Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What's Been Lost At Michigan By BranDictator?

I want to apologize for some of the language in my recent posts.  I will do my best to "curb" my emotions and continue to remind myself that this is a family blog and that we need to collectively realize that are better ways to vent our frustration, anger and overall sadness about this program than using four letter words and "Blue" language.  That's certainly NOT what I'm about and why I write this blog, and I hope everyone realizes that.

BranDictator...You've lost....So many, many things….the list to the right keeps on growing.  (Thanks to ALL of you, by the way, who continue to send me evidence and links.  It’s all good stuff!)  I don’t think in the short history of the blog that I’ve ever linked to more common issues than I have for the “Case Against Dave BranDictator”.  It’s sad that no one else is looking at his complete body of work with something more than an “Eye on the Bottom Line”  Of the University Athletic Budget. 

We’re all being seduced….Seduced by corporate greed that has enveloped the program.  The money makers will continue to squeeze until they can squeeze no more…because that’s what they do.

BranDictator’s Statement is a great source for what should be his “Firing”.  Doctors (Alpiner – Beuamont Hospital) not from the University of Michigan have come out and stated, plainly, that there is “NO SUCH THING AS A “PROBABLE” or “MILD” Concussion…You either have one or you don’t.  (BTW – the same thing can be said about strokes.)  The symptoms and reaction associated with a concussion can be anything from mild (dizziness, nausea, etc.) to really bad (knocked out, death).  But the first thing they teach in concussion training is it’s a concussion – a jostling and bruising of the brain.  Plain and simple.  Why the weaseling around, BranDictator?  My first question to Dave if I were the new Prez….

And…There’s this:


Are you incompetent or did you ask Brady to lie???  Which is it?


I wish I could put my finger on what Dave Brandon has lost – and not just with the latest fiasco, but over a broad period of time.  I wish I could point to any one thing BranDictator has done and say, “See?  See that?  That’s when he lost it.”  But you can’t.  Because there isn’t just any one thing.  The thing that Dave Brandon, without oversight or having someone besides “Yes” men on his staff, has lost is kind of simple - 


It never really sank in on BranDictator that running the University of Michigan Athletic Department is not about making money or trying to “Run a Business”.  Granted, so much of what you do in an Athletic Department anymore IS Business, but being an AD is more than that.  It requires understanding of how the University and the Athletic Institution known as Michigan came to be and recognizing it for what it is:  A family that he has responsibility for.  A family that has grown over time and that needs to be nourished to create new family members that will commit to and blindly support you in good times and in bad.  It’s an institution that needs complete honesty, transparency and open communication and not corporate double speak.  But most of all, it’s about trust.  Trust and the recognition that as soon as your family doesn’t trust you…all is lost.  You can’t go back to them for forgiveness…I mean, you can, but it’ll always be more difficult from that point forward.

I’ve been trying to wrap my head around why that is so difficult for this guy to understand.  And then, it sort of hits you that he’s not even capable of understanding the simplicity of it all.  He’s too wrapped up in the bottom line, his own image and spin-doctoring whatever the “masses” don’t like that he won’t even take the time to sit back and look at what’s happening.  What people and fans are saying.  Oh, sure, he listens to the “BIG DONOR”, but the little voice simply isn’t being heard.   The tradition of Michigan Football and Michigan Athletics has always been about ALL the fans…not just the wealthy. 

There’s a balance here that even some of the worst AD’s in Michigan’s history seemed to get:  Keep everyone happy – as much as possible.  Let the Big Donor’s give their money and stroke them with whatever perks you want and keep the little guys happy with affordable ticket prices and above all else – Be Nice.  Treat them like family.  I don’t think it’s a complicated system, process or approach, but it’s a system that needs both subjective and objective review and critique from time to time.

Not unlike how you might look at a personal relationship.  That’s different from a business relationship.  It just is.  Fans are more than just “customers”.  They are fans for a reason.  And it’s easy for fans to stop being fans…real easy.

That’s what BranDictator is missing:  There’s nothing personal there with Dave.  It’s always been about the bottom line and making a bigger splash.  We don’t want or necessarily need the splash.  I don’t think anyone was asking him to turn Michigan into the biggest kid on the block.  Yes, we are looking for excellence in the arenas (Thank you Jon Belein!) and on the fields of play, but, due to his “one track mind, business oriented” thought process, he was looking at it as a “Whoever has the most money will win the game!”  He is holding up at the big boys as his target and continues to try to figure out where he can squeeze the next dollar.

Well, I believe it’s all coming to an end somehow.  That what I used to know and love is now nothing more but a ticket price and the cost of admission.  What we understood as something that was bigger than just a “Sporting Event” has become just that:  A sporting event that I don’t have any feelings for anymore.  And that’s even worse than hating it.  As they say, indifference is the opposite of love, not hate.

For example, BranDictator didn’t even bother asking the student section, “What do you want?”  My guess is he would have gotten a lot of good feedback.  And I’m not talking about some survey that was, as with most surveys, targeted to get the answers the Department wanted.  I mean, just ask the question:  


I’m sure he would have heard:  CHEAPER TICKETS.  As recently as calendar year 2000, Student Season Tickets were $80.  FOR THE SEASON.  And students could still re-sell the tickets pretty easily.  Come on, not everyone can make every game or has a test to study for…whatever.  Give them the same cardboard ticket I get and GET OVER YOUR ISSUES WITH STUDENTS RE-SELLING TICKETS.  Or anyone re-selling them for that matter.  There’s a need out there for after market ticket sales….Some students might state that they want the better seats that traditionally moved you up closer to the action and closer to the 50.  Others might want to sit up higher because they can see better.  Still others might want to be as close to the field as they could get.  Frats and Sorority houses that have members “of age” or any legal student that would like to imbibe pre-game may ask for a separate section so their drunken shenanigans didn’t offend anyone.  

It’s not hard….Just ask and be nice. 

I don’t hate BranDictator, but I do hate the fact that he’s somehow made me into someone that either can’t afford to care anymore or just doesn’t want to care anymore.  Because he treated us all with distrust and like idiots that he thought would be too stupid to see what he was actually doing.

I guess maybe….maybe this might have been what it felt like when Camelot came to an end…

Yes – If Brandon somehow “Lands the whale…the great Moby Dick” of a coach on the next hire, I suppose all would be forgiven….

But not forgotten.  It could all be over.  Even if it does get better.

 It will never be the same….

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