MSU's Hollis and U-M's Brandon Talk

Athletic directors Mark Hollis of Michigan State and Dave Brandon of Michigan spoke with the media during Tuesday's Big Ten AD Golf Challenge speaking on several subjects from working together for the better of the state and the recent sanctions against Penn State. The following is a transcript from this meeting with the media.

Mark Hollis Opening Statement:

"First of all the hospitality since we've been down here has been tremendous," said Hollis. "I think as you enter an event like this you ask why? Part of that are the competitive juices that run between Dave, myself, I think our fans and our institutions. The bigger reason is the collaboration that takes place off the competitive venues. It may surprise many that our presidents, our faculties, Dave and myself collaborate on a number of issues in order to make the state of Michigan, globally, our industry, all better activities. Events like this give us an opportunity to bring back some great student-athletes. I'm glad you put us off first so that we can just sit there and enjoy the rest of the day as folks are coming in but this is one of those events that wraps it's arms around college sports and all that's good about college sports and we appreciate keeping this thing going for year two and who knows how far this thing's going to go but we're looking forward to a great afternoon."

Dave Brandon Opening Statement:

"We want to welcome our friends from Michigan State," said Brandon. "We've been looking forward to this, my team has done a great job and we've had a lot of fun trying to activate year two of the AD golf challenge. We want to welcome MSU and I want to reiterate Mark's point of view from the standpoint that not only do we compete but we also work together and there's a lot of friendships that go back and forth. As we work through so many issues that we have a common purpose and a common goal and a lot of those center around the state of Michigan as it relates to the Spartans and the Wolverines. This is a way to bring it all together and I'm particularly excited about what's happened this year, we've changed the format a little bit and we have everything from former student-athletes to our coaches to our AD's, we've got members of our respective faculty who will be competing nose to nose today and we've got radio announcers so what we've done is try to kind of reach out and pick representatives from a variety of places throughout our two institutions, go play a fun round of golf and I think it'll be a great day.

On importance of representing the State of Michigan:

Mark Hollis

"I think this is the 311th anniversary of Detroit becoming a place and Cadillac founded Fort Pont train 311 years ago today," said Hollis. "When you look through things like that and you do your research you say why is that important? Well why that's important is the state of Michigan is an amazing place to live. Many of our students come from this state, many return to work in this state and both of us along with the governor, and many others are striving to put things in position for this state to thrive and improve everyday. That's an important mission and if there's anything, we both got contract extensions so over the next five plus years if the two of us can do anything that helps that cause I think that's going to be a positive. We both very much love our institutions and both very much respect the other institution but the passion that we have for the state of Michigan is intense and we want to see it thrive in the future."

Mark Hollis on Penn State sanctions:

"I don't think there's much more that can be said," said Hollis. "It was a serious, unprecedented and very tragic incident that the NCAA spent considerable time and made some announcements yesterday that we at Michigan State support and are behind and we're in a position now where we're moving forward and determining where that future may be. I'm not really going to speak a whole lot to it but I think at the same time you have to acknowledge those incidents, acknowledge what the NCAA did and again I'm very supportive of what came out of Indianapolis yesterday."

Dave Brandon on Penn State sanctions:

"I would just add that that was a process that was completely driven by the presidents as it should be," said Brandon. "The NCAA is a member institution, its' comprised of presidents that are representative of all the conferences and schools across the region and the country. I thought President Emmert did a great job yesterday of laying out the case for what they did, why they did it and the fact that Penn State embraced it and recognized and accepted it, to me doesn't close the chapter on this but it's a great step in the right direction."

Dave Brandon on sports being too "big" at times:

"I can't comment on Penn State, I never worked there and I haven't spent much time there but as it relates to the University of Michigan, athletics is really important but it's not the most important thing that happens on this campus," said Brandon. "We're a little not for profit auxiliary unit at Michigan, this is a six billion dollar institution with tens of thousands of faculty members and discoveries are being made everyday that change the world here. Yeah we play football, we play basketball, and we have rabid fans that really enjoy that. Fan, as I understand it, is a derivative of the word fanatic and we're pleased that we've got people that really love it and are passionate about what we do but if we ever get to the point where we think it's more important than the real important things that take place on a college campus, then we've lost our way."

Mark Hollis on sports being too "big" at times:

"You're never going to hear the two of us agree as much as we do today but I agree," said Hollis. "I think the thing's I could add to that is at Michigan State we strive to be a value to the bigger institution everyday and in everything that we do. Whether that be the student-athletes that we bring in, the opportunities that we provide for alums and fans to gather in unique and amazing ways both in East Lansing and across the nation and in some cases across the world. We have to keep that focus, we have to understand why we're there, the educational mission of the institution and allow for free communication to take place at all levels not just between athletics in the institution but within the organization to make sure that you can allow a free flow of communication on all issues and we believe that we have that environment, we always strive to get better and that's our case, value."

On a possible negative impact PSU gives to Big Ten:

Mark Hollis

"I think you have to be aware of your environment, aware of everything that's going on around you, not only in the Big Ten but on the national landscape," said Hollis. "But our true focus is what's happening in our case in East Lansing and what our teams doing, what our coaches are doing, what our student-athletes are doing and at the same time I always say be aware of it don't compare of other institutions that are out there. You want to be in touch with what's going on within the league, within the conference and nationally but our focus is right there in East Lansing. I think, what's the impact going to be, time will tell but the Big Ten is an extremely strong and resilient conference, it's been a national leader in so many ways and that will continue in the future."

Dave Brandon

"My view is, we compete in 29 sports at the University of Michigan and the majority of them are in the Big Ten conference and the competition is intense, the brand around the Big Ten conference or the brand that is the Big Ten conference is a strong brand with an incredible history," said Brandon. "Let's face it, there have been a couple of situations recently that have been a negative, there's no doubt about it but the bigger picture when you look at all of the student athletes and all the sports, all the programs out there, I still think there's a lot to be proud of. There's a lot of excitement and a lot of competition that lies ahead and that's what we're going to focus on."

On discussion of recruiting PSU players: Mark Hollis

"I can't speak for Dave but I'm in discussions with our coaches everyday almost every hour so we're in constant discussion about the direction we're going to take with our program," said Hollis.

Dave Brandon

"Yeah this is fresh and very new and I can tell you I spent a fare amount of time on the phone with our coach yesterday in the aftermath of the announcement and one thing I can tell you is we're never going to make public statements about our recruiting strategies or tactics," said Brandon. "I just think that this is a brand new set of circumstances that nobody has really dealt with in this kind of way and we're just trying to find our way through it." On competition between MSU and UM:

Mark Hollis

"I think we're two very different institutions that have two different opportunities and I think we both excel at what we're great at and Dave, I'm not going to say he's an older brother or a little brother but he's like a brother in kind of a strange sort of way," said Hollis. "I think we do push each other, complement each other and challenge but it's done with a great deal of respect from my standpoint. There are so many people that get into this business that come from what we call the outside world and have a very difficult time adapting to what college sports is all about because it is different than private business. Dave's done an unbelievable job of adapting to coaches, adapting to what student-athlete needs are and it's made it easy for me to continue a great relationship with people down in Ann Arbor. Not to say we don't want to win, we all want to win but I have the greatest respect for what he does here."

Dave Brandon

"The competition is on the playing field, the court, the pool and all of the things we do," said Brandon. "That's where the competition takes place. If we ever get to the point where the competition is between Mark and me then the world is upside down. We're going to prepare our kids to go out there and compete and represent their institution as well and we're going to nurture them and support them and root for their success but like Mark I have great respect for Michigan State. They make us better because we have this great in-state rivalry that's special for our kids, that's special for our coaches and that makes it special for us. I can tell you, we don't get to the point where we're bench marking against everything Michigan State does from a marketing or from an athletic administration perspective, that's not what we're about."

On competition being too fierce between rivals:

Dave Brandon "I don't worry about it being too fierce between the student-athletes cause they respect one another and they're in the arena together and they're going through it together and they know what it's about and if you notice, as hard fought as those contests are, afterwards they're going up and often times they're high school chums, they've competed against each other for years, they respect one another and they have positive relationships," said Brandon. "It's not as nasty as some would like to portray it, in fact, often times some best friends are competing against one another between Michigan and Michigan State. Where I worry about it is kind of the fans at the events, where sometimes people get so tied up in the rivalry and get so aggressive about it that sometimes they lose track of what really this should all be about and that's our job to try to make sure that we keep everybody kind of centered around the fact that these are 18 to 23 year old, young people who are trying their best and are under a lot of pressure. The more we can support them and be positive about the thing's that they're doing out there that are positive in their lives and in the lives of those around them are what college sports should be about."

Mark Hollis

"I think we're fortunate to sit in a room with Tom Osbourne who's been in some of the great rivalries of the past and he talks about how those rivalries existed between Nebraska and Oklahoma and others," said Hollis. "I think it's something that we all strive for, its competition at its greatest in the Big Ten when you can walk away at the end of those games with an understanding of the best team won, great respect and I think you're quietly seeing an evolution toward that in the Big Ten conference. Not just in this rivalry but in others that maybe haven't been so palatable in the past so it's important that we have that. We can't get into a situation where the outcome of games create an aftermath that's crazy and we've had our situations at Michigan State in the past and those are messages that we send extremely strong on our campus but again it's, the fan, you want that enthusiasm but you want to keep it tempered like you do with your kids and that's a little bit tougher to maintain in some situations."

***Also helping on this was Kyle Bogenschutz***

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