Athletic director Bill Martin was in multiple news stories in the last 24 hours for very different reasons.
One story that focused on Martin was about the fact that he still supports Rich Rodriguez. I know that is sort of a “Captain Obvious” type of story, but here is what Martin had to say when asked about Michigan’s football coach:
“He’s not going anyplace,” Martin said of Rodriguez, who replaced Lloyd Carr, who retired after the 2007 season following 13 years as head coach.
“Rich is an outstanding coach. There is no question he’s got my total support. I think the world of that guy. Is he perfect in every respect? Nobody is. But he works hard. He’ll get it right.”
“It was a very emotion-filled time for Rich and myself after the game,” said Martin, who said the Purdue loss was particularly hard to bear. “He helped me, I helped him (after the game). I think this loss was hard on all of us. It was hard on Rich, it was hard on me.
“But this guy is a winner. This guy’s not used to losing.”
The other reason Martin was in the news was because of a couple incidents that happened at football games this season. Once at the Notre Dame game and once at the Delaware State game Martin tried to enter the U-M Regents guest area and was stopped by an employee and asked to show his pass. This angered Martin, as he thought the employees (one is a student at U-M and one is a student at EMU) should know that he is the athletic director. Below are the details of each incident.
Employee Jackie Turner told police she was working the Michigan game against Notre Dame Sept. 12 and was assigned to the U-M Regents guest area, which also has a door leading to the general seating area. She said three men in U-M polo shirts attempted to walk into the regents’ area, and she asked to see the first man’s pass to get inside.
Turner told police the man put his right hand on her left shoulder and said, ‘Honey, I am the athletic director,” the report said. Turner said that he “then pushed her on the left shoulder just hard enough to guide her out of his way,” reports said. She told police she did not resist, and the three men walked by.
The second incident occurred during the Delaware State game. In that case, employee Arif Khan said he was working the south stairwell during the game, and after the game ended, Martin and a woman attempted to get inside the Regents area.
“Khan said that initially the two started to walk past him as if he wasn’t there,” the report said.
Khan told police he put his hand on the door and said he needed to see their passes to enter the area.
Khan told police Martin became upset and “used his right hand to forcibly grab Khan’s windbreaker and gripped a large portion of Khan’s DPS issued uniform windbreaker,” the report said.
Khan said the person then told him, “I am the athletic director, I can go in.” He also said Martin grabbed his identification badge hanging around his neck, saying, “I want to know your name.”
A University Development Events staff member identified Martin and allowed him to enter, the report said.
Neither Turner nor Khan decided to press charges over the incidents.
Martin wrote a letter explaining that the confusion occurred because of new security procedures, and he discussed his regret over what happened as well. Here is an excerpt from the letter:
“It was a frustrating situation, and one I should have handled differently,” he wrote. “… I have communicated with both employees to discuss the situation and express my regret. They were just doing their jobs.”
Based on what allegedly happened, Martin was a douche in both situations and obviously should have acted differently. Beyond that, I don’t have anything else to say about the incidents. The case is closed legal-wise, and I’d be willing to bet that if Martin is asked to show his pass again in the future, he will comply and be much more polite to the employees.