Most Darren Rovell tweets make you dumber. This one does not, just sadder.
Ed: Dave Brandon actually responded on Twitter. I C&P his reply below. He says it was a letter vs a call and that he didn't reply. I don't think this invalidates the post, but in the interest of truth, there's that.
Rich people are weird. Very weird. Don't believe me, give the Great Gatsby a read or listen to a Kevin Smith podcast. I cannot imagine the thought process that goes into inquiring such a thing. No really, try to work through it logically and see if you can come up with a reasonable train of thought in which you're ok with being laid to rest underneath the tunnel into your stadium of choice. C'mon man if Bo didn't get that "honor" you sure as shit don't deserve it.
There were two things that bothered me about Brandon's answer. The first, is that 10 million dollars isn't anywhere near a high enough number to make sure that this guy didn't actually try to do it.
The second and much more disturbing, is that in College Athletics, all things are apparently for sale. Not in an obvious NFL kind of way in which you're going to get nickel and dimed throughout your gameday experience. It's much more subtle, in the way of donations and fundraisers, opportunities to meet the team for a 200 dollar donation. "We're going to raise your ticket prices through a mandatory donation." The definition of a donation typically includes the words "gift" and "benefit", neither of those words have a place in the NCAA business model.
The relationship between the NCAA,the business of making money and educating student-athletes has become increasingly fuzzy in recent years. Not surprisingly, that fuzziness has increased alongside with the increased TV contracts. Remember when not every game was on TV? Me neither. So you have these weird situations that crop up where everyone leaves the Big East, so the Big East gobbles up San Diego State so they still have a product for Saturdays. UConn vs San Diego State for all the marbles! Or we don't pay athletes because they've earned a scholarship and we make damn sure that they don't see a dime off the video games and jerseys attached to their likeness. I'm sure everyone buys a Le'Veon Bell jersey this year because it's a popular number that everyone likes. In fact the only people in the world guaranteed not to make money off of Le'Veon Bell's jersey are Le'Veon Bell and his family.
Here's the thing that really matters. Tom Lewand would laugh that Michigan fan off the phone because he doesn't need to bury dead people in the tunnel of Ford Field to make money. The goal of the NFL is to make money. They do so on gameday, through TV contracts and through brilliant merchandising. Because that objective is clear, we don't end up with these goofy-ass scenarios where the NCAA pretends to give a shit about the student-athlete because it needs to protect it's free labor.
If a school can't make money in athletics it shouldn't keep overspending it's budget. At a time where educational funding is as hardscrabble as it has been in a long time, it's flatly irresponsible for schools to keep asking for more money and then turning around and spending it on the Football Arms Race. When you borrow General Fund money to support your athletics department, you're missing the point for your students and your unpaid athletes.
Dear NCAA, the United States is a safe place. One of the safest in the world for a group of people who just want to make a few hundred million bucks. You could focus on making all of your members profitable and allow the dollars to stay in education instead of supporting another losing season at Eastern Michigan. You can make sure that Dave Brandon can handle a Michigan Stadium Entombment Request with some dignity and he can politely respond that "We're doing well enough at Michigan that we don't need to bury people here."
If the NCAA doesn't watch it, it might just be able to help students and athletes by dropping the notion of serving the student-athlete.