Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon on Big Ten expansion, more
Incoming Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon sat down with AnnArbor.com for an interview last month. Here's a sampling of his thoughts:
â€¢ On Big Ten expansion: "I actually am one who believes that we are at a competitive disadvantage when we go so long without playing a game before the New Year's Day bowl games, and I do believe that the conferences that have a playoff put those teams that are involved in that playoff in an advantageous position because they get more practice and preparation time and they don’t go so long without playing a game. I also think there’s scheduling challenges in the Big Ten. I get as annoyed as everybody when somebody claims a championship and they don’t play the two best teams in the league. ... To the extent there can be some solutions in terms of numbers of conference games or coming up with a way to create a scheduling approach with maybe a bigger conference that affords you the ability to maintain those rivalry games and make sure you don’t lose a lot of what we have today that we like, I’m all for that."
â€¢ On a college football playoff in general: “No. I think that’s a bad idea. It’s a bad idea. To me, that’s all about money and it’s about fan interest, wouldn’t it be great? It would extend the season and it would create more games and more prime-time experiences, and I get all that. I understand why all that exists. But that’s not something that anybody’s thinking about from the standpoint of what’s in the best interests of the student-athletes."
â€¢ On advertising in Michigan Stadium: "I like to make decisions based on data, not your gut, my gut or somebody else’s gut. I like to look at data. When I was a regent and this subject came up, we went out and did pretty qualified, professional, third-party research on the views of our fans, our season-ticket holders, the people who are the most important to us in terms of paying customers of the game-day experience at Michigan Stadium. And the research I saw at that time caused me to conclude that the thing that was the most objectionable, the thing that turned off the fan the most, was the idea that they would come to a football game and they would be blasted with advertising. ... I think it was Sam Walton who said if you don’t know what to do ask your customer. I asked my customers a lot before I make these kinds of decisions, and at least the last time I looked at the data our customers would tell us that they really didn’t want to go there and so I think we should be very, very careful and sensitive to that."
â€¢ On the future of Michigan's athletic department: "We should measure everything you can measure and benchmark against the very best. Who do you like out there? Whose athletic program do you think is the best in the country? .... All I want you to know is the incoming athletic director wants to be better than them. I want to be better than them. If that’s your definition of great then I want to be a little bit better than them, and that’s what we should aspire to do."