Michigan athletic director is facing an uphill battle when it comes to repairing his relationship with students that have been calling for his firing the last few weeks. In a detailed report on student grievances with the athletic department, Central Student Government President Bobby said “it is not clear whether Mr. Brandon’s relationship with the current student body is repairable.” That hasn’t stopped Brandon & company from trying. Thursday night they announced a series of concessions aimed at helping heal the divide.
According to Michigan’s official athletics site the following agreements between Central Student Government and the athletic department are effective immediately.
- Athletics will work to design a new plan for next season that will include a significant price decrease for football student season tickets. Athletics will announce student season-ticket prices for the 2015 football season next week.
- Rental fees for athletic facilities will be eliminated for student groups with a charitable focus.
- The department has committed to work with the Big Ten to create a blackout weekend where Crisler Center will be available for MUSIC Matters in 2016.
- Monthly meetings with students will be held with Athletic Director Dave Brandon to address topics relating to all 31 teams and Michigan Athletics.
- Dishell and Brandon will have regular standing meetings.
- The athletic department will create a student advisory board comprised of student-athletes, non-athletes, season-ticket holders and non-ticket holders.
The policy changes appear to have served as an olive branch of sorts to the students.
"It has been great working with our Athletic Director and his department to come to these agreements," said Dishell. "This is a huge step forward for students and our relationship with our Athletic Department. We look forward to continuing to work together to create the optimal environment for all Michigan students."
"Often times, negativity is louder than positivity; however, it is important to realize that Bobby, myself and other student leaders on campus have worked hard to establish effective lines of communication that aim to enhance Michigan tradition today and into the future," said Cooper Charlton, President of U-M's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) that is representative of all 931 student-athletes. "The newly created opportunity for open dialogue creates a framework to hold our athletic department and students accountable, thus fostering a relationship built on trust. Together, we will create sustainable long-term relationships that forge a unified Michigan family."
Brandon’s future in his current post wasn’t given any clarity by University President Mark Schlissel in his address during a meeting of the Board of Regents Thursday, but his desire to improve the department’s relationship with the students was. How much the new rapport will help Brandon’s job status remains to be seen. In the meantime the former Domino’s Pizza CEO is operating as if he plans to be around for the long haul.
"Michigan Athletics looks forward to forging a strong relationship with Central Student Government," said Brandon. "This is an important relationship for us, one that we need to repair, and one that will provide mutual support among all students. We have worked closely with CSG over the past year, and this will continue to strengthen our very important work with the student community."
Related Stories:U-M President Hears Calls for Change
Are Michigan Regents Taking Aim at the A.D.?
Students “Let Up” on Kickoff Boycott
Student Protest Ratcheting Up a Notch
Are These Humbling Times for Michigan’s AD? ”
Michigan AD Says Hoke “Not Accountable”
Tides of Frustration Raging in Ann Arbor
Brandon: Morris Has Probable, Mild Concussion
SAAC Speaks up for Brandon
U-M President Offers Latest Apology
Michigan Students Protest Athletic Department