The future of University of Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon will be discussed at a meeting on Thursday, according to WWJ CBS-TV in Detroit.
Regent Denise Ilitch told the television station and it was reported by ESPN and other media sites. Brandon, who took over for Bill Martin in 2010, has faced criticism along with head coach Brady Hoke after the mishandling of quarterback Shane Morris against Minnesota.
Brandon has quickly fallen out of favor with Michigan’s fans and alumni. On September 30, students protested in front of Michigan president Mark Schlissel’s house, chanting “Fire Brandon” in response to not only the Morris controversy, but for other errors in public relations and how he handles the football program.
Lost in the anger of Brandon’s job is Hoke, who has led the Wolverines to a 4-9 record over the past 13 games, including embarrassing losses to Notre Dame, Utah, and Rutgers.
During Brandon’s tenure, the price of football tickets has gone up and attendance at football home games is the lowest in three decades. Michigan had a desperate public relations stunt against Minnesota, giving away two free tickets with the purchase of two Coca-Cola products.
Even those who attended the game for free were ripped off, as the Wolverines dropped their Big Ten opener. Brandon has refused to send the Michigan band to events outside of Ann Arbor and even gave up the band’s presence at a basketball game against No. 1 Arizona last season, making more tickets available, generating more revenue and taking away from the college athletics experience.
Michigan’s 3-4 start to the season has set a bunch of records, including losing three games before October for the first time in the 135 years of fielding a football team. What has angered the fanbase and student body even more is the success of Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez, who was fired by Brandon after the 2010 season despite improving record-wise each year.
Rodriguez led the Wildcats to an improbable road win at No. 2 Oregon earlier this year, and his team was ranked as high as 10th in the country. Rodriguez has a 3-1 record against AP Top 10 teams with Arizona, while Hoke is 0-4.
As much pressure Brandon and Hoke are under right now, the person who might be feeling the most pressure is Schlissel, who has been the school’s president for only three and a half months. It’s going to be ultimately his decision, as he is the only person authorized to decide the embattled athletic director’s fate.
If Brandon is fired, the future of Coach Hoke would be even dimmer, as Brandon hand-picked his “Michigan Man” to lead the football program.
Brandon’s stubborness of not owning up to his mistakes may be his undoing at the University of Michigan. If he is indeed fired, the domino effect that follows will most likely cost his coaching staff their jobs. “The systems failed, and there are a lot of issues we have to review,” Ilitch added. The first issue would be Brandon, who has led Michigan’s trademark, their football program, into the depths of mediocrity.