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Posted on Mon, May 14, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

$500,000 curtain will improve Crisler Center atmosphere, Michigan AD Dave Brandon says

By Nick Baumgardner

Add one more renovation to the Crisler Center experience.

In an blog post Monday, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon wrote that the department plans to invest $500,000 in a high-rising curtain that will hopefully provide a more "intimate" atmosphere for smaller women's basketball -- and gymnastics -- crowds in the future.

"This curtain will circle the upper bowl and will help create a louder and more intimate setting and an overall improved atmosphere for crowds of 5,000 or less," Brandon wrote. "And we are doing this specifically to help our women's basketball and women's gymnastics teams and their fans."


Michigan will hang a curtain around the upper bowl of the Crisler Center to "help create a louder and more intimate setting and an overall improved atmosphere for crowds of 5,000 or less," according to athletic director Dave Brandon.

Melanie Maxwell |

The University of Arizona hung a similar curtain at its 14,545-seat McKale Center in 2008 for an estimated $650,000.

The Michigan women's basketball team averaged 1,773 fans over 13 home games last season. Currently, the Crisler Center has a capacity of 12,721.

Michigan is in the process of completing the second phase of renovations to the Crisler Center, which includes a renovated lobby and the widening of concourses.

Also in his blog, centered around the 40th anniversary of Title IX, Brandon writes about Michigan's overall commitment to women's sports in general.

From softball to women's basketball and new coach Kim Barnes Arico, who was hired last month to replace Kevin Borseth.

Brandon wrote that Michigan's first women's athletic budget in 1974-75 was $100,000. Currently, the school's budget for women's athletics sits at $16,213,000 for 14 varsity sports.

"We are setting a new standard for support and winning championships -- a standard for both our men and women sports programs," Brandon wrote. "We are striving to be the 'leaders and best' in everything we do."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.

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Wed, May 16, 2012 : 4:15 a.m.

$500,000?!? For a curtain?!? Isn't there some spare fabric from some banners that were brought down some time ago? Recycle the banners, reuse the same excuses of why you can't win in March, and reduce the use of big men in the are Michigan basketball.


Wed, May 16, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

You mad Sparty?

Blue Marker

Wed, May 16, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

You know how many championships has the legendary Izzo has won? They same as Steve Fisher. Get over yourself!


Wed, May 16, 2012 : 3:15 a.m.

I just hope they are able to buy this beast locally, it would be nice to keep MI money in MI


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

It's cosmetic and unnecessary. Is this why you hit up my senior-citizen alumnus Dad-on-a-fixed-income for additional $$$ he couldn't afford simply to keep the seats we've had (after being moved a few times) since Crisler Arena was built?! Enough already. Those who've supported the Wolverines through thick and thin shouldn't be "tested" in this way, but THANKED. We can't all be donating fortunes -- we give what we can & one shouldn't need to be a Rockefeller to enjoy games.


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

Hey whiners. Did anyone notice the article in the left column? "USA TODAY: Michigan athletic department spent $111.8 million in 2011, had total revenue of $122.7 million." Sounds self-supporting to me.

Blue Marker

Wed, May 16, 2012 : 11:21 a.m.

I disagree Craig, I pretty sure no tax money is used....not one cent on athletics. Again, the athletic department is totally self-sustained.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, May 16, 2012 : 2:02 a.m.

But don't forget we the people of the state of Michigan own the University and the athletic department. Its OUR self sustaining system.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, May 15, 2012 : 5:34 p.m.

Lets face it, the sole purpose of the curtain is to hide empty seats. When I was kid a local wrestling show would come on TV Saturday afternoons. They had about 5 rows of real fans and behind them was some sort of cardboard collage to make it look like there was 40-50 more rows of people.


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 3:57 p.m.

What is this curtain made of, Unicorn hide? He'd get a better price at Jo-ann Fabric.


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

Must be nice to have this amount of money laying around to throw at buying a curtain. What a waste!! It must be in their blood to waste money like this.


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 2:16 a.m.

I thought the AD didn't have $400K to send the band to Dallas. Suddenly they have $500K for a curtain?


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

Right on, MM10. Just found out the M Athletic Dep has a $10 Mil surplus from 2005-2011. Kind of ironic, isn't it?


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 2:27 a.m.

good one!

Ron Granger

Tue, May 15, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

Just ignore the regents hiding behind the curtain, spending taxpayer money in massive binges and having zero regard for the Ann Arbor community.


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

There's no way this is taxpayer money. The athletic department generates its own revenue.


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 1:48 a.m.

Hey man, the athletic department has a separate budget from the U, and is self-supporting and brings in money for the U, and athletics bring in massive amounts of donations from the general public, as well as alumni, and this is necessary since state support has gone down the tubes, and....oh, never mind.

Honest Abe

Tue, May 15, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

The Almighty, elitist UM loves spending the cash. $500 grand!! Are you serious!? To improve the "atmosphere"!! This is why I cannot stand UM. This university LOVES asking for donations too! Maybe that $500 grand could of went towards something that goes a long way, such as a scholarship for a medical student who cannot afford med school but otherwise has the brains to finish it. But brightside is Crisler Arena will have a new curtain and apparently an improved atmosphere.


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

Please don't confuse the "Almighty, elitist UM" and its athletic department, at least in terms of funding. This $500K comes from athletic department funds, not university funds. The athletic department is not in the business of funding medical school scholarships, nor should they be.


Mon, May 14, 2012 : 11:41 p.m.

Too bad someone in public relations cannot get him to pay lip service to academics more often when he bosts about the athletic accomplishments of his teams--the kids from Michigan who are both academically and athletically gifted head for other schools and turn Michigan down routinely due to the win at all cost with little emphasis on superlative academic achievement. "we are setting a new standard for support and winning championships" isn't what Michigan needs. " we are setting a new standard for support, athletic AND academic accomplishments." If all he does is win more championships, then he is a failure. The bar for academic accomplishments of athletes is being raised nationally, and Michigan athletes as a group need to step it up academically not just win more championships while qualifying academically!


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 6 p.m.

Give me one example of a kid that headed to another school due to academic achievement? I've never heard one recruit for any sport ever say anything like that.


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 4:05 a.m.

I'm not sure if you've been paying attention to Michigan sports (mens football and basketball) but Michigan hasn't won a championship in anything relevant since like the mid 90s, and they've always emphasized education, which is why they lose constantly to the schools that don't.


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 3:05 a.m.

I just want more championships.


Mon, May 14, 2012 : 11:41 p.m.

This is a good move.


Mon, May 14, 2012 : 11:09 p.m.

and I thought my wife spent a lot on the new curtains


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

Ha-ha-ha! Very good sir.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, May 14, 2012 : 10:55 p.m.

Louder? One of the big problems with going to women's games is that the PA system is set so loud that I worry about permanent hearing damage for our younger fans. Look around during a women's game. You see a lot of little kids covering their ears during time outs. Spend the $500,000 on some common sense, Brandon. You could use some.


Mon, May 14, 2012 : 10:35 p.m.

I feel ripped off. I was silly to give extra $$ to the UM for a better seat in BB. Never again.

just a voice

Mon, May 14, 2012 : 10:16 p.m.

too bad they can't just fill the seats