Tuesday, September 30, 2014

University's dysfunction puts athletes at risk

The University of Michigan and its football program the Wolverines used to be a powerhouse. Selling out 100,000 plus tickets for decades, when you think Big Ten football you think Big Blue. However, some serious issues have been plaguing this school and many believe the timeline of dreadful events begins with the hire of Athletic Director Dave Brandon. Brandon is an excellent business mind, the former CEO of Dominos Pizza, clearly he knows what it takes to be successful in business. Sure an athletic department has to deal with finances but when you start micro-managing things which aren't to your customers liking, problems will arise very quickly.

When Brandon hired head coach Brady Hoke many Wolverine fans weren't happy but they rolled with it. Then they got new uniforms the people didn't like and fans started complaining again, but in the end they still showed up. Then the ticket prices went up an average of $100 per seat! That's when the wait list for season tickets disappeared and a third of the students stopped coming to the games all together. They're practically giving tickets away now to keep the sell out streak alive, problem is what about the season ticket holders who've already paid out thousands of dollars just to sit next to a fan who got his tickets with the purchase of a couple of Coca-Colas.

Well the latest debacle to happen was the fourth quarter of Saturday's game against Minnesota in which they lost 30 - 14 but the main story was QB Shane Morris, who took a vicious helmet to helmet hit only to stay in the game for two more plays possibly risking a serious brain injury.

After the game Hoke said, "We would never, ever, put a guy on the field when there's a possibility of head trauma. We won't do that. We would never, ever, if we thought a guy had a concussion, keep him in the game."

At 12:52 a.m. Tuesday morning, a statement released by Athletic Director Dave Brandon confirmed sophomore quarterback Shane Morris had suffered a "probable, mild concussion." This was from the hit in the fourth quarter.

Hoke also said, "You'll have a statement from our medical department." So far there has been no comment from head neurologist Jeffrey Kutcher.

To me it's clear that the athletic department and the coaches aren't talking to each other and someone could get seriously injured over it. Hoke and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier allowed Morris back on the field for two more plays when the average joe could see the guy was wobbly and not right and it has been confirmed that dude had a concussion. Hoke and Nussmeier later claimed to have not seen the hit to Morris.

I think they were the only two people in that stadium who did not see the play. Hoke said he was, "confident proper medical decisions were made." To which I say, they can be confident all they want, if the decision was to send him back onto the field they were wrong.

My favorite quote is that the head coach doesn't know if he would handle the situation differently if it occurred again. That is insane, that's like saying someone has to die for him to throw on a headset. This is serious, if dude was wearing a headset like every other head coach the guys upstairs would've told him to keep Morris off the field instead of being one hit away from being in a wheelchair.

AD Brandon said the program needs to "make important changes" so this doesn't happen again. He also said, "We are examining how to reinforce our sideline communication processes and how decisions will be made in order to make sure that information regarding student-athlete availability to participate is communicated effectively amongst the medical team and to our coaches."

Yeah, in other words how do we get these guys to wear headsets so they can hear us. It's amazing to me that these guys don't get it. The commentators on ESPN screaming "this kid's gonna get killed" during the game sums the seriousness.