Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Voting With Their Checkbooks

My wife and I both had early mornings today, so no one was home just after 8am when the phone rang. Turns out we missed a very interesting phone call.

When I got home, the caller ID said area code 574 with a 631 prefix. More often than not, that's someone calling from a campus office to scold me about something posted here or on NDN, so it was not without a certain amount of fatalism I dialed into voicemail.

Turns out it was the ND ticket office, calling for Mrs. Kabong. Preliminary lottery results, said they, showed she didn't get any of the games she put in for (meaning, as of now, nothing for Michigan or Stanford and my dad's friend will not get as many Navy tix as he was looking for). However, followed up they, the ticket lottery for Syracuse had resulted in tickets being left over, and she was welcome to put in for up to four tickets for that game.

Well well well. A crappy late-November game not selling out via the lottery. Quelle surprise.

This is what 7-4-1 hath wrought, kids. People are looking at $65 tickets for these "buy" games and saying, "Nuh uh". And if you think MAC schools or non-descript Mountain West opponents are going to draw any better to an ice-cold Notre Dame Stadium at the end of the season, think again.

(Yes, I realize this isn't a buy game, but the current quality of Syracuse is equivalent to the kind of school ND is looking for for these buy games)

No one demands every game be against a top-10 opponent, as some not-so-bright critics have alleged. No one demands every game be of top interest. But people do demand the overall quality of the schedule be proper, and if Syracuse is any indication, those demands are not being met.

I bring you again a typical 4-4-4 schedule:

Stanford (tier 3)
Michigan (tier 1)
at Michigan State (tier 2)
at Navy (tier 3)
UCLA (tier 1)
at GaTech (tier 2)
Purdue (tier 2)
UNC (tier 3)
at Penn State (tier 1)
Air Force (tier 2)
vs Army (Orlando) (tier 3)
at USC (tier 1)

For those of you a little slow on the uptake, that's the 2006 schedule slightly rearranged. Quality games scattered throughout the season, two at home, two on the road. Not a lot of home games at the end of the season when it's crappy out. And gee, I think ND did pretty well against that slate, don't you?

As disappointing as the announcement regarding the NBC renewal (and its apparent codification of 7-4-1) was, it's not too late to fix it. And it needs to be fixed.

By the way, the conversation that ensued when I passed the phone message along to my wife:

SHE -- When is the Syracuse game?
ME -- November 22nd
SHE -- To hell with that.

I wish I could marry her all over again.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't disagree more. 4-4-4 is insane and makes zero sense.

6/24/2008 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

So you believe the 2006 schedule was excessively hard, and a typical ND team would have too much trouble with it?

6/24/2008 10:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bong. Don't you think that the 3-9 record has more to do with the lack of demand rather than your bluster about the schedule?

6/24/2008 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Chad said...

Got the same phone call. I'm confused at how the following proclamation works, as I've been SHUTOUT BOTH YEARS after this "successful" change:

2006 revisions to football ticket lottery successful in increasing Alumni opportunities!

As many of you know, there was unprecedented demand for Notre Dame football tickets in the recent general alumni ticket lotteries. The University has responded to the high demand by revising guidelines that will reallocate tickets among several groups in order to increase opportunities in the general alumni lottery. This reallocation means that alumni contributing at the minimum gift level will have higher win percentages going forward.

6/24/2008 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger DauntlessDave said...

The reason is obvious said poster is "anonymous".

6/25/2008 03:06:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

She had to ASK when the Syracuse game was? Wassupwitdat?


6/25/2008 05:28:00 AM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

Two problems with that:

1) They had the same problem before last season with the Duke game, and they were coming off a 10-3 finish then.

2) The team is supposed to be better this season, giving people more reason to come and watch.

6/25/2008 05:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

currently this schedule is like 65th toughest. Might as well join the little 10 and consider ND tier 3. Maybe they can snag Oklahoma, Alabama or Miami to save face. This is an invitation to some really boring contests (ala OSU's schedule), having good regular seasons then getting smashed in bowls. On the bright side, it'll be easier to scalp tix and take the family to the game. In todays economic environment, It's gotta be tough to justify a 65 ticket, 120 gas, 100 hotel, 200 beer day to watch a 3-9 ND squad vs. youngstown state in the snow. Although, people can be kinda goofy so who knows.

6/25/2008 06:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Posts like these are precisely why we ND are gaining a rep as spoiled fans. Not until you're willing to show up, in the shit, and scream your ass off for the Irish do we as fans deserve a damn things from this team or its administration.

You stay home, sip your starbucks, and bitch about the weather, Rock; I know plenty of real fans who revel in the game and will gladly take the tickets you leave behind. You'd probably sit through the entire game anyway.

6/25/2008 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

First off, Rock didn't write this, I did. Scott writes the Rock Report, not me.

Second, I stand and scream all through every game I go to.

Third, going to shitty games in shitty weather is not a badge of honor. I've sat through plenty of bad-weather games, but they were interesting games, not body-bag contests.

Fourth, if you want to sabotage ND's strength of schedule so you can "get your tickets", that's on you. Trouble with that is when a one-loss ND team doesn't get the quality of bowl bid it deserves because it played a shitty schedule, I lose because I don't get to see ND play for a national title. I'd rather see that than have you "get your tickets".

6/25/2008 07:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Fourth, if you want to sabotage ND's strength of schedule so you can "get your tickets", that's on you. Trouble with that is when a one-loss ND team doesn't get the quality of bowl bid it deserves because it played a shitty schedule, I lose because I don't get to see ND play for a national title. I'd rather see that than have you 'get your tickets'."

Not only that, but the other bowl situation is possible: a ND team with an inflated W-L record gets pounded by a team with the same record that is battle-tested against a stronger schedule. Another real possibility from 7-4-1.

6/25/2008 09:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait a second, Mike. You "stand and scream" through every game but love your wife for her "to hell with that" comment about an ND football game - shitty opponent or otherwise?

You can't have it both ways here, man.

And where exactly does your concept of team tiers come from anyway? Is this a finger in the wind kind of classification system or based on some handful of factors? Who are we do make those qualifications?

Let's get back to winning, winning them all, taking on all comers, instilling fear in opponents great and small, whatever the "tier". Then you can climb back up in your tower and condescend other football traditions. No one is Notre Dame. No one does it better, but everyone of them deserves our respect as fans.

6/25/2008 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

I'm not asking to have it both ways. I'm not going to stand and scream during games that are scheduled solely for the purpose of milking money out of the fanbase and building up meaningless wins for postseason berths.

The tiers are determined via a combination of historical achievement, recent achievement, and level of attractiveness of the matchup (e.g. teams we haven't played regularly in a while).

6/25/2008 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it funny that the same guys that complain about our schedule are usually the same clowns who don't want a playoff.

When will you guys realize that under the current system(no playoff) there is no reason for anyone to schedule tough games. Unlike college hoops where a tough schedule is rewarded, that's not the case in college football. For ND to schedule games against Oklahoma, Texas, LSU, etc. would be crazy. It would eliminate any chance they have of playing for the national title.

Under the current system ND will continue to play only two high quality teams, Michigan and USC. If they go 12-0 they will play for the title so there is no point on playing another top team.

When a playoff system becomes a reality, which it will, then ND can play a powerful schedule again since a 10-2 record would most likely qualify for the playoffs.

Please spare me the usual meaningless statements that usually come across on this board: 1) you are not a ND man if you want a playoff, 2) you don't understand what ND is all about. These type of statements only make non ND fans make fun of us at a higher rate. You guys have no idea how many people I work with who think this website is a complete joke.

The schedule is perfect if ND wants to play for the title. If we go 12-0 that means we beat USC. That will put us in the title game. Playing the toughest schedule in the country and going 9-3 every year does not make since. When a playoff becomes a reality we can talk about making the schedule tough again.

You guys need to stop smoking crack and get back to reality.

6/25/2008 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I wish we knew your name, so you could be given proper credit. Thank you. Your last 4 posts (whether the same guy or different people) are on the money.
I'm shocked they were allowed on the comment list - given the fact that you dared to disagree with the Holy, infallible opinions of NDNation. But when you're right, you're right.

6/25/2008 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

If you look at the vast majority of the blog entries here, you'll find comments in there that disagree with what they say. The difference is those disagreements are expressed respectfully and intelligently.

There are no "holy infallible opinions".

6/25/2008 11:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, finally exposed! "I'm not going to stand and scream." Mr. You're-not-a-real-fan-if-you-disagree-with-any-of-my-fundamentally-unjustified-philosophies-about-the-sport-and-business-of-Notre-Dame-Football has admitted in so many words to not being a true fan of the team!

Where I come from, and in my family, we always "Cheer, Cheer for old Notre Dame" - the team - any game, any time, any season, anywhere. We bitch our fair share about the administration, the coaching (at least we used to), the recruiting, but we never let those boys play unsupported.

Windbags like you make THEM the victim of the administration. Want to vote with your checkbook? Don't buy merchandise. Ticket sales hold intangible value as well, but pale in comparison to the contribution margin for all that STUFF. Take the fight where it belongs, not to the student athletes.

6/25/2008 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Author: rmartin4 I agree with Anonymous...when we start going 12-0 too many times with these "easy" schedules then we'll bring this schedule issue to the forefront again. Until then...just win some goshdarned games...against someone...please!

6/25/2008 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be very happy to take your Syracuse tickets and go with my son.

6/25/2008 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

"Mr. You're-not-a-real-fan-if-you-disagree-with-any-of-my-fundamentally-unjustified-philosophies-about-the-sport-and-business-of-Notre-Dame-Football"

Since I've never espoused that philosophy, I fail to see how that description applies to me.

Supporting something unconditionally is never a good thing. If ND suddenly started admitting JUCO's, would you feel that way? If they built athlete-only dorms? Created General Studies-type majors in which to hide athletes?

I do support ND's student athletes and always will. But I also support them by trying to ensure the people who are in charge of the programs in which they participate are held to standards.

6/25/2008 01:02:00 PM  
Anonymous CAJ said...

That 2006 schedule is something Rockne, with his scheduling wisdom, would have considered overly difficult.

BTW, you're right that our 2006 team did 'okay' against that schedule. That means that one of the best teams ND has fielded in fifteen years lost three times against it.

6/25/2008 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

"One of the best teams ND has fielded in fifteen years lost three times against it."

I don't believe that's an accurate description of that team. That team had an excellent senior class, a non-existent junior class, an average-at-best sophomore class, and a good freshman class. Good starters, but no depth. The 2005 team was better, and the teams ND will field in 2009 and beyond will definitely be better.

6/25/2008 01:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Paul P said...

Mike, I agree with your philosophy about scheduling and support a 4-4-4 model (or something closely similar).

I'd just like to quibble with the characterization of the 2006 schedule as 4-4-4. Stanford and North Carolina, despite being wretched the last few years, are generally middling BSC conference teams. I would consider a true third tier game to be one we can safely chalk up as a cakewalk ten years ahead of time when it is scheduled.

Admittedly this is a minor point and somewhat incidental to the thrust of your post, but I would describe the 2006 schedule as 3-7-2 (with UM, PSU, and USC as the top tier and Navy and Army as the third tier).

6/25/2008 01:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that we ND fans are manic depressive. When we win, we are the most obnoxiously proud fans this side of the SEC. When we lose, we rent our garments, throw ashes over our heads, and find everything possible to complain about. Holtz had one thing right, "Things are never as good, or as bad, as you think they are at the time."

It's June, it's the silly season, and we are off our lithium.

6/25/2008 02:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After 2 years of applying for 3 or 4 good games in the early season and not getting a single ticket (but one offer for tickets to late season crappy games), I not only did not apply for any tickets this year, I did not donate to my alma mater for the first time in 20 years.

6/25/2008 07:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Understandable, but of course there are reasons for donating besides being eligible for a ticket lottery.

6/25/2008 08:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would anyone donate if all they're going to get are tickets that can be had for face value (or less)? I procured tickets for my boss last year so she could take her family to the Duke game and she said tickets were being given away outside the stadium and that the stadium wasn't full. Having been in attendance for the SMU and Rice debacles of the late 80's or very early 90's, that happened even when we had great teams - I sat down in the late November freezing rain to watch Rice with about 10 tickets in my pocket as a friend, his parents and 2 or 3 kids in my old dorm gave me tickets to see if I could find someone to give them to. Nobody wanted to see ND kill a lousy Rice team on a lousy day. And the Notre Dame "brand" has fallen far from then.

Donating to fund the consistent growth of the ND administration machine is like overpaying on your taxes so that the government can hire more bureaucrats. ND isn't a charity, it's a business.

6/25/2008 09:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Donate to the Sorin Society. I do. Its a $125 bucks month. Put it on your expense account. Hell, its two tanks of gas in my Intrepid, probably one in your SUV. They will do a monthly charge. It gets you the tickets you want. You all "contribute" the minimum, yet complain when you get the minimum. Morton's is Morton's, Ponderosa is Ponderosa. You get what you pay for people. The money is going to the University. They are doing great things there, that's what Notre Dame is all about. I personally know current students paying virtually nothing to go to ND, all because of the generosity of graduates. For fourteen years, the EFC to attend ND has been upheld for ALL STUDENTS. Odds are you got your positions because of some ND connection or the prestige that follows the sheepskin, pay it forward people. I got all seven home games last year, looking forward to all six this year. And it's tax deductible, so its really only costing you about $1,200 for the year. Then if you don't want to go to Syracuse, you can give those tickets to your inlaws. And they will be thrilled to get them.

6/25/2008 10:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Kayo said...

"Understandable, but of course there are reasons for donating besides being eligible for a ticket lottery."

That's true, but alumni aren't the ones who tied football ticket eligibility to donations and likelihood of winning the lottery to size of the donation. The linkage between the two is the university's doing, and it has been an attractive incentive in the past.

Now the university has raised the price of ticket eligibility while diminishing the attractiveness of the home schedule. There are plenty of great charities that would appreciate my donations while ND is insulting me with a higher price for a lesser product.

That's bad marketing and bad stewardship of ND's most valuable asset. If that's how football is being managed, what am I to believe about how the rest of the university is managed? Is that an organization worthy of my donations? No.

6/25/2008 10:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HA! I got scUM tickets!!! First ever ND game!!!

6/26/2008 12:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


6/28/2008 03:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Reishman said...

You babies sit here and cry about Mike making a clear and smart point. I would be glad to have those tickets too, but he has a point. I would rather see us play a top teir team than a blood bath. Competition is what makes us strong, and if we play whimps all year long, who are we going to beat in a bowl game? And to everyone else who keeps repeating NDN sucks, and all my friends say NDN sucks. I will say to you what I see to USC, and Michigan fans that post here. STOP POSTING READING OR WASTING YOUR TIME HERE. Keep up the good work.

7/03/2008 12:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a recent grad, who is a full time grad student and almost full time employee. That leaves me enough money to pay rent, buy food, and manage my health with little left over. I live in a large city, and also do volunteer work with various organizations. I believe that I fit the mold of an ND alum- I give a lot of my time to others as well as bettering msyelf..However when my donations don't have several 0s after them, I get nothing. I have not won a home game ticket EVER. I have not been back to ND in the 4 years since my graduation. To me, I represent what ND totes- a fairly selfless person, who spends a lot of time giving back to the community. But if I didn't do that, and had a big time job, well they would love me just fine. I feel like they show a different to their own grads than they show to the rest of the world. What would I fight for? (As the commercials say.....) Just a chance to visit a home game and share the experience with friends without selling my soul.

7/08/2008 09:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a grad of 25 years, and take some offense to the above insinuation that because I can write a check with more zeroes on it (by the way, you only need write a check with one more zero to become a Sorin member) that we are not selfless. I donate time and resources to Rotary International, ND at the local level in several capacities, and other charitable organizations as well as hold a big time job as you state.

But it wasn't always that way. There were plenty of years I donated the 100 bucks, but put in for tickets to every game, and most years got at least one or two games. If you donate the minimum, and then pick only one or two games your chances are much reduced. If all you wanted was tickets to any ND game, you could have chosen Syracuse this year, and would have received tickets. But I am sure you only wanted SDSU because it is the opening game, or UM because it's the marquee game on our home slate this year, so only put in for them. You actually cheated yourself out of the opportunity to go to one of the other games by putting yourself in a much reduced position to win tickets.

And there were a couple of years I got shut out too. But the problem with your argument is that you EXPECT a return on a DONATION. I never expected a return but hoped for one. And the years I didn't win tickets, I looked at it as a donation, period.

And 25 years later, when I can donate more, I do, as ND states you will have improved chances in the lottery if you do so. Just for the record, I put in for 6 home games this year and 2 away games, and got tickets for 5 and 1.

And some years from now, when you have a big time job, have your own company with four tickets to the World Series, make sure you follow your argument and give them to the guy who gives you a minor order every six months, not the guy who gives you a monster order every couple of weeks. He can probably afford his own tickets.

7/09/2008 10:22:00 PM  

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