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Posted on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

Dave Brandon explains 'family squabble' between marching band and Michigan athletic department

By Nick Baumgardner


Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon called the situation with the marching band this past spring a 'family squabble.'

Melanie Maxwell |

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon calls it a family squabble.

This past spring, the Michigan athletic department came under fire after it was revealed that the university's marching band would not be accompanying the Michigan football team to Texas for the season-opener against Alabama.

When asked Wednesday about the band situation during a speaking engagement with the Detroit Economic Club, Brandon explained exactly what happened.

"Every organization you're attached to has from time to time what I could characterize as a family squabble," Brandon said. "A disagreement, a misunderstanding. I bet you have that with your own family.

"But in your family, you can kind of work through your family problem without Twitter."

Brandon explained that the original plan was to have the marching band bus down to Arlington, Texas leading up to the Alabama game, playing various concerts along the way in front of alumni groups along the way.

At the time, Brandon said Michigan had budgeted roughly $100,000 for the band to bus to Texas, something he says he was in favor of doing.

Things changed, however.

"The band changed their mind," Brandon said. "They decided they didn't want to be in buses and they didn't want to play their way to Dallas and they came and said 'we're planning on coming to Dallas, everybody's planning on coming to Dallas, but we're not going to ride in buses we're going to fly in a jumbo jet and here's what it's going to cost.' "

Brandon then said that the cost to fly the band down to Texas would have cost roughly four times the amount of the number the athletic department had originally budgeted. And thus, he said no.

He's quick to point out, again, that Michigan's season-opener against Alabama is not a bowl game, it's a neutral site contest. And normally, the Wolverines do not bring their band on the road for regular-season games -- especially when the contest requires air travel.

But that notion didn't fly among fans, as many supporters -- and a few former players -- flocked to social media outlets to express their outrage at Michigan's perceived band snub.

After the fans had their say, and Brandon's email inbox exploded, he says he was able to rectify the issue by reaching out to donors for support.

Brandon said with the help of several donors, he was able to bring the athletic-department cost down from roughly $400,000 to $200,000 and was able to justify the task of chartering a plane for the band to fly to Texas.

"The band is coming to Dallas," he said. "And I hope you enjoy every note."

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


Andrew Wright

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 6:53 p.m.

I think the suggestion that the band may just "want a 3-day vacation in Texas" is not recognizing the band or the contributions they make. Brandon finally got the decision right, but the finances still seem a little undehanded....we all know about the millions being spent on the new message board, and the athletic department is running a huge profit, you would think the AD and Brandon could (literally) take one for the team...


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 11:44 p.m.

If I had a dynamic brilliant powerhouse band such as the Michigan Marching Band, I would want to show it off to as many as possible, cost be dambed. Its the Greatest PR going. Nuff said!


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:41 p.m.

I'm tired of the bogus, "separate budget" argument. If there's a deficit, the University has to pay for it. Any surplus should go to supporting education - there's a rumor that it's the reason for the University. Also, scandals in the athletic dept. can bring down the whole school; think Penn State. Don't say, "It can't happen here."


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

Seems to happen weekly in the B1G.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

"The band is coming to Dallas, he said..." -- Am I about to flunk English or should it be: "The band is GOING to Dallas." ? Or, alternatively, "The band will be in Dallas." ? Sounds like the AD thinks Dallas is some place the band "comes to", normally. And what about the negative reference to the role of Twitter in this "squabble"? I thought everyone but Coach Hoke was on completely board with (trendy-sounding) Twitter. FWIW, as a bystander, I tend to sympathize with the band and it's members - knowing from the account of a former college band member the amount of just plain work and adversity these young musicians experience for the privilege of marching up and down a football field while playing their instrument. I've not known the experience myself - which may include risking heat stroke on hot days and having my lips frozen to the mouthpiece of a tuba on cold days. Whatever: band members seem to be highly motivated and seem to put in a lot of hard work (and then they don't get to go to every game? Ridiculous!). I think most of the comments reflect the antagonism we feel when we catch scent of elitism: something that seems to come up in connection with our beloved U of M a bit too often. I may be wrong but it seems there's a lingering divide where the U of M mythology is concerned: U of M "family" is supposed to always be about loyalty and generosity: and in this incident we're seeing a contradiction to that. I don't think it's a good idea to just "move on" - I think a better strategy would be to see it decided whether everyone is either for or against having the Michigan band(s) at U of M football games. Settle it - once and for all.

Bruce Kennedy

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

Brandon to UofM Marching Band...."Uncle"!


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:16 p.m.

I wonder how many people UM could feed for $200,000? Or how many scholarships that would cover, or computers for homeless kids that got backpacks.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

I'm not even a UM or a band fan and I totally disagree. CFB is essentially a buisness and the band and associated pagentry is part of that From ticket sales to TV contracts to marketing of the brands CFB rakes in money hand over fist. Why? Because the Consumers demand it. You can make it into a political statement and try to push your liberal socialism if you want. When you grow a successful business maybe you can make contributions to homeless kids, under privilaged kids, and provide scholarships. The truth is that CFB (and the UM Marching Band) provides that and more by going to places like Arlington.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 11:39 a.m.

Hey, football players and band members are first and foremost STUDENTS. Should't they both be treated the same? ie See what would happen if Brandon said that the football team would ride down on bus's!


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

unlike the band, the football team brings in a lot of money. Members of the band are not student athletes--they get class credit for being in the band. The AD shouldn't be covering them, and they shouldn't feel entitled to the treatment that athletes get because THEY AREN'T ATHLETES


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 11:15 a.m.

Just amazing. People (I'm assuming Michigan grads) talk so negatively with mean spirited comments about someone they probably haven't met and who ultimately made the right decision. To make assumption after assumption about his mindset and what he was thinking just seems like such a waste of your time. DID EVERYBODY HEAR??? THE BAND IS GOING !!! Look, does the band want to go the game to represent U of M and the football team OR do they just want a three day vacation in Texas? Which one is it? Again, people are making comments on what the band wants or needs, but I'm not sure any of these comments have come straight from any band members. I think we have two groups here: Supporters of Dave Brandon and those who don't support Dave Brandon - and they are jumping on sides of an issue here to demonstrate their support or non-support. Sometimes people who are put in positions to make big decisions don't get every decision right the first time. I don't understand what is so wrong with making a decision (for whatever reason), getting feedback, then changing their decision based on feedback. I'd rather have someone leading who is not afraid to change their mind to make the right decision than someone who is more concerned with 'sticking with their guns' and making the wrong decision. DID EVERYBODY HEAR??? THE BAND IS GOING!!!

Laura Jones

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

Apparently you do not understand what it means to be a Michigan Man or Woman. It's not just about results, it's also very much about how you get there. It's about how you treat people, and, here in Michigan, it's also about knowing when to keep your mouth closed. I believe the point people are making is that Dave Brandon failed on those key details. In our "results only" culture it is understandable that you may not get these finer points, but truly, here, they matter a great deal. The debate here is perhaps a little more nuanced than you are seeing.

Blue Marker

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 11:55 a.m.

Would you please type in capitol letters what you really want to get across? Thank you! I think the point you may be missing is DB made a CEO type decision not in the best interest of the fans at the same time the Athletic Department is making huge coin. He looked cheap in doing it and the only reason the band is going is due to donations from alumni. Why so passionate about defending him? Wait… this Dave?


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 11:04 a.m.

$200,000 to get the band to Texas? If it is that much, you're being taken to the cleaners Mr. Brandon. The U of M has enough money to take the band to the game, this is just the continued arrogance of the university administration, who employ the "my way, or the highway" principle, without any consideration or sensitivity to students, alums or faculty.

Hawaiian Neal

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 5:16 a.m.

Brandon can't really be this stupid, can he? This is MICHIGAN!!!!!! This is publicity for the school. I'll be glad when the president finally wakes up!


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 11:47 p.m.

Amen Neal... This Band is a PowerHouse Band. Big, Dynamic and Grand. Show it off Dude, show it off! Geez


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 10:26 a.m.

It appears that our marketing Superhero, Mr. Brandit, is better at selling pizzas than the Block M, since he grossly underestimated the strength of his own brand when it comes to the value of our marching band when it parades into the Big House, fires up the team and crowd at crucial turns of the game and steals the show at halftime. Like I previously said, "Dave knows it all" and doesn't listen very well to others. This is arrogance in its highest form. Talk to people in senior management at Dominos who he left in his wake or buried with his duplicity, he just is not a stand-up, trustworthy guy. Talk to the legions who left the Athletic Department on his watch, the number is over 120 of his staff of 260. Could they all have been "losers" in a department turning a profit while upgrading facilities at an unparalleled rate as Michigan had been?


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:13 a.m.

Who cares, it's just the band. Seems to me that if they didn't want to take the bus they could have stayed home. They're lucky they are going.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

Hey blue marker--I'm a true letterwinner who thinks "it's just the band". They feel way too entitled to things, and I agree with Tommy--they are lucky they're going, they need to stop complaining

Blue Marker

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

The two of you obviously have no idea of the time and effort it takes to be in MMB. Trust me; luck has nothing to do with it. I've never know a true Michigan fan who felt "it's just the band".

Terry Star21

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:57 a.m.

"They're lucky they are going". You know in reality - that is the first logical statement, after mine of course, on this page.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:05 a.m.

hmm...a little more info on this would be nice. according to Expedia, you can book a flight leaving DTW on Aug 30th and returning on Sep 3rd for $655 (Direct flight, no layovers). For $400K, you could fly 571 people... many band members are there? or why do they need a Charter flight and not just fly commercial? seems like the extra $$$ could easily pay the extra luggage fees for the equipment.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

Someone made an error somewhere and there's no telling where it was, but it cost them a lot of money. Chartering a plane at the last minute has to be way more expensive. You probably cannot fly a whole band to Arlington at that rate. You could buy up all the remaining tickets for the band, but you still might have to charter a plane. Charter the plane, spend the dough and be done with it. I don't see how any of it could be done on 100K. Sht's expensive. Who collaborated to arrive at 100K?


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:04 a.m.

Time for a new AD, any suggestions!

Steve Hendel

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 1:53 a.m.

If the Athletic Dept can afford new scoreboards, luxury boxes, etc, not to mention the millions of dollars thrown at RichRod,.....

Jane Austen

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 1:26 a.m.

3.  For the band to fly to Texas, it will cost roughly $300,00.  The cost for the band to fly to Texas SHOULD be covered entirely by the Athletic Department, since this trip is not budgeted into the band's normal season travel. But, because of David Brandon's mercurial nature, the band is being required to come up with $100,000, which will have to come from donations. This money SHOULD be going to instruments, student scholarships and the like, but now it is being spent to fly the band to Texas.  (I'm sure the band would probably prefer to stay home and use that money for something other than a 15 hour stay in Texas, but they do what is necessary to support The Team, as respectable troupes should, and should be applauded for their tireless support and encouragement of Michigan Athletics.) 4. This story makes the band, and by association, the Director of the band look like a fickle, spoiled ass; when in reality, it is Mr. Brandon who is the ass here.  A "family squabble?" Really?!


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:05 p.m.

It's good to hear the other side of "family squabble."

Laura Jones

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:32 a.m.

Wow. Neglected a few details, didn't he? If the band has to pony up the 100k from their general fund, Mr. Brandon is more than simply editing his story or lying. That would make him vindictive and punitive. Sounds like he is not a Michigan man at all.

Jane Austen

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 1:25 a.m.

1.  Unbelievable. According to a VERY trust-worthy source, David Brandon is flat-out lying.  The 'original plan' was not to have the band bus to Texas. Bussing was mentioned in a meeting early on as a possibility, with some potential stops to play along the way, but was followed immediately by "...but the band usually flies when they travel (for such long distances)." Mr. Brandon jumped on the idea because it would cost less (big surprise) but was repeatedly advised that this was not the best option, and so he agreed that the band would go to Texas. BY PLANE.  After the initial go-ahead from David Brandon that the band would be traveling to Texas, there was never again mention of the band traveling by bus. Ever. BY ANYONE. 2.  When it was later announced by David Brandon that the band would NOT be going to Texas, it was news to everyone, including the band.  Keep in mind that this announcement was made almost a year after the band had been told it would be going. (BY PLANE.)  It was only after the whiplash that Mr. Brandon experienced from the outcries of Michigan Fans on Facebook, the wider Internet, and yes, even Twitter that Mr. Brandon backtracked (AGAIN) and announced that the band would be traveling to Texas. (STILL BY PLANE.)

Oh Rly

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:37 a.m.

Brandon got fleeced for this game. Giving up a home game for $4.5 million payout UM is getting for this game is chicken feed compared to a home game. No wonder Brandon balked at paying out plane fare for the marching band--he's trying to staunch the blood flow.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:32 a.m.

Obviously, the problem with AD Brandon is his megalomaniac tendencies since he is used to being the CEO with his former job, Domino's, and he needs to tone it down significantly.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

Wow, talk about throwing the Marching Band under the bus! "The band is coming to Dallas, and i hope you enjoy every note".....sounds like some real "i'm peeved" snark to me. Tacky, really tacky. Perhaps its time that the UM Marching Band start negotiating with the Athletic Department for their much for a football game, so much for hockey, basketball and extra to appear at other events. Or maybe the U should give band members a discount on their tuition for helping the Athletic Department rake in all that extra money.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 9:24 p.m.

yeah, I don't think the band is really raking in a bunch of extra money. That would be the football team.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:52 p.m.

a2, the guy has a point. Non-revenue sports have a far higher negotiating position than the MMB, and I've not always understood why. And women's field hockey isn't putting 100k fans in the stadium. I'd suggest you attend Band-o-Rama or the Crisler Concert this year. See how many local high school kids are in attendance, as well as fans, and you'll see the amount of support the band generates for the university firsthand.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:28 a.m.

"...Perhaps its time that the UM Marching Band start negotiating with the Athletic Department for their services..." When the band puts 100k fans in the stadium when there isn't a game scheduled that day, then they can start negotiating.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

Michigan football is big business. Those of us who have spent big $ over the years to attend Michigan games expect a class show. That includes the band for huge games like this (on a neutral venue). It's just as big- and as big a money maker as a bowl game.

Elaine F. Owsley

Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 11:04 p.m.

Who cares!!!


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

Umm, apparently you do. If not, you wouldn't have read the article, logged in, and commented.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

SEC fan - Who do you think has final approval of the athletic department budget? As Athletic Director, Mr. Brandon is essentially the CEO and can do what he wants with the budget. Furthermore, riding buses for twelve or fourteen hours each way is not very comfortable. And I have no idea what performance arrangements could be made for the band that would not add another day or two which woud increase the cost of feeding and housing hundreds of band members. Would that really be efficient?


Sat, Aug 25, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

@Veracity. I'm sorry, I guess I didn't make my point clearly. I don't disagree with you at all. I think it's ludicrous to ask the band to ride a bus back and forth to Dallas...even if they have legitimate venues to play on the way there. my point was that the trip -- however crazily planned -- was budgeted for $100K. He will be held to that. It's not a profit/loss thing. I totally think the trip should have had a much higher original budget...i.e., not bus travel back and forth.

Laura Jones

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:28 a.m.

Then the long bus ride home, another few days, and total exhaustion, before starting class and continuing practicing. Seriously. You try it.

a2 Brute?

Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 10:47 p.m.

Has anybody here criticizing Brandon actually spent an August or September in Dallas? I can think of a lot of other places I would rather be. The temperature is usually in the mid to upper 90's on September 1, frequently hitting 100. Sample Itinerary (of what could have been): Day 1: 4-hour bus to Indianapolis...Dinner at St Elmo's Steakhouse Day 2: 4-hour bus to Nashville.......Night at The Grand Ole Oprey, maybe play a few songs Day 3:2-hour bus to Memphis.......Hang out on Beale Street with BB King, maybe play some tunes Day 4: 6-hour bus to Dallas.........


Sat, Aug 25, 2012 : 2:53 a.m.

I believe Cowboy Stadium is an indoor facility.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 4:52 a.m.

Do you think there's even a single member of the band who doesn't want to go? Seriously?


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

Exactly how much revenue does the band bring in?


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 9:22 p.m.

kathryn--the band is not integral to the show


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 3:57 a.m.

True, they are part of the show...just like umps and refs. When the band performs in front of 100k people on a Saturday that does not have a game I will be impressed.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 1:04 a.m.

The band is part of the show.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 10:21 p.m.

Was this explanation really even necessary? David Brandon completely bumbled the PR on this back when it first came up. Clearly he's still got some sour grapes about that, and now he's trying to make it sound like the band turned their noses up at the prospect of having to ride a bus. I highly doubt that was the case. More likely, the band realized the logistics of getting to Dallas on the road, at least an extra night in a hotel, and getting back to A2 for classes was a nightmare. And please, Mr. Brandon. Spare me the "this is not a bowl game" excuse. It makes you look like a buffoon, and I'm sick of hearing it. This game is the premier game of opening weekend of college football. The tickets are pricier than most bowl tickets. We're playing the defending national champs. Please don't insult me and tell me this game is 'just like any other regular season game.'


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.

The amazing thing about Dave "moneybags" Brandon is that he treats the band as complete second class citizens while still partaking in the entertainment value that they provide, and the spirit, tradition, etc. MMB is as much as the game day experience as seeing Michigan victories. These are students, not on scholarship, who practice minimum 15 hours per week while taking challenging schedules in the classroom, and provide first rate tradition at Michigan. These are students that need to rehearse for weeks just as the football team practices, yet they get no adidas gear, they get no meal table, no athletic support center. And it is beyond gall for him to expect them to pay their own way there while they are working as hard as the football players to provide for the fans and alumni of Michigan football. And if this is "no bowl game", why in the world is Brandon bringing out yet another ($$$) alternate uniform and milking the Jerry Jones financial payout, on par with a small bowl. Michigan sure is approaching this like the big national game that it is, very similar to a bowl game. In fact, I would encourage David Brandon to have his football team take a bus to these away games to save money--it'll allow more money for paint and toilet paper. He is just insulting to all of us, IMO.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 9:21 p.m.

first of all, despite what all the band people say, they don't practice anywhere near as much as student athletes do. Also, they get class credits for being in the band. They shouldn't be the financial responsibility of the athletic department, they aren't athletes. Most athletes don't get training table either (I assume that's what you mean by meal table)--only football, hockey and basketball get that, as per NCAA rules.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:52 a.m.

+1 It's a bowl game with the exception of when it falls on the schedule. Look up Ablauf's comments from the time of the original spat. From an April 2012 story: "We are treating the Cowboys Classic game against Alabama as any other road game," Ablauf wrote in an email. "We do not have a travel allowance for the band like we would for a bowl game. "They traditionally travel to conference games and our rivalry game against Notre Dame. We have not taken our band on similar trips in the past." Just below this quote is the line about the AD getting paid almost $5 million dollars for the football playing in the game..but it's just a regular away game. Uh huh.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 10:01 p.m.

$400k to fly the band to Arlington? No thanks.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

GoNavy I have to agree with you. That's money given to the band that could be used on real athletes/other sports. Band kids get class credit for it, make the university pay, not the athletic department. Athletes will perform fine with or without a band


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 10:36 a.m.

I've given over $15k to the athletic department over the years. You?


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 10:10 p.m.

Oh, did someone ask you to pay for it?


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

We are waking up about slick Dave Brandit. His arrogance and disrespect for the intelligence of the Michigan faithful will catch up with him soon enough. You'd think he took over a program losing money, not running at the $15M per year surplus Bill Martin left him. From his proclamation that Michigan's facilities were in shoddy shape when he took the reins after an unprecedented upgrade program under Martin, to his "non-recruiting" of Jim Harbaugh only to blame Harbaugh for "reneging" on their deal, to his creating an environment in Athletics so unsupportive of the coaches that we suffered the loss of Kevin Borseth, our most successful women's Basketball Coach in decades, to his firing of beloved Baseball Coach Rich Maloney, who won three straight Big Ten titles a couple years ago only to be replaced by a guy with a cumulative losing record, to the massive turnover in the Athletic Department, Dave has demonstarted a high degree of tone deafness. He is certain that he can out-smart the rest of the Michigan community and he has no capacity to listen to others and learn. Yeah, this $4.8M payday in Dallas is not a bowl game. They'd never get $285 for a bowl game ticket. Admit that you tried to save the money on the band or that you were setting up the alumni to write the check. Dave is all about "Dave being smarter than the rest of us." Thank you, Mary Sue, for this fine piece of work!


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 4:09 a.m.

chris, I mean, come on, do you realize we are talking about women's basketball and the article is about the band? The only thing they have in common is neither one of them generates any revenue but both suck up scholarships and dollars from the real sports.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:49 a.m.

Don't forget Mike Burns from the Men's Soccer program. What's up there? A2Citizen, Borseth turned that team around. They were worse than bad prior to his arrival. You need to look at his records in broader context.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:05 a.m.

Exactly, Heisman. Excellent post.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 1:57 a.m.

Amen, Heisman. Brilliant post.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 10:56 p.m.

Speaking of cumulative losing records, Borseth's teams never finished better than 4th and had a conference record of 38-48.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

Let sleeping dogs lie. I wish Mr Brandon would have not make any remarks about the MMB. As I said before, the donors coming to the rescue is a bit unsettling and I hope this doesn't become the norm. I hope we can make closure to this story about the MMB going to Dallas.

Kensington alum

Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

See Chad's comment below - this type of "spend as little as possible" mentality was in existence 30 years ago too when I was in the Band. Perhaps Alabama is going overboard, but is it really too much to ask for a night in the hotel? Perhaps, dare I say it, two? This is ridiculous - what cheapskates the Athletic Department is


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

extra nights in a hotel for a pretty large group of students=$$$ extra meals that they then need because they are staying extra nights=even more $$ Most athletes don't stick around after their event is over, why should the band? They get to go, stop complaining.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

a2, it's apples and oranges. It's a 500-mile trip from Tuscaloosa to Dallas, which can be done in a full day. From Ann Arbor, it's over 1,100 miles, which is equivalent to the distance to/from Orlando or other Florida-based bowl destinations. Would you ask them to bus down then too? How about the football team?


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 9:41 p.m.

Is Alabama going by bus or air? The band is starting to sound like a bunch of prima donnas.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

Hey AD Brandon, How about sending in the Blue Man Group (to be deked out in maize & blue) instead of the band? :)


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

Hmm, The only question I ask: Will this band beat the Bama band? GO BLUE!


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

If the original plan was to have mini-concerts for regional Alumni groups on the way down to Texas, as Brandon said, it's a neat idea and I'm sorry that those groups don't get to see that now. I can also imagine what a difficult task a trip like that would have been for the band and staff, so I see their lack of enthusiasm. Regardless, this should have been ironed out before the budget was set. Someone was not communication to someone else very well, even if both sides had the best of intentions. As for staying over-night...what would it cost to put all those band members up for a night (actually, probably about 8 hours) in a Dallas hotel room only to fly back the next morning anyway? Would you all complain about the travesty if each member didn't have their own room? And there would probably be an extra gets expensive pretty quick.

Steve McQueen

Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:38 p.m.

I'd advise any Michigan fan who is overly critical of a budget move, to google "Tom Goss Michigan AD" and read up on how his administration put the Michigan Athletic Dept. in to the Red in the late 90s with ridiculous purchases such as The Halo and a completely inadequate attempt at internet marketing.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.

It was Bill martin who turned it around. David Brandon was handed an in the black program. So far all Brandon has done is not screw it up.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

I am with Brandon on this one. the band thinks they are too good to ride a bus down and play for alumni groups I would leave them at home. they can stay home at the home games too. the piped in music is more entertaining and better anyway.

Blue Marker

Sat, Aug 25, 2012 : 11:28 a.m.

Wrong! The food the band is given is provided by parents like me...not by the University. But don't let the truth get in the way of your opinion. You don't have a clue about what it takes to be in MMB, that's obvious.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

aareader, the marching band is not "marginalized at every opportunity". They get class credit for it, they get to travel to a lot of the games (including this one), they get free food at the games, etc. The band is taken care of.

Blue Marker

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:41 p.m.

First off thank you aareader for pointing out it's the pageantry of college football that makes it great. @ bluemax79, these students who give so much of their time and effort to put on a show for the fans have class first thing Tuesday morning. Asking them to bus back and forth to Dallas (and the purposed tour dates on the way) is asking too much. Furthermore, anyone who thinks "piped in music" is better shouldn't be watching college football anyway. The NFL starts soon, enjoy!


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

Maybe this is Mr Brandon's plan for the future. Since he has become AD the atmosphere at the Big House is approaching a NFL stadium instead of a college game experience. And the marching band appears to be marginalized at every opportunity.

Steve McQueen

Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

Bottom Line: They worked out a solution and the band is going. Anyone who has ever worked in business should understand the concepts behind budgeting, particularly in this economy. If only our federal govt. and state govt. and municipal govt. couild be as efficient. So get over it crybabies. This is Michigan.

Blue Marker

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:45 p.m.

Steve, part of the problem many here have with DB is his CEO approach to everything. He has to mix business with traditon. It's not the same as running Domino's. He's been a heavy lean to business and has disrespected some tradition along the way.

Ron Granger

Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

Sounds like "a bunch of crap" to me, Dave.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:04 a.m.

I'm with you, Ron.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

How can the Regents justify the continuing tuition increases when they continue to spend money on frivolous projects such as this? What does this have to do with education?


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 11:53 a.m.

Well done Blue. should have a macro that automatically posts the 'separate budget' comment whenever this argument raises its uninformed head.

Blue Marker

Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:29 p.m.

Cue the "athletic budget is completely separate from the rest of the school" explanation. It's been posted on this site so many times I think should have a disclaimer at the top of the page.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 6:32 p.m.

It's a shame, these kids will practice until 9pm the night before the game then fly down to Dallas at 4:30am and fly right back after the game. I don't even think we're sending our full band, only enough to do halftime and pre-game. I spoke to someone close to The million Dollar Band program and they're sending all 425 members of their band, plus they're spending a couple of nights in Dallas in a 5 star hotel resort.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 9:12 p.m.

umm, they get to go to the game, so why are you complaining? As a former athlete, you do realize that we don't get to hang around at 5 star resorts for days either, right? Why should the band get that?


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:41 p.m.

Chad, the same scenario applies for the bowl game -- the performance block and ~two dozen reserves have the opportunity to go. The same goes for trips to East Lansing, South Bend, or Columbus. As an alumnus of the band, I never felt the athletic department "cheated" us out of opportunities. In fact, I was somewhat glad we didn't attend every away game (as do many SEC bands), because I wouldn't have weekends to recharge and, well, not fail out of school (half the band is comprised of engineering students, so a heavy emphasis on academic success is prevalent through the organization). Now, the 'Bama game is a different circumstance since it takes place before classes begin, but it also is an extraordinarily high cost to send the band down. But what is a several days' bus journey for the MMB is a one-day trip for the Million Dollar Band, and they may simply have more resources to splurge on this trip. After all, they lifted the Crystal Football last year, and the subsequent payout that emerges from that may be enough to cover a few extra perks for the band.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:02 a.m.

Agree totally, Chad. Somehow Alabama comes up with a class act and sends the whole band, and rewards them with a couple nights in Dallas. UM? Brandon sets up the alumni to chip in $200,000 and they fly in and out of Dallas within 24 hours. How is old pizza man planning to spend the rest of his $26 mil profit this year? I guess the profit from the Bama game will go into his private coffers.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 9:49 p.m.

How is the Alabama band getting there? The Michigan Band had a chance at a meandering, week long boondoggle but they wanted to fly. Now they are flying and you still complain.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

That's why we are the Million Dollar band and UM is the $100,000 Candy Bar...I mean Band.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

They are leaving behind alternates who work as hard as the performing members. They have to learn drill and music too. But those members will be needed in the stands when it comes time for kickoff. Bama's entire band will be in the stands supporting their team. And we'll only have about 200 or 250 members playing.

Blue Marker

Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

Chad is correct! My son is a stick (clarinet for the rest of you) and he told me they're returning to Detroit in the early hours Sunday. They leave right after the game.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

If we were sending our band for a couple of nights in a 5 star hotel, I'd have a problem with that. And why would we send more band members than are needed? And are you saying that they are on a flight back that evening, i.e. at midnight or later? Really?


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

There was a disagreement. And the groups involved arrived at the correct end result. Let's move along and play some friggin' football already! Hail!!


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

Nick, I like your work, but disagree this time. You reported on a self-serving speech explaining the dispute from only one side. Now that readers are expressing opinions contrary to that speech, the readers possess no sense? None of the comments was over the top or approaching the vitriol I have seen in posts on other topics. There is no reason to insult your readers.

Nick Baumgardner

Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

Thanks for bringing some sense into this discussion, A2. I agree.

Old Salt

Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 5:37 p.m.

As an alumni of the 1943 U of M Mrching Band . Thank you supporters, We have one of the finest bands in the country ."Go Blue Band"

Terry Star21

Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 8:49 p.m.

We have watched the band practice there by Fifth Avenue and realize the time spent & how hard you work - and the game time experience is like nothing else. Ever wonder why the team (besides the crowd) gets so fired up and does so well at home ?


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

If he's a "late octogenarian," then his posting is truly remarkable! Good to know we can get the Internet in the afterlife. :-)

Steve McQueen

Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

Congratulations on being a late octogenarian and posting on the internet so well, old salt.

Blue Marker

Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 6:31 p.m.

"Band...take the field!"


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 5:30 p.m.

Yes, how unreasonable of the band to not want to take a multi-day drive down and back to Texas immediately before the start of school. Is Brandon's family heading down in their station wagon for a road trip? In preparation for this "not a bowl" pre-season game, the MI Football team is renting (presumably) Ford Field in order to "experience" what indoor game conditions are like? Do they not have a new indoor practice field? The poverty argument is weak.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:32 a.m.

@Steve Yeah I actually do agree with that, when you begin developing the "brand" it would only make sense to suck it up and drop the $$$ here with the idea of further promoting that brand. When you change the mindset and start the heavy promoting you need to adapt all of your strategy around that. The good thing is, Dave Brandon appears to be a very savvy businessman and I think a mistake like this will not happen again. I can excuse it one time, but not again.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 11:02 p.m.

@StopCrying: No, a smart AD would have said, "Let's work something out. For a game of this magnitude and national coverage, it is a must that the Band be there." However, Dave's initial reaction might have been that he was dreaming about the $400 grand or so that he could take in by selling the seats reserved for the band. You can't convince me that Brandon wasn't going to stand his ground until all the local Blogs (including this one) absolutely exploded in a negative manner immediately after this story first appeared in the media.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

He never said it was unreasonable to not want to do that. It sounds as if it was something they originally agreed to, I would probably say no as well if you change your plans and ask for 4 times as much money for the new plan.

Terry Star21

Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 5:24 p.m.

There you go. ""But in your family, you can kind of work through your family problem......". This is exactly the kind of thing that makes David Brandon a great Athletic Director, that we have come to respect and love. He not only listened to the band, the faithful and his peers in a controversy - he publicly stood up and answered/responded, whereas others may have side stepped or swept it under the rug. Mr. Brandon has awarded college footballs greatest team, university and faithful - with some needed support, that these students/band worked very hard for. All of America will watch that game and smile when it hears that band, those famous tunes on the tube and know that 'Victors', is for the real victors. MgoBlueForTiM...Hail to the real Victors Mr. Brandon.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

How much is Pizza Boy Brandon paying you to write this garbage?


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:07 p.m.

You left out the important part of that quote. You know, the one that would put it into context. "... without Twitter.". He was making a joke with that sentence.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

Hey Brandon, the athletic department had a $26 million dollar surplus last year and you stated that the athletic department could not afford $200,000 to take the band to Dallas. Go back to selling pizza and stop embarrassing Michigan.

Terry Star21

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:44 a.m.

Did you register for this site today just to berate Brandon and Michigan ?


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 1:52 a.m.

Totally agree with marching band. $26 mil is plenty of profit to fund a $200,000 charter airplane.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

The athletic department is working on a multi-million $ surplus. Why did it take $200,000 in private donations to make this happen? Especially when the private donors are alumni who already give to the university .


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 6:24 p.m.

Who cares? The U didn't have to pay for it. If there are people wealthy enough and willing, let them do what they want with their money.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 5:06 p.m.

I suspect that the marching band would characterize this "family squabble" somewhat differently than Mr. Brandon's self-serving story. It was always a ridiculous contention that the Athletic Department could not afford to fly the band to Dallas. I see Mr. Brandon is still making the absurd 'it's not a bowl game' argument. Most Michigan fans, students and alumni would consider it a travesty and embarrassment if the University was unable to have its band present at this nationally-televised season opener against the national champion. The 'bowl game' argument is meaningless. This was no "misunderstanding". Mr. Brandon, due to arrogance, greed or some other motivation, refused to fly the band to Dallas. He relented only after there was an uproar and alumni paid for half of the expense. This "misunderstanding" reflects poorly upon Mr. Brandon, the Athletic Department and the University.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:45 a.m.

I found it ridiculous when they first described the game as a "normal away game" and therefore the band was not going to be attending. The ticket prices and hype surrounding the game do not describe a "normal away game." You can bet Alabama will have their band in attendance. This may not be a bowl game but it is being treated as such by most people. The whole of the college football world will be focused on this game.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

I'd love to see a MMB version of this story. Maybe some brave band member/employee will come forth.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.

craigjjs, I agree with you totally. In always felt that the UM athletic department writes the stories for and Nick and Kyle sign their name at the bottom.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

I'm not sure it's as clear-cut as all that. If the original plan was to have mini-concerts for regional Alumni groups on the way down to Texas, as Brandon said, it's a neat idea and I'm sorry that those groups don't get to see that now. I can also imagine what a difficult task a trip like that would have been for the band and staff, so I see their lack of enthusiasm. Regardless, this should have been ironed out before the budget was set. Someone was not communication to someone else very well, even if both sides had the best of intentions.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

First, I think the band needs to be at the game. It's too high profile and the university and the big10 have a lot riding on this game. But..I understand Mr. Brandon's rationale. It's not a matter of what the U can afford, but what is budgeted. He's held to a budget (and a "profit"). now, should they have budgeted a flight? that's another question.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

In fairness, this seems to be his only blunder since taking the post. He has been brilliant IMO on all other issues.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

I wonder if some of those donors were Brandon's friends from the "tribe of Michigamua". The same ones who used to paint themselves red and dress up as indians. Smoking peace pipes and thourougly mocking native american religious and cultural practices.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

Well...maybe you and Andrew Shirvell are the only ones "wondering that"


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:43 a.m.

If they gave a check that helped pay to get the band to Dallas, who cares.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

I have a theory... Those rich donors probably earn their money from selling pizzas. That is why they are now rolling in the dough.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

Somebody's got their undies in a bunch!


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

Wow - what a stretch. Hard to follow the thought process on this leap. Where is the connection?


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:08 p.m.



Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

yeah..I think you are the only one wondering that...