Comments on: Column: Fixing College Football it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Paul LaRoe Paul LaRoe Mon, 16 Jun 2014 18:02:13 +0000 John

Since I read your article last week, my ADD mind has been working non stop on the subject of ticket sales and the mindset of those who have given up their season tickets after 25 and 35 years. There is also the group that have been thinking the same thoughts and just haven’t made the move to give them up yet. Yes, after giving up my season tickets in about 2010 after 35 years, I did go through some withdrawal. If I was to start a new business today, maybe I would start a 12 Step Program for people giving up their season tickets after many years of being addicted to Michigan football. I think it may have a great future with an up and coming increasing customer base to draw clients from.

For me, the magic is gone and I can not seem to put the Genie back into the bottle. As it is in life, you can never go back to yesteryear, I believe holds true for Michigan football. The past is gone, the future is not here yet, and all we are left with is this present moment.

It is my belief, that this sudden shift in change in regards to student ticket sales and the waiting list to become a season ticket holder, has been in the works for some time. There is no “One” thing that has brought about the shift in the pendulum. It’s a number of things, that have occurred over time that collectively has brought this to a head where it is now very visible (drop in student ticket sales and drop in number of people on the waiting list). What you have stated in your article John, is what people have been thinking for some time, and there is more than what you have stated.

Remember how home values seemed to continue to go up in value, year after year after year, increasing ones equity? Yes, if you were an existing home owner it was great. If you were looking to buy your first house, it was terrible, as homes were way too expensive and you struggled to make enough money to be able to qualify for financing. Many people believed it was the most sound investment a person could make and was a means to growing an asset that could be cashed in for retirement. No one believed that we would have the housing crash that we did. It didn’t seem possible after so many years consistently growing higher and higher in value. But it did. And once it started it began to pick up speed and momentum.

First, it seemed to be within the sub-prime mortgages that were given to any person with a pulse. The chair of the federal Reserve that they had their arms around the problem and that it was under control. Wrong. It was only just beginning.

I use the housing analogy because I believe there is a similarity in college football. College football has been on an upward trend for many, many years. It seems there has been this relentless pursuit of more more, better better, bigger bigger, in terms of exposure, marketing, and dollars earned and dollars spent on and about the game. I have often thought, this trend can not go on forever. At some point it has to peak. AS those who believed home values could do nothing but go up in value, there are those who believe college football can only continue to grow. There belief is that there will be more teams on TV which will increase their revenue and support their programs. They believe more teams should be included in competing for the mythical National Championship and that we should go to a playoff system. They believe that as some teams become very successful, both on the field and financially, their success will trickle down to others. I’m sorry to say that trickle down economics is voodoo economics and that what is true in the financial world also holds true for college football.

I never thought house values would drop in value as they did, but they did, and I suffered the consequences of being heavily invested in real estate and being highly leveraged.

I also never thought I would give up my Michigan football season tickets, but I did. It was such that along the road of my journey that life had a major bump in the road, and I had to make different choices. My business that had been so successful for 30 years was no fighting for its life. Those six season tickets I had all of a sudden did not have the same value to me as they once did, and I gave them up.

It’s my belief that others are finally seeing the light as well. Especially the long time season ticket holders. In the last few years they have seen their price for tickets continue to escalate, the institution of a seat tax, the ban on bringing water and containers into the stadium. They have experienced the move by the administration to have seven home games, by adding some lesser opponent who will not demand a return visit by the Michigan team. The long term fan has continued to support THIER Michigan Football TEAM. As Bo had said many years ago, The Team, The Team, The Team, nothing comes before the Team. Many a fan held that same belief, and that the only way they would miss a home game was if they were dead, or on their death bed.

I had great respect and admiration for Bo, not simply as a football coach, but more for what he stood for and believed in. I have learned more about life, values, leadership, loyalty, perseverance, patience, friendship, commitment and working together for a common goal following Michigan football and listening to Bo every chance I could get, than the other areas of my life combined.

You see, football used to more than just football. It was a time where you could learn many valuable lessons of life. You learned that you had choices, and that you better think hard and long about the choice you were about to make. In Bo’s days, there was not the continued issues with player behavior that we have today. Back then, it seemed that you never discovered that a player had crossed the line and had faced the consequences of his choice. You would discover it often when you were reading through the Michigan program and discovered one of the players you were looking forward to seeing play this year was not longer on the roster. Bo had simply, freed up their future.

I know Dave Brandon played under Bo, but I believe there were some lessons that Bo taught that he somehow has either overlooked or forgotten. Sometimes we think we know more than what we really know. Sometimes we think our beliefs are the right beliefs, only to discover in time that they were simply beliefs, that you had held onto for much longer than you should have.

As I started my comment, wanted to list all the little things that have occurred over time to which I believe have contributed to the shift of the pendulum. I apologize for getting sidetracked and expressing my emotional connection to Michigan football and only a few reasons why the change of heart.

Until next time, Go Blue. I’m still a fan, just not the committed, dedicated, loyal fan I once was.

By: Bob Martel Bob Martel Fri, 13 Jun 2014 14:54:24 +0000 My solution is a bit simpler: ban the broadcast of all collegiate athletics on TV. Big money gone, problem solved.

By: Tom Whitaker Tom Whitaker Fri, 13 Jun 2014 13:46:08 +0000 I miss local food vendors and marriage proposals towed behind airplanes.