Comments on: Column: UM Football Policy A Bad Bet it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: John U. Bacon John U. Bacon Sat, 04 May 2013 18:27:16 +0000 Karen,

Thanks for your kind words.

I’ll have to check out the TED talk in question, but riffing off the top of my head, while I certainly believe in fair compensation for non-profit leaders, I also believe anyone involved in a non-profit — and this includes clergy, teachers, nurses, and others — should be motivated far more by passion than profit. (As a university teacher and former high school hockey coach, I come by this honestly.)

Having the athletic director’s salary tripled to almost a million dollars — plus bonuses — is especially unseemly when the actual talent of the operation — the players, who are the people we’re paying to see — are not paid. And again, the UM athletic department pays no local, state or federal taxes.

A.J. I actually had a paragraph on just that idea in my earlier draft, but had to cut it for space and flow. If Athletic Directors complain that students won’t come to games because they can’t text, then give them what they want: Temporary cell phone towers. And your list of expenses adds to the problem.


By: A.J. A.J. Sat, 04 May 2013 17:10:38 +0000 John, I agree with your sentiments here … but the one thing that I think should be mentioned is that much has evolved since then. I myself remember the game against Miami (shouldn’t have celebrated leading 30-14 in the 4th against the #1 ranked team!).

Probably the most significant thing — and perhaps one of the most significant reasons kids aren’t coming to Michigan stadium — is that the stadium is SO POORLY EQUIPPED to support today’s tech. As a season ticket holder since I graduated, I can say I’ve been absolutely outraged at the lack of even a decent cell phone signal inside the stadium — much less 3G or 4G service. I can’t even call or text my wife to make sure my family’s ok … and today’s kids have been raised in constant digital connection with others. Heck, it’s been noted many times that kids today will text one another even when they’re together!

Yes, I realize that there are 110,000 people in the stadium, and I know that’s a huge jump in usage in a very small space … and I know that means interference and problems with cell signals.

So, for all the money we as ticket holders spend on ever-increasing ticket (and PSD) pricing, why can’t Michigan Stadium support us with free wifi to support every butt in the stands? Yep, it would be a lot of infrastructure. Yep, it means Michigan would need to invest again.

But THAT, in my mind, WOULD attract today’s students because they don’t like being out of touch … and today, when you walk down to your seat in the Big House, you may as well pocket your cell phone because the reception’s so poor.

To me, this would be focusing on the future. I love the hi-def screens, the great speakers, and the lights. But come ON! Between this and $4 water (ridiculously priced since Michigan Stadium has now prevented fans from bringing our own sealed water bottles into games), Michigan needs to step up and give us VALUE for all the money we’re paying as fans.

By: Karen Karen Fri, 03 May 2013 17:59:49 +0000 Hi John:

I like the sentiment. I totally agree about how predictable and contained the games were in our day, and I agree that Michigan Football policy decisions are often based around maximizing revenue (fortunately for women athletes who get a robust program despite the fact that they can’t generate must revenue!).

You might be interested in this TED Talk by the director of the AIDS Ride in California: [link]

He challenges our assumption that people who do good works (ie, work for non-profits) have an ethical obligation to earn less than private sector workers. If you think about it, good work ought to pay more than bad work – oughtn’t it?