Note: This was written right before the OSU game
Timing is everything. Here we were leading up to the most meaningless Michigan-OSU game in my lifetime and I get the envelope from our esteemed Athletic Director Bill Martin – the Preferred Seat Donation Form. Outstanding! What a great time to demand more money from the fans. (Note the excellent use of the euphemism “donation,” it infers some voluntary component in the process – there is nothing voluntary about the fee for the right to buy your season tickets). Bill’s letter closed with these inspiring words as we sat on the cusp of our first 9 loss season in the history of Michigan football: “Now more than ever, it is great to be a Michigan Wolverine.” Really, it is true. Read it for yourself here. Hmmmmm. If Bill thinks this is the best time ever to be a Wolverine, I really fear for our future.
But since this is a critical year and I know Bill and Mary Sue Coleman need our help, “now more than ever,” here are some ideas for the next solicitation letter:
· The Rich Rodriguez Contract Termination Fee Fund
For a modest $2.5 million you can help fund the Bill Martin brain trust that concocted the plan to lure our third choice for a coach away from the place where he had just signed a contract. Our friends in West Virginia need this money much more than we do. Let’s chip in and help them rebuild their program after the loss of their native son.
· The Rich Rodriguez Salary Contribution Fund
This recurring $2.5 million delivers terrific value for all friends of the Michigan Athletic Dept. Our average cost per win (excluding contract buyout provisions) is now only $833,000.
· The Weight Room Improvement Fund
This was a relative bargain at $1M+ and it has paid vast dividends already. Just look at the performance of our athletes in the second half of games this year - 1-6 after leading or tied at halftime. Stamina, endurance. And don’t forget an important byproduct of this investment was our trainer Mike Barwis and his world-renowned "prehab" regimen. This makes players less susceptible to injury and able to bounce back faster from injury. Isn’t it evident that this team suffered far fewer injuries than the Carr teams of yesteryear with that Neanderthal training regimen?
· Naming Opportunities
How about naming a column in our new stadium? Skybox and club seat sales are robust given the two exciting wins against Wisconsin and Miami the team notched at home this year. So why not just bypass those pedestrian luxury seats and really step up for the U, how about $10M+ and we will name a concourse or brick tower after you or your favorite trophy wife? We will throw in a luxury box in the end zone for free – we have a large inventory of those still unclaimed.
As you can see, contributions to these funds and others have already delivered great, immediate returns for the football program. We will concern ourselves with the secondary and meaningless stuff like funding scholarships and aid for needy students later. First things first, let's get our world-class coaching staff up and running, eh? They need all the support they can get.
Let’s hope we didn’t buy the most expensive batch of snake oil ever peddled and that 2009 brings a lot more success and maybe we can bring the average cost per win down to $193,000 with a little something leftover for scholarships and the like.