By Alex O’Connor
On last Friday afternoon, Dave Brandon formally resigned his position as Athletic Director for the University of Michigan. University President Mark Schlissel noted in a news conference that “It would be in the best interest of our student-athletes, athletic department and the university community if he moved onto other challenges.” Brandon strived to make a profit and was highly criticized for making college athletics into a business and having a strict bottom line approach. In addition, there were numerous other factors leading to Brandon’s resignation, however one of the biggest factors in the media came from the blog, MGOBlog.com. This blog site obtained emails sent between Brandon and UM Boosters and season ticket holders. These emails contained damaging information about Brandon. One email sent to this group by Brandon told recipients to “quit drinking” and another excerpt saying “I suggest you find another team support.” These emails being released only further confirmed the reason in which Brandon resigned.
An additional “knock” on Brandon’s tenure at Michigan was his handling of the concussion protocol regarding sophomore quarterback Shane Morris during a September football game against Minnesota. Immediately after Morris’ injury, Brandon sent out a release at 1:00 a.m. stating that Morris had a “probable, mild concussion.” However, head football coach Brady Hoke said he did not. Morris proceeded to play the rest of the game. This put Hoke in hot water as he immediately said after the game that “We would never, ever put a guy on the field when there’s possibility of head trauma.” USA Today noted that Hoke was defending himself and his staff, while Brandon neglected their judgment and put out his own statement. There was a large lack of communication between the two entities and put UM’s athletics in a negative light.
In regards to the blog posts on MGOBlog.com, many have noted that this could have been the catalyst for his resignation. Erik Bernstein, the co-owner of Bernstein Crisis-Management, labeled the UM Athletics Department as a state of “crisis”. This was after the emails were released to the public. Bernstein guaranteed that “The emails (Brandon) sent absolutely are going to cost him the job.” Bernstein also noted the personal and intentional attack on their supporters was immature, and did not reflect the program in any sort of positive manner. The comments came at a time of adversity for the program and only added fuel to their fire. Ultimately, Brandon had lots of adversity as Michigan’s athletic director, however the way in which he handled it prompted his resignation.