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Archive for the ‘General Announcement’ Category

Michigan athletic department to penalize lazy student ticket holders

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

(Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services)

Following the team’s first Final Four run in 20 years, the University of Michigan’s new basketball student ticket policy will likely have the Wolverines playing in a sold-out Crisler Center for the majority of their games this upcoming season. The policy, announced this week, is designed to penalize lazy students that fail to show up to games and leave purchased tickets unused.

Late Tuesday night, The Michigan Daily revealed that the Michigan Athletic Department oversold the 3,000 available student section seats in Crisler Center. This offseason, around 4,800 of the student season packages were sold. This may be alarming to those hoping to attend every home game to watch their Wolverines, but the Athletic Department’s policy assures that every student will be able to attend the games they want, as long as they purchased the season ticket package.

Michigan’s preconference schedule will be broken down into separate “groups” of tickets, as designated by the Athletic Department. Seventy-two hours before the first game of each group, students will be required to verify which of the games in that group they plan to attend. Afterwards, students will be given only the tickets that they requested. Tickets that aren’t claimed will be resold by the Athletic Department, first to other students and then, if any remain, to the general public.

Students that fail to attend any game in which they claimed a ticket will receive a “strike,” unless the ticket is sold to someone else who attends the game. Any student that receives three strikes during the preconference season may forfeit their Big Ten basketball tickets. Each student must claim a minimum of two nonconference tickets and attend those games in order to remain eligible to claim Big Ten student tickets.

With excitement for Michigan basketball at an all-time high following a trip to the national title game the athletic department is implementing changes to its student ticket policy

In promising that no student season ticket holder will be turned away from a game they wish to attend, the Athletic Department is merely playing the percentages. Last season, an average of less than half of the total number of student ticket holders showed up to each game, and several students failed to claim their season tickets at all throughout the year. This attendance gap came during a year in which the tickets were transferred virtually onto every student’s Michigan ID card in order to make it easier to sell tickets that wouldn’t be used.

Though these new tactics have Ann Arbor in an uproar, Michigan is not the first school to “double sell” tickets. Other powerhouse basketball programs such as Duke University use this ticket policy to pack their arenas for every single home game. Duke’s student section, “The Cameron Crazies” is regarded as one of the best in all of sports and creates a formidable atmosphere for opponents visiting Cameron Stadium.

Michigan students will not lose the opportunity to be at Crisler for games they wish to attend. The policy guarantees season ticket holders a ticket to any game they claim, as long as they aren’t absent from three previously claimed games. Students can also claim and sell the tickets they can’t use, but must be sure that the buyer will attend the game in order to avoid receiving a “strike.”

What may have basketball fans so fired up, besides the inconvenience of claiming tickets a few days before the games, is the increasing boldness that Athletic Director Dave Brandon is willing to display in earning money for Michigan sports. During his short tenure running the Athletic Department, Brandon has drastically increased ticket prices for basketball. He also cashes in on the demand for Michigan football season tickets, charging those that wish to join or remain on the wait list.

However, this new basketball ticket policy may have the same effect as Brandon’s newly-implemented general admission football seating system, which is improving student attendance in the Big House. Changes were made to the football student section in response to the late arrivals of many ticket holders to the games. Head Coach Brady Hoke was publicly disgusted with having a half-filled student section at the start of every game, and the prospect of getting the best seat available has been effective in bringing students to the game before kickoff.

Similarly, Brandon hopes that this year’s basketball ticket process will fill both the lower and upper student sections in the Crisler Center. Double selling tickets is just the latest change in a series of improvements that have made Michigan Basketball one of the top programs in the country. A newly-renovated Crisler Center now boasts one of the nicest Player Development Centers in the nation, an addition that has brought some of the top recruits in the country like Glen Robinson III, Mitch McGary, Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton to Ann Arbor.

Michigan’s recent success isn’t a coincidence, as all of these changes have had an immediate impact on the basketball program. In 2012, the team spent a week ranked as the top team in the country and boasted a 17-1 home record; but it wasn’t enough to bring 3,000 students to the Crisler Center for non-marquee matchups.

Throughout the year, the Maize Rage student section was often only half-full in the upper deck despite the team’s top-five ranking and elite performance. Crisler’s 12,721-seat capacity is the second-lowest among Big Ten venues (Northwestern’s Welsh-Ryan Arena holds only 8,117) and should therefore be full for a men’s basketball team currently experiencing so much success.

The major change to the ticket process is that rather than unclaimed tickets resulting in empty seats, they will be offered to fans that want to see the team play on a less-regular basis. Seats that become available through the “claiming” process will instead be filled by those that couldn’t commit to a season ticket package.

Students that remain loyal to the team and attend the games they commit to will receive no penalty. An atmosphere that was often electric during the Big Ten season last year will be even more formidable when the Crisler Center is packed with students every game.

If students prefer, they may receive a full refund for their tickets next week, as this policy is a major change to the conditions under which the tickets were bought. The rest will be more inclined than ever to join the Maize Rage on October 29, when Michigan welcomes Concordia to Ann Arbor for the first exhibition game.

Lindy’s In the Huddle preview

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Over the past couple of months I’ve been hard at work producing the Michigan football preview magazine for Lindy’s Sports. If you bought it last year, you know the deal. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an annual preview magazine completely about Michigan football. It is 112 pages, just under 55,000 words, filled with everything you need to know to get ready for the upcoming season, including:

• Position-by-position previews
• Opponent breakdowns
• Exclusive interviews with Jeff Hecklinski and Curt Mallory
• Full analysis of the offensive transition from spread to pro style
• Taylor Lewan, Devin Funchess, Jeremy Gallon, Jake Ryan, Brendan
Gibbons player features
• Roy Manning feature
• A look back at the time the Little Brown Jug went missing
• Tons of exclusive recruiting content from Tremendous of 247 Sports, including a breakdown of the incoming freshmen class and the 2014 class, and interviews with Derrick Green, DeVeon Smith, and Michael Ferns.
• And more…

As you can see, the magazine is loaded with compelling content to whet your appetite for Michigan football until the Wolverines kick off against Central Michigan on Aug. 31. The magazine release date is Tuesday, July 9 and you can find it on most newsstands throughout Michigan and nationally at Barnes & Noble. You can also pre-order it online here, or by clicking on the ad on the righthand sidebar.

As for this site, we will begin posting our preseason content this week, so look for some opponent previews coming up in the next few days. We will continue with a couple of posts per week leading up to the week before the opening game when we will ramp into full gear. Only two months left.

Maize and Go Blue goes to the newsstand

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

As I’m sure you’re aware by now, yours truly served as the senior editor of the Michigan football season preview magazine published by Lindy’s Sports. I also wrote quite a few pieces and had the fortune of getting a host of other great writers from around the Michigan and college football blogosphere to pen some stories as well.

Yesterday, I finally got a chance to get out to Barnes & Noble and see it firsthand and snap a few photos. If you haven’t picked one up, make sure to do so. Barnes & Noble and Kroger are the two stores I know of that carry it. If you’re out of state, ordering directly from the Lindy’s site is your best bet.

In the Huddle in the wild

Holding our own with the rest of the annuals

The cover

An exclusive Q&A by yours truly with Coach Hoke

Great article about Denard's legacy by Tab Bamford

A unique look back at the 1997 national championship

The wait is over

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Happy Tuesday! Today is the day our Michigan football season preview magazine is released. It is called In The Huddle by Lindy’s Sports. If you live in Michigan, you should be able to find it at a number of locations. Outside of Michigan, I’m not sure, but the easiest way is probably to order it directly from the Lindy’s website. It’s a must have for the true Michigan fan. Packed full of information, previews, and features, you will not be disappointed. Here’s a taste of what to expect:

With months remaining before National Signing Day for the 2013 recruiting class, Michigan has the consensus top recruiting class in the country. Some of this is due to the relatively high number of commitments the coaches have secured so early in the process, but the fact remains that the coaching staff seems to have figured it out on the recruiting trail. They have worked hard to setting a strategy, identify players and effectively sell the Michigan program to the players and their families. After putting together a top-five class in 2012, the staff has now put itself in good position to top that in 2013.

Naturally, after coming into such a turbulent situation after the firing of the previous coach, Rich Rodriguez, the question is simple: How has Hoke and company been able to do it? In covering recruiting, I’ve had the chance to ask plenty of kids this very question and there is consistency in what recruits and commitments are seeing in Michigan. I’ve narrowed it down to three main factors:

First and foremost is Head Coach Brady Hoke. His message has resonated loud and clear.

“Coach Hoke is just a great guy overall who tells the truth,” said 2013 safety commitment Dymonte Thomas. “Some coaches tell kids what they want to hear and then when they get to campus it’s a whole different story. If a coach can be honest with you from the start, it makes you want to play for him.

“If they tell me they are going to do something, they do it. They told me they’d come watch me wrestle during the season and they were there multiple times. They are great guys.”

That type of sentiment has been echoed by multiple commits, even some who ended up elsewhere, and it stretches into a reputation that Hoke has built throughout his coaching career.

That’s an excerpt from a story on Hoke’s recruiting success from Steve Lorenz, also known as Tremendous. The story features several original quotes from recruits just like those from Dymonte Thomas that show just how special a coach we have guiding our Maize and Blue.

Here’s another taste of what you’ll find in the magazine:

…So Mattison’s first job was to simply walk into the first meeting and effectively say “This is what we will do, this is what we will care about, and this is who we are.” And on that score he was extremely successful. Throughout his career he’s coached a number of different defensive schemes – Bob Davie was a 3-4 coach, and before going to Florida Charlie Strong had coached the 3-3-5 at South Carolina – but Mattison came to Michigan to bring his own brand of the “4-3 Under.” And not only that, with few exceptions (most of them on passing downs when the goal was to confuse the offense) Mattison wants four down defensive linemen on every play, meaning that his “nickel” or pass defense typically still leaves in four down linemen and subs in a defensive back for a linebacker. This is what we do, and this is who we are.

But as good as Mattison’s scheme is — and it’s good — the 2011 season really was about the defensive players and their techniques. Going into the season, the good news for Michigan’s defense was that just about all of its starting defenders were back. The bad news? That all of Michigan’s defensive starters, who had performed so miserably in 2010, were back. The media constantly reminded them of how bad they were, and even well-meaning fans frequently lamented that it was their play, not that of the offense and the dazzling Denard Robinson, that had gotten their head coach fired. So when Hoke and Mattison took over, the morale was not high. And this made what they accomplished all the more special….

That’s an excerpt from a story about how Greg Mattison transformed Michigan’s porous secondary so quickly. It was written by the acclaimed Chris Brown of Smart Football and Grantland fame. He also has a book out that you should read.

Those stories and many more will be sure to quench your thirst for Michigan football over the next six weeks until Michigan takes the field against Alabama in Cobwoys Stadium. Position breakdowns, opponent previews, a road trip guide, player features, exclusive interviews with Brady Hoke and Al Borges, recruit profiles, a look back at the 1997 national championship from a unique perspective, and much more. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of In The Huddle. You won’t regret it.

Wanted: A few good men (or women)

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

As we approach another season of covering Michigan football, the time has come to expand our content offerings and output. I’m looking for a few (could be one, could be five; who knows) quality writers to join our team. I’m not going to outline any specific titles, such as recruiting analyst or beat writer but I have a few positions in mind. I’d like to see what kind of expertise and interest you have before doling out responsibilities.


• Previous writing experience is a must, whether for a blog or a high school paper or another outlet.
• You must be a passionate Michigan fan.
• An excellent working knowledge of proper grammar is highly valued.
• Also, professionalism is of utmost importance. While we may poke some fun at our rivals, we don’t cross the line.
• Previous blog experience is preferred, but not required.
• If you’re a current Michigan student looking to pursue a career in writing, sports information, or a related field, that’s a plus.

What can I give you? First of all, you’ll gain exposure. As an ever-growing and expanding site, we can give you an opportunity to get noticed. Additional opportunities may arise. For example, I edited and partially wrote this year’s Michigan season preview magazine for Lindy’s Sports, which comes out on Tuesday, July 17. I handpicked each of the writers for the magazine, so you’ll have an opportunity to be published beyond this site to diversify your portfolio. At this time, I can’t promise any pay, but from time to time, especially as we continue to grow, it’s been known to happen. However, I certainly don’t do this for the money, so you shouldn’t expect to either.

How should you apply? Please send me a writing sample or two, and in the body of the email describe your writing background and topics you’re interested in covering. I will be in touch once I review everything.

Back in the saddle again

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Sorry for my absence the past couple of months. I promise I wasn’t neglecting Michigan football; quite the opposite rather. I’m sure you’re aware of the national and regional preview guides that have been put out by Lindy’s Sports in past years. Well, this year they’re releasing individual team guides for a handful of the premier teams. Obviously, Michigan is one of them and I was given the opportunity to serve as the editor. In order to do so, however, I had to devote all of my non-working time to that. But two months, 112 pages, and over 54,000 words later, I think it turned out great. I’m excited to see the final product and you’re bound to like it as well.

The magazine hits stores on July 17, just in time for fall camp to begin. It will be sold in various stores around Michigan and nationally in Barnes & Noble. You can also pre-order it by clicking here (or on the ad on the right sidebar). It’s stuffed with all the information you’ll need to get ready for the upcoming season, including:

Position-by-position previews
A breakdown of each opponent
A guide to each of Michigan’s road destinations
Exclusive interviews with Brady Hoke and Al Borges
Chris Brown from Smart Football and Grantland breaks down how Greg Mattison and Curt Mallory were able to fix the porous secondary
Player features of Denard Robinson, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Devin Gardner, Jordan Kovacs, and Blake Countess
A look back at the 1997 national championship, 15 years later, from the perspective of sharing it with Nebraska, including exclusive quotes from Hoke and then-Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne
Tons of recruiting content from Tremendous, including breakdowns of the 2013 and current 2013 classes, analysis of Hoke’s recruiting, and exclusive interviews with Erik Magnuson, Ondre Pipkins, and Patrick Kugler
And more…

As you can see, the magazine is packed with content from some of the best Michigan insiders. You’ll definitely want to check it out for the complete season preview.

As for this site, I plan to get regular content up and going within the next week or so, bringing you right up to the season opener and then rolling into the regular in-season programing and contests. I’m looking forward to another great season of Michigan football and I know you are too. The excitement is only going to grow over the next ten weeks and we’ll do our best to get you prepared. So check back often and make sure to buy the magazine when it drops on July 17th!

Gone fishin’

Friday, May 4th, 2012

You may be wondering why you haven’t seen any new content lately. Well, don’t worry. I haven’t given up. Quite the opposite rather. I’m currently working on a Michigan football-related project that eats up the free time I have outside of my day job, which I haven’t quit either (yet). I’ll be back mid-summer, full steam ahead, as we prepare for another season of Michigan football. The site will be better than ever. And when the project I’m working on is ready, you’ll be the first to know! So enjoy your summer. Spend time with your family. Play some golf. Go fishing. Do what you do. Because a couple of months from now, your free time will be filled with maize and blue. Go Blue!

The State of the Blog Address

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

By now you have probably noticed the new look at the top of the site. You may have clicked over and thought for a brief instant that you were on the wrong site. You may found it ugly or you may have been met with surprise that it was better than the clean but bland look of the previous header. Regardless of your first impression, you probably saw clutter. Not an old-grandma’s-old-National-Geographic-magazine-and-cat-litter-cluttered-family-room clutter, but an organized clutter. And that’s the purpose of it.

As we reflect back on a successful 2011 and set our sights on 2012, we wanted to take some time to lay out the direction of this site, and the new header above serves as the first representation of that direction and our goals. The purpose is twofold.

For starters, as you were met with the clutter of words atop the page, you took a closer look and realized that each of those words represents a piece of Michigan history. Whether it be a player, a coach, a phrase or a moment, each is significant both in and of itself and as a collective whole. At an institution like Michigan with a more colorful and successful history than any other in the country, it is impossible to follow and detail the present without revering the past. Without Bo, Team 132 lacks significance. Without Crisler there’s no winged helmet. Without Yost the Big House is just another stadium. And the list goes on.

At Maize and Go Blue, we aim to pay tribute to the past as we trudge ahead into the future. The homerism and soliloquies of the ultimate wordsmith, Bob Ufer, which could not exist in today’s broadcasting landscape, have always been an inspiration of ours and are often referred to in our writing. But the last year or so has seen the quality of writing style drop off slightly in a rush for quantity. We tried to increase our output, but in doing so, decreased the amount put into each post. This year, we aim to take strides to increase the quantity while raising the quality back to what may have drawn you to us from the start.

Secondly, the clutter depicted above represents the enormity of information readily available about all things Michigan football, basketball, and beyond. That is not to say that all of that is clutter, but to say that it’s all part of one giant network of information you have at your fingertips. We know you have plenty of choices to get your Michigan fix and we’re just a small cog in the wheel, but our philosophy is and always has been that the sphere of Michigan content should exist as a team or a family rather than as rivals. Other Michigan blogs and sites may not view it that way, but that’s our position. We understand that one single blog or site simply cannot cover every aspect of Michigan football or basketball, and the individual or collective opinions, style, or focus held by each entity does not appeal to everyone in the vast Michigan fanbase. One might want hard news, another anecdotal stories, and another posts that fuel the hype machine.

MGoBlog is always the cream of the crop. The quality, quantity, and timeliness of content is unrivaled and something to look up to, not to try to overtake. It should be the number one stop for Michigan content. There are also other great Michigan sites out there, each special in its own niche: MVictors for its Michigan history, Hokeamaniac for its enthusiasm, creativity and engagement, UMHoops for its basketball content, and others for their recruiting focus.

It is our opinion that the Michigan fanbase is better off with more quality content from multiple trusted sources than from just one source with one voice, one opinion, and one bias. And so a goal of 2012 is to become and remain one of the go-to trusted sources in the Michigan blogosphere – the stress of that sentence being one of. We don’t want you to only read Maize and Go Blue. We want you to read MGoBlog, MVictors, Hokeamaniac, UMHoops, and many more. You’ll be better informed, and a more well-equiped fan base leads to a better gameday experience as well as more knowledgeable conversation and arguments with those unfortunate enough to root for other teams.

We have never existed for the purpose of making money or of generating hits. While those are welcome byproducts of this site, we want those to come organically and they will never become the end to justify the means. This site exists to enhance the quality of Michigan content for the ravid fanbase, and when it stops doing that, it will cease to exist. We believe in doing things the right way without compromise.

Another core philosophy of ours, which falls in line with our purpose, is that we are not here to break news. The reason behind this was touched upon in yesterday’s MGoBlog’s piece on the false reporting of Joe Paterno’s death. The minute we start chasing the carrot, searching for clicks and page views at the expense of quality and credibility, is the moment of our demise. We’ll leave the news-breaking to the “real” journalists and hit-chasers. It’s not the sexy view, but while sex sells, credibility lasts. And when credibility gets damaged by misinformation or laziness in a rush to be the first to report, it’s nearly impossible to earn it back.

We do this for fun. We do this because we enjoy writing. We do this because in doing so it helps us learn more every day about the team we love, and in turn, educating you. We don’t live in our parents’ basement as some would like you to believe all bloggers do. We all have wives and kids and full time jobs, and thus, cannot dedicate eight hours a day to this craft. We know we, like most blogs, are looked down upon by those in the media who do this for a living, but that’s ok because we’re not in it for the notoriety or the five seconds of fame. It’s a labor of love.

With the above purpose and philosophy in mind, we present to you our goals for the coming year:

To be more engaging. The great thing about sports is that we can all have an opinion even if we’re fans of the same team. We can differ about whether firing Rich Rod was the right choice or not. We can banter about whether Devin Gardner should have seen the field more last season. But we can come together on Saturdays as one.

At Maize and Go Blue, we’re only as good as our readers. We value the opinions of everyone, whether we agree or not. And thus, we want to hear your opinion. In doing so, it will help us come up with new story ideas and better contribute to the Michigan community.

If you haven’t already done so, please take a minute to follow us on twitter and like us on Facebook. Feel free to shoot us an email with questions, comments, tips, advice, inside information, or ask for dating advice. One piece of feedback we received last year was that our contact information was too hard to find, so we added it to the header at the top of the page. Now, there’s no excuse not to engage.

To keep it fun and to reward you. Whether it’s through contests, such as the Michigan Man 5-Spot Challenge that we ran throughout football season, or periodic trivia questions, or just simply rewarding a loyal reader or Twitter/Facebook follower, we want to make it worthwhile for you to keep coming back. We’ll definitely bring the Challenge back next football season, but we’re also looking to develop different unique contests for you to be a part of.

The M Den gift cards, Michigan t-shirts, commemorative pint glasses, and Three and Out books were just the tip of the iceberg. Some came from donations but most were purchased out of pocket. Therefore, we ask that you consider making a donation. As mentioned in our core philosophy, our main goal is not to make money, and we certainly do not want you paying us. Any money you choose to donate will be invested back into prizes, keeping the site functional and upgrading it, and making improvements to the site experience overall. We will never collect a profit from your donations.

Choosing to donate is completely optional and we will never guilt you into doing so, but consider this: you join a March Madness pool at work or a fantasy football league with buddies. You’re usually putting in ten or twenty bucks. So consider this the same.

To take it to the next level. We’re looking to hire a few positions to help grow the site and produce more and better content. If you’re a writer, an aspiring writer, a UM journalism or photography student, or just an avid Michigan fan with some writing background please email us at We have a lot of ideas that we’d like to implement, but can’t do so without the extra bandwidth.

In closing, we have enjoyed significant growth in 2011 and there are several people who made this possible. As the owner/editor Maize and Go Blue, I would like to thank Chris, Josh, and Matt for their contributions up to this point. The time you guys have put in does not go unappreciated and has been essential to helping this site get to where it is today compared to a year ago. I hope we can add more talent to the staff and continue to provide the kind of information that adds to our readers’ Michigan experience. And to our readers, thank you for reading, participating, and continually coming back. We hope you will continue to do so in 2012.

Hello my Friend

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

As the lockout came to an end Monday morning, I decided to follow suit and bring my hibernation to a close as well. In reality, while players and owners were squabbling over contracts, signing bonuses, and revenue sharing over the past few months, I was busy ushering in life, moving my family from Manhattan to the Chicago suburbs, and planning for an NFL season regardless of whether there was going to be one or not.

My daughter Brooklyn Mae was born on the day the lockout began, March 11, and just in time to watch the Michigan basketball team beat Illinois and lock up a spot in the NCAA Tournament. In the four and-a-half months since, she’s been busy trying to learn the words to The Victors all the while resisting the evil influences of my wife’s Notre Dame fandom.

At the end of May, we got the opportunity to return to our Midwest roots, thus ending our five-year stint in the greatest city in the world. While college football Saturdays were nowhere near what they are in the Midwest, it was nearly impossible to walk the streets of Manhattan any day of the week wearing a Michigan hat or shirt without hearing a hearty “Go Blue!” from a passerby. We loved our time there, but Brooklyn’s birth sparked a need to return closer to family.

The move also brought me into my company’s main office in downtown Chicago where I’ve been busy gearing up for the NFL season. Despite the lockout, my work has been ramping up throughout the summer since I manage Verizon’s on-site sponsorship activation at 17 NFL venues. This fall will bring me to a city near you nearly every weekend and I plan to watch the games with you at the local UM alumni game watching party in whichever city I’m in (except for Oct. 8, when I’ll be watching our boys thump Northwestern live in Evanston).

As I reclaim this space, I’m excited for what’s to come. A new season of Michigan football is nearly upon us and with it brings the hope of a new, tradition-restoring coach, the downfall of our archenemy, and history in the making.

In the weeks leading up to kickoff on Sept. 3, I’ll be previewing this season’s opponents, beginning with a look at Western Michigan by the end of the week. I’ll also be launching a season-long contest with (hopefully) some exciting weekly- and grand prizes, so stay tuned for that.

All in all, I’m glad to be back in the Michigan blogosphere and I look forward to joining you in rooting on our beloved Maize and Blue each week. Who knows, I may even buy you a beer.

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