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September 24, 2014 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-09-24

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88

EVOLUTION
From Page 7B
confirmed.
And though commercialization is with-
in the Athletic Department's contractual
rights, it doesn't mean fans are always
receptive.
Last year, a macaroni and cheese noodle
'im Kraft in the north side of the stadium
upset fans enough that it was removed from
the premises within a week. The march-
ing band, once used as the primary form of
entertainment, is replaced by music played
through the speakers.
"If it wasn't broke, don't break it," Bacon
said, referring to the organic Michigan
Marching Band chants that once held the
place of piped in music. "Yes, things change,
and I get that."
"The most fundamental thing occurred
organically, from students, fans, the band,
ATHLETICS
From Page 5B
ed to insure that our students can excel in
academics and in competition," Klawunn
wrote. "It is very important that our stu-
dents excel in both areas."
Klawunn added that Brown's athletics
do not attract similar audiences to those
at Michigan sporting events,
given the
smaller
7ze of the
school's student body and the
reputation of the Ivy League's
sports division in general.
Schlissel said during his three
years at Brown, the sum total
of ticket sales for athlet-
ics events probably did not
amount to that of one game in
the Big House.
As Provost, Schlissel over-
saw all of Brown's budgeting,
which includes athletics. At
the University of Michigan,
University Provost Martha
Pollack does not oversee fund-
ing for athletics. Instead,
Jason Winters, the Athletic
Department's chief financial
officer, oversees funding and
reports to Brandon, who in turn reports
to the University's governing Board of
Regents and the University President. As
Schlissel noted, the Athletics Department
at the University is entirely self-support-
ing - which is not a common funding
model when compared to nearly every
oYer national university.
By the numbers, Brown has 900 stu-
dent-athletes involved in 31 varsity sports.
In comparison, the University has 29 var-
sity sports with 931 students. Though the
percentage of student-athletes overall is
technically larger at Brown, the Univer-
sity's budget is larger. But that distinction,
however, comes with the University's

the 'Go Blue' cheer," he added. "We don't
need a scoreboard to tell us when to say 'Go
Blue' - we do that together. That is a place
that doesn't need tobe programmed."
University alum Ari Schorr, a market-
ing professional with Microsoft in Seattle,
understands that over time, Michigan ath-
letics will become more of a business.
"It doesn't bother me, it's just something
we have to accept about college sports,"
Schorr said. "There is a commercialization
in that it's almost like a professional sport."
At the end of the day, Michigan isn't a
professional sport. It's part of what people
like Jersevic pride about being a "Michigan
Man." After all, if Michigan is one of the
"leaders and best," does it need advertise-
ments to sell its brand?
"It doesn't bother me to the point where I
monumental athletic history.
Sport and the University
It's clear that both athletics and aca-
demics are identifiable, historic aspects of

wouldn't come back," Jersevic said. "I think
it detracts from the Michigan tradition."
The game day experience at Michigan
is undergoing a change - one that moves
from selling itself independently, to one that
needs help being sold.
Lochmann and the marketing depart-
ment will continue to take advantage of
social media and online ticket ordering, uti-
lizing digital trends that continue to prog-
ress.
There will be piped in music and there
will be ads. It will be a business. It doesn't
have to be completely eliminated to still
have fans such as Jersevic or Rife or Neitzer
filling the stands. But it will.be difficult to
draw in audiences that aren't as faithful to
Michigan's history.
tee, said creating a theme semester was
the best way to do it - and potentially
launch more courses offered like this in
the future.
"We decided it would be really fun to
sponsor a theme semester on sport and
the university
RUBY WALLAU/Dailyto highlight all
these intersec-
tions - and
to see what
departments
would come up
with related
to the theme,"
Curzan wrote
in a statement.
"And it has
been exciting to
see the range of
events and top-
ics that have
come together
around this
theme."
Physics Prof.
David Gerdes,
x who works
with Curzan as
co-leader of the theme semester, said the
courses in the theme semester encompass
a myriad of aspects of the complexity of
sports: ranging from the physics of base-
ball to the history of college football.
The Athletic Department will spon-
sor several events produced by the theme
semester. For the program's kickoff, a
panel titled "Game Plan: Achieving Suc-
cess at Michigan and Beyond" was com-
prised of several distinguished professors
and accomplished coaches, including
Men's Basketball Coach John Beilein. The
panel discussed how students can reach
their goals, whether they be in sports, aca-
demics or any other field.

For now, the program is banking on fans
that believe in tradition and have been
"brainwashed," like Neitzer, to love Michi-
gan football. , .
"The Big House is what bonds us," Bacon
said. "No matter what else you have going
on campus... it's the one building on cam-
pus where everybodyiswelcome, everybody
knows what to do. ,
"You feel that energy - 100,000 of your
best friends are all feeling the same emotion
at the exact same time. There's something
very electric about that; it's a very basic
human need, and you can't get that on TV.
That's what the department should be sell-
ing."
Curzan said thetheme semester aims to
encourage students and faculty to take a
closer look at how these two monumental
parts of the University of Michigan expe-
rience interact.
"At Michigan, you find passion for aca-
demics and passion for athletics," she
said. "And we don't think that we need to
see athletics and academics as inherently
or necessarily at odds with each other."
For Schlissel, findingabalance between
athletics and academics and forming an
understanding between the two is vital.
Though the numbers may be bigger for
Schlissel, he aims to ensure the Athletic
Department upholds one value: integrity.
Since Brandon reports directly to him,
Schlissel said they have meetings every
other week to ensure their communica-
tion runs smoothly. University Athletic
Department spokesman Dave Ablauf
described their partnership as "a good
working relationship," adding that they
have met several times for dinner in addi-
tion to their regularly scheduled meet-
ings.
To get a better grasp of the department,
Schlissel is aiming to attend at least one
event every year for each varsity sport the
department offers. This goal will allow
Schlissel to interact with what he calls the
most important part of the department:
the student-athletes.
"I want to make sure the student-ath-
letes get benefits from their program,"
Schlissel said. "I want to make sure our
athletics program operates with unques-
tioned integrity, with a focus on the
athletes and the experience the student-
athletes are having."
Athletics will remaina landmark to the
University experience. As Schlissel con-
tinues to adjust to his new leadership role,
his exact approach to working with the
Athletic Department will come through.

the University. In order to examine their
relationship to each other, this year's LSA
Theme Semester was created.
Each term, LSA creates a Theme
Semester to provide a more focused group
of classes to offer to its students. This fall,
the theme is "Sport and the University."
English Prof. Anne Curzan, who
serves as the faculty liaison to the Ath-
letic Department, is one of the leaders
and organizers of the theme semester.
The idea stemmed from a committee a
few years ago aimed to identify ways to
increase courses offered at the Universi-
ty relating to sport and physical activity.
Curzan, who was part of this commit-

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