The University of Michigan has a prestigious reputation. The fact that Michigan is known for its top ranked academics and athletics puts the university under an immense amount of pressure. Michigan claims to be the “Best of the West” in their fight song, setting the school’s standards extremely high. The relentless pressure that is put on the university affects not only the students but the administration as well. Michigan’s athletic director, Dave Brandon, was recently forced to resign from his position. In chapter 13 of the Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes, states, “…from this diffidence of one another, there is no way for any man to secure himself, so reasonable, as anticipation; that is, by force, or wiles, to master the persons of all men he can, so long, till he sees no other power great enough to endanger him” (Hobbes 2). This quote shows that Dave Brandon took this job knowing how difficult it would be and that his job was at stake everyday. Hobbes expresses that no security is possible and life is full of horror. The athletic director position at the University of Michigan is incomparable to any other and Dave Brandon understood that when he took the job; he knew how difficult the job was and what was at stake every single day. The Michigan department program has been known for its competitiveness and high expectations. Although Dave Brandon lost his position because of critics who complained that as the Michigan athletic director he did not uphold the expectations of the program, as a student athlete, I can vouch for Dave Brandon, by saying that he bettered this University every single day that he stepped into office.
The student body has ridiculed Dave Brandon because of his business decisions to raise ticket prices and expand and renovate the athletic facilities around south campus. It is unfortunate that the opinion of Dave Brandon is so negative with the student population, but the athletes have had the chance to meet Mr. Brandon and have experienced the positive changes he has made for the athlete population. The student body had such a negative outlook on Dave Brandon that they took great lengths to attempt to get him fired. A few actions they took was having a rally in the Diag and creating an online petition calling for his job.
The problem is that many people that signed the petition without knowing all details. One main issue with the petition was that some people who signed it without attempting to look for all the facts and searching for Mr. Brandon’s and the athletes’ side of the story. One huge example is that Dave Brandon cares deeply about each student athlete on the Michigan campus. As part of the first women’s lacrosse team here at Michigan, I can vouch that without Dave Brandon the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs would not exist at Michigan. He not only fought for the creation of our program, but has also raised millions of dollars to provide our teams, as well as all the smaller teams in the athletic department, the best facilities in the NCAA. These facilities will be placed on South Campus and are priced at 200 million dollars. Dave Brandon has not only promised but has guaranteed his athletes the best, and has risen above all standards as our athletic director. He works around the clock to make sure that the athletes at Michigan are taken care of and satisfied to be at this university. He makes sure to ask us personal questions about how things are going in order to see if he can help in any way possible. He takes time out of his day to be at all of our games. He even flew to the first women’s lacrosse game at Villanova to watch in person, as the lacrosse team made history. He is not just a businessman; he is personable and caring for each individual athlete on campus. Dave Brandon has guaranteed that all 935 student athletes at Michigan are satisfied with their lifestyles and if you ask me, that is the most important and most difficult job an athletic director can have, and he was successful.
Dave Brandon is a true Michigan man. He dedicated his work to bettering the athletic programs here at the University of Michigan. He is an incredible leader and it is OUR loss to have him resign. Unfortunately, the decline of the football team’s success over the passed few years had to be blamed on someone and the outrage of Michigan’s fan base, alumni and student body caused people to revolt against Dave Brandon. The pressure on Michigan’s athletic department put Dave Brandon under a magnifying glass and the world was waiting for him to do something wrong. As we can see throughout our history: if something goes wrong, society will find someone to blame. Dave Brandon is human, he is not perfect, and it was not right for us to put that immense amount of pressure on him, to set him up to fail. Dave Brandon had to step down; the job had become an endangerment to his livelihood. Any respectable person would understand why he would resign. The announcement of Dave Brandon’s resign was a shock and a terrible reality to everyone in the athletic department. The fact that the student body and many other fans turned against the football team and Dave Brandon is something that student athletes cannot believe happened. Dave Brandon will forever be missed by his student athletes.