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M Man


Member since 30 August 2010 | Blog

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Comment 41 minutes ago

Andy, I think the exact same speech could be given, with the exact same conviction, to an Ohio State football team.  (Edit. - Bo says "Michigan" twice in the last few seconds of the clip.  Without that, it could be delivered word-for-word in Columbus.)

I don't know how many former OSU players who also played in the NFL you've spoken to, Andy; I know several such players out of Michigan.  And to a man, they say that they never had so much fun as when they played football in Ann Arbor.  Not in high school (where they were basically all H.S. all-stars and all-state selections); and not in the NFL, or MLB.  The NFL, they all say, was just work.  And often times extremely unpleasant.  Nothing, for them, came close to the experience of college football.  

My guess is that there is a lot of the same feeling in Columbus.  I think players coming out of Oklahoma think the same way.  And USC; and probably Notre Dame and perhaps a whole lot of places.  I know it is true for Michigan.  Bo had it right, and it has always been interesting to hear somebody verbalize it.  I can actually picture Woody Hayes giving the same speech, and I'd have liked to have heard it, because coming from Woody it would be damn good.

Comment 3 hours ago

Michigan:  That photo's a Notre Dame game.  When all our hopes still spring eternal in the second week of the season.  And it is photoshopped.  Proof: the block M on the back of the south endzone scoreboard is not back-lit in real life.  There's no way that that photo could appear that way with the block M so bright.  If Given that they photoshopped that, who knows what else they might have done?  As a matter of fact, the spot in the northwest corner of the Stadium, first 20 rows or so, is where the band sits and those seats are all "Maized" over.  Not Michigan band uniforms; it is practically strobing.  Five fakes out of five.

Penn State:  What marketing genius thought of "Prison Stencil" as a font for the cover art?

OSU:  It's a pretty good cover.  Best runner-up.  But I've seen about 50 better graphic designs on 11W.

MSU:  Props; I agree that it's the best one.

Indiana:  This was their second-choice cover photo:

Comment 3 hours ago

Yep; you're right as usual.  2013 was better graphically (the players on the cover are all of the "Legends" number-honorees):

2012 had a cleaner look too (but again with the bargain-basement font):
 
Comment 4 hours ago

Exactly what I was talking about.

"A lie will be halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on..."  ~ Mark Twain (att. Jonathan Swift and C.H. Spurgeon)

Comment 4 hours ago

They might, but that's not the big thing.  In the City of Ann Arbor, the ratio of Michigan football fans to Birkenstock-wearing lab technicians who have never seen a game is about 1:1.  I have slightly more interest in the number of Ann Arbor residents who have had their own misfortunes at the hands of local police and prosecutors. Remember it only takes a holdout or two to hang a criminal jury.

There is a phenomenon in jury trials, where parties or witnesses who are celebrities on television get inordinate deference from the members of the jury.

I observed a medical malpractice trial in Detroit some years ago.  The plaintiff's case was meritless, on the pure medical issues.  The case involved a local tv sportscaster (well known to everybody) who had a knee operation that went bad.  The plaintiff attorney had a medical expert, who was a quack, and the defense had a handful of experts who were all chiefs of their orthopedics sections at the best academic institutions in the nation.

In addition to the medical experts, the plaintiff attorney called as witnesses a handful of the sportscaster's friends -- a couple of Detroit Pistons, a former Detroit Tiger, and somebody from the Lions -- for the largely irrelevant point that since the surgery, the sportscaster no longer hung out with them late at night in bars and restaurants where he used to do a lot of his talking with them.  The jury loved them.  They gave the sportscaster a huge (for that time) verdict. 

Comment 4 hours ago

I've said this before, elsewhere, but I'll say it again and with the utmost respect.

We sort of know how this kind for thing gets handled without the Obama-era (Post-April 2011) Title IX rubric.  We know, because we saw how Wisconsin handled it, in 2006 and 2008.  Band members were punished.  Trips were curtailed.  Bus behavior was policed.  The entire band show was canceled on the occasion of their big night game in Camp Randall versus the Buckeyes.  But the director wasn't fired.  They could do all that, because UW didn't have to throw a human sacrifice to the gods of Title IX.  Wisconsin could use its own institutional judgment.

I'd have absolutely no problem with OSU handling this situation, as they see fit, on their own.  If that meant terminating Waters, so be it.  You haven't seen me using the blog to proclaim the beauty of ribald song lyrics and midnight marches in your underwear.  (That's what my tailgates are for, but I digress...)

OSU -- and I say this with all seriousness -- had to do something dramatic because I suspect they made a calculation that they had to do something dramatic for the sake of Title IX enforcers.  Waters was the sacrificial lamb.

Comment 4 hours ago

M Man, I think the problem with that is the counter-narrative that you'll receive will be just as accurate and true as the investigation and what we know to this point.

And does the report identify any victims?  Or does it declare that a particular culture is unacceptable?

I've framed that in what I think is a non-rhetorical way; such that we both might agree with the latter question.  OSU's Office of Compliance and Integrity declared a "culture" as unacceptable.  Based on the federal standards it has to comply with, in order to get its pot of federal money.  I expect a lot of the readership here will say, Yes that is exactly what is supposed to happen... Title IX is intended to rid institutions of higher education of certain cultures.

And that is precisely where this all gets social/political/philosophical.  Because I haven't seen any victims.

Comment 5 hours ago

The charges are all misdemeanors.  The chance of any jail time is just about zero.  Unfortunately, with the charges being all misdemeanors (first offense, no priors, etc.) the chance of a plea bargain in which three charges are reduced to one, is greater than if the charge were a felony.

As a misdemeanor, this gets tried in 15th District Court instead of Washtenaw County Circuit Court.  I am not in the 15th very much, so I don't know if the jury pool is strictly City of Ann Arbor or if it is all of Washtenaw County.  I think it is the former.  Just City of Ann Arbor.  And I have to think that's better for Lewan.  Not for the reason you think (home-fan football worship); but rather because the City of Ann Arbor features an interesting sort of jury pool.

The other thing is that this misdemeanor trial is not about (save for any "restitution") the alleged victim's damages.  And that's the other big thing; the million-dollar civil lawsuit coming Lewan's way.  (Boy, is Lewan lucky he didn't get drafted by the Browns or the Bengals!  Not a good time to be establishing Ohio domicile for any venue purposes!)  If Lewan pleads guilty in the criminal case, it is admissible in the civil case.  And Lewan might as well just write a check to the doofus from Columbus who was trashtalking his way down State Street, as take that case to trial.

So that fact encourages Lewan to go to trial.  The worst case scenario is a guilty verdict which would mean (at worst) about 21 days in the Washtenaw County Jail, a year of probation, costs, etc.  More likely is community service and probation.

Any time there is a bar fight with four or five guys who were all drunk, the chances of a criminal conviction of just one of them is pretty slim.  Surveillance video might do it, but the video in this case proves nothing.

I say the chances of a Lewan acquittal by the end of October are about 85%.

Comment 5 hours ago

And for all of the reasons you suggest, my very respectful suggestion is don't bother with a Change.org petition.

Instead, tell your story(ies) as members of the band.  Point out that matters were always consensual.  That there were no "assaults," and no "harassment."  Get women alumnae/members of the band involved in that.

I got yelled at in the original 400+ post thread by a band member who thought it unseemly that I had printed the Unofficial Songbook to take to my next tailgate.  Don't protest.  And don't yell at me (or the Dispatch).  Instead, tell your story.

I still haven't figured out if there is a single band-member complainant in all of this.  Is there a single woman or man who is actively complaining about being mistreated?  We've got the mother of one band member.  Check.  We've got the old case of an alleged sexual assault (a seemingly middle school-grade "assault") in which Waters personally intervened and suspended the purported offender and duly reported the matter to compliance.  Check.  What else?  What else is there supposed to be?

Again,  I can be (as a rival) a sarcastic and critical observer.  Or (as someone who staked his reputation on promising that he'd defend an OSU "defendant" as vigorously as he defended, for lack of any better shorthand, Brendan Gibbons) I can make the legalistic point that this is all Title IX politics.  Mostly, I have opted for the latter.  I do think this is all Title IX politics.  But "Title IX politics" and $2.85 will get Jon Waters a cup of coffee.*

What's needed is a counter-narrative, and I for one would be very happy to get it from someone with real experience like you.

*Edit.:  I re-read this.  On second thought, to the extent that "this is all Title IX politics," it might get Jon Waters more than a $2.85 cup of coffee.  It might get him a $2.85 million judgment. 

Comment 6 hours ago

They have released official weights/measures for the 2014 team roster.  (And they appear to have given Charles Woodson's #2 to senior CB Blake Countess.)

Anyway, our returning/upperclassman cornerbacks are running 170, 174, 180, 184 lbs.

Dymonte Thomas is 193.  Senior safety Jarrod Wilson is 205.

The freshman Peppers is 202.  At probably a shade under 6'0".  (Roster says he is 6'1", which absolutely nobody believes.)

Comment 7 hours ago

I'll wait for Jonathan Waters v. The Board of Trustees of the Ohio State University.

Comment 7 hours ago

You forgot "Kick return."  And "Punt return."  I think that covers it.

Seriously, this is a bit of thing.  For reasons that I don't understand, Brady Hoke has a thing about Freshmen on special teams.  He loves to put the Frosh out with those teams.  Michigan's main kick returner has been Dennis Norfleet, who might finally land more of a role on offense after they had him dabbling as a defensive back(?!) in the days of a depleted secondary.  Michigan rolled in about four different punt returners last year (Drew Dileo was my personal favorite), but none of them had a breakout game there.

Here's my one and only reckless Jabrill Peppers claim: he will get his first big exposure as a return man.

Comment 8 hours ago

Well we usually just tossed a football and joked around with the launch codes for NORAD's nuclear weapons.  But we never had a book with lyrics for that.

Srsly; I don't get where you are coming from on this.  If you are defending Jon Peters from a politicized Title IX attack, you should know that few people on this blog have been more vocal than I, on that very same point.  If on the other hand you are suggesting that "sexual harassment" matters must never be joked about, then you might wanna start with The Ohio State University Marching Band.  (Of which I gather you are a member, or an alum.)  Or are you someplace in between those polar viewpoints?

I am not so sure but that the Michigan Marching Band (which is by no means innocent in such matters, from what I hear) might have a bit of fun with TBDBITL in an upcoming halftime show.  (I'm thinking of something along the lines of an OSU band figure dressed in a snappy black band uniform, scarlet beret and spats, with a nice white brassiere replacing the white flying cross straps of the standard OSU band uniform.  I'm surprised that image hasn't appeared as a Photoshop job already.)  The biggest reason that Michigan wouldn't do such a thing is that Ann Arbor is even more exquisitely sensitive to federal Title IX dictates than is Columbus.  Like the old lesbian joke:  "Q.  How many lesbians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?  A.  That's not funny." 

Now; to be actually serious with you (as opposed to "srsly")...  Are you saying that this entire matter should never have been exposed to the public because the public cannot understand the special bond, forged through work, discipline and bonding that is unique to the marching band?  That context is essential for any understanding of this story, and context has been lacking from the flyover media accounts?  I for one would like to read such a first-hand account in a lengthy column.  You should write it!  Be sure to make the point about what a blunt instrument Title IX is, if you take on that task.  

You say you "will not try to explain it to" me.  What you should understand is that you could not ask for a better audience, than me.  You're not living in the real world if you think that rivals won't use this against you for fun and profit.  (What else can they do, as rivals?  This isn't health science, or national security, or international finance.  Rivals do rival-stuff to each other.  For fun.  And profit.)  But I am the guy who said that I'd defend anybody at OSU who got caught up in the new Title IX dragnet after what happened to Brendan Gibbons at Michigan.  And now I am making good on that promise; probably at my personal cost of several hundred helmet stickers, judging by the reaction.

Comment 27 Jul 2014

I think these are some excellent points.  +1.

But... Stanford.  (You might rightly say that Stanford, despite its recent Andrew Luck tradition, doesn't qualify as a 3-vertical beast offense.  Okay.  What I hope is that a fifth-year Devin Gardner, with targets like Funchess, Darboh, Canteen, Chesson, and -- by October -- Butt, might come close to the vertical-competence you require.)

Comment 27 Jul 2014

I wish I could think of a reason to predict Spartan failures this year.  I can't.  Does anybody now want to argue that the strength of the rightly-vaunted Spartan defense is not named "Gholston," or "Bullough," or "Darqueze," or "Calhoun"?  The strength of the Spartan defense is the craziest and hardest-working motherfucker on the team; "Narduzzi."  And "Narduzzi" is returning as an eighth-year senior.

It's interesting; this preview didn't mention one of the quiet underperformers on the MSU offense who could be scary-good; WR Aaron Burbridge.  When he was recruited by MSU out of its feeder-school Farmington Hills Harrison, he was the regarded as the biggest football talent in the state (albeit under a cloud of academic concerns which may have made Michigan a non-player in his recruitment).  Michigan did get Burbridge's teammates Devin Funchess and Mario Ojemudia.  (What a h.s. team!)

Comment 27 Jul 2014

You do realize Michigan offered him, right?

Oh absolutely.  Michigan fans would have been pretty thrilled to get him.  But it's not like we've lost all control and hope at Cass Tech.  Thomas Wilcher is still the Head Coach.  It will really be big news for recruiting when Wilcher retires.

The Detroit PSL is changing, shrinking.  They are losing whole high schools, not just students.  And so Cass Tech is becoming a kind of super-magnet school (it always was an academic/music magnet school, but pre-Wilcher, it didn't have much of a football reputation).  Cass Tech's non-athlete students actually enjoy privileged status compared to other Detroit high schools as their applications to Michigan (the prestige choice for most of them) are considered.

But back to football; our 2015 class is going to be real small; it is more than half-filled, and Alabi's is not a particular position of need.  While (as you say) we offered him, most of us really expected he'd go to The Michigan State University and not The Ohio State University.

You didn't question me about one thing I expected to be provocative -- namely, why would I rather have a top recruit go to our rival OSU instead of our other rival MSU?

Comment 26 Jul 2014

You're mad at me?!?

I didn't print the thing and make it Exhibit B; OSU's Office of University Compliance and Integrity did that.  I didn't put the .pdf online; the Dispatch did that.  It's no secret anymore, and I had not one thing to do with making it public.

And nobody but nobody has been more critical of the whole Title IX Star Chamber mechanism than I have.

So now that the whole thing can be found online at www.Dispatch.com , you're mad at me for having fun with it? 

In case you're angry at the content, remember I didn't write any of the lyrics; generations of the OSU band did and some of them are rather clever.  My friends are going to wear out the pages of Big Ten fight song replacement lyrics.  Just the thing for a laugh with cocktails outside our Stadium or (guaranteed) yours.

Comment 26 Jul 2014

Chip, I'm not big on any comparison of the Gibbons situation to the OSU marching band situation.  Gibbons was simply the context in which I warned that Title IX issues would soon find their way to Columbus.  Not because you guys were bad; but because Title IX is going to overrun higher education everywhere.

I was right, it turns out.  Right with a capital R.

And I never defended Gibbons per se.  What I said is that I could not be certain about what happened.  Neither I, nor any of the online cfb fans calling Gibbons a "rapist" could know.  What I said is that nobody had any business presuming that there had been a sexual assault when the prosecutors declined to even take the case after a completed investigation by the police.  And I said that the ONLY reason that Gibbons' case was revisited as a "student conflict resolution" matter within the University of Michigan, was because of the politicization of Title IX since April of 2011.  I am thoroughly correct about ALL of that.  It is the officially-stated position of the University of Michigan; they changed everything in response to the "Dear Colleague" letter.  And now, by the unambiguous terms of the OSU band investigation, they are operating under the new Title IX dictates.  The investigation report says so.