Schlissel expands on Brandon's resignation, comments indirectly on MGoBlog e-mails

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By Alejandro Zúñiga, Managing Sports Editor
Published November 3, 2014

As public scrutiny surrounding Dave Brandon’s employment increased last month, University President Mark Schlissel realized the Athletic Director was dominating news, not the athletic teams themselves, regarding the institution.

And that sentiment was a notable factor in Brandon's decision to resign on Friday, according to Schlissel.

Brandon, Schlissel said, noticed the same trends. So the two agreed to make mending public relations a priority, and they met more frequently in October to try and address those issues.

But last Thursday, Brandon signed his letter of resignation, and Schlissel said Friday he “agreed” with the decision. The University President elaborated further on the former Athletic Director’s resignation Monday afternoon in an interview with The Michigan Daily.

“Our meetings grew more frequent as controversies continued to bubble up,” Schlissel said. “We had engaged really in thoughtful discussions on how all this had to change in order to make the University better. The AD had actually begun making some of these changes, and I think what happened is the controversy aspects weren’t going away. They seemed to be piling on.

“The AD became the story, instead of Michigan Athletics being the story, and our students and the goodness that we want to achieve through working at the University. I think that’s what led the AD to realize that it was time for him to step away for the good of the athletic program and the University as a whole.”

Brandon had been criticized heavily for raising ticket prices, deviating from tradition and alienating students and alumni, and he was subject of another major controversy last week. On Oct. 28, MGoBlog.com published dozens of e-mails reportedly from the former Athletic Director to fans.

“I suggest you find a new team to support,” Brandon wrote in one. “We will be fine without you. Have a happy life…”

Other e-mails reportedly from Brandon were also met with anger and disapproval from the public. He told one to “quit drinking and go to bed,” and wrote to another, “I am sorry you are ‘upset.’ ”

Two days after MGoBlog.com’s report, Brandon stepped down.

The negotiations resulting in Brandon’s settlement are “confidential to the extent allowed by the law,” according to the document, limiting Schlissel’s ability to discuss the extent to which the e-mails pushed Brandon to resign.

“One thing I will say is I expect everybody who works at this public university to treat the public with respect,” Schlissel said. “That’s a sort of condition of working at this university.

“Everybody should be respectful to the public we serve.”

Watch the full interview below.