Brandon's Blog: Bates Focused on Student-Athlete Education, Welfare
Percy Bates

Feb. 27, 2012

University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon will regularly offer his view on a variety of topics related to U-M and intercollegiate sports. All his posts, along with links to related content, will be available on his page,, and he is also on Twitter at @DaveBrandonAD.

There is no exact blueprint for being a Faculty Representative in college athletics. The job description varies throughout all schools. The emphasis on athletics, the individual school's philosophy and culture, and the personality of the individual are just part of what makes each Faculty Athletics Rep position unique.

While the approaches are different, certain areas of responsibility are mandatory at all universities.

The Faculty Athletics Representatives Association Handbook makes it perfectly clear this individual must involve a faculty viewpoint in the administration of intercollegiate athletics programs. He or she also helps maintain the highest regard for the academic and personal well-being of student-athletes.

The Faculty Representative is the liaison between academics and athletics. This person must keep a watchful eye on the institution's integrity and reputation.

For the past 22 years, we have been fortunate to have professor Percy Bates as our Faculty Representative. He has represented the University of Michigan in legislative matters at the Big Ten Conference and within the NCAA.

Percy has served on numerous committees and councils throughout the years.

As the chair of the NCAA Management Council, he served as the head of the major NCAA governing board. He also served a major role as the liaison from the NCAA to the Student Athletic Advisory Committee.

There were times during his tenure when Percy had to deal with the sting of rules violations and issues with student-athletes. Those days he might have wondered why he ever volunteered to be selected for this position! It is a tough job -- one that requires a great deal of time, diligence and effort.

But though the challenging times and the good times, Percy has done a remarkable job steering us through it all and keeping us grounded.

Game days are fun, but getting to know and work with student-athletes is the rewarding part of all of our positions in the athletic department. And as Percy prepares to step down from his position on June 30, it will be important for our student-athletes to understand who will fill his role, who will be their mentor, who will be their voice when it's needed.

Our new Faculty Rep, Anne Curzan, will have some big shoes to fill, but President Mary Sue Coleman is confident she will meet and exceed those expectations. And, after spending some time with Anne, so am I!

Hopefully, Anne will have the same experiences Percy Bates realized. The relationships, the friends and the service to a great university are wonderful memories Percy can take with him.

One of his most memorable moments blossomed into a relationship that will not end on June 30.

A few years back, while interviewing an incoming student-athlete, questions about the student's eligibility were brought forward by the admissions office. Percy said the high school student looked at everyone in the room and said, "If you admit me to the University of Michigan, you will never regret it."

The committee recommended him for admission, and four years later he sent a letter to the group. He wanted everyone who was on that committee to attend his graduation.

The student-athlete was Pierre Woods.

Percy watched this young man develop as a student and as an athlete during Woods' four years at U-M.

The day Pierre graduated was special not only for Pierre but also for Percy.

The committee believed in Pierre Woods. And there was a certain intangible quality Percy noticed in Woods.

When the young man made good on his promise, Percy Bates was as proud as any father could be. Now, every Father's Day, Percy receives a card from Woods in gratitude for his help.

This story really epitomizes the role of the Faculty Athletics Representative. These moments are what make the job important and rewarding.

Professor Percy Bates has made a tremendous impact on this athletic department and our student-athletes over a long period of time. This will never be forgotten.

Percy, thank you for all you did for Michigan.

Go Blue!

Bates to Step Down as Faculty Athletics Representative June 30 (2/21/2012)
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