Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mid-Week Round-Up!

Brady Hoke Loves You…No Really!!!
In what continues to be a New York level PR campaign to “change the image” of Michigan and the Athletics Department (have you noticed how BranDictator has completely dropped off the radar?), Brady Hoke sent an e-mail out to everyone on the season ticket list.  He loves you… Institutionally, man!   He really does!  (The hand clap could be heard when I opened this e-mail followed by a big bear hug…)

So, the spin doctoring continues and while a “win is a win” and everyone can celebrate, I have a feeling the mood meter will plunge in East Lansing at about 7:30 PM on October 25th.   
I wonder what kind of e-mail Hoke is going to send then?
My guess is after BranDictator’s failed press tour, the PR firm simply threw their hands in the air and gave up on him, told him to go sit down in his office and never come out again.  Ever.  And if you do want to come out, you’d better raise your hand and ask for permission before you do or say ANYTHING.  Yeah…We’ve heard the last of BranDictator for the time being. 

Was actually pretty cool….Here in it’s entirety…

Nick Roumel Goes a Little Postal…But For Good Reason
I loved reading the Punt-Counterpunt that used to show up in the free program on home Saturdays but now resides on on Friday or Saturday morning.  Nick Roumel is still doing his part, but his counter “punt” partner has changed over the years.  I asked a few people if they had seen Nick’s post prior to the Rutgers game.  Because I felt it was written in the true “Spirit of Michigan”, I’m reprinting here and linking to it, also. 
In tribute to Heiko’s brilliant deployment of his specialty, medicine, allow me to analyze the program in light of mine, employment law. Our once storied athletic department has all the hallmarks of a dysfunctional workplace.
When David Brandon took over, he cleaned house. He fired an alarming number of athletic department coaches and staff, including long term employees going back to the Don Canham years. He did this with little tolerance; employees were fired for minor and subjective offenses—or, significantly, for failure to exercise appropriate supervision over subordinate employees. I know because I and our firm represented a few of them. Sure, any new boss has the right to have his own minions, but this purging seemed to be done with little regard for employees’ loyalty, nor their valuable institutional memory.
Double standards are another feature of the dysfunctional workplace. In contrast to the scrutiny afforded lower level employees, management is free to commit a multitude of boners with no consequences. Examples are easy to tick off. Botched coaching searches resulting in the inability to land candidates that wanted to come here. Assaults on the game day tradition also turned off the fan base, like the well-documented student seating fiasco. Game day blunders ranging from the advertising noodle, to bans on water and seat cushions, the Coca-Cola ticket giveaway, to overdone productions, and unnecessary, meaningless old rock songs played ad nauseum.
Our coach, who is hired to win with integrity, doesn't win. And now the integrity part is in question. Not only does Brady Hoke’s team perform worse than the sum of its parts, but the man seemingly lied to us about Brendan Gibbons. Lying, meanwhile, is the best case scenario regarding Shane Morris. Brandon fired former star and loyal athletic department staffer Jamie Morris for allegedly lying. But maybe Brandon needs to keep Hoke around, because a classic boss is always happy to let his subordinate managers twist in the wind to take the heat.
Another classic sign of a dysfunctional workplace is micromanagement. Why does the Athletic Director attend practices, and hover during locker room meetings? Why is he the one hiring the coordinators, and not his head coach?
Ignoring customers is another symptom. Good leaders solicit input before making changes, and learn from constructive feedback. This administration plugs its ears and goes “Nyah, nyah, nyah.” To its partial credit they reversed decision on smaller issues like the noodle and seat cushions – but only after fan outcry. But why aren’t they seeking feedback before making these changes?
Retaliating against critics on the inside can be done in secret. But how do you explain such actions as taking away the press pass of John U. Bacon, who bleeds Maize and Blue, in apparent reaction to Three And Out? If they’re doing this petty garbage to journalists, imagine what they might do to anybody who dares speak against them from within.
For the most part, nothing can be done about a dysfunctional workplace. But at a public university, we have a trump card - at least theoretically. The athletic department is answerable to the President of the University and the Regents. The question will be whether they will have the courage to do the right thing and clean house, or whether they will bury their heads in the sand and do nothing.
Uncertain. Our new President, Mark Schlissel had no experience with a high profile athletic department while at Rhode Island. As such, the risk is that his ears will be bent by a select few with access. Former Texas coach Mack Brown explained that at his University, a cadre of four to five influential donors had the leaders’ ears and were able to accomplish their agendas. At Michigan, I don’t believe the power structure is that linear, but do worry whether anyone can be the change agent that is so badly needed, especially with powerful and generous donors like Stephen Ross backing Brandon.
The bottom line is that the Michigan Regents are government officials. Raise your hand if you still have faith that government officials will ever do the right thing. ... Anyone?
Fans who feel helpless can only vote with their feet. An under-100,000 attendance threatens this administration. But they believe last week’s crisis has blown over, and that the Penn State night game will provide a solid attendance figure, and then all will shortly return to normal.
Do Michigan fans have the guts to boycott? I believe that the public outcry, culminating in the impromptu rally against Dave Brandon this week, shows that people who care about Michigan football still have collective power.
With all this, the result of today’s game against the Scarlet Knights is almost superfluous. While it would be nice to win, it should not divert from the legitimate criticism that lies at Brandon’s feet. It is our duty to speak out and do what we can to end this dysfunction. That does not make us fair weather fans. When one party to any relationship is treated with such disrespect, they have the right to rise up and resist. That does not make you disloyal, or a fair weather fan – it means you care.
I for one cannot take this anymore. Yes, I wrote earlier this season that I was past the point of having a Michigan loss ruin my week. But when the entire department is showing signs of being rotten to the core, it hurts - as a fan, an alumnus, and a writer who tries every week to bring a light hearted approach to this sport.
Today, my heart is not light. I ache for the players who try their damndest and those of us who support them. And I will not bear this dysfunction without dissent.

Saban Hot Seat After Winning?
Yeah…I wanna’ be an SEC coach.  These guys win and still get heat….

Famous Author Charles Bukowski
I'm a collector of the simple quotable quotes that great and not so great people have offered to the masses over the years.  I guess the Franklin Planner that everyone used to carry started me off on my little collection.  I've got a file that I open from time to time and just kind of absorb them all.  
I’ve come across a lot of Bukowski stuff in my lifetime.  He was an interesting character to say the least.  An author that lived in LA and more or less didn't give a crap as to whether you liked his stuff or not.  And he wasn't afraid to ask the tough questions or say the things that needed to be said....
 I’ve posted some of his quotes here in order to give you a better understanding of the man – just cause. 

But there’s one his quotes that I remembered stumbling upon a few years ago that’s kind of a new favorite with me.  Sort of explains this entire season in one shot:

If something bad happens, drink in an attempt to forget…
If something good happens, drink in order to celebrate…
And if nothing happens, drink to make something happen…

Till Friday….

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