We all know that Athletic Director Dave Brandon has recently been under fire for his management of Michigan’s prestigious athletic program. Since his arrival, student prices have gone up resulting in a 67% decrease in student attendance. Making things worse was the exclusive deal Brandon had with Coca Cola. The fact that the purchase of two cans of Coca Cola would come with an included ticket for the Minnesota game insulted loyal Michigan season ticket holders that sometimes have to wait years to finally obtain them. He has also bumped administrative salaries by 72% percent while charging forty dollars per game for students. Apparently, the last straw was when Dave Brandon absolved Brady Hoke of any punishment when he left a clearly injured Shane Morris on the field during Minnesota’s game. Since then over eleven thousand people with uniqnames have signed a petition to remove Dave Brandon. Over nine thousand people showed up on Tuesday to the Diag and the President’s house to protest. It is clear that he is hated by many and that this will probably be his last year as Athletic Director. It appears that Dave Brandon did the opposite of what Machiavelli suggested and now he is on the verge of losing power.
In Chapter XIX, Machiavelli argues that a prince needs to avoid being hated and despised at all costs. If he is regarded highly by his subjects, he will be safe from any conspiracy that might want to usurp his rule. According to Machiavelli, his method of avoiding internal resurrections works because a conspirator will only have the courage to proceed in overthrowing the Prince only if the people will be satisfied with the Prince’s departure. Dave Brandon has done nothing to avoid this. Most of his actions have only angered the people that make Michigan great. From changing student seating policy into general admission to having a historically bad home schedule, Michigan fans have become infuriated with the changes he has done.
Some people argue that Dave Brandon would not be in this situation if it were not for Michigan’s terrible performance on the field. If Michigan would be playing well, the fans would have turned the cheek to what Brandon is doing. However, in chapter XXV Machiavelli states that fortune only controls one half of a man’s actions while the other half is controlled by free will. Because fortune varies, one man may succeed while the other fails even though they have taken the same path. Brady Hoke’s incompetence to lead the team to victory was only half of the problem. The other half was part of Dave Brandon horrible management of the Athletic Department. I think that even if Brady Hoke would have been undefeated this season, Dave Brandon would have eventually find himself in this situation because fortune can change at any moment.
Michigan is going through a critical stage in their athletic history. Dave Brandon will need to severely turn things around and quickly to gain back the favor of the people. He will either need to have someone or something take the fall for all of his misgivings (like Machiavelli suggested in Chapter XIX) or face the certain possibility of losing his lucrative job. Although he accomplished many great things such as the renovation of many athletic facilities, he will unfortunately go down as the man who brought Michigan football to its knees.
~ Manuel Sarmiento