After students rallied on the Diag Sept. 30 to call for Dave Brandon’s removal as the University’s athletic director, these fans finally have their wish.

University President Mark Schlissel announced at a press conference Friday that he had accepted Brandon’s resignation from his post as athletic director. Schlissel selected University alum Jim Hackett, one of Brandon’s former teammates on the football team and the former CEO of furniture manufacturing company Steelcase, as interim athletic director.

Brandon’s resignation comes after weeks of calls for his firing, ignited by the failure of Michigan football coach Brady Hoke to remove sophomore quarterback Shane Morris from play after an on-field injury during the Sept. 27 game against Minnesota. This incident, in addition to displeasure with the general admission football student ticket policy last year and the University administration’s perceived mishandling of former Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons’ “permanent separation” from the University for violating the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, inspired a petition calling for Brandon’s firing and a “Fire Dave Brandon” rally on Schlissel’s front lawn last month. The petition garnered more than 11,000 signatures, from students and alumni.

Since then, Brandon admitted in an Oct. 2 interview with The Michigan Daily that leaving Morris in the game was a “failure of communication.” Last week, he also announced an agreement with CSG President Bobby Dishell, a Public Policy senior, to lower student football season-ticket prices by nearly 40 percent for next year. Dishell said the Athletic Department should uphold its promise of lower ticket prices regardless of who the athletic director is and that he has not heard anything to indicate otherwise.

In a statement released after Schlissel’s press conference, Dishell wrote that CSG commends the president’s handling of the situation, saying he has done a good job keeping students’ interests and needs at the forefront.

Dishell wrote that this is a chance for athletics and the school to move forward and that he hopes student input will continue to be included.

“We hope to really be involved in the process for selecting the next athletic director and on the search committee because, as we’ve seen, the student voice is incredibly influential to this, to the athletic director and to the community,” Dishell said in an interview.

A protest during the Nov. 1 Homecoming game against Indiana was planned earlier in the week to call for Brandon’s firing, but was called off after Schlissel’s announcement. The “White Out” was organized by Public Policy senior Craig Kaplan, who said he would continue to give out T-shirts with “The Team, The Team, The Team” written on them, though he considered crossing out the message “#FireDaveBrandon.”

Kaplan credited Brandon for his work raising money and improving infrastructure for athletics, but said there is opportunity for the department now to improve. He said with Brandon officially gone, the next step is the “road to recovery.”

“We want to make sure that everyone is having the best experience possible,” Kaplan said. “Obviously, we want to make sure that all of our student-athletes are safe and we want to make sure that all of our programs are staying competitive.”

Rackham student Zeid El-Kilani drafted the original petition calling for Schlissel to fire Brandon at the end of September, which currently has 11,351 signatures. El-Kilani said he respected Brandon for resigning.

“It’s a really good time, right before Homecoming,” El-Kilani said. “Making sure it doesn’t hang over Homecoming and that we come together as a Michigan community.”

LSA junior Cooper Charlton, president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, said he didn’t see the resignation coming. In fact, Charlton said he’d been talking with Brandon and Dishell about ways they could assist Brandon and take proactive measures to make students’ perceptions of the Athletic Department more positive.

Charlton added that student-athletes always felt Brandon “had their best interests at heart,” and for that reason he found the former athletic director’s resignation “a little upsetting.”

Speaking to Brandon’s strengths, Charlton cited the improvements that had been made to many facilities for revenue and non-revenue sports, and the development of the men’s and women’s varsity lacrosse programs.

With regard to Hackett’s appointment, Charlton said he hopes the interim athletic director will place more of an emphasis on campus connectivity, which will help give what he calls “a true Michigan experience” to all students and athletes alike.

At 2:30 p.m. Friday, approximately 50 students gathered on the Diag hoping to receive the “White Out” shirts, and at 2:45, they were delivered.

Engineering junior Samantha Taylordean was among those in the crowd and said she was “relieved” by Schlissel’s decision to accept Brandon’s resignation.

“He was not good for the program, he was not good for the students and he had very little respect for this University’s accomplishments on and off the field, which I feel was best exemplified by Shane Morris’ concussion and how that whole situation was handled,” she said. “There is nothing more important to the athletic director’s job than the safety of student-athletes and I think the way he handled it was horrible; he hasn’t really inspired a lot of trust.”

Talyordean said she hopes Hackett will be more open to students’ concerns regarding University athletics, and also hopes that he is committed to tradition and family values, which she feels are central to the University.

“I would really like if the interim athletic director, and the one that’s going to be here permanently, would be more receptive to student comments moving forward,” she said. “There’s no reason to essentially destroy your student fan base, who are going to become alumni and support your program, when you just want to make money.”

Other students expressed interest in the new athletic director allocating resources to improve the performance of University athletic teams.

“I thought it was about time,” said Engineering sophomore Zachary Cavazos. “The football prices this year were really, really high, and lowering them was a good first step, but at this point it’s just not enough.”

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