It's November 11. Dave Brandon has been out as Michigan's athletics director since October 31, 12 days ago. Michigan concludes its regular season against Ohio State on November 29, 18 days from today. At 5-5, and with a home game against 6-3 Maryland the Saturday before, there is a far greater than zero chance that trip to Columbus is Michigan's final game of the 2014 season.
If Michigan is going to have a new athletic director in place around that time, it's going to need to move quickly.
Speaking to Michigan's Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs on Monday, Schlissel sounded very much like a newly-hired president fresh from the Ivy League, completely unfamiliar with the world of major college athletics and the notion that anyone would attend a university for any reason other than the realm of classrooms and libraries. Which, of course, he is.
“If I could wave my magic wand and really change things for these student-athletes, I would. The NCAA says 20.5 hours is the max, but it turns out nobody follows that,” Schlissel said, according to the Michigan Daily. “There are ways that they work around it and if it was only us, it’d be ridiculous, I’d clean house, but it’s everybody.”
The money quote, as it stands with Dave Brandon's athletics director and the subsequent fate with the football program, came in these two paragraphs below.
“That’s why I’m taking a bit of time with the search for Dave’s successor,” Schlissel said. “Some folks wanted me to hire an athletic director (earlier) so he could fire the current football coach and hire the next coach but I want to take the time to make sure we get someone who is not only technically adept, but can ensure that the program has financial and academic integrity, and also someone who shares the value system of realizing our mission.
“People have been saying all kinds of things about who I’m talking to about positions and this sports stuff, and they name names of people who I have no idea who they are. I’ve really learned that this whole athletic sphere and the usual way you approach things just doesn’t work. It’s just a crazed or irrational approach that the world and the media takes to athletics decisions."
Read this again: People have been saying all kinds of things about who I’m talking to about positions and this sports stuff, and they name names of people who I have no idea who they are.
Until a full-time permanent replacement has been hired, Jim Hackett (and his $600,000 a year salary) has been given the keys to the Michigan football program. "The interim AD is the athletic director until we hire a permanent AD," Schlissel said on the day Brandon's resignation was announced. "I feel a little bit less comfortable -- I'm not the guy to make the decision about a particular coach. We have an athletic program that I delegate that authority to."
How comfortable is an interim AD going to be in making a coaching change? How many established coaches are going to feel comfortable in being hired by an interim AD?
We wrote a week ago Michigan plans to have its next AD in place by the Ohio State game, two and a half weeks from today.
Until then, the athletics department rests in Hackett's hands.