I wasn’t going to write a column about Michigan football. In fact, I had half an article on education reform typed up and ready to go. But, I suppose my journalist senses were telling me to strike while the iron was hot — or in this case not — and talk about some long needed reforms in Michigan football. Since I’m in an educational mindset, I’ll spell it out.

Devin Eggert

M stands for Marketing. From the big block ‘M’ to “THE TEAM, THE TEAM, THE TEAM” plastered on jumbotrons, our T-shirts and our hearts. We are the “Leaders and Best” at outreach. I really do believe that — and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Recently though, it hurts when I see those messages flashed on the big screen. I question whether or not our program reflects our values. At times, I feel like I’m playing dress-up in the stadium with my bright maize and blue. When I was walking back to North Campus from the Utah game, drenched, I wondered whether I was a team member or a spot to fill on ESPN’s shot of the student section.

I’m tired of the artificial feel.

I stands for In 1969. I sympathize with the alumni who will absolutely not take any criticisms of our team. Back then, it was not all glory days. Major challenges were overcome. However, the atmosphere is much different than what I was promised entering the University. I want it to be about football, friends and families rooting for underdogs, topdogs and such. Yet, promises remain hollow as the University’s marketing pocketbooks remain wholesome. It’s wrong to still be banking so much off of Bo Schembechler’s honorable legacy. I’m starting to see tactics instead of respect, a son that relies on dad’s legacy to stay relevant.

I, and perhaps many recent alumni, don’t feel the personal connection that older alumni feel.

C stands for Challenges. If I can figure out how to fully finance my room and board at the University, work two jobs and get good grades while balancing my other commitments like so many of my friends — you all can do the one job you’re getting paid multimillions of dollars to do. There are so many excuses, it’s ridiculous. “He needs five years.” “We lost this guy or that guy.”If you’re not going to give me a free ticket for my troubles, I’m not going to give you a free by-pass to sit on your millions of dollars, because not every statistic is right.

I’m not asking that we win — I’m asking that if we lose it’s not for embarrassing reasons under our control. Step up to challenges.

H stands for Honor. “The Team, The Team, The Team.” Tell me how I should feel as a collegiate woman in the stands shouting, “The Team,” knowing that former kicker Brendan Gibbons was put on the field. Gibbons was given the privilege to play beside men who truly upheld the values of the University on and off the field. Scoring points was chosen over principles that directly affect me. In the Minnesota game we witnessed sophomore quarterback Shane Morris, with a potential concussion, put in for a play that resulted in virtually nothing anyway. A collegiate man’s safety was chosen over the use of a timeout or a third- or fourth-string player with a full scholarship.

An honorable game is not only told by the scoreboard.

I stands for I SHOULD be able to afford to pay for my siblings to go to a freaking football game. Even with everything going on, I STILL want to take my little brothers and sisters to a football game. I feel GUILTY that I can’t afford to purchase my family tickets. If this is a program so geared toward the legacy of family at football games, it would make sense for there to be some MAJOR discount available for at least one family game/family ticket package. This is about the University community. At least that’s what Marketing tells me.

We’re not all rich here.

G stands for Game Day. Sorry Scrooge, Tiny Tim is making a ruckus in the stadium. You’re raising ticket prices, not allowing us to buy tickets with friends, switching idiotic seating regulations constantly and not giving us a community and family feel. When seat-filling times get desperate on your end due to your own terrible management skills, do you think we’re going to grant you any favors?

“Miscommunication caused the ‘two Cokes for two tickets’ national embarrassment.” The ‘100,000 stadium attendance’ mark is in jeopardy. Scrooge, Tiny Tim isn’t an idiot.

A stands for Attitude. Our mascot is a freaking Wolverine — the most badass, terrorizing, little badger of our animal kingdom — known for attacking caribou many times its size. You’re chanting you’re a Wolverine? A real Michigan Wolverine? Then fight. Watch a full YouTube video of a wolverine attacking a large animal. Tell me when you stop watching. Do you leave when the small animal gets hit? No, you would leave when you don’t see the fight in the wolverine anymore. That’s just sad to watch. Think of that next time the audience leaves. We’re with you, Wolverines. We’re paying absurd prices to stay. We want to root for you.

N stands for Not the NFL. My high school history teacher told our class that he never watches NFL. He only watches college football, because that’s where he sees the passion. Real kids who have having something on the line — not someone on a contract.

“Those Who Stay Will Be Champions.” Deserve to Stay.

If you can sell me that next game or next year, I’ll gladly pay.

So, there are my two-cents about the true price of a Michigan football ticket in 2014. Its answer lies in what we’re selling. You can take it or leave it. Unfortunately, you can’t trade it in for a Coke.

Devin Eggert can be reached at deeggert@umich.edu.

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