Tag Archives: University of Michigan

Contextless Thoughts

  • After the Saskatoon Transit lockout is done, I can’t see Ann Iwanchuk winning a second full term.  Especially with Mike San Miguel quietly running again.  Her campaign was largely financed by labour and with the city attacking the ATU like it did, her slim margin of victory, her constituents relying on Transit heavily, and a lack of a signature issue so far, it could be really tough to win re-election.
  • It could hurt Clark and Loewen with their base and could mobilize the non voting parts of Ward 2 to really hurt Lorje.  I am not saying councillors will lose their seats but rather could face much tougher re-election races than they would have.  The right opponents will capitalize on this.
  • Despite what people think, this won’t hurt the mayor at all.  That is what the attack ads are targeted to protect (at the expense of councillors).  In many ways he could come out of this the winner, especially if this weakens rivals and empowers his base which to be honest, never rides a bus.
  • Of course the city being the city, coincided the lockout with the Mayor’s Cultural Gala.  You had some city councillors tweeting pictures of the city’s elite having a fun time while lower class people were being kicked off buses and having to walk home.  
  • Why would the city run attack ads against the very union it needs to negotiate with on the first day.  Saskatoon already has laughable communications and that didn’t exactly make the city look good.  Of course the political nature of the ads was bizarre.  Several city councillors swore to me that they never had any foreknowledge of the ads until they ran but both city staff and some others on council say that council saw and approved the ads in an in-camera session of executive committee.  It’s not exactly breaking news that council members lie to me on issues.  
  • Speaking of executive committees, it would be a lot easier for them to lie to me if council and staff stopped leaking what happened in there.  If only they had a way to investigate the leaks…
  • I have had several discouraging conversations with people who are utterly dependent on the bus for work, to provide care for a spouse who is in a nursing home, to get to school.  In Saskatoon we call those people collateral damage.
  • It is weird to hear councillors go all out in defence of their real fiduciary duty but ignore their responsibility to those who rely on a public service.  Empathy for those who have been hurt by this strike has not been something that has been communicated well.
  • I don’t really miss the NFL.  You would think I would after watching it every week since 1987 but I haven’t.   I glance at some scores but other than that, I haven’t really missed it.  I still have some college football, the Huskies, and the CFL but I have never cared about them like the NFL.
  • Brady Hoke needs to be fired from the University of Michigan.  He sent back out a quarterback with a concussion back onto the field.  That should be a fireable offence in any league (including when the Calgary Stampeders did it a couple of years ago in a playoff game against the Riders).  You send out a player with a brain injury, you are fired or suspended, especially in the NCAA.
  • What could Stephen Harper be thinking?  $300,000 courtesy ride for a couple of European diplomats because he wanted to have them at a reception?  Does he just not care anymore?  That does not look like a move by a politician who is planning on re-election.  Not only that but there is still widespread opposition to the deal in Germany.
  • The NFL is talking with Texas head coach Charlie Strong who has taken some strong steps in dealing with player misconduct. “We can’t compromise and sometimes that means getting rid of the best player.”
  • If you are a big company and you want to associate your brand with a strong event, I’d talk to the people behind Nuit Blanche right now.  Over 5000 people were on 20th Street last night for the inaugural event and it was a big time success.  People were partying, shopping, and hanging out all over the place.  What a great event.  Someone needs to step up and get behind it in 2015 monetarily so it can get bigger.
  • After reading this piece by Cathal Kelly, you will realize that the Blue Jays will never get any better than they are now.  So yeah, that kind of sucks.

Contextless Football Thoughts

University of Saskatchewan Huskies Well the University of Saskatchewan Huskies beat our illiterate arch rivals from the University of Regina Rams in a close game at Griffiths Stadium.  Congratulations to the University of Regina for making it close.  Someone just needs to help them understand the score.  While the U of S is 2-0 this year, they don’t look that great.  I hate to jump off the bandwagon already but I can’t see this year’s team going to the Vanier Cup. 

Notre Dame Fighting Irish helmet It wasn’t good news at the Big House as Notre Dame squandered a late lead against the University of Michigan Wolverines.  What was Mr. Decided Schematic Advantage thinking in calling for long passes when all they needed was some first downs.   The defense melted down by yielding 431 yards to a Wolverines offense led by a true freshman quarterback.  While there doesn’t look like much heavy lifting is left on the schedule, how will this loss impact the Irish’s psyche?  It wasn’t just the defense,  Weis play calling was absolutely horrible during that game and now he finds himself on the hot seat in South Bend.  I really can’t see Charlie Weis surviving the season in Notre Dame unless he finishes 11-2 or better and I could seriously seeing Michigan State beating Notre Dame in South Bend next week.  It gets worse for Notre Dame.  The bad news continues for Notre Dame is that they get play USC late in the season and by that time, Matt Barkley should be even better.  If Charlie Weis is still Notre Dame’s coach at that time, he can’t be looking forward to that. 

Ohio State Buckeyes If you are a Ohio State University, you need to accept that if you could not beat USC this year, it’s never ever going to happen as long as Pete Carroll is coach at the University of Southern California.  I don’t buy the idea that the Big Ten is an inferior conference (although Michigan State’s loss to directional Michigan looks bad) but the issue is that USC may be superior year in and year out to almost every other school in the nation and is one of the three or four elite programs in the country (Florida and Oklahoma being the other two with Alabama and LSU getting close)

Denver Broncos Well it took Josh McDaniels seven months to get a break and he finally did.  When all seemed lost for the Denver Broncos, Brandon Stokley caught a tipped pass from Kyle Orton and ran 87 yards with 11 seconds left in the game Sunday.  Not only was it a great catch and run, it was a smart play.  As he raced down the left sideline, he saw that his pursuers had given up, so he started running across the field, parallel to the goal line, just before the end zone. Then, as Cincinnati defenders realized what he was doing, he strolled in for the score. He was able to kill seconds off the clock in the Broncos’ 12-7 victory.

Banjo Bowl It’s the Banjo Bowl today.  Despite what you have heard, the Labour Day Classic is not the Banjo Bowl, the rematch is.  The weird thing was that I reading all sorts of media reports calling last week’s game the Banjo Bowl… great job of fact checking there.  Saskatchewan won pretty easily 52-10 and the game wasn’t really in doubt.  In the end Saskatchewan got excellent quarterback play from Darian Durant while Michael Bishop played his usual mistake filled game and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers turned the ball over eight times and the offense looked like it had given up all hope.  While I really like seeing Saskatchewan beat Winnipeg on back to back weeks, I hate seeing a team give up like that and I wonder if the Blue Bombers are going to have trouble selling tickets going forward.

Cheating at Michigan?

Apparently there are some improprieties in Ann Arbour where the University of Michigan has run one of the cleanest programs in NCAA history.

More than a dozen players and parents alike, insisting on anonymity, described the workouts as "ridiculous" and far in excess of the NCAA’s hourly limits, especially on Sundays following games ("Sundays were miserable") and throughout the offseason. One player, incoming freshman Je’Ron Stokes — not requesting anonymity, the Free Press said, because he wasn’t complaining and apparently wasn’t aware of the rules — said "a typical week is working from 8 a.m. in the morning to 6 or 7 at night, Monday through Saturday," which if true would be break the weekly eight-hour limit in the offseason seven or eight times over. In addition to that, perceived slackers and other wayward players were singled out for pre-dawn work on "Torture Tuesdays." Coaches were also accused of observing seven-on-seven scrimmages and taking attendance, both strictly verboten for what are supposed to be "voluntary" activities.

Of course this isn’t just about Michigan, this is about the fact that NCAA Division I football is big business and a full time job to players.

But the broader implication isn’t about the changing culture at Michigan as much as it is the longstanding culture at all big football schools, where the notion of "voluntary" workouts and hourly limits have been met with winks for years. A survey of Division I athletes last year revealed the reality: Time limits or not, big-time football everywhere is a full-time job that consumes vastly more hours than the NCAA officially sanctions — and has to be, if the competition is putting in the same work. That players will "voluntarily" go above and beyond the proscribed limits is taken for granted. (It hardly seems like a coincidence that at least 20 college players have collapsed and died following offseason workouts in the last decade, which was practically unheard of even under old school sadists like Bear Bryant.) Coaches follow the letter of the law at the peril of their records and their jobs.

Which of course begs the question why are sending these players to school in the first place, to be atheletes or students.  On my say that the Canadian Major Junior Hockey model is a lot more honest, you play your hockey first and if you don’t go to the pros (and even if you do), you get a year of university (or trade school) paid for when you are done.  Don’t even hide the fact that this is not a full time gig and drop the student from student athlete.  It evens the playing field for schools like Notre Dame which do enforce the rules which the Michigans who do not.