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Michigan Athletic Director, David Brandon.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan Board of Regents is meeting today at 3 p.m. in Flint.

It's a safe bet that one of the big issues on their agenda is the future of Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says it's "90% clear where this is going to be headed."

Brandon and U-M Coach Brady Hoke came under fire when sophomore quarterback Shane Morris was allowed to play after he was injured in last month's game against Minnesota.

Morris was later diagnosed with a concussion. 

Bacon says the regents will have influence over a decision on Brandon, but it's U of M President Mark Schlissel who will have the final say. 

Schlissel turned up at football practice a week ago; Bacon says that rarely happens. It shows the issue is on the president's radar, and Schlissel is known for his emphasis on student experience – including the experience of student athletes.

It was a cold, wet night at the Spartan Stadium last Saturday.
User: Michigan State Spartans / facebook

If you've forked over money for a ticket to a football game, do you have a responsibility to stay there until the end of the game? 

If you are a student, sitting in the student section at a Michigan State Football game, the answer seems to be yes, you do.

Coach Mark Dantonio and Spartan Athletic Director Mark Hollis have been very clear: They were disappointed in seeing so many fans leave early last Saturday night against Nebraska.

There were nearly 76,000 in the crowd at the start of the game, and there were plenty of empty seats by the end, when MSU nearly lost the game. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s another post season disappointment for the Detroit Tigers.

The fall air seemed to chill the Tigers' bats Sunday and a late rally in the ninth inning just wasn’t enough.

Baltimore’s Nelson Cruz sliced a two-run homer for his latest big postseason hit, and the Baltimore Orioles swept aside Detroit's Cy Young Award winners to hold off the Tigers 2-1 Sunday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the University of Michigan is taking precautions to avoid a repeat of the mistakes that allowed a Wolverine football player with a concussion to re-enter a game last week.

U of M plans to have more eyes on the field during this weekend’s football game against Rutgers.

Last week, quarterback Shane Morris suffered a concussion late in the game against Minnesota. But while the television audience saw the hit that left Morris dazed, none of U of M's coaches or medical staff saw it or took action.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

University of Michigan students are demanding top athletic department officials be fired, in the wake of the football program’s concussion controversy.

Hundreds of U of M students chanted “Fire Brandon” during a rally on the Ann Arbor campus tonight.   Brandon is Dave Brandon, U of M’s athletic director.

The students are upset about many things, from the latest concussion controversy to the cost of tickets. Many students are also dissatisfied with the Wolverine football program’s disappointing season. 

Pascrell office

The University of Michigan’s concussion controversy has reached the halls of Congress.

A New Jersey congressman wants the Big Ten conference to investigate the University of Michigan’s compliance with its own head injury protocols.

The university is under fire for allowing a player return to the field during a football game Saturday after he suffered a mild concussion. Quarterback Shane Morris appeared to be dazed after a hard hit in the second half of the game against Minnesota. 

Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A sports story out of Ann Arbor making headlines around the world.

Wolverine quarterback Shane Morris took a fierce blow to his head in Saturday's game with University of Minnesota.

He wobbled off the field, only to be sent back in.

That decision has ignited a firestorm of controversy.

Coach Brady Hoke stood firm at a regularly scheduled press conference yesterday. "We would never, ever, if we thought a guy had a concussion, keep him in the game. And we never have," Hoke said.

But then Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon released at 15-paragraph statement at 1 a.m. today. Brandon said, yes, Morris did suffer a concussion, as well as a high ankle sprain.

Sports reporters across the country are calling this a disaster on many levels, including Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon:

"Either they have no idea what the other guy is doing, or somebody is lying. Whenever you have a crisis, it always boils down to either the guy is incompetent, or he is corrupt. This time they are picking incompetent."

Bacon believes the question now is really when Hoke and Brandon will be gone.

"I can't imagine a scenario where these guys keep their jobs," says Bacon.

Late this afternoon, U of M President Mark Schlissel issued this statement:

As the leader of our university community, I want to express my extreme disappointment in the events surrounding the handling of an on-field injury to one of our football players, Shane Morris. The health and safety of our entire student community, including all of our student-athletes, is my most important responsibility as university president.

I have been in regular discussion regarding this incident and its aftermath with Athletic Director David Brandon and the Board of Regents. I support the immediate protocol changes that the department’s initial assessment has identified. I have instructed the Athletic Department to provide me, the Board of Regents, and other campus leaders with a thorough review of our in-game player safety procedures, particularly those involving head injuries, and will involve experts from the University of Michigan Health System in assessing its medical aspects. 

Despite having one of the finest levels of team medical expertise in the country, our system failed on Saturday. We did not get this right and for this I apologize to Shane, his family, his teammates, and the entire Michigan family.  It is a critical lesson to us about how vigilant and disciplined we must always be to ensure student-athlete safety. As president, I will take all necessary steps to make sure that occurs and to enforce the necessary accountability for our success in this regard.

Our communications going forward will be direct, transparent and timely. The University of Michigan stands for the highest level of excellence in everything we do, on and off the field.  That standard will guide my review of this situation and all the University’s future actions. 

 

 

* Listen to the full conversation with John U. Bacon above.

Michigan Athletic Director, David Brandon.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

University of Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon says the university will make changes to ensure student-athlete safety.

This comes after U of M confirmed overnight that quarterback Shane Morris did play after suffering a mild concussion in Saturday’s game against Minnesota.

Here’s how Morris appeared after the hit:

Brandon issued a statement blaming  “a serious lack of communication” for allowing Morris to return to the game. He says the communication problem involved the team’s medical staff and coaches.

Brandon released the details of the communication breakdown in his statement:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke is on the defensive against allegations he continued to field a player who may have suffered a concussion during Saturday’s game against Minnesota.

A typical student's view inside the Big House.
Andrew Horne / wikimedia commons

When Michigan set out to hire a new athletic director in 2009, it considered three Division I athletic directors who all had close ties to Michigan.  But there was a fourth candidate who seemed to have the inside track.

If there was one thing Domino’s Pizza CEO Dave Brandon could handle, it was public relations.  And if there was one thing Michigan needed, that was it.  Brandon immediately impressed everyone, including me, with his performance in high-pressure press conferences. 

The stands are thinning out.
User: larrysphatpage / Flickr

 

John U. Bacon joined Stateside to talk about University of Michigan football and head coach Brady Hoke. 

Bacon says it hasn't been much fun for the Wolverines on the field, with eight losses out of the last 12 games. However, Bacon adds it has been even less fun off the field, with the stands increasingly empty.

"What I'm seeing in Michigan fans is they are upset that they are not upset, that they are alarmed by their lack of alarm. What I'm seeing now is something I haven't seen before – that is indifference," says Bacon.

* Listen to our conversation with John U. Bacon above.

 

Pure Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has proclaimed the week beginning Saturday as Trails Week in Michigan to celebrate the state's more than 12,000 miles of trails and waterways.

The state Department of Natural Resources is teaming with local communities and organizations to host related events and volunteer opportunities.

The observance ends Sept. 27, when Recreation Passports and vehicle entry fees will be waived at state parks and recreation areas to honor National Public Lands Day, the nation's largest volunteer cleanup day.

University of Michigan football game
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

In 1895, the presidents of seven Midwestern universities met at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago to form what we now call the Big Ten. They created the world’s first school-based sports organization, predating even the NCAA. 

Soon the rest of the country’s colleges and high schools followed suit, forming their own leagues based on the Big Ten model. 

J.D. Martinez crushed a two-run blast in Saturday's victory over the Indians.
User: Detroit Tigers / facebook

 

The waning weeks of the regular baseball season have turned into a real roller-coaster ride for the Tigers and their fans.

The Tigers got clobbered by the Twins last night, losing 8-4. And Kansas City won, so that American League Central Division lead is down to just a half game over the Royals. Now the Tigers head to Kansas City for three games that could be the most important series of the season.

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon says as of now, the Tigers' chance to make it into the playoffs is 91%, according to ESPN. 

There are 10 games still ahead of the team.

* Listen to the interview with John U. Bacon above.

User: Michigan Women's Track and Field / facebook

Wolverine fans, here's a question for you: What is the best team on campus?

Take the spotlight off football and basketball for a minute, and shine it on the Wolverine team that is ranked No.1 in the nation. According to the NCAA, it's the Michigan Women's Cross-Country team.

Brook Handler of Rochester Hills is the team's captain. She says they train hard everyday and cheer each other on during races. 

"Everyone really really wants to get to that top spot, and the drive that this team has is tenfold what it was a few years ago," says Handler.

* Listen to our conversation with Brook Handler above.

University of Michigan football game
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The  football teams of the University of Michigan and the University of Texas have agreed – in principle – to play each other.

In 2024. So don't hold your breath.

U of M has racked up the highest number of total victories; Texas, the third highest.

From the Michigan press release:

The Wolverines will host the Longhorns at Michigan Stadium on Aug. 31, 2024. The return trip by Michigan to Austin will take place on Sept. 4, 2027.

Covering the planned Red Wings arena construction
User: WXYZ-TV Detroit / YouTube

Two months ago, the Ilitch family's Olympia Development of Michigan announced plans for a new sports and entertainment district to be built on largely vacant land between downtown and midtown Detroit.

The center piece of the development would be a new home for the Detroit Red Wings.

Tomorrow night, the public will get its first look at the details of the new $450 million venue as Olympia officials present the plans at a meeting of the Detroit City Planning Commission.

David Uberti from the Detroit area recently wrote a piece for the Columbia Journalism Review as its Delacorte fellow. He looks at the way reporters cover new stadium constructions not just in Detroit, but across the country. 

And he notes a distinct "cheerlead first, ask questions later" approach.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Backers of a plan to bring pro-baseball to downtown Jackson may make their pitch official this week.

The group behind the ballpark plan isn’t saying much just yet. But they do have a website.

It says the group is conducting a market study. They’re trying to gauge potential public support for the plan which would include a privately financed stadium and possibly a crowd-source funded team of players.

There are about a half dozen minor league and independent baseball teams in Michigan:

Brady Hoke.
User MGoBlog / Flickr

 

After the University of Michigan's football blowout loss to Notre Dame last Saturday, there's some talk about Michigan head coach Brady Hoke and his job security. 

John U. Bacon is Michigan Radio's sports commentator. He says Michigan hasn't proven to be tough facing road games.

"This team under Hoke is 0-12 on the road against ranked teams. In other word, whenever they play anybody good on the road, they lose, every single time, " says Bacon.

Bacon says Hoke was brought to Michigan with high hopes. Hoke's goal every year is to win Big Ten title, which Michigan failed to achieve during the past three years of his term.

"This year, if it's not make or break for Hoke, it sure is close," says Bacon.

* Listen to our conversation with Bacon above.

Creighton Miller carrying the football for Notre Dame against the 1943 Michigan team. Bob Rennebohm of Michigan (wearing jersey #88) is also pictured.
1944 Michiganensian

Michigan and Notre Dame have the longest running duel among major college powers, and one of the best. But that seems to be coming to an end this Saturday – and with a twist: For the first time, it’s Notre Dame that’s backing out.

The rivalry between Michigan and Notre Dame goes back to 1887, when a band of boys from Michigan took a train to South Bend and literally taught their counterparts how to play the game.  

Michigan State football
User: spartanjoe / Flickr

It's a big football weekend for Michigan State University. The No. 7  Spartans head to Oregon to play the No. 3 Ducks on Saturday.

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon says this one sure is grabbing lots of national attention.

“Many consider this the best non-conference matchup of the entire season, which is saying a lot, and the Spartans haven’t met one of those in quite a while,” says Bacon.

This weekend, Bacon says he’ll mainly watch to see if Michigan state’s defense can stop Oregon’s offense.“(Oregon’s) quarterback is a Heisman Trophy candidate, and if they can stop him, that’s a whole different game,” says Bacon.*Listen to the interview with John U. Bacon above.

The 2007 Michigan - Appalachian State game.
user Derrick S. / Flickr

Well, it goes back to 2007, the year the NCAA allowed schools to add a 12th regular season game, for no reason but revenue.

Yes, another shameless money grab on the backs, knees, and skulls of amateur athletes. 

To find an extra opponent, Michigan had to scramble.

When a Division I-AA team called Appalachian State agreed to come to Ann Arbor for a flat fee of $400,000, fans wondered why Michigan had scheduled a team from the second tier for the first time – and, where the heck is that place?

It turns out Appalachian State isn’t even a state.  (I looked it up.)    

Their fight song didn’t instill much fear, either: “Hi-Hi-yike-us.  No-body like us.  We are the Mountaineers!  Always a-winning.  Always a-grinning.  Always a-feeling fine.  You bet, hey.  Go Apps!”

“The Victors,” it was not.

Michigan Stadium.
UM Photography

Saturday brings the start of a new college football season. Michigan Radio’s sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Stateside to talk about what is in store for the teams.

Bacon discussed the re-match between Michigan Wolverines and Appalachian State, the pending Michigan State against Jacksonville State game, and the Big Ten.

*Listen to the full interview with John Bacon above. 

Derek Jeter in 2009.
Keith Allison / Flickr

The New York Yankees are in town, and the player who has been a Yankee longer than any other is being celebrated by opposing fans.

Derek Jeter plans to retire from the game at the end of this season, and during what could be his last visit to Comerica Park, Michigan has come out to celebrate the player who grew up in Kalamazoo.

With Jeter in town, there's a lot being written about Jeter.

But Jim Baumbach at Newsday wrote a piece in 2012 that gives us a look at Jeter's path from Kalamazoo to the New York Yankees.

Michigan Photography

When you think of a team of student athletes, the phrase "game face" comes to mind. When they face their opponents, they don’t blink. They are there to win.

Now, imagine being a part of that "suck-it-up" culture as the young athletes struggle with mental illness, with depression. 

Will Heininger knows how it felt like. As he played for the University of Michigan as a lineman, he was battling with severe depression.

Heininger says it was incredibly difficult dealing with the hopeless feelings, but he didn’t know what depression was at the time, because it wasn’t talked about when he was growing up.

“At first, I really tried to do the athlete thing: 'I'm tougher than this I'm gonna beat it, and just grind it out' ...and, of course, that made it way, way worse," says Heininger.

Real Madrid and Manchester United played in a Corazon Classic Match in 2012.
User: Never House / Flickr

This year, we’ve heard more about soccer than ever in the U.S. More than 26 million people in the U.S. watched the World Cup in Brazil. And we are just about to get hit with more soccer here in Michigan.

Two of the biggest teams in professional soccer are going to be playing at the football stadium at the University of Michigan. Manchester United and Real Madrid will be playing on Aug. 2 in Ann Arbor.

Andy Markovits joined us today. He teaches political science at the University of Michigan and has written widely about soccer.

Markovits believes this game will set an attendance record for a soccer match in the U.S.

“I’m expecting a packed stadium.”

Despite the fact that the two teams are playing for commercial reasons, Markovits said the event would give the University of Michigan “a global forum that is second to none.”

“These two different cultures, different languages meeting in one ground… I'm ecstatic to see it in my lifetime,” Markovits said.

* Listen to the interview with Andy Markovits above.

Fireworks.
user Colin K / Flickr

The University of Michigan’s athletic director sent a proposal to the University’s Regents, requesting permission to set off fireworks during two football games this fall. When the Regents turned down the request, it suggested the balance of power might be shifting. 

At first blush, the question of post-game fireworks didn’t seem like a big deal either way. On Michigan fan blogs, reactions were mixed.

As for the University’s Regents, they have bigger things to worry about. Even the athletic department’s budget which has grown by 50%, to $150 million dollars might seem like a lot to us, but that’s a rounding error at the University’s hospital.

So when the Regents voted down the fireworks for two games this season, it got people’s attention.

Wikimedia Commons

All summer we’ve been exploring different ways to enjoy our Michigan waters.

We’ve discovered great snorkeling, scuba diving, and even surfing. And now we can add SUP, Stand Up Paddling, to the list.

Brody Welte, a Michigan native, is based in San Diego and is the head of Paddlefit. He’s become a national leader in Stand-Up Paddling.

Wikimedia Commons

It's been 15 years since the Detroit Tigers played their final game at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull.

The old Tiger Stadium was torn down in 2009. Since then, no one's been able to agree on what to do with the 10-acre site until now.

The field will remain for youth sports, including high school and college baseball.  Along Cochrane Avenue, a new headquarters will be built for the Detroit Police Athletic League, who will maintain the playing field. The headquarters would extend from the street to roughly the old third base line and could cost almost $10 million.

Detroit Free Press business writer John Gallagher said this plan represents a merger of two conflicting visions – preserving the field for baseball - and developing it for new businesses and jobs.

“I think everybody gets a little something out of this,” Gallagher said.

*Listen to full interview above. 

Melanie Kruvelis

The World Cup is over. And even if you weren't rooting for Germany or Argentina, the game was really something to watch. (Germany won, for all the non-sports fans out there.)

In addition to the game itself, the fans are just as fun to watch.

They paint flags on their faces, and scream, and cry a lot. 

Those fans exist outside of Brazil, too. There's an intense support section for the Detroit City Football Club. The minor league soccer team is called Le Rouge, and is in its third season.

Before the game, a lot of fans and supporters go to a bar and rally the troops.

Then the "Northern Guard" march to the stadium. There are smoke bombs, drums, gas masks, megaphones, and a lot of rouge and gold. 

Throughout the entire game, there's chanting -- some of which could never air on public radio.

According to Alex Wright, one of the DCFC co-owners, about 2/3 of the team play for their college team during the school year. The home games at Cass Tech High School began selling out this season, and Friday's game sold out by record numbers. 

Wright said that he and the other co-owners wanted to create the team because they're committed to the city. Wright doesn't believe that soccer is going to save Detroit, but it's just a reason to feel good about what's going on in the city. 

DCFC's season is over now, but fans like "Big Vytau" plan to come back next year -- and probably for a few years after that.

*Listen to the full interview above

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