The University of Michigan has officially named their new president after a long 7 month wait. Santa Ono will be The University of Michigan’s 15th President and will serve a 5 year term. Mary Sue Coleman had been serving as president of the University on an interim basis after the board of directors removed old President Mark Schlissel for an alleged affair.
Santa Ono, who had served as president of the University of British Columbia, will become Michigan’s 15th president in October. His mission is to balance life of athletics and academics for students at the University and more specifically, help with NIL. Name, Image and Likeness or NIL for short is where students who play in sports can profit off of themselves. This means that it gives student athletes the right to publicity that ordinary people already have, but isn’t allowed by the NCAA. Students now have so many opportunities to make money while in college until they sign that deal with their professional sports team, that is if they make it to the next level.
Ono is going to make a huge difference in NIL because whether we like it or not, NIL is now a part of the college sports world and the world is made up of money, and everyone wants to make money in some sort of way. This also makes it possible for students to make money while they are in college playing their sport as well. If anyone doesn’t know, playing a Division 1 sport of any kind, takes up a lot of time and effort, and sometimes even cuts into school, so there is no room to make money, and that is where NIL takes over. Turning from NIL, and focusing more on just sports, we will turn and talk about what we will see from the two major sports at Michigan.
Last season, the Michigan Wolverines really had a standout performance, going 12-2 on the season and losing against an SEC powerhouse that went on to win the National Championship isn’t so terrible. The Wolverines won the conference championship, defeated tough teams when they needed to, and even figured out an offensive and defensive scheme that seemed to work. Not to mention, the Wolverines also beat the rival from down south, Ohio State. You could say that Michigan is really on fire right now and they look to keep this going into the start of the 2022 season. We know that Michigan has had some trouble with recruiting, but that is the truth with a lot of teams. Michigan hasn’t had a high ranking draft class since 2017 where they were ranked 5th, and they turned out just fine. Of course it isn’t easy being below the top 10 for a recruiting class, but we are talking about a team that just went to the college football playoff with a recruiting class that was outside of the top 10 when those seniors committed. It goes to show that, sometimes you have to start a little bit further down, but if you put in the hard work and make things happen, you can surely come out on top. Enough about the struggles of recruiting, let’s talk about the talent Michigan has right now.
Cade McNamara or JJ McCarthy? That is the question everyone is asking about, and who is going to get the start at QB. Whichever it may be, Michigan has the best backup QB situation in the Big Ten, both QB’s are skilled and know the field well. McNamara has high IQ and good accuracy with the ball, and knows how to protect it from ever creating turnovers like we saw last season, where he only threw 6 interceptions on the year. McCarthy, of course, is the more athletic of the two, and he is a very good spread QB that could make a difference in the Michigan offense that they have needed for a long time. Having receivers returning like Andrel Anthony, who they discovered in the Michigan State game, Ronnie Bell who is coming back for one last year, Roman Wilson and Erick All at TE as well. Michigan did lose power back Hassan Haskins, but as we saw last year, Donovan Edwards should be able to mimic Haskins, and Blake Corum is still the speedster and will be used when needed. Mazi Smith, Junior Colson and Mike Morris will be the key defensive players to look out for this season. The Wolverines football program is in a good spot and experts like to think that this Michigan team is a force to be reckoned with, can they live up to that hype though?
Switching from football to basketball, Michigan had a rollercoaster season in 2021-22, and they are really looking to bounce back. Despite finishing well at the end of the season, making it to the Sweet 16 in the tournament, this basketball team has a lot of work to do. Losing Eli Brooks, Devante Jones, Caleb Houstan and Frankie Collins, Michigan is in a rebuilding phase. Kobe Bufkin, Jace Howard, Hunter Dickinson, and Will Tschetter are all returning to play for Michigan next season. Having the 10th ranked recruiting class this season, and after a disappointing 1st recruiting class last year, the Wolverines are looking to rebuild with incoming freshmen Tarris Reed, Jett Howard, Dug McDaniel and Gregg Glenn, to help light a fire beneath them. The Wolverines are also looking for a guard who can help lead the team with some experience on the floor like Sam Sessoms out of Penn State. Being very successful under Howard, Michigan is looking for other veteran shooters to help spread the floor next season as well, hoping to make it to another NCAA tournament, and also a shot at winning the BIG 10 along with the conference tournament as well.
Michigan has high hopes for not only their new President, but also their football and basketball teams, as they look to make good turnouts in their seasons.