In an effort to repair the relationship with students at Michigan, the athletic department has announced a significant drop —37.5 percent — in student football season-ticket pricing for next season.
The seven-game 2015 ticket package, which includes games at Michigan Stadium against Michigan State and Ohio State, will be $185 with service fees. There also will be a reduced pricing structure for students with financial need, the department announced Thursday.
This comes after negotiations between Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon, under fire in recent weeks mainly for how the program handled player safety in a football game last month, and Bobby Dishell, Central Student Government president. The 22-member Football Student Advisory Council also was part of the discussions for the new pricing structure.
Fewer than 11,000 students purchased tickets this season for $295 for a seven-game home schedule that provided few attractive opponents.
Last season, Michigan implemented a general-admission seating policy for students that failed miserably. Student ticket sales at Michigan have dropped each of the last few years, but after last season, there was a significant dive, in part because of that seating policy and also because the team was coming off a 7-6 season.
"This new pricing is the result of positive dialogue between our students and the athletic department," Brandon said in a release. "We changed the seating policy from general admission based on our collaboration with CSG. This price adjustment is another example of our commitment to continue building a stronger connection with our students and the university community."
Dishell told president Mark Schlissel and the UM Regents at last Thursday's monthly meeting, after presenting student survey results that indicate student displeasure with Brandon and, especially football ticket prices, that he and Brandon had been working to lower prices.
"This demonstrates a commitment from our athletic department that they are not only listening but acting on student feedback," Dishell said in the release. "We will be the first school that is showing that the college football tradition is accessible for all students. It also shows that our athletic department is not only here for student-athletes but the entire student community."
Brandon has been a target of Michigan students since late last month. In the Minnesota game on Sept. 27, starting quarterback Shane Morris took a hard fourth-quarter hit, stayed in the game for one play, although he clearly needed help from a teammate to stand, and then returned to the field for one play after quarterback Devin Gardner lost his helmet.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke at his regular Monday news conference said Morris did not have a concussion, but in a release from Brandon delivered to media at nearly 1 a.m., it was revealed Morris had a "probable mild concussion" in addition to a high ankle sprain. Brandon said Hoke was not made aware of the concussion until later Monday.
That week, Michigan students held on on-campus rally against Brandon and an online petition to have Brandon removed was created. The results were presents to the president at the Regents meeting last week.
Schlissel expressed his disappointment with the way the Morris situation was handled. He is now weighing the future of Brandon and his job security at Michigan.
"I'm committed to taking the time to study the issues," Schlissel said at the meeting. "I'm being careful and deliberative. I was deeply disappointed in the department's initial response and handling of the situation. We must be accountable for the facts with response that is timely and takes responsibility with errors."