Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Dissecting the President's Letter - An Introspective

Another shoe dropped yesterday, albeit not the one we have all been waiting for.  And if there’s one thing I’ve learned with Michigan, anything and everything at this great University TAKES TIME.  They do not turn anything around on a dime until all of the questions have been answered and everyone has fully covered their butt. But, at least we got a statement from the new Prez.  And, after reading it again, I found it to be very interesting.

I will admit to having a couple of “Guilty Pleasures” that I’ve developed over my lifetime.  I like taking a speed boat ride by myself at the end of the day near sunset when the lake has quieted down and the water is smooth.  I enjoy taking nostalgia trips to places like Ann Arbor or my hometown and just taking it in, remembering memories that have long since faded away.  I also enjoy old movies, and some not so old, and when they come on I just can’t turn them off.  “Cocktail” with Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown as an apprentice-mentor buddy movie set in New York and Jamaica is one of those flicks.  Don’t ask me why…But I really like the way Bryan Brown plays his character and looks at life.  And one of my favorite scenes is when he explains to his young protégé Flanagan that his greatest skill is reading between the lines…

 I like to think I’m pretty good at reading between the lines, as you learn that everyone (in power anyway) never really says what they mean.  Clearly, the Athletic Statement issued at 1:00 AM is full of crap and double speak.  So, after having read the President’s statement again this morning, I am going to dissect for any hidden meaning or an agenda that might provide some insight as to where this goes from here:

As the leader of our university community, I want to express my extreme disappointment in the events surrounding the handling of an on-field injury to one of our football players, Shane Morris. The health and safety of our entire student community, including all of our student-athletes, is my most important responsibility as university president.

Jeez – I’ve only been here since September 5th and already I’m dealing with a shit-storm of controversy surrounding the athletics of this great, academic institution.  What’s the deal?  I thought sports was secondary when it came to higher education, but I’ve got to worry about student safety, too.  Isn’t that what we have an AD for?  Yeah – Let me address that:

I have been in regular discussion regarding this incident and its aftermath with Athletic Director David Brandon and the Board of Regents. I support the immediate protocol changes that the department's initial assessment has identified. I have instructed the Athletic Department to provide me, the Board of Regents, and other campus leaders with a thorough review of our in-game player safety procedures, particularly those involving head injuries, and will involve experts from the University of Michigan Health System in assessing its medical aspects.

I spoke with Brandon on this issue, when I could finally reach him and get a straight answer, which is why my statement is so late in its forthcoming.  But please note that I didn’t issue it at 1:00 AM.    It took him forever to issue a statement, which I duh, yeah, we need to fix the problems.  Then, I contacted the regents regarding Brandon and asked what they thought.  The regents and other campus leaders told me to watch Brandon like a hawk and that he’s been operating without over-sight for quite some time.  AS a result, I’ve asked Dave to give me a thorough review of the safety procedures in addition to asking the Michigan Hospital to get involved.

Despite having one of the finest levels of team medical expertise in the country, our system failed on Saturday. We did not get this right and for this I apologize to Shane, his family, his teammates, and the entire Michigan family. It is a critical lesson to us about how vigilant and disciplined we must always be to ensure student-athlete safety. As president, I will take all necessary steps to make sure that occurs and to enforce the necessary accountability for our success in this regard.

Dave – You really screwed up here.  When is the last time you reviewed the side-line procedure?  And, seeing as how you DIDN’T make a statement that included a direct apology to Shane or the Michigan family, allow me to do this, lawyers and lawsuits be damned. You’ve been so worried about the “Brand”ing of Michigan, that it would appear that you’ve neglected one of your primary responsibilities of keeping athletes safe. I am going to start looking at everything you do and I will have someone micro-managing this department if necessary if I don’t like what I’m seeing or hearing FROM THIS POINT FORWARD.  


Our communications going forward will be direct, transparent and timely. The University of Michigan stands for the highest level of excellence in everything we do, on and off the field. That standard will guide my review of this situation and all the University's future actions.

Christ, Brandon…Your 1:00 AM press release reeked to high heaven…WTF!!!  You’ve left me no choice but to call you out here on the mat and tell the world that I’m going to hold your hand in any further developments on this mess and make sure you are responsive to the press and all of the people that are demanding straight forward answers.  NO MORE 1:00 AM PRESS RELEASES!!  What kind of way is that for a an Athletic Director of a major University to act?  Are you hearing me?  And by future actions, here’s what I mean:  They may or may not include a decision to let you go, even if it costs the University $5.5M in cold, hard cash. 

My thanks go to the many members of the University community who have taken the time to express their thoughts

And Brandon - I’m going to need a brand new F@!#$%@#$ing e-mail address because the flood of e-mails to my inbox has crashed the damn server!

So.... yeah…I think this statement was directly addressing the Brandon issue, with little or no mention of Coach Hoke, who is really becoming the sympathetic character in all of this.  

That doesn’t absolve him of his performance on the field, mind you, nor does it absolve him from making a common sense decision about Shane.  Either one of those and we certainly wouldn’t be having this discussion or dissecting a letter…from the new Prez.

But clearly, the President may have his sights set on bigger game.  If he means what he says….


Msuperfan said...

MMQ - I LOVE your idea of attending the Maryland game, but returning to the tailgate area after the National Anthem (remember to sing the 4th verse)

Of course, it will be very hard to get that organized. How much do those plane pulled banners cost? How about "EMPTY BIG HOUSE = Bran-GONE" banner? Let me know if contributions are needed.

MMQ said...

Yep - Will do. Like I said earlier, there have been "rumblings" of all sorts of things that might happen, from the airplane banners (that only fly pre-game now) to something else during the game...Like engineers creating cards and handing them out to the fans in different sections that would spell out "Fire Brandon" under the lights 100 yards long! That....Would be Classic, Indeed!