Moving On

Riordan Philbrick

Section 8

Blog #2

Officially broken at a press conference this past Friday at precisely 1:30 pm, the news that David Brandon will no longer serve as the the athletic director at the University of Michigan has since spread across both the campus, and the country. This marks the end of a four year era which produced mixed results across the board. Now many people had begun calling for Brandon’s head long ago amidst a football season that has failed to meet the standards of many associated with the university. However; in order to make a fair assessment of the situation, one must look the responsibilities that Brandon had, along with the actions thbrandonat he took in various situations throughout his tenure as the head athletic director. The athletic director essentially governs the entire athletic program, overseeing 27 varsity sports and the logistics that accompany them. This is where can can look at the position from a similar standpoint that Hobbes looked at government in Leviathan

Involving “a mutual transferring of rights,” the elected official must fulfill this contract or otherwise commit a”violation of faith” (Hobbes 7). In Brandon’s earnest to monetize the athletic program in order to generate maximum revenue, it appears as though he lost sight of the big picture. Through an overwhelming focus on the corporate nature of the collegiate athletics, he managed to alienate his fan base. It doesn’t require a thorough knowledge of Machiavelli in order to realize that once you lose the support of the people, your tenure is all but over.

QB Shane Morris suffering a concussion

As President Mark Schlissel stated in his press conference, the resignation of Brandon is “in the best interest of our student-athletes, the athletic department and the university community.” After raising prices to such an extent that students no longer filled the student section of the stadium, waffling back and forth about proper concussion protocol that led to an at-risk player being left on the field, and losing the support of the alumni base, it is hard to argue with Schlissel’s statement. As Hobbes writes “words alone…contain a bare promise” and Brandon’s actions failed to live up to expectations (Hobbes 7).

A popular Michigan football blog lays out nicely the the developments that ultimately led us to this moment. Citing a lack of communication and transparency between the department and the board of regents, an unwillingness to admit mistakes, and a series of public relations failures as the primary reasons why Brandon’s tenure as athletic director is coming to a close.

5 thoughts on “Moving On

  1. Rory,
    I was very interested in all the points that you had on Dave Brandon. I actually just wrote a blog on how he should not of gotten fired and many of the opinions that people had on him were not true. Dave Brandon played football here, he helped run a billion dollar company, he is truly a Michigan man and should not be looked down upon at all. The bashes that people have on him include things you talked about in your blog but there is an answer to everything. He hired someone to be on the sidelines every game to make sure nothing like the Shane Morris incident would happen again. The media did not allow him to make moves and they criticized him for something that was not in his control. I used Hobbes in my post and I liked how you used him in yours. This post was good and I am glad that we have different opinions.


  2. Another interesting point about Brandon that also calls to Machiavelli is that he is being made to pay the price of the people under him. If he is to trust those below him such as Hoke, he needs to be assured that those people do what he would direct them to do and not leave a bad image upon himself. Hoke put Morris back into the game, but now Brandon has lost the respect of the people and is essentially being forced out of his job.


  3. It’s interesting that you refer to Brandon as a government leader, seeing that the athletic director is in charge of the whole entire athletic program. I totally agree as he has had such a huge impact over the university during the last two weeks. How do you think that this is going to affect the community? More or less than it has already affected it? I feel as if he dug himself into a hole that he could not get himself out of so he really just had no other choice but to resign. I believe that right of conviction rather than responsibility, in which put him into a bad position.


  4. As jessearm wrote, your comparison is pretty accurate when relating him to how leaders have certain responsibilities and a certain standard they should be held to. As I sat and watched the game where Morris became concussed against Minnesota, I constantly yelled, “why is he still in the game?!?”. He had already been limping as it stood, but when he was concussed and let back in the game, I knew our athletic program may need new leadership. Brandon has resigned, and I think it may now be Hoke’s turn unless he can show us as fans something to be proud of. I know we are coming off a big win, but I don’t believe in his process at this point. He is very unaware of his players it seems, between the concussion and the stake left in the ground at MSU.


  5. I really like the way you compare Dave Brandon to a government leader. Your thesis is correct. When the leader loses his sights and has a different set of goals than that of the people, his power is all but gone. However, I believe there is a point in this piece that you briefly glossed over but did not fully explore. What about the fact that there were 27 other varsity sports teams at this school and not just football? How did these teams do? Is it fair that we place so much weight on this one sport but not all the others? Do we value certain student-athletes at this school higher than we do others? This is something to explore and really ask ourselves. I mean is anyone particularly concerned about how Brandon’s leadership affected the women’s tennis team? And well… is it OK if we aren’t?

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