College Football was meant to start at 1:00 PM on SATURDAY!!!  Yeah, I know invoking Bo’s words don’t have much effect in today’s television driven market, but this ain’t the Super Bowl, DB.  It’s Michigan.  And your loyal fans have a long relationship with that school and the game day mystique.  You keep screwing that up and more importantly, charge too much for it and, well, it’ll be easy to stop writing the season ticket check – and don’t expect many athletic donations, either, at least not from the average joe.  I’ll keep my parking pass just to enjoy the pre-game festivities with friends and family, but taking a walking tour of Ann Arbor or finding a local pub to watch the game in might become the new tradition for even the most loyal of fans.
Big Brother Might Say, "Not So Fast, Isaac…"
Ty Isaac, a heralded and successful TB from USC is transferring to Michigan due to family health issues.  (His mom went deaf).  According to the NCAA (JEEZ I HATE THESE GUYS!!!) Ty may not be eligible to play immediately under the Family Hardship Rule and he may have to sit out one season.  Frankly, anything and anyone that can come in and help the offense is welcome…leave it to the NCAA to screw stuff up.  But, what else should I expect these days?
Don’t Get Rid of That Harris Jersey Just Yet, Sparty….
With a HUGE switcheroo, the coveted WVU transfer Eron Harris, who everyone thought was going to the run and shoot offense of the Wolverines, is actually going to the land of the Jolly Green Giants after talking with Beilein about playing for the Maize and Blue.  I guess Beilein and Harris didn’t see eye to eye on what his role would be.  While this is a loss for Michigan, Sparty fills up some more offensive minutes that they lost and is looking more and more like a quiet contender for a run at the B1G Championship…  Nuts…But at least Sparty has a Harris jersey laying around…albeit they may have to change the number.
And Finally:

Good Luck Redskins!!!

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