One of Dave Brandon’s most powerful backers has apparently softened his support for the embattled University Athletic Director

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal Monday, University alum Stephen Ross — who donated $200 million to the University last year to be divided evenly between the Athletic Department and the Business School that bears his name — said he “won’t interfere or oppose a decision to fire Brandon.”

“I don’t think alumni should control universities,” he told the Journal. “We have a great president and he is running the University and not me.”

This stance is a shift for Ross, who just a month ago said in a Wall Street Journal interview that Brandon is “as qualified to be an athletic director as anyone could be” and should keep his current position at the University.

The public change in opinion comes after Brandon announced initiatives to appease students disillusioned with the Athletic Department, namely the lowering of student football season ticket prices by nearly 40 percent.

Despite this concession, Public Policy senior Craig Kaplan, who helped lead the protest in support of Brandon’s firing earlier this month, worked with a donor to create, purchase and distribute shirts that continue to call for Brandon’s dismissal.

Regardless, the decision to keep or fire Brandon rests with University President Mark Schlissel.

See below for a timeline summarizing this year’s backlash against the Athletic Department.

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