Brandon's Blog: Healthy Rivalry Starts with Respect
Dave Brandon

Oct. 18, 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.

This is the week to literally savor "Pure Michigan" from every point of view. The beautiful colors of autumn, the Detroit Tigers fighting for a World Series championship, and the Michigan vs. Michigan State football game make this a perfect week to be a Michigander.

Over the past few weeks, Mark Hollis, Michigan State's athletics director, has joined me for a number of events to talk about our schools and show that indeed a Spartan and Wolverine can work side by side and enjoy each other's company.

This past Wednesday (Oct. 17), Hollis and I were the guest speakers at the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association luncheon in Southfield. We talked about the game and made sure we had a few one-liners ready for each other. U-M radio network color analyst Jim Brandstatter and MSU play-by-play man George Blaha also joined in on the fun as we discussed a number of topics.

This wasn't the only recent media get-together for the two of us. Last week, we were both part of Paul W. Smith's morning show on WJR. Governor Rick Snyder hosted the show in place of Paul, and Mark and I handled the sports reporting duties as well as participating in some of the guest interviews the governor lined up for the show. It was a lot of fun!

Yes, we do throw playful jabs at one another. Yes, we both bleed the colors of our school. And yes, we both want to win!!

However, just because we are not going to have dinner on Saturday night after the football game doesn't mean we don't have a healthy respect for each other's academic and athletic programs. We know the rivalry between our two schools is special.

Sports provide some of the best examples of healthy competition. Unfortunately, sometimes the poor behavior of teams and their fans is the thing that is most remembered by the general public.

Successful collegiate athletic programs are more than just wins and losses. The programs that shine are the ones that have administrators, coaches, student-athletes and fans who have integrity and demonstrate sportsmanship. A win by any means does nothing to build a proud and respected tradition.

To win with the right combination of skill, integrity and class produces a real value to everyone associated with the sport, the team and the university. It is a value reflected by the education, values and culture of the institution they represent.

On Saturday, when fans enter Michigan Stadium, they will be greeted by Michigan Athletics staff with smiles and a helpful hand. Once inside the bowl of Michigan Stadium, fans will be cheering for their team.

There is no doubt we want to make full use of the home field advantage. A Michigan win is important to our program's success.

I hired Brady Hoke to lead our football program for many reasons. One important reason is because he is the coach we need to build the Michigan football program with a commitment to the values of our university. Our fans are an extension of his team.

We all need to be ready to come to Michigan Stadium with our game face on -- ready to play, ready to watch with the ideal of winning the right way.

We are all part of The Team, The Team, The Team!!!

Go Blue!

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