No team in college football has won more games than the University of Michigan, but like the Detroit auto industry before them, the Wolverines have lost their way in recent years. Now they are seeking to recover athletically and in the hearts and minds of their fans, including students who once held a rally to demand the departure of athletic director Dave Brandon, who resigned in 2014 to become the CEO of Toys R Us. Just how one of the most storied and tradition-rich programs in all of college sports fell from grace is no simple story, and author John Bacon devotes 450 pages and 83 shorts chapters to telling it.
Here’s an excerpt from Endzone:
“For decades, Michigan football tickets were underpriced, and the fans knew that when they scalped them for more than they paid. By 2014, the tickets were overpriced, and fans started figuring that out when they tried to sell them through StubHub and got far less.
“The fans were learning something else, too: They could drop their season tickets and get virtually the same seats, without paying for a Personal Seat Donation, or for the three weak nonconference opponents, just by going on StubHub. One fan wrote to me that he dropped his season tickets when he figured out he could buy his exact same seats from the previous season for less than a third the price he paid – and have the additional convenience of only paying for games he wanted to see, or staying home if the forecast looked bad. [Dave] Brandon [who was then the athletic director] was teaching the fans to see Michigan football tickets not as a golden invitation for a unique experience to be shared with family, friends, and 100,000 of your closest buddies, and passed down through the generations, but as a commodity to be bought and sold on the open market.”