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Motor City Sonics

The sad state of Michigan football (and it has nothing to do with wins or losses)

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I used to do sports radio every day in Ann Arbor. If I was still there I would have been suspended a time or two the way things are now.

The University of Michigan is getting punitive on people that don't repeat the talking points. You can't criticize them and you can't even question them right now. On anything.

This is a blog from John Bacon http://johnubacon.com/2014/02/the-brendan-gibbons-case-and-the-athletic-departments-response/, who has written several books about Michigan football history and about college football. I did a weekly show with John. This guy LOVES Michigan. He teaches there, for crying out loud. He loves it so much that he questions things. He doesn't always believe what he's told. Believe me when I tell you this. I have worked with countless phonies, countless people that put themselves ahead of their papers/radio stations/tv stations.....John is not one of them. What John says or writes is the truth. This is not a man that sensationalizes, this is not a guy who grandstands.

People are having credentials taken away. Radio hosts are being forced to apologize simply for saying the coaching staff did a terrible job. Members of the Athletic Department are chastising reporters and writers for writing anything that might lean negative. When did Michigan become so spineless?

I am not surprised Bruce Madej is leaving (retiring). This is not the type of thing he does or stands for. This is Dave Brandon and his minions. Of course he lets the minions do the dirty work.

There was a time when the media was Michigan's best friend, it's greatest promoter. In those days there were 3 local TV stations, 5 or 6 local newspapers, no ESPN, no full time sports radio and no blogs - so it was easier to control the media and keep them on your side. But I am assuming that there are some pretty smart people over there that should have a little bit of understanding on how to navigate this 24/7 media and separate real reporting from crazy kooks. But they are treating just about everyone like crazy kooks.

It feels like the Michigan athletic program has built a great big fortress with 50 foot walls and anybody with a laptop or camera that approaches with a question is considered an enemy trying to burn down the fortress. Not true.

It's a program with hundreds of student athletes, coaches, support staff and administrators. If you took a random sampling of 400 lawyers, 400 bankers, 400 writers, 400 doctors or 400 anything - you are going to have a few that make small mistakes and even 1 or 2 that make massive ones or are downright evil. Doesn't mean you are trying to trash the institutions that employ them.

It's the cover up and avoidance that makes that one day story into a neverending scab. "Never turn a one-day story into a two-day story" - Don Canham.

No, they can't really get into details with Brendan Gibbons, there are legal reasons, but shutting out the Michigan Daily (the University's own newspaper and pretty much the only daily newspaper left in Ann Arbor) looks petty. Accept the fact that you can't suppress the news anymore. Those days are gone. Stop making it worse. Stop pretending you are perfect. Nobody is. The more you avoid it, the more rumors start to swirl and the more you look like a Richard Nixon/Robert Ficano figure.

Take your cue from Jason Giambi and his PR people. He pretty much copped to using steroids right from the start - he didn't cover it up and he didn't lie about it and his part of the story went away and he's still playing in the majors (or he was at the end of last year). John U. Bacon points out in his story, Michigan got the fact parts of the Gibbons story right, but it was the treatment of The Daily that is rubbing people the wrong way - and this isn't the first instance. Don't punish them for doing their job. If Gibbons did something that was enough to get him kicked out of school (4 years later) then it was something worth reporting. The fact that nothing was done until after Gibbons or (more importantly) Taylor Lewan was finished with their career is going to get attention. This story is not going away.

All this is an attempt to protect the brand name. But if this is what it takes to protect it, then the brand is broken.

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You'll feel pretty silly when they win the next 6 national championships.

It's not about wins and losses. It's about their treatment of just about everyone these days. It's a very us vs. them type of atmosphere there now - and it's never been like that. I root for the players to win, but they won't be winning any titles soon. Having Rutgers and Maryland in their division may be what keeps them over .500 in the conference. But hey, maybe they just tell everyone they went undefeated and the first reporter that reports their actual record will be banished.

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Yah, they have been manipulating the news for a while. I don't like it one bit. Its without a doubt why the Rich Rod, extra practice stuff came out.

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Agree with everything MCS said, and he didn't even get into the presser when Nussmier was hired. This is so obviously Brandon's program now, and that's really problematic. I obvs hope Hoke turns this thing around, but if/when he doesn't, are any coaches worth a damn going to come and work for CFB's version of Jerry Jones?

I have no idea what really happened w/ Les Miles, Jim Harbaugh, etc.... but I wouldn't be shocked, at all, if they hired Hoke instead of either of those folks solely because he didn't have the cache and could be run over by Brandon.

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I wish.

Along the general lines of what Brandon is 'doing' to the program' - I see freshman everyday - I think he is steadily losing the student body. Won't matter for a long time, but sooner or later you are going to have a generation of alums whose memory of the athletic dept was of a bunch or arrogant SOBs who pissed them off by telling how they are supposed to relate to the program. And the difference is that now it's real arrogance (and greed), not just MSU rivalry rhetoric arrogance.

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Did something happen yesterday prompting this thread?

Not one thing specifically on one day. My friend John Bacon's blog post came out. Michigan is rejecting people for media passes, rejecting them from locker room access and press box access......people that have had the nerve to question their moves and motives. It's punitive and it's petty and it just depresses me.

It started happening well before this Brendan Gibbons story came out, but the Brendan Gibbons story has really brought this to light. The Michigan Daily (Student-run newspaper) reported in detail on the story and how Gibbons was expelled. They had the nerve to do their job and ask questions, then the athletic department had a press conference to address some non-specific issues regarding this story - and did not invite the Daily. That's inexcusable, and it's the way they have been acting lately. I know 3 media people personally that have either been denies any access to the program or forced to apologize for criticizing the team's and coaches' poor performance in games. Forced to apologize for saying the team stunk in the 26-6 loss to Michigan State. A little bit thin-skinned? If this is the new Michigan way, I am going to have to turn my back on 'em and that makes me sad and angry.

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Regarding Nussmeier - Brady wasn't talking during that presser because he had nothing to do with it. In fact this is Brandon basically showing Brady his replacement if they don't turn it around next year.

So in another year it will be the Ira J and Nicky Harris Family Head Football Coach Doug Nussmeier.

By the way - the coach sponsorship name..............that pretty much clinches it for me. Go Green ! Call me wishy-washy if you want, but what's going on in Ann Arbor is no longer recognizable as Michigan Football to me. It was actually better when Rich Rod was 3-9 than it is with all this shameless nonsense.

"I am not running the football program" - David Brandon. Yeah........right.

Edited by Motor City Sonics

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I'm pretty displeased with the AD in general, but I'm not that bothered by how they handled the gibbons news. It doesn't bother me that the daily was not invited to the informal press gathering a couple weeks ago.

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David Brandon should be fired. Enough said. I originally had something worse on my screen but thought better. Let's just say it involved horses running in 4 different directions.

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Call me old fashioned, but I just want the football team (and the other programs) to win games and do so cleanly and without the assistance of rapists and criminals.

I think the AD is hurting the fan experience for football with their poor scheduling and some of the terrible marketing and PR related moves.

But when it comes down to it, I just want them to win games. I want then to hire competent coaches that understand the strengths of their players and how to develop them into better players.

I think the jury is still out in that regard. We need to see progress from the team this year and by next year they need to be back to competing for championships.

Do I think Brandon or hoke need to be fired? Not really. I don't think Brandon is the cause for the team's development. And it's too early to blame hoke entirely.

If they are still struggling in two years, then it will be time for hoke to go, and if Brandon doesn't make that move then I would call for him to be fired.

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I'm pretty displeased with the AD in general, but I'm not that bothered by how they handled the gibbons news. It doesn't bother me that the daily was not invited to the informal press gathering a couple weeks ago.

It doesn't bother you that the only publication that did any in-depth reporting on this situation is being shut out? I think it's actually a move to show the News/Free Press/M Live and other media outlets........ask the wrong questions and we'll shut you out. This isn't how things should be done. They can't get away with this kind of behavior. And remember, Michigan is a PUBLIC university. The citizens of the state do have a right to know why it took four years for this kid to be kicked out of school, nothing was done about the intimidation of the witness and why Brady Hoke lied about the reason Gibbons did not play against Ohio State or the Flipper The Dolphin Bowl Game (or whatever stupid bowl they were in this year, I already forgot and don't want to look it up). I know Brady can't get into details for legal but "Brandon Gibbons is no longer a member of the team or a student at U of M" would have been fine, because it was the truth.

I just find it odd that none of this is admitted by the school until Taylor Lewan's career was over.

Yeah, and I got news for you on your fan experience with Dave Brandon........if you aren't rich, you aren't welcome anymore. It's a country club, not a football game.

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I don't like a lot of the superficial crap that Brandon is doing, but the Michigan Daily isn't 'kicked out' at all, is it? I thought the thing they got kicked out of was something they never asked to go to. Is it going beyond that? At any rate I thought it used to be like that all the time. Wasn't that why the term "Fort Schemblecher" was coined? RichRod opened up and he was thanked with stretch-gate, so I think they've intentionally reverted somewhat.

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First of all, no, I'm not bothered that the daily wasn't invited to what was not an actual press conference. You publish a piece like they did that violates student privacy, despite the horrific allegations, and you can't expect anyone to extend you an olive branch to spoon feed you information. That's the business. Press conferences are not a right. They are a convenience for the people that wish to share information. Journalistic entitlement annoys me. You want to report? Then investigate and report what people are willing to tell you. I don't write for the daily so I don't care. If the school rescinds press credentials from them that would be bad. But they don't have to treat everyone the same. That's just not realistic. To the back row of the press area they go, I guess.

Secondly, I'm not willing to criticize hoke's statements on the matter either. He has no duty to inform anyone about the status of a student athlete. I'm also not convinced that he lied about anything or that gibbons wasn't actually injured for the osu game. It's also unclear at what point hoke knew that gibbons had been expelled. Just because gibbons was informed of the finding of impermissible sexual conduct prior to the Iowa game doesn't mean that he wasn't entitled to his appeal and to continue with the status of an eligible player. Until he was expelled there was no standing to keep him from playing. Even if hoke knew of the finding, if gibbons was appealing, he was still eligible, and for all anyone knew the appeal could be in his favor.

As for the "family matter" thing, I am still yet to see the context of the question and the actual text of hoke's answer. Hoke could reasonably be protecting gibbons privacy by not disclosing that he had been expelled. He wasn't suspended from the team for violating team rules.

I just don't care how the various parties chose to answer questions related to something that included student privacy, even if I find gibbons a deplorable human being and hope he gets his nuts chopped off.

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I don't like a lot of the superficial crap that Brandon is doing, but the Michigan Daily isn't 'kicked out' at all, is it? I thought the thing they got kicked out of was something they never asked to go to. Is it going beyond that? At any rate I thought it used to be like that all the time. Wasn't that why the term "Fort Schemblecher" was coined? RichRod opened up and he was thanked with stretch-gate, so I think they've intentionally reverted somewhat.

Don't believe that line that The Daily never asked to be there. That's a b.s. line from the UM A.D.'s office. Of course The Daily wants to cover it. The Daily goes to EVERY presser.

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Don't believe that line that The Daily never asked to be there. That's a b.s. line from the UM A.D.'s office. Of course The Daily wants to cover it. The Daily goes to EVERY presser.

Didn't the reporters there corroborate it? It just seems like the evidence says there's nothing to it.

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Regarding Nussmeier - Brady wasn't talking during that presser because he had nothing to do with it. In fact this is Brandon basically showing Brady his replacement if they don't turn it around next year.

So in another year it will be the Ira J and Nicky Harris Family Head Football Coach Doug Nussmeier.

By the way - the coach sponsorship name..............that pretty much clinches it for me. Go Green ! Call me wishy-washy if you want, but what's going on in Ann Arbor is no longer recognizable as Michigan Football to me. It was actually better when Rich Rod was 3-9 than it is with all this shameless nonsense.

"I am not running the football program" - David Brandon. Yeah........right.

On Michigan State’s website, there is a section called the Spartan Fund, “Invest in Champions,” and it details how endowments work and what can be endowed and lists the “gift levels” for various coaching positions.

A $5 million donation would endow either the head football coach or head men’s basketball coach. The endowment for men’s hockey and women’s basketball coach is $2 million. All other head-coaching endowments are $1 million and a $500,000 gift would be an endowment for an assistant coach in football, basketball or hockey.

“Endowments in higher education are becoming more critical, including within intercollegiate athletics,” Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said in an email Monday. “Specific to athletics, endowments in scholarships, coaching positions and operations allowed a department to sustain excellence for years to come.”

From The Detroit News: Hoke's possible new title: J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family head football coach | The Detroit News

Go Green, indeed!

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Do people think that Brandon is the one that hired Nussmeier?

Also, I mostly agree with Shelton, I don't mind how the athletic department handled it. Where I disagree with Shelton is Hoke knowing about the suspension. Hoke clearly lied when he said "family reasons."

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Depends on how the question was asked. If a reporter asked why gibbons wasn't with the team, a short "I'm not going to get into that. It's a family matter" then it's not that big of a deal.

If he announced "gibbons is not here because he is attending to a family matter" then it would be a lie.

It's a tough position to be in, and his absence wasn't related to the team.

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Depends on how the question was asked. If a reporter asked why gibbons wasn't with the team, a short "I'm not going to get into that. It's a family matter" then it's not that big of a deal.

If he announced "gibbons is not here because he is attending to a family matter" then it would be a lie.

It's a tough position to be in, and his absence wasn't related to the team.

Honestly, I can't think of any reason for the team to have spoken in public they way they did other than that the AthDept was trying to keep the press away from finding out what had actually happened. As long as the team keeps saying he's hurt, no-one is going to be looking particularly hard for a "why". As soon as Hoke says, "He is no longer enrolled", which is all he should or needed to have said, someone was going to go find out why - and that is what they didn't want to happen - esp before the season was over. Typical corporate style PR management. Totally inappropriate for a public institution of higher learning.

......OK you can stop laughing now about that last bit. :paranoid:

Edited by Gehringer_2

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Hoke has never given much info about injuries and personnel....Gardner gets completely beat up and is in a sling and it's a 'boo-boo'. I can easily see him trying to give a generic no-information answer and it gets interpreted in a middling ESPN blogpost as a "family-issue."

At any rate I don't really care, even if he intentionally misled it's not a major infraction on his part. It's not a big deal. The big deal is the deed that happened 4 years ago and the minor punishment or total lack punishment that was levied out then. In retrospect, I wish Gibbons had been kicked off the team. I understand why they didn't or maybe even couldn't but that doesn't make it right. The big games we won on last second FGs, I don't even want to think about. They make me feel uneasy to say the least.

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Hoke has never given much info about injuries and personnel....Gardner gets completely beat up and is in a sling and it's a 'boo-boo'. I can easily see him trying to give a generic no-information answer and it gets interpreted in a middling ESPN blogpost as a "family-issue."

At any rate I don't really care, even if he intentionally misled it's not a major infraction on his part. It's not a big deal. The big deal is the deed that happened 4 years ago and the minor punishment or total lack punishment that was levied out then. In retrospect, I wish Gibbons had been kicked off the team. I understand why they didn't or maybe even couldn't but that doesn't make it right. The big games we won on last second FGs, I don't even want to think about. They make me feel uneasy to say the least.

You are describing exactly why the U eventually moved to change the policy. We don't even know how much if any this case motivated the change, but the U had tied their own hands as a matter of policy such that they would not pursue a case without the cooperation of the complainant or action by the police. Once that policy changed - and again, we have no reason to believe this particular case was the specific driving force for the change or not, the University picked up the cold ends of this investigation and moved within a few weeks to expel Gibbons.

Further, I can't blame Hoke too much for the way he handled Gibbons prior to the action of the University under the new policy. When he came in the Gibbons case was already a settled matter. Most coaches do not come into a new team and immediate try and re-investigate all the existing members of his team. Unless Gibbons had given Hoke some additional reason after Hoke's arrival for Hoke to question his status with the team, I just don't see that anything Brady did up until this year was a problem either. RRod's admin had access to the available information at the time, had a chance to remove him and for whatever reason didn't. I don't think you lay any of that at Brady's door.

Now the handling of the information regarding Gibbon's expulsion by Hoke and/or Brandon was a total embarrassment, and says a lot to me about the kind of regime they have established at Schembechler hall - but in a sense that window into how the program functions is a completely different issue from University's disciplinary history with Gibbons. The later simply gave us another chance to observe the former.

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