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Bill Martin Blowin' up

Bill Martin has been in the media a lot lately (makes sense, seeing as how he, you know, just hired a new basketball coach or two). Some highlights from his interview with the Monroe Street Journal:

On accusations that luxury boxes threaten the tradition of Michigan Stadium:
“Think about Fielding Yost when he built Michigan Stadium in 1926… Many of the Alumni clubs fought him and said, "You're going away from the traditions of Michigan". He recognized the reality that Michigan must be up with the times. You know, you're either moving forward or backwards in life… Minnesota is building a new stadium right now and for the next 30 years every student will be paying a $30 -$45 student fee each semester to help build it. We are going to do it all on our own. People have to understand the reason we are building premium seating is not that it's the end-all-be-all, but it is a way of paying for renovating the bowl. Look at it this way: 5,000 people are going to pay to give 105,000 other people a brand new state of the art stadium without putting a nickel on their backs.”

He goes back to the old standby “Yost did it, so I can, too.” It works I guess, and as someone who’s not adamantly opposed to the boxes, I have no issue with it.

On potential increased crowd noise in the stadium:
“By the nature of our new structures, the sound will be reverberated back in to the field. We also have an older Alumni crowd. Many want to go to Ohio State game in the late November cold, but want to see the game in comfort, in warmth, and have a nice social experience.”

Getting all the lame old people who refuse to cheer out of the bowl is fine by me. I doubt the acoustics will be drastically affected, but replacing some non-noisemakers with people who will hopefully be a bit more rowdy can’t hurt.

Still, I think of the Notre Dame game. They fit less people into a similarly-shaped structure, with no luxury boxes, and it still manages to be louder than Michigan stadium on a level that’s not even comparable.

On scheduling for football:
“Scheduling is one of the toughest things we do at Michigan and that's because nobody big wants to come play us here, and they often only will if we'll do a return game. Every time that stadium stays vacant on a fall Saturday, there goes 4.5 million dollars that I don't get to pay the bills and fix the place. I'll tell you that my principle objective in scheduling today is to play a complete round robin in the Big Ten… While I'm around we're never going to have a conference championship game.”

The “not able to pay the bills” argument rings a little hollow when the athletic department rings up $16 million in profit every year. A home-and-home with a big school is unlikely to cost us that much lost profit, when you take into account TV incentives, etc. The round robin in the Big Ten is something that I’ve been hoping for a while, though the decrease to 2 non-conference games would lose Bill 4.5 million every year (5 home conference games and 2 potential home non-conference games each year, against 4 home non-conference games and 4 home conference games each year). I am glad to hear that there is no desire from Michigan’s end to have a championship game.

On the feasibility of getting a round-robin conference schedule:
“Well, it takes a vote of 6 of the 11 ADs. I've got a ways to go.”

On his career aspirations:
“My career as an athletic director begins and ends at Michigan. I put my heart and soul into this place because I love it. When it’s time to go into the shuffleboard business or whatever you do next in life, I'll figure it out.”

Bill Martin wants to grow up to be a shuffleboard salesman.

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“Bill Martin Blowin' up”