The deepest crisis facing University of Michigan’s athletics program isn’t on the field, writes columnist John U. Bacon. Ballooning budgets, with revenue increases built on the backs of fans, are far more troubling. And this rapidly growing empire soon could be threatened by a perfect storm of a bad record, skyrocketing ticket prices, and next season’s horrible home schedule.
This fall, Grambling State was scheduled to play Jackson State in a largely meaningless football game. The date has been little noted, nor long remembered. According to sports columnist John U. Bacon, however, it might be the most important game of the season – because they didn’t play it.
Brady Hoke had a happy honeymoon for his first year as Michigan’s football coach, but the next two years have become increasingly difficult, columnist John U. Bacon writes – and it won’t get easier. Despite that, the solution shouldn’t be to let him go. If Michigan fires two consecutive coaches after three years, the place starts to look like a revolving door that no credible coaching candidate would even consider.
This week, Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland announced his retirement. He was an “old school” manager, relying more on his guts than a spreadsheet. His decisions irritated some fans, but not his results. Sports columnist John U. Bacon explains why.
On the eve of the 2013 Mud Bowl, John U. Bacon recalls watching last year’s event and likens it to the first America football game – glorified rugby, and an excellent outlet for excess testosterone. Much more than the over-hyped spectacles in college arenas, the Mud Bowl reminds all of us why football caught on in the first place.
Author John U. Bacon tackles the issue of the professionalism of college football and basketball – which benefits coaches and athletic departments, but not young athletes or fans. He looks at possible solutions, and suggests that creating minor leagues is the best way to give young athletes a choice – going pro or getting an honest education.
As NCAA officials reduced sanctions against the Penn State football program this week, columnist John U. Bacon praises the student-athletes who stayed to protect their storied program from disintegrating, by upholding the very values the NCAA itself could apparently no longer proclaim with a straight face.
The University of Michigan’s Sept. 14 win against the Akron Zips wasn’t pretty, but at least the Wolverines survived. Columnist John U. Bacon writes that the game evoked nightmares from humiliating loses against Appalachian State and Toledo – something that Michigan fans won’t soon forget.
Columnist John U. Bacon describes how his former baseball coach, Mack MacKenzie, changed his life almost overnight – by believing in him, and wanting him to succeed. Bacon writes that his own attraction to coaching and teaching stems from knowing how much difference it can make to have someone believe in you.
Longtime University of Michigan equipment manager Jon Falk announced this week he will retire after the football season. Falk has held the job for 40 years. But that won’t put an end to the litany of Falk Stories, according to columnist John U. Bacon – many of them revolving around his former boss, Bo Schembechler.