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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Stripe versus Swoosh. Fight! Yesterday the university announced that, effective next year, the primary athletics sponsor was switching from Nike to Adidas. This is not something I particularly care about, at least not to the extent that it matters more than $7.5 million per year, nearly double the previous deal. If Adidas put in the best bid, I'm perfectly happy to dump Nike. There's an undercurrent of discontent with the move out there I find odd after the introduction of the controversial Bibby McPiping jerseys that were universally panned and then immediately forgotten about.

Well, the piping's still there and it still irritates. Unfortunately I can't find the exact quote, but something Uni Watch's Paul Lukas said about that one horrible weekend when Florida, Virginia Tech, and a few other teams wore asymmetrical Nike eyesores featuring one neon sleeve stuck with me: the truly grating thing (other than, you know, the uniforms) was that Nike seemed to regard itself as the show, not the teams they sponsor.

What bothered me about the piping was not the piping itself but the fact that Miami had identical piping-bib-woo jerseys done in different colors, as, I'm sure, do several other teams. Nike tries to play this off as a structural necessity required to prevent their space age jerseys from accidentally sending players to the moon or something, but I've seen a lot of shirts in my time -- people just love wearing the things -- and I call bull. Universally identical piping was a Nike branding technique subtle enough to rope Michigan in. I'd rather be Michigan than a Nike school that happens to wear maize and blue. So, insofar as I care for reasons other than "the athletic department gets money they can rule the world with," I support the devil we don't know here.

Internal UPDATE! The Free Press with more delicious details:

There is a "most favored nation" clause in the contract that will keep Michigan as Adidas' top college deal.
Nice! NDNation is throwing a hissy fit; they signed a ten year, $60 million contract in 2005 (Michigan's is the same money over eight years) and are upset about the MFN status and the fact that Michigan is getting "33%" more than ND did. That's what you get when your engineering school sucks ass.

McGuffdate. USAToday w/ Rivals content:
McGuffie still undecided

Sam McGuffie, the nation's top all-purpose back, took a visit to Michigan last week. The 6-foot, 188-pounder has yet to make his college decision, but said he's getting close.

"The recruiting process is getting very overwhelming, but there will be a decision in the next few weeks," McGuffie said. "Michigan has been my favorite for a while, followed by USC, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Florida (in no particular order).

"I want to enjoy this process and not make it so pressure-packed."

That Sunday-next decision referenced in Monday Recruitin' appears to be off. It's encouraging that "Michigan has been [his] favorite for a while," but A&M folk are suddenly confident and the public opinion of the internet is rapidly switching. So... yeah. I kind of have to back off earlier confidence. I wouldn't call it unconfident -- I still think he ends up at Michigan -- but this reversal is pretty frickin' weird and I don't know what to do with it. FWIW.

It appears two sorts of people read this blog: students and lawyers. This is for the latter:
Coach Carr has only 116 spots available on his team and he wants you to be part of it. The 2nd Annual Michigan Men’s Fantasy Football Experience will be held on August 2-3, 2007. Proceeds will benefit the “Men of Michigan” Prostate Cancer Research Fund at the University of Michigan. Our goal is to advance awareness, research and treatment of the most diagnosed cancer in American men.

We will conduct two-a-days practice installing offensive and defensive schemes coached by the Michigan coaching staff. Participants will attend a typical team meeting in Schembechler Hall, review actual practice film, and suit up in the Michigan Stadium team locker room. You will have your own locker at the Big House and receive an authentic Nike game jersey.

The cost for the two day experience is $2,500 per person and includes meals and overnight accommodations at the Campus Inn Hotel where the team stays prior to every home football game. We have an outstanding event planned and we hope you will join us for a memorable experience. You can reserve your spot on Coach Carr’s team or receive additional information by contacting

As noted, all proceeds benefit charity. Last year Jon Chait went and reported back with a fascinating look inside the camp and the program. Anyone who decides to go this year is encouraged to offer up their own impressions. There is a guest post waiting for you.

Did we know this? The Chicago Tribune has an article on Alice Cooper's new golf book -- anyone who's surprised hasn't seen Wayne's World. In it, a potentially awesome addition to Mini-Me amongst the B-level Celebrity Michigan fan parade:
Cooper was born Vincent Damon Furnier in East Detroit in 1948 to a family with French Huguenot roots mixed with Sioux Indian "and a lot of Irish." (He changed his name legally to Alice Cooper in the '70s.)

The Furniers had three vital rules: "You had to be a Democrat; you had to be a Tigers fan; and you had to be a [Michigan] Wolverines fan," Cooper remembers.
(Thanks, Chicago Tribune, for specifying that. It's not like we're the Wildcats.) We can't compete with USC, obviously, but I think Mini-Me and Alice Cooper is a hell of a Celebrity Fan Deathmatch tag team.

Hey... great. A helpful commenter points out this chilling quote from BTN president Mark Silverman in a brief AP article that seems rephrased from a press release:
"We're well on our way toward ensuring that roughly half the subscribers to smaller cable systems across the Midwest have better access to their favorite Big Ten schools and teams than anytime in history," Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman said in a statement.
Yikes. Way to lower expectations. Hopefully that's just an awkward, easily misinterpreted public statement and not a reflection of revised ambition.