Brandon's Blog: Let's Rock the Big House - Respectfully

Aug. 26, 2011

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 something about attending a sports event that brings a community together. You see courage and loyalty on the field. In the stands, that feeling brings about a sense of togetherness that gives the supporters a feeling of pride. You can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices.

Fans can also show the ugly side of sports as we noticed this week with the fighting in the stands and shootings in the parking lot at preseason NFL football games.

There is truly a fine line between what makes these fan experiences fun and what can make these same experiences scary.

That fine line is called respect.

This past week, Michigan State director of athletics Mark Hollis and I spent an afternoon together at a Marketing and Sale Executives of Detroit luncheon in Novi.

Yes, we traded a few barbs, and yes, I am sure he would like to see MSU win every game against Michigan. I know because I want to see the Maize and Blue go undefeated against the Spartans. Our rivalry is epic.

However, the battles need to be kept between the lines of competition and in line with the rules of the game being played.

I think the relationship Mark and I have developed is the type of relationship we need to foster in sport.

The U-M/MSU AD golf match we had at Eagle Eye Golf Club in July was sports camaraderie at its best.

Oh, each team wanted to win. Players mentioned how their nerves came into play. There were sweaty palms, and probably a few "yips" on the green. And when the match was over, there was some fun "trash talk," but there were more laughs and hugs -- and respect for each other.

This is not a new idea in sports. When the American Football Coaches Association formed in the 1920s, one of the founding fathers was our own Fielding H. Yost. And this is what he said:

"Every one of us here likes to think of the immense values that come to us from intercollegiate athletics and especially football. In my judgment, this hinges entirely on the fact of whether you have real good sportsmanship and fine efforts. The object of all intercollegiate competition should be the result in college friendliness and confidence and goodwill. That never can be developed unless we have good sportsmanship and good ethics ..."

So, this year, let's make the Big House rock. We want our fans to be loud and supportive of our Wolverines. We also want our fans to represent this institution with class.

If we can build upon what Yost created with his vision for Michigan Stadium, we can surely take Yost's vision for sportsmanship and good ethics to a new level.

Go Blue!

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