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Top UM sports marketing official resigns after comments

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Denard Robinson was a star quarterback at Michigan from 2009-12.

Hunter Lochmann, who last week said Michigan has "fleeting" relationships with its athletes, has resigned as the athletic department's chief marketing officer.

Lochmann was hired four years ago by former athletic director Dave Brandon as the first CMO of Michigan athletics. He came to Michigan from the New York Knicks, where he had been vice president of marketing since 2005.

"He resigned his position to pursue other opportunities," said Dave Ablauf, Michigan associate athletic director.

Lochmann's salary was $215,000.

Lochmann, according to the Sports Business Journal, was asked during the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum last Thursday about providing college athletes with stipends.

"The athletes are there for four years," Lochmann said, according to SBJ. "At Michigan, it's the Block M that has the infinity and power, not Denard Robinson. Those are fleeting, four-year relationships, but it's the block M that's been there for over 150 years."

The comment drew fierce response from Michigan fans on social media last Friday. Even former Michigan All-American offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson chimed in on Twitter in response to a link to Lochmann's comments.

"That article pretty much sums up their attitude toward alumni relations at UM," Hutchinson wrote.

Lochmann also discussed why Michigan does not have in-game sponsors for football.

"We don't do anything in the stadium," Lochmann said, according to SBJ. "Us and Notre Dame are the two cleanest stadiums in college football, so that makes it easier. But, for instance, we had a Cadillac display this year outside of the stadium, two beautiful cars with winged helmets on them, and we were getting some grief from our fans on social media about them.

"We're trying to entertain our fans, so we have a new partner that sponsors a dance contest, so it's about trying to be smart like that. Our fans have told us front and center they don't want sponsors, though."

Brandon, in the midst of considerable scrutiny and turmoil in the athletic department, resigned on Oct. 31.