The University of Michigan, the winningest college football program of all time, has found itself in a never-ending pit fall. When a team plays badly, who do you blame? The players? The coaches? After a 2-4 start to the 2014 football season, disappointed Michigan football fans have unified together to destroy the perceived enemy—the athletic director Dave Brandon. In Machiavelli’s The Prince, Machiavelli advises politicians how to maintain their power. As the “prince” of Michigan athletics, Brandon must be able to keep his constituents, or fans, happy. Because of Brandon’s lack to do so, Brandon is skating on thinner ice than the melting polar caps in the Arctic.
It seems that the Michigan football team finds a way to set new all-time low records each week. Against Notre Dame, Michigan was shut out for the first time since 1984. Following a loss to Minnesota, Team 135 became the first team in Michigan football history to lose three games before October. The team is just terrible. Machiavelli states that “if the people have property outside the city, and see it burnt, they will not remain patient.” The season ticket owners are seeing their property, a share of the Michigan football team, burn to the ground right in front of their eyes, week after week. The once glorified and feared Michigan football team has become the laughing stock of college football and most fans blame Michigan’s “prince.”
The Wolverines are getting dangerously close to ending the 250-plus streak of having over 100,000 people attend the home games. The Big House is becoming empty and the student section looks as weak as it ever has. Aside from the die-hard Michigan football fans, what kind of fan would want to spend $280 on seven, non-marquee, home games? Machiavelli warns that a prince should avoid doing “everything he can to get money” because that will cause an uproar amongst the people. Student season ticket prices at the University of Michigan are higher than any other college in the country; therefore, most student season ticket holders view Dave Brandon as greedy.
With a terrible football team and high ticket prices, Dave Brandon’s career as athletic director at the University of Michigan appears to be coming to a close. Machiavelli claims “that a prince can never secure himself against a hostile people, because of their being too many.” The University of Michigan has the largest alumni population in the entire country. When the fans are upset, which they have been for quite some time, changes must be made.
With a massive alumni base and a petition with over 11,000 signatures trying to fire Brandon, it appears inevitable that Michigan will get a new Athletic Director by the end of the 2014-2015 academic year. Machiavelli believes that, in order to stay in power, the “prince” must not upset and torture his people. Dave Brandon, acting as Michigan’s “prince,” has failed in keeping the Michigan fans happy and proud; therefore, his reign as Athletic Director will most likely come to an end.