Brandon: Night game in 2013
Athletic director plans one a year starting in 2013; will it be Irish again?
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Get ready for another football game at night in Michigan Stadium.
While Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon would not divulge who the opponent would be, he did say there will be a night game in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 2013.
He also ruled out playing a night game against either one of the Mid-American Conference schools. Brandon said he wants each night game -- he plans on one per season after 2012 -- to be a big game and special.
So is Notre Dame that game, meaning the Irish and Wolverines would play at night for three straight seasons?
"Maybe," Brandon said after a question-and-answer session with the Detroit Economic Club on Wednesday.
Brandon spoke to the club for roughly 45 minutes and answered questions on an array of topics:
• Brandon said the jerseys worn at the Cowboys Classic game will be a one-off jersey and the team will wear standard home and road jerseys the rest of the season. He did not rule out, though, a special bowl game jersey.
• He approached Connecticut with moving the 2013 football game at Rentschler Field to the Meadowlands -- the Meadowlands, Brandon said, had shown significant interest -- but Connecticut wouldn't budge.
• Brandon continued his message of a college football playoff being a "slippery slope" and said Michigan would not have been able to play another competitive football game after the Allstate Sugar Bowl due to injuries.
• Brandon said television networks are fighting over broadcasting Michigan's game against Appalachian State in 2014. He also said the way the Big Ten sets the Wolverines' schedule -- currently they have a lot of their marquee league opponents at home or on the road in all the same season -- dictates what non-conference games he looks at.
• The kerfuffle between Brandon and Michigan's Marching Band about traveling to Dallas happened because the band made a decision to fly instead of the initial plan to bus to Texas. It meant a bigger budget line as Michigan had initially allotted $100,000 for band travel and the band's estimate was "four times" that. Eventually, between Michigan payment and donations from others, they ended up with about a $200,000 price tag to send the band.
• Brandon is in the process of fundraising to set up a program to help former Michigan athletes transition into the business world. "When you look at it statistically, the odds of somebody making a living or the odds of somebody becoming independently wealthy because of their ability to play a sport is less than one percent," Brandon said. "Most of these 865 student-athletes that are on our campus right now have to figure out a way to support a family and make a living beyond athletics. We have to do a better job of preparing them." Brandon said the monies raised will help put together a program to help transition athletes out of athletics when they are done playing. He also felt it could end up being "a competitive advantage" for Michigan because he said many schools don't have a program like he wants to offer. Part of it would be a network of matching former athletes with people who are hiring, similar to a career services center.
• Brandon said Michigan would not be opposed to playing either a spring game or, if NCAA rules changed and allowed exhibition games, an exhibition at Ford Field in Detroit. It is unlikely a Michigan regular season game would be at Ford Field, though. "Maybe a spring game, sure," Brandon said. "But it would have to be big enough to make people at Ford Field happy. We don't sell tickets to the spring game." Brandon said an exhibition game would work there and that he would be an advocate of adding an exhibition, however it would have to be similar to the scrimmages between teams in the NFL now instead of the actual preseason games.
• The only thing Brandon wouldn't discuss is the No. 1 jersey -- not even whether or not he'd consider adorning a Legends patch to that. "I don't want anything to do with the 1 jersey," Brandon said. "I have no opinions, views or interest in the 1 jersey. That's totally a coach's decision."
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