Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The unrest in Ann Arbor

So this is what it takes to get college kids to march on the president's house these days.

(OK, that was a cheap shot. An old-guy-standing-on-his-lawn-shaking-his-fist cheap shot. A back-in-our-day cheap shot. The Blob hereby apologizes. It did not get that right).

Which is, to reach the point in a maddeningly circuitous way, the theme song of all screwups these days. Roger Goodell screws up the Ray Rice thing, then vows to "get this right." The University of Michigan lets a quarterback stay in the game who can barely stand, and the school president, Mark Schlissel, acknowledges that "we did not get this right."

This in the wake of a 2,000-signature petition calling for athletic director Dave Brandon's ouster, and a protest march to the president's doorstep reiterating the same. Curiously, head football coach Brady Hoke apparently was not part of the outrage; maybe the perception is that Hoke is so far out the door already that calls for his head as well as Brandon's seemed unnecessary.

In any case, these are troubled times in the former kingdom of Bo -- who, ironically, is no doubt rolling his eyes up there next to Woody at the idea that there could be all this fuss because a kid took a little knock to the head.

But clearly Shane Morris took that clearly illegal shot to the head because he'd already been injured so badly on a previous play he could no longer protect himself. And Hoke's explanation that he wasn't aware of that exposed him as either incompetent or a liar, because if he didn't notice how badly his quarterback was hobbling, he's the only one among the 100,000-plus in the Big House who didn't.

Hoke was likely done anyway, given the embarrassing prime-time thrashing by Notre Dame and then two laminations at home at the hands of Utah and Minnesota. But the intentional or befuddled sacrifice of Morris surely was the last of many straws.

As for Brandon ... his missteps have been legion, starting with the way he's aggressively jacked up ticket prices to the point where the Big House now is sold out in name only. The students in particular are fed up with the gouging, and when you lose the students in college athletics, you might as well start calling the movers.

And so the silence that emanated from the administration after Morris' injury was, as with Hoke, perhaps mere window dressing. That Brandon employed the craven tactic of waiting until 1 o'clock in the morning to issue an official statement just made it all worse -- if only because it indicated that he was so out of touch he apparently didn't realize that the old 1-a.m.-press-release dodge is no dodge at all anymore in the era of 24/7/365 media.

So Brandon and Schlissel and the rest have some 'splainin' to do.  Expect the purge to begin shortly.

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