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M Man


Member since 30 August 2010 | Blog

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Comment 3 hours ago

So I see from that photo they are engaged in hazing at the University of Reno too.

Disturbing, to say the least.

Comment 17 hours ago

No; with all due respect, I discussed much of this at greater length in some of the threads arising around the time of the publication of the leaked letter concerning Brendan Gibbons' expulsion at Michigan.

The basic outline is this:

  • In April of 2011, Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights Russlyn Ali (a White House appointee; an extension of White House political policy and not a career Ed. Dept. lawyer) signed off on the "Dear Colleague" letter that was promptly published at White House.gov; Vice Persident Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan immediately went about the business of throwing White House weight behind it. 
  • The letter sent shockwaves through higher education; it was taken (correctly) as a stern warning that institutions faced a real and present danger of the loss of federal education dollars (hundreds of millions) if they did not promptly adopt new sexual harassment reporting and enforcement policies in accord with the letter.
  • I'd like to point you to a number of scathing conservative commentaries on the policy change.  I'll refrain from that.  Instead, here's the progressive Chronicle of Higher Education on the subject.
  • If you've read the OSU Marching Band investigative report, you'll know that the report specifically cited the "Dear Colleague" letter as a basis for new enforcement scrutiny (p. 14, as I have mentioned below in another comment).
  • It is the Title IX pressure that is so meaningful in these cases.  The Ohio State University might easily have done what Wisconsin did in 2008; issue a band-wide punishment, demand an accounting and better management from the director, and move on.  But now, OSU isn't just trying to do the right thing in its own judgment; it is operating under a threat of a withdrawal of all manner of federal funding and support from the Department of Education.  It is not such a stretch, to think that OSU made its own calculation this week; fire Jon Waters (and pay him a large financial settlement) or risk a much greater loss in sanctions from the feds with lost federal dollars, and a terrible public relations war with the Department of Justice.  
  • I am not imagining any "top secret conspiracy" at all.  The Obama Administration has been open about this political initiative.  They very happily "own" it.  Doubtless, they regard it as good electoral politics.  They are even rather open about the origins of the policy -- publicized cases involving collegiate athletes in particular -- beginning with the Missouri football scandal, and continuing to the present where the Department of Justice went out of its (probably unprecedented) way to list 50 or more suspect institutions, including Michigan and Ohio State.
Comment 25 Jul 2014

Scott, this stuff is mentioned, explicitly, in the 23-page report published by the Dispatch!  Did you read the report?

Here's a quote (I could pick out any of about 10 or 20 different paragraphs; I have selected the one that cites the exact same letter I referenced two posts above.):

More recently, OCR’s April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter states that: “Title IX also prohibits 
gender-based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, 
intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct 
of a sexual nature.” 

Page 14 of the report.

Comment 24 Jul 2014

Nothing else matters in this story.  Nothing.  This story begins and ends with the new initiatives following Assistant Secretary Russlyn Ali's "Dear Colleague" letter in 2011.  It is surely the reason why this investigation was undertaken, when it was undertaken, and why Jon Waters had to be martyred to the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.

I looked for a place to put my comment, and nobody had advanced this angle.  So I did.  And I wanted it to be loud.  This whole discussion needs to take place under the overhang of the Obama Administration's working of Title IX.

And actually, I probably shouldn't say that "nothing else matters" in terms of thread comments.  I like very much the input from former band members.  What they say means a good bit to me, although none of it is dispositive under Title IX or the Clery Act.

Comment 24 Jul 2014

You can leave Gibbons out of it for all I care.  It just happened to be the context in which I declared that OSU's date to wrassle with Title IX demons would be coming, soon.

Do you remember what I wrote about all of that?  It was so non-trolling, I can hardly stand it.  I am all over this freaking blog, declaring that I think Urban Meyer is an exemplary disciplinarian.  That OSU game days are the best in the conference.  That TBDBITL is basically just that.  When I predicted a coming Title IX scandal at OSU, I said (usually in the same sentence) that it absolutely won't be because of any deficiency in Urban Meyer's football program or Gene Smith's athletic administration.  It will be because of the unreal pressure coming from Washington.

Don't you think this is all sort of freaky?  A Michigan booster; a member of the Victors' Club; standing up for the OSU Director of Bands?  Trying to defend your program from the shockingly transparent interference from Washington?

I could not have hoped for a better case study.  I am not kidding.  We don't have a sobbing coed claiming rape in a police station at 3am and a star athlete preparing to play in a playoff game, with two wildly different he-said-she-said stories that no one can sort out, to muddy up the picture. No; what we have is a clinically pure recitation of p.c. academic bureau-speak; mentioning Title IX in every fourth paragraph. 

Comment 24 Jul 2014

If you read through this thread, carefully, you'd see a deep division between some fans who are all okay with firing Jon, and others who think it is bullshit.

Reading further on down, you'd see my earlier response to Kyle Rowland, in which I suggested that the exact same division would be seen among Michigan fans if the locale of this story was changed to Ann Arbor.

I'll be interested in a FOIA on the terms of any severance payment to Jon Waters (I'd like it best if he were not discharged; but as it appears pretty clearly that he's being forced out in the name of Title IX, without any apparent real wrongdoing on his part, I expect OSU will pay Waters a shitload of money.  I sort of hope so, and that OSU boosters thereafter remember why such tribute needed to be paid in tribute to Title IX.) 

Comment 24 Jul 2014

T-i-t-l-e  IX.

This has "Title IX" written all over it.

Me, back in April.  On ElevenWarriors:

As I have said every single time this topic has arisen on 11W; this isn't a Michigan problem.  It is a national problem.  My one and only prediction is that it is merely a matter of time before a Gibbons-type matter occurs in Columbus.  Not because Urban Meyer is a lax disciplinarian (I will argue that he isn't) or any other low-level sportsfan trashtalk.  The Ohio State university has a very large athletic department, with a lot of student-athletes.  That's it.  Numbers, and time.  That is why I say it is going to happen in Columbus.

When it does, my philosophical/ideological position will be the same.  Such cases belong in court.  They should be investigated.  Not swept under any institutional rugs.  And they belong in courts of law.  Not university conference rooms.  And the federal government ought not to be making Title IX threats against universities based on individual cases.

This isn't strictly a Gibbons-type matter.  There's no alleged rape.  (Albeit, Gibbons has never been charged with rape, and it appears he never will be.  If there is to be a court that will revisit the Gibbons matter, the most likely venue would be a civil courtroom in which Gibbons sued the University of Michigan for denying his due process rights in expelling him.  One such case is pending right now, in the U.S. District Court in Detroit.)  This doesn't involve a star athlete.  Although I'd be among the first to suggest/agree that few institutions are more central to the ethos and image of The Ohio State University and football Saturdays in Ohio, than TBDBITL.

My one contention -- and I've already said on the Forum that I hate the circumstances of this story and I have the gravest concern that the punishment in this case is much too severe -- is that every institution like Michigan, like Ohio State, is going to be running into Title IX issues due to some of the most explicit and intense political pressure imaginable, coming from the current administration.

Title IX pressure is what this is all about, and I bet dollars to doughnuts that Ohio State would not be looking for a new director of bands without the recent politicization of Title IX.  I said it would happen in Columbus.  Now it has.

Comment 24 Jul 2014

Yeah, but that was pretty dreadful.  A hazing incident in which a band member was beaten, accidentally to his death, during a bus ride. 

At least one criminal guilty plea:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/29/us/florida-sentencing-in-band-hazing-death.html?_r=0

Comment 24 Jul 2014

Well, Wisconsin.

And somebody correct me if I am wrong; the Wisconsin band has been involved in repeated controversies (2006 and 2008, at least*) with alleged offenses at least as bad as what has been alleged with TBDBITL, with the same director but he was never dismissed.  Right?  He got a suspension in 2008.  Right?

http://deadspin.com/5058995/wisconsin-band-director-not-a-fan-of-sex-toys

I don't like this story and I don't like the harshness of the punishment.

*To my eternal satisfaction, both of Wisconsin's marching band orgies occurred on road trips to play Michigan.  Combine that record with the near-fatal stampede/tragedy at Camp Randall in 1993 and the history of Wisconsin freakouts in connection with Michigan is rich.  (The suspension of the band and the near death experience for dozens of students actually pales in comparison to the epic meltdown by the Badgers in their 2008 game in Ann Arbor.)

Comment 23 Jul 2014

B1G:

  1. Ohio State.  Best Fans, best game day atmosphere, best band.
  2. Michigan.  Best stadium, second best band, best tailgating for the 1% in the Blue Lot.
  3. Michigan State.  Most underrated tailgating in the B1G.  A very nice surround, to a mediocre (at best) stadium.
  4. Wisconsin.  Worst parking; best walk to a stadium anywhere.  Good fans, and a fun place to watch a game.
  5. Northwestern.  Second-worst parking.  But it's Evanston.  Michigan and Ohio State fans love Evanston; it's like a home game in a different stadium.
  6. Nebraska.  Okay, maybe Nebraska has the best fans and not OSU.  Everything is great about a Nebraska game.  Except you had to go to Nebraska to see it.
  7. Iowa.  What's not to like about Nile Kinnick?  It's a pity that Iowa can't be rated higher.  And that they can't win more Conference titles.
  8. Minnesota.  They sell beer.  The team plays on grass field turf (it only seems like grass because the place has a kind of a baseball feel to it), outdoors.  There's tasteful bricks and new bathrooms and some nice stuff.
  9. Indiana.  Hey it is pretty easy to get to Bloomington; and it's not like the IU students are going to fight you for tickets.  They've got a dazzling scoreboard, which is great for following all of the real games that mean something on a Saturday in the fall.  Going to Bloomington teaches you what a cute, pleasant town Bloomington is.  And that it is in the middle of bumfuk nowhere.
  10. Penn State.  I wish I could rate Penn State lower, but there is too much excitement that surrounds Penn State football because there is nothing else to live for in that part of football-rich Pennsylvania.  They repurposed plans from a Third Reich ball bearing factory for their stadium, which is an interesting fact that not many people know about.
  11. Illinois.  Illinois (and again this is not a well known fact) used the Third Reich's plans for an Olympic stadium, because they thought the ball bearing factory plans were too ugly.  They were right.  Now their only problem is Illini football.
  12. Purdue.  Is about at the halfway point when you are driving from Columbus to Chicago to see a Cubs game or a football game in Evanston.  In West Lafayette, you could go see the Boilermakers, play, or go see the Tippecanoe Battlefield historical site.  I found the battlefield site to be fascinating, and a very pretty drive.
  13. Maryland.  Is in Maryland.
  14. Rutgers.  Is in New Jersey.  Exit 129 on the New Jersey turnpike.
Comment 23 Jul 2014

If you don't mind my saying, the very best feature of Ohio Stadium is the Rotunda.  Nobody else has anything like it in the Conference.  You guys should make it a gleaming, sparkling centerpiece.  There's been a good effort so far.  The Block O stained-glass window is nice, and so are the photo-hanging things.  But it needs a good cleaning and sandblasting outside, and the inside should look less like a garage.

As I say, it is a magnificent edifice and the best part of the stadium (since the south end of the 'Shoe was enclosed); I just think it could be 1000% better.

My favorite picture of Ohio Stadium is not a photograph but rather the program cover from your dedication game in 1927:

Comment 23 Jul 2014

When we go to 9 conference games, there will be no "protected" cross-divisional rivalries at all, with the exceptional exception of Purdue-Indiana, because... oh hell, why not?  They don't have to keep score in that game if they don't want to.  They could play with a handicap system, or maybe just Stableford scoring, where really nice looking plays could earn points toward a final tally.  Nobody is worried about Purdue and Indiana upsetting any competitive balance.

But back to Bucky:  Just think how pissed you would be, as a long time Iowa/Wisconsin/Northwestern fan -- hell, any team in the B1G 'West' -- condemned to a future run of schedules where you'd be left to chance every four years on getting games (much less home games) against the marquee teams namely Michigan and Ohio State.

As for the B1G proudly proclaiming that they protected "10 of 13 rivalry trophy games"; yeah, they protected the Land Grant Trophy (PSU-MSU) but not the oldest and richest one of all, the Michigan-Minnesota Little Brown Jug.  Nor the Illibuck Trophy.

Comment 23 Jul 2014

I don't read Bowlsby as being so awfully "anti-NCAA."

It sounds to me like Bowlsby is saying, "the NCAA hasn't been doing enough of what we want it to do, what it needs to do, to maintain collegiate sports as we know it."

I've said it before, on these pages; all of the weird little incomprehensible NCAA rules about plane fares, dinner checks and bagel spreads are there for one reason only -- member institutions and their over-eager competitive administrators, coaches and boosters keep doing crazy shit to avoid the rules.  The NCAA keeps having to come up with new rules to maintain what we have all enjoyed.

I read Bowlsby's main message as precisely what he says; big changes are coming and if you like college football the way it is and the way it has been, you are probably not going to like the future.

I wish those words had come out of Dave Brandon's mouth (and Gene Smith's, preferably together in the same press conference) before Bowlsby had to say them.

Bid kudos to Kyle Rowland as the author of this blog post, irrespective of any differences of interpretation.

Comment 23 Jul 2014

Everybody has at least one crap game on the schedule (usually more) and it will stay that way until there are actual requirements because: wins.

With all due respect, it really isn't "all about wins."  On second thought, it is "a little bit about wins."  The only "win" number that counts is six, and lots of schools like Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana and Purdue really want to be able to get to six wins and become bowl-eligible. 

But the way that "six wins" has manifested itself over the years, is the resistance to more conference games.  So 'Please,' they would say, 'Eight conference games is more than enough.  Could we make it seven?'  Not so much, 'We gotta schedule the local community college.'

Now the real problem for Ohio State and Michigan -- and every other program in their class -- is not clubbing repetitive wins against Baby Seal University.   That's not the point.  The point is actually the challenge of finding the best schools possible, with the prerequisite that they won't require a return date.  It's all about home games, not easy games.  Dave Brandon at Michigan regards it as a non-negotiable imperative; he has to produce at least seven home games in Michigan Stadium each and every year.  That means that Brandon has to produce 3 out of 4 non-conference games at home.  There are at least three teams Brandon has had to contract with, every season, in which he says, "Our deal is that you will come to Michigan Stadium; you will come once, or twice, or three times.  And we will never make a return visit to your place.  The money you will get from us will be $X,XXX,XXX,XXX.  Sign here."  

It is hard to get teams to agree to that.  We can usually get the military academies to do it.  On rare occasions, we can get a Colorado, a Cincinnati, or a Hawaii to do it.  We had to agree to go to Utah, and Connecticut, to get them to play in Michigan Stadium.  On weird occasions, we might get an Oregon State or a UNLV to come to Ann Arbor with no reply visit on our part.

But that's what it is all about, my friends.  Do not think for one minute that Gene Smith would hesitate at all, if he could sign up to play Alabama, LSU and South Carolina; if, that is, he could get them all to come to Columbus.  But he can't do that.  Gene Smith needs to produce seven home games just like Brandon does.

Comment 22 Jul 2014

Fair points made by you.

And yet in 2013, Michigan had the edge in pass defense (M-231.3 yards, OSU-268.0 yards) and overall defense (M-371.5, OSU-377.4).

The more that we look at the stats, the more we see that the two defenses were comparable.

Remember, that I didn't crawl out onto any limb claiming, "OSU defense sux!"  My point, in a thread about what to expect from Michigan this year, was that the Michigan defense is (and has been, and will be) on paper every bit as effective as the OSU defense.  And there is good reason to expect a statistical margin in favor of Michigan's defense this year, presuming nothing more than good health for both teams.  We missed Jake Ryan for much of the year, and the defensive line was badly hampered by injury.  It will be a better, older, healthier defense for Michigan this year; to a greater degree than will be the case in Columbus.  

Comment 22 Jul 2014

Do it.  Save it.  I don't expect OSU to have a bad defense.  You've got some real studs on that side of the ball.  Some game-changers.

But check this out.  And get back to me with what you think.

Michigan is returning more 2013 tacklers, to a defense that was statistically on a par with OSU last year. 

Comment 21 Jul 2014

*icigan hanging their defensive hopes on an incoming freshman screams about where they are as a team. 

W-w-w-w-w-ait just a minute.

I'm not hanging all my hopes on Peppers for a quality defense this year.  I pretty much guarantee that Michigan will have a good defense this year, with most starters returning.  Like we have had most of the time since Greg Mattison has been leading the defense.

I don't know about anybody else, but I expect that Jabrill Peppers will not be starting on defense when this year begins.  Years of being a college football fan have taught me how rare it is for freshmen to contribute meaningfully.  Sure, it happens.  We've had a few guys like Rick Leach, Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson who had some good freshman years.  So have the Buckeyes.  But it's rare.  Maurice Clarett was maybe the greatest freshman in Big Ten football history.  How many others have you had?  Did anybody expect it from Clarett in July of 2002?

Anyway, Michigan is going to have a very good defense this year, for eight or ten reasons that aren't named "Peppers."  Jake Ryan.  Frank Clark.  Blake Countess.  A healthy Ondre Pipkins.  An improved Raymon Taylor.  Terrific competition between RJS and JRIII.  A solid Desmond Morgan.

I expect a very much better year in terms of national overall defensive stats for Michigan, than Ohio State.

Comment 21 Jul 2014
  1. What you say is true; you'e right.
  2. It is, however, what you'd expect.  Your best handful of players in college ought to be upperclassmen.  Unless Rodriguez had been a terrible recruiter (and he wasn't).
  3. Hoke has done very well recruiting, I think.  On paper, the classes are good.  Needs are being filled.  And it seems to just about everybody that the kids are good quality people.  Some highlights for me; Ben Gedeon from Hudson.  Peppers, obviously, from New Jersey.  De'Veon Smith, who just might start and who was overlooked in his home state.  Drake Harris (winning a big in-state recruiting fight with Sparty, which we always have to do).  The Pickering duo of Jake Butt and Taco Charlton.  Getting Funchess out of Farmington Hills Harrison which had been a Sparty pipeline.
  4. This thing with Rodriguez-versus-Hoke in online forums...  Yep, it is reflective of the deep divisions at Michigan about Rodriguez still.  The die-hard Rodriguez supporters are harder to find, but they know that they were right, that Rich Rod was treated unfairly in Ann Arbor.  You don't have that in Columbus, for some reason.  Tressel can come back, and be lifted on the shoulders of current and former players.  And nobody is withholding any admiration for Urban Meyer.  There's a massive collective amnesia about his Florida tenure and beating the Buckeyes.  Rodriguez is widely -- and completely undeservedly -- hated around Michigan sports environs.  It colors everything still.  Michigan fandom remains a collection of clans, although it is fading with time.