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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Hey, you: you're probably wondering what's up with high school sophomores. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Check that; there is definitely something wrong with that. You are bad and should be banned from the internet for a long time. But since you're still here: Michigan picked up a commitment from instate junior William Campbell of Cass Tech at camp. Campbell is 6'5", 298, and (kind of obviously) a DT. He's Michigan's earliest public commitment ever and should be one of the headliners of what looks like a strong 2009 Michigan crop headlined by Battle Creek running back Larry Capers, who is -- wait for it -- grrrrrreat. Since Campbell is a junior defensive tackle at a PSL school this the sum total knowledge about him to date:

  • He committed to Michigan.
There won't be a googlestalk here; there's nothing to stalk yet.

Meanwhile, Varsity Blue takes a look at the very early returns for that '09 class.

More NHL Draft: mgolicious @ right still has the aftermath of a mock draft orgy; all have Pacioretty in the mid-to-late first round. There's also this article from the AANews that's mostly things noted here yesterday except for this bit:

Rust, whose stock rose during his final season in Ann Arbor with the USA Hockey developmental program, had several meetings set up with teams once arriving in Columbus.

Likely to be the second Michigan player drafted - he's rated as high as the third round - Rust just wants to be taken by a team that has good intentions with him.

"I'm hoping for the best,'' Rust said. "The draft is obviously important, and it's exciting, but I know it's not the end of the world if I get drafted in, say, the seventh round instead of the third.''

Rust is supposed to be a Helminen-esque speedy defensive lockdown center, but I think that third-round projection is very optimistic. Fifth to seventh is reasonable; Helminen himself went in the eighth.

The draft's first round is tomorrow night -- primetime, baby! put it on NBC and watch the ad dollars rake in! -- with the remainder Saturday.

Wanton Comcast bashing.

(Not that I blame the tech here; I mean... comfy chair, hour on hold... I'd conk off too.)

Probably happening right now. The regents are set to give final approval to the stadium project at their meeting this afternoon. Here's a pdf of the request. Here's an irritating article from Jim Carty that lionizes John Pollack -- the Hero of Tiananmen Square -- and gets rid of the fact that yes, the renovations are required if Michigan is going to keep up with the Joneses in a couple paragraphs before discarding that to argue...
if you watched this issue from beginning to end, it's hard not to feel the folks who fought for a simpler stadium and the simpler times it represented come out looking a whole lot more honorable than school president Mary Sue Coleman and the regents who rammed this plan through with all the subtlety of South American strongmen.

Michigan fan and Ann Arbor native John Pollack, former school president James Duderstadt, Yost's grandson, Fielding H. Yost III, and the student newspaper, The Michigan Daily, rallied a small core of faculty and fans around the idea of saying no to commercialization and setting Michigan apart from the other schools chasing every last dollar.
Michigan cannot say "no" to commercialization; Michigan is already one of sport's most powerful brands. Don Canham is hailed as the first successful commercializer of college sports and remembered fondly for it.

And there's nothing honorable about throwing a public hissyfit, claiming massive division in a fanbase that, at least online, has been united in its support of the renovations. Just because tHOST is a media-savvy guy with connections from his days as a political speechwriter and can butter up the New York Times does not mean his cause has any merit. More:

Pollack will fly in from his New York home for Thursday's regents meeting, but won't be allowed to address the board. The slots for public comments were already filled when he learned the stadium issue had been put on the agenda.

That's par for the course.

The two most important votes on this project, the initial vote and now this final vote, have both been added to the agenda at essentially the last moment, seemingly in a move to stifle debate and opposition.

What purpose is served by listening to the same tired arguments about an egalitarianism that has never existed? Rather than let Pollack further waste everyone's time, let's move on. You can call it "stifling debate" if you like, but there was never really a debate. There was one loud, PR-savvy group with no grassroots support that employed disingenuous political rhetoric in an attempt to stall a project that it seems like the vast bulk of the fanbase supports. Three guys with impressive names and a website do not a movement make, and when you are persistently, uselessly annoying you shouldn't expect perpetual fruitless audiences. Not once in this process did Pollack attempt to measure the sentiment of the fanbase, or if he did the results he got back were disconcerting and quickly buried; "but but but Fielding Yost" is not an argument that sways anyone with decision-making powers, no matter how many newspapers it appears in.

Pollack mutters darkly about cards yet to be played -- ADA legislation -- and he'll attempt to stretch this out as long as possible despite the complete and total lack of non-manufactured public outcry. He lost in the battle of public opinion, so now he takes his quixotic crusade to the courts, because in the end he doesn't care what anyone wants for Michigan except himself. My suggestion: go stand in front of a tank.

Also: Steven Ross has dumped five million into the project already.

Mash note. Maloney from the News:

"I love Michigan," Maloney said. "I'm a Michigan man and they gave me the commitment I was looking for. I never wanted to leave Michigan, but I had to look at the opportunity to take care of my family."

Maloney has been head coach of the Wolverines for five years. They have averaged 42 wins the last three seasons, earning NCAA Tournament spots each time.

"I've only had a handshake, year-to-year deal with them," said Maloney of the previous five years. "I wanted more. I met with administrators from Tennessee in Atlanta Sunday and was impressed with them. They never formally offered me a contract, but I felt one was forthcoming. The marketplace down South is much greater, but the commitment (money) Michigan showed me is much better than it had been."

A touching letter from star P/DH Zach Putnam was of great help:
He said an e-mail from star pitcher Zach Putman closed the deal. Maloney was overcome with emotion from the e-mail by Putnam, a second-team All-American who will return for his junior year next season.

"Zach wrote an incredible e-mail," said Maloney of Putnam who threw 9 2/3 innings of no-hit ball before losing 1-0 to defending national champion Oregon State in the Super Regional. "It was priceless for me. He said, 'I turned down other offers to come to Michigan and play for you. I understand if you leave, but I love you Coach. We have unfinished business to take care of so we can get to Omaha.' It was an amazing moment for a coach to read something like that."

A sigh of relief here; Michigan can now continue building its program without a potentially devastating blow. Is it arrogant to say "kudos to Bill Martin" like he cares? Eh, whatever: kudos to Bill Martin for locking down a guy who has the potential to be the progenitor of another flagship program at Michigan. Martin has made a couple bad hires, but by bringing in Beilein and keeping Maloney he's increased this guy's faith in a positive outcome after a Carr retirement tenfold.

Etc.: Best headline ever.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen on the Pollack is a douchebag stuff. I dont know a single michigan fan that doesn't want this renovation to go through even if only for the acoustics.