Letting Go of the “Michigan Man” Tradition

In recent days, a lot of events have been occurring on the University of Michigan’s athletic campus. Most recently Jim Hackett, the interim athi-res-183178869-head-coach-brady-hoke-michigan-wolverines-calls-out-a_crop_exacthletic director, fired the head football coach Brady Hoke. While this event probably seems irrelevant to a political science class, I think Hackett might be taking an approach John Stuart Mill would’ve approved in the firing of Hoke and the ongoing search for the next football coach. And that approach is changing the tradition of the much discussed “Michigan Man”.

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Is Gardner a Machiavellian Prince?

Rivalry week is the week in college football that everyone looks forward too. This past weekend we saw two of the greatest rivalries games in college football: Alabama vs. Auburn, and Michigan vs. Ohio State. Rivalries happen because of tradition and past events. For example, the reason the Alabama vs. Auburn game was so talked up was because of the punt return by Auburn in the last seconds of the game against Alabama last season that sent them to the championship game. For Michigan and Ohio State, the tradition goes much farther back. Michigan and Ohio have been known to despise each other on and off the field. Last year Ohio State player Marcus Hall flipped off the Michigan crowd after a fight and “violated the conference’s sportsmanship policy”. This was not forgotten by the Wolverines so they were very ready to get redemption this weekend regardless of our record.

Iowa v Michigan

While the score was tied after the first half, Ohio State sadly pulled away at the end of the game to win 42-28. While we beating the spread was impressive, I think what was more amazing was the sportsmanship that Devin Gardner showed after J.T. Barrett injured his ankle in the fourth quarter. Barrett, the key to Ohio State’s offense, went down with a season ending ankle injury Devin “showed an admirable display of support for rival Buckeye quarterback J.T. Barrett when Barrett went down with a season-ending ankle injury on Saturday.” I think this shows that there is more to sports than rivalry and competition. Devin could have remembered what Hall did to them the year before and been happy that the opposing teams star was out of the game. Instead I think Devin showed a remarkable sense of camaraderie that could show the world that he is a Machiavellian Prince. Here is a quick video that talks about this incident.

Barrett gets carted off after season ending injury.

Barrett gets carted off after season ending injury.

Although being a prince doesn’t directly relate to the Michigan Wolverines, I think to be a great leader you need to acquire some of the traits. I think Devin, although he did not have his best season, displayed his character during that moment. Machiavelli said that in order to be a prince “you must set unusual examples.” That is exactly what Devin did when he went to console J.T. Barrett. It was very unusual to have a Michigan quarterback during the Ohio State game give kind words to an Ohio State player. Machiavelli also says that it is better to be feared than loved. However, when applied to an athletic captain, I believe you must be both. I know Devin is very well respected by his teammates and coaches and by this remarkable act of sportsmanship, I believe Gardner will never be forgotten as a Michigan quarterback. Even the Ohio State community now loves him and in order to make it through history as a quarterback you must do something extraordinary in the Ohio State rivalry game; what Devin did was truly amazing.

Did you agree that people will remember Devin because of this act of sportsmanship, not just how he performed this season?

Is It Still Golf?

Marc Tracy wrote the article, “NFL Rules Changes: When Is Football No Longer Football?” on August 2, 2013 for the New Republic. Tracy focused on the new rules adopted by the Competition Committee of the NFL in 2013. In order for football to be safer for players, the committee discontinued kick-offs at the Pro-Bowl, the tuck rule, and players lowering their helmet. Continue reading

Change For the Better

Football is a dangerous sport, but hopefully new rules will help to make it safer.

Football is a dangerous sport, but hopefully new rules will help to make it safer.

I recently wrote a blog post where I tried to examine the reasons why football players play such a violent and risky sport. One thing that I mentioned in the blog post was the leagues effort to make the game safer. Shortly after writing my blog I read an article called NFL Rules Changes: When football is no longer football?, by Marc Tracey. In his article Tracey talks about many of the newly implemented rules that the NFL has put in place to make the game safer. After discussing the new rules Tracy raises the question of if all the new rules change the game so much that it is no longer American football. After analyzing the rule changes Tracey does not give the reader a definite answer to his question, but he seems to be leaning toward the thought that the new rule changes are not good for the game and that the NFL must be careful as it creates new rules in order to not change the game so much that it is no longer football. Continue reading

Games can lose their integrity.

One of the world’s most popular game genres is known as “Role Playing Games” (RPGs). In RPGs, the player chooses a character (sometimes known as an avatar) that they wield control over. Once the rules and guidelines for success are laid out, the player is responsible for making decisions that will further develop his/her character. Some say that the popularity of this genre of game stems from the autonomy and freedom that players experience when playing in the world of the game. Of the myriad of RPGs, one that has gained a high level of acclaim is known as “Maplestory”. Maplestory is a free online role playing game developed by Nexon a South Korean company. It was released May 11th, 2005 and it is recognized as one of the most successful 2-dimensional RPGs of our time. The game is known for its cute animations, riveting backgrounds and trademark soundtracks. The point of the game is to defeat monsters, cultivate a specialized fighter, complete quests and outrank your competitors (fellow players). However, the game has been criticized in recent years due to one primary reason: the fundamental challenge(s) of the game have been eliminated.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NEXON_logo.gif

Credit to Wikimedia Commons.

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Football: Is It Worth The Risk?

Over 115,000 fans pack Michigan Stadium for a football game

Over 115,000 fans pack Michigan Stadium for a football game

Football is one of the most popular sports in the United States at all levels. NFL and NCAA teams pack massive stadiums week in and week out, while teenagers play for their school teams and in recreational leagues. In the 1950s and 1960s football quickly became a national phenomena and is arguable the most popular sport in the country today. NFL regular and post-season games consistently have the highest TV ratings of any sport.

However, over the past couple of years football has started to run into a major problem, which is the safety of its players. Concussions have recently become a major issue in many sports, but none more so then in football. It is estimated that there is about a 75% risk of concussions for males who play football, which is higher then any other major sport. It is also estimated that Continue reading

Too Hurt to Earn

In light of Marcus Lattimore deciding to retire from the National Football League, I wanted to go all the way back to “Dispatches From the NCAA’s Deathbed” by Charles P. Pierce about the Ed O’Bannon trial. O’Bannon v. NCAA is an antitrust class action lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Ed O’Bannon, a former basketball player at the University of California Los Angeles, filled this case to fight for financial compensation for someone’s image.

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