Nov. 10, 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, mgoblue.com/brandon, and he is also on Twitter at @DaveBrandonAD
One of the guiding principles we embrace at Michigan Athletics is "The Team, The Team, The Team!"
Bo Schembechler coined the phrase, and I can say with great certainty it is used within the walls of the Michigan Athletic Department on a daily basis.
The importance of team is a concept that transcends sports. Great teams pull together for a common cause. The combined effort of the team creates passion and a resolve to be successful.
There are approximately 275 members of the Michigan Athletic Department team and another 850 student-athletes who compete in one of our 29 sports programs. These folks are all special and important, but they do not compose the entire Michigan family. Our fans and those who graciously donate to the University of Michigan are also critically important members of the Michigan family.
All our teams are vitally important to our success at Michigan Athletics. And like any good team, we have to improve to remain competitive and compete for championships.
Just a few days ago, I was signing a large number of thank-you letters to our donors who have endowed athletic scholarships. I also signed an equal number of letters to the student-athletes who will receive the benefit of these donors' generosity. All I could think about was how lucky we are to have these amazing individuals who have been willing to invest in Michigan Athletics in this important way.
Donor support for scholarships is tremendously important. U-M spends significantly more (approximately 19 percent) on scholarships than any other Big Ten institution.
Our Athletic Department is self-sustaining. We receive no outside funding from the taxpayers of the State of Michigan or the general fund of the University. Our ability to operate is a result of our ability to generate revenues in every way possible, and donor support is simply critical to our survival -- and success.
For each of its sports, the U-M Athletic Department funds the full scholarship limit allowed by the NCAA, at an average cost of almost $50,000 per full scholarship. (For our 2011-2012 academic year, scholarship expenses total nearly $17.3 million.)
It is impossible to continue to support our student-athletes in this way without the aid of our donors. In 1990, the Endowed Scholarship Program was created. Today, nearly 200 of our 500 student-athletes receive aid benefit from the Endowed Scholarship program.
Our ability to stay self-supporting and financially strong is paramount as we continue to offer even more opportunities for Michigan student-athletes.
"The Team, The Team, The Team" is a wonderful ideal for us all to embrace -- now and in the future. Our donor team is so important and so appreciated!
On behalf of our student-athletes, their parents and families, our coaches, and everyone at U-M Athletics, I want to express our sincere gratitude to those individuals who have endowed scholarships to help us all -- as we relentlessly strive to make Michigan Athletics the Leaders and Best in every way!!