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October 08, 1997 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-08

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 8, 1997 - 11

'M' field hockey's defensive unit
dominates, frustrates opposition
Quintet of defenders has played large role in Michigan's success

If the current trends continue, the Michigan men's basketball team won't get the
dreaded "death penalty" from the NCAA.
Ugest of NCAAs
penalties rarel iven

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - As the
Michigan men's basketball program
awaits its fate in the face of an investi-
gation into possible wrongdoing, it may
Ake some comfort in the fact that the
CAA hasn't been hitting schools with
its stiffest penalties at a high rate.
The;dreaded "death penalty," which
the NCAA enacted in 1985 as the ulti-
mate weapon against cheaters, is now
rusty, having been used only once.
A lengthy investigation by The
Kansas City Star also found the number
of another hurtful punishment - televi-
sion bans - has dropped as television
contracts grow fatter for NCAA schools
*d conferences.
Television bans were once common.
According to The Star's analysis, during
the 1970s, TV bans averaged nearly 12
yearsannually. In other words, in a typ-
ical year the NCAA might have given
12 teams one-year TV bans.
Then, when a flood of television rev-
enue in the 1980s left college sports
awash in money, television bans began
t drop.
Yet the rulebook kept getting thicker
- an indication that schools were try-
ing even harder to make sure no rivals
took unfair advantage.
Through this decade, TV bans -
now more costly because of multimil-
lion-dollar contracts - have continued
to drop, averaging less than three years
annually, The Star reported.
Athletic conferences, such as the Big
12, share television revenue among their
"If we take a school off TV for a year
or tw o,it affects the entire conference
and other schools get a penalty, in a
way," said David Swank, chairman of
the NCAA's committee on infractions.
The NCAA can also hand out the
"death ,penalty." A program is entirely
shut down for one or more seasons, with
all games, practices and granting of
scholarships banned for that period.
* When Southern Methodist was given
the death penalty, all football scrim-
mages,,,games and even most practices
were banned for 1987. The school also
sat out1988 and since then has won just
19 of.93 games. The NCAA member
schools had overwhelmingly voted in
the death penalty at a special conven-
tion, and everybody believed the ruling
body was finally going to get tough and
dismantle programs that repeatedly vio-
,ted the rules.
Bgi.tafter SMU, the NCAA nevei
deployed the death penalty again.
In,its special convention in 1985, the
NCAA, set mandatory minimum penal-
ties for certain violations, except in
cases judged to be "unique."
Soon every school began arguing that
its case~ was unique. The Star's comput-
er analysis shows that the infractions
committee found more than 80 percent
*f the cases it reviewed to be unique -
thus eligible for a penalty reduction.
The NCAA has tagged a dozen col-
leges as repeat violators without assess-
ing the death penalty, the Star said.
NCAA officials say seven of those
schools received a portion of penalties
specified under the rule, such as pro-
hibiting college officials from serving

leagues escape the death penalty.
"Once we didn't give it, and then
twice, and then three times," Niland
said. "I would finally go to meetings
and say, 'Well, I suppose we are going to
have an exception again today."'
The result, the Star said, is that with
its big guns silent, the NCAA wages
mostly a public relations war against
corruption in college sports.
The Star said NCAA officials defend
the system.
"The purpose is not to punish people;
the purpose is to try to get compliance,"
said Jack Friedenthal, a member of the
Division I infractions committee and
dean of law at George Washington
Besides, said the NCAA's Swank,
schools still complain about heavy
penalties such as scholarship reduc-
tions, which he said have increased.
"The scholarship penalty, I think, is the
harshest sanction we have," Swank said.
But even though schools are injured,
few wounds are disabling.
The Star also discovered a wide-
spread belief that the NCAA's 13-person
investigative staff is inadequate.
"They don't have the manpower to
look at everything, even if they wanted
to," said Swank.
Many investigators are inexperienced
when they join.
In 1982, the enforcement division had
16 retired FBI agents on staff. But five
years later the NCAA decided the for-
mer agents were too aggressive and too
Turnover now can be high - NCAA
enforcement chief David Berst said he
loses four or five investigators in some
As soon as they learn the ropes, many
investigators get snapped up for more
money by colleges looking for experi-
enced compliance officers.
At least one, Michael Glazier, has
become a specialist in helping schools
work way through NCAA investiga-
tions. Glazier's law firm receives hun-
dreds of thousands of dollars each year
from schools that run afoul of the
NCAA's complicated rules manual and
have to go before the committee on
"We have kidded a lot about the cot-
tage industry we created here," NCAA
Infractions Committee member Yvonne
Slatton said of Glazier. "But it is really a
mansion industry."

By Kurt New
For the Daily
Mention the term "dominating
defense" around Ann Arbor these
days, and you're likely to start a con-
versation about Michigan football,
Charles Woodson and safety blitzes.
Bur, there is another defensive unit
at Michigan that, while largely
unheralded, has been every bit as
dominant and instrumental to its
team's success this year: the defense
for the Michigan field hockey team.
To see just how masterful the
defenders for the field hockey team
have been, one needs look no further
than the statistics. In different games
this year, the Wolverines have out-
shot their opponents by margins of
32-3, 42-2, 41-1 and 24-1, as well as
o u t s h o o t i n g
conference foe
North western
10-1 in the see-
ond half to
escape with a 2-
I victory on
Sept. 28.
The reason
for the outstand-
ing play of the
Michigan defen- Wilkinson
sive quintet is a
combination of raw talent and a total
commitment to the team defensive
On the individual level, each of the
five starting defenders brings differ;
ent strengths to the team.
Senior Sandra Cabrera is the veter-
an of the defense, having been a
starter for three years. Cabrera pos-
sesses blazing speed that is rivaled
only by her ability to anticipate pass-
es and intercept them before they
ever reach their intended target.
Cabrera is joined by two other
seniors in the defensive backfield,
Shelley Johnson and Aimee
"Shelley's fitness is outstanding,"
Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz
said. "She is relentless, she dives for
the ball, and she never gives up."
Remigio switched to defense after
three years as a forward, and adroitly
uses her knowledge of the forward
position to anticipate the opposing
player's moves before she makes
"Aimee has a lot of forward
finesse and poise back there, and she
might be the turning point of our
defense," Johnson said.
Michigan to open
its hockey season
this weekend in
if you want to be an informed
fan - in the know about the
Wolvernes nine newcomers,
returning stars and opponents
-then you must pick up a
copy of Faceoff '97 on Monday.
Included will be profiles of
senior winger Bill Muckalt, the
NCAA's top returning scorer,
and the freshmen. There will
also be team and position pre
Get Faceoff '97.
The coverage is

Wa.TaJ A

Rounding out the defensive unit
are junior Loveita Wilkinson and
sophomore Ashley Reichenbach.
While only a junior, Wilkinson has
quickly become one of the team
"Loveita is really the backbone of
our team," Pankratz said. "She never
gets beaten. She's really our field
general out there."
Despite being the youngest mem-
ber of the defensive corps,
Reichenbach has shown she is more
than ready to handle pressure situa-
tions late in the game.
Never was this more evident than
in the game against Iowa, when she
batted away a ball heading toward an
open net to preserve a one-goal lead
with less than 10 minutes to play.
But, while the Michigan defenders
are very talented as individuals, their
greatest strength lies in their ability
to play together as a team.
"This spring we worked a lot on
our cohesiveness as a unit, and read-
ing each other on the field,"
Reichenbach said.
The defensive players' extensive
knowledge of each other allows them
to play a complicated and aggressive
defensive style that focuses on
attacking the opposition and denying
the opponent the ball whenever pos-
"When you're on defense, it's a
territorial thing," Johnson said.
"You're not going to let an opposing
team come into your circle. It's just
the law of the land."
That territorial attitude was dis-
played at its finest in the game
against Iowa on Sept. 26, when
Michigan defenders spent the final
minutes regularly diving after loose
balls in a frantic determined effort to
keep Iowa from tying the game.
The togetherness of Michigan's
defenders is also apparent in their
uniform dedication to being as well-
conditioned as possible. This condi-
tioning has been paramount in many
hard-fought games this season that
were close throughout.
"When you see the other team
huffing and puffing, then you know
you've got them," Remigio said.
Such a high level of fitness will be
especially key during the final
stretch of the season, when a domi-
nating defense becomes necessary, if
Michigan hopes to advance deep into
the postseason.

Almee Remiglo and the Michigan field hockey team's defensive unit have all but
thwarted the opponents' offensive attack this season.

_ _

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