- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
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On Tuesday, the second annual Michigan and Michigan State AD Challenge took place at the U-M Golf Course in Ann Arbor. Though MSU athletic director Mark Hollis and the Spartans beat Dave Brandon and the U-M staff in the tournament, it was a special day planned for the two rivals to spend some time together, what Hollis said represented "all that's good about college sports."
The tournament featured nine head-to-head matches. The lineup had athletic directors, golf coaches, radio announcers, faculty members and former student-athletes.
However, before the two athletic directors teed off they sat down with the media. Here is what they had to say.
ON THE PENN STATE SANCTIONS:
Hollis: "There's not much more that can be said. It was a serious, unprecedented and very tragic incident that the NCAA spent considerable time and made some announcements yesterday, which we at Michigan State support and are behind. We’re in a position now where we’re moving forward."
Brandon: "That was a process that was completely driven by the presidents, as it should be. The NCAA is a member institution. Its board is comprised of presidents that are representative of all the conferences and schools across all regions of the country. I thought President [Mark] Emmert did a terrific job of laying out the case for laying out what they did, why they did it and the fact that Penn State embraced it and recognized and accepted it. To me, it doesn't close the chapter in this but it's a great step in the right direction."
ON HOW LARGE FOOTBALL BECOMES AT INSTITUTIONS:
Brandon: "Athletics is really important but it's not the most important thing that happens on this campus. ... We're pleased that we've got people who really love and are passionate about what we do. But if we ever get to the point where we think it’s more important than the things that take place on a college campus, then we’ve lost our way."
Hollis: "At Michigan State we strive to be a value to the bigger institution every day in everything that we do. Whether that be the student-athletes that we bring in, the opportunities that we provide for alums and fans to gather in unique and amazing ways. ... We have to understand why we're there, the educational mission of the institution and allow for free communication to take place at all levels."
ON OHIO STATE AND PENN STATE BEING INELIGIBLE FOR THE BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP, HOW THAT AFFECTS THE CONFERENCE:
Hollis: "I think you have to be aware of your environment, aware of everything that’s going on around you, not only within the Big Ten but on the national landscape, but our true focus in our case is what is happening in East Lansing -- what our team is doing, what our coaches are doing, what our student-athletes are doing. At the same time, I always say, 'Be aware but don't compare of institutions that are out there.' You want to be in touch with what is going on within the league, within the conference and nationally but our focus is right there in East Lansing. I think what the impact will be, time will tell."
Brandon: "The brand around the Big Ten conference or the brand that is the Big Ten conference is a strong brand with an incredible history. Let's face it there have been a couple situations recently that have been a negative, there's no doubt about it. But the bigger picture when you look at all the student-athletes, all the sports, all the programs out there I still think there's a lot to be proud of."
ON WHETHER THEY PRACTICED MORE LEADING UP TO THIS MATCH UP:
Brandon: "I wish I lived a life where I could carve out X amount of hours every day to go practice golf. I play in outings every once in a while and I try to grab a round here and there but the time commitment of these jobs we have is pretty intense so we’ll go out there and hack it around and try hard."
Hollis: "The one memory I had from last year was we got up to the island hole and all we had to do was get on. And I saw Dave out of the corner of my eye to my left and I shanked one right out in the middle of the water. I saw him chuckle and drive away."