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Goss cannot overcome troubled Blue
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By Michael Grass
Daily News Editor
When President Lee Bollinger appointed Tom Goss as ath-
letic director in 1997, the former Michigan football player
said he wanted to reform University athletics by holding stu-
dent-athletes and department officials up to a series of core
values - including integrity, honesty, commitment, account-
ability, responsibility and respect.
Those principles would help reclaim glory for Michigan
athletics, he said.
'But when news reports surfaced this weekend that Goss
would be forced to resign by the University administration,
the faith in his integrity came into question, as the control of
the department slipped through his fingers.
Charged with the mission to clean up the problematic
men's basketball program, one of Goss' first acts as athletic
director was probably his most controversial - firing former
men's basketball coach Steve Fisher.
Fisher, who guided the Wolverines to a national champi-
onship in 1989 and led the Fab Five, one of Michigan's leg-
endary teams, was terminated following the release of a
report indicating unauthorized relationships between his
players and basketball booster Ed Martin.
The report, compiled by a Kansas law firm for the
University, implicated former Michigan basketball players
Chris Webber and Maurice Taylor and found three minor
Upon Fisher's firing, Goss said he wanted to reform the
"I have decided that it is time to make a change in the head
men's basketball coach at the University of Michigan," Goss
said. "To change the program was my decision. To hire a new
coach will be my decision."
Although many speculated Michigan would grab former
Eastern Michigan and California-Berkeley basketball coach
Ben Braun, he declined, and Goss instead handpicked Brian
Ellerbe, then a team assistant coach.
Selecting an unknown, untested assistant coach to lead one
of the nation's top basketball programs draws criticism to this
Although Michigan now had a new coach in place, it did
not necessarily mean that the troubles were over for the men's
The more Goss attempted to control the department, the
more the problems consumed him.
Questions regarding Ed Martin's ties to the program still
lingered through Goss' 29-month administration.
The FBI raided Martin's home in Detroit last spring as part
of a federal investigation into the booster's activities, and a
federal grand jury later subpoenaed former Michigan players
Taylor, Webber, Louis Bullock, Robert Traylor and Jalen
Rose in the matter.
And even now, Martin's reported plea agreement may
force him to reveal all of his knowledge of his past dealings
with the Michigan basketball program, casting an uncertain
shadow over the future of the Athletic Department.
Aside from the lingering questions regarding Martin, fis-
cal problems have plagued the department, especially during
the past year.
Goss has been under close watch by the University admin-
istration since a budget deficit was reported for the Athletic
The department's original budget projected a profit of
$1.093 million, but additional losses discovered in
September brought the net loss to $2.784 million - $3.877
million off the original projection. These losses, the largest
the department reported in 10 years, were shored up with dol-
lars from the department's reserve funds.
Other financial snafus include losses on a proposed
Internet service deal, the $100,000 removal of the controver-
sial halo surrounding Michigan Stadium and a public back-
lash to a hike in hockey tickets and non-student football tick-
In July at the meeting of the University Board of Regents,
Regent Andrea Fischer Newman (R-Ann Arbor) questioned
Goss' fiscal management.
"We need to understand why our expenses are increasing
beyond our means," she said. "It took a long time to get
answers and when I did get them they were not good."
Regent Laurence Deitch (D-Bloomfield Hills) said he sup-
ported Goss leadership, despite his faults.
"I look at this and say, 'This guy has not fallen,'" Deitch
said in July. "Some choices were good and some weren't so
good ... and I think we have great leadership in Mr. Goss,
and I look forward to the future."
Although the future looked bright at the time, the depart-
ment and the University as a whole suffered great public
embarrassment not only because of turmoil within the
department, but also because of problems with student ath-
The charges of embezzlement from an Ypsilanti K-Mart
involving football linebacker Anthony Jordan tainted the
Athletic Department's image. And most recently, the surpris-
ing news of the NCAA suspending freshman basketball play-
er Jamal Crawford for violating an NCAA bylaw by living
with and accepting gifts from Barry Henthorn.
Hipp ATHIFTICS_ Padp RR
Jamal Crawford wears workboots, but his teammates did all the work yesterday. He will be suspended for four more games,
while Tom Goss is finished aa A.D. Brandon Smith (left) emerged from the weekend smoke with his name cleared.
Elerbe: I have been assureud
. the stadium gets bigger, but the critics get louder.
""" m"""'" """
Tam Goss era: 1997-2000
Michigan Athletic Director Tom Goss' 29-month tenure
was a poetry of extremes:
Sept. 8, 1997 - First-year University President Lee Bollinger
names Goss the ninth athletic director in Michigan history,
replacing Joe Roberson.
Oct. 10, 1997 - Goss announces the findings of a Kansas law
firm's investigation into the Michigan basketball program. The,
NCAA recognizes two minor violations.
Oct. 11, 1997 - Three-tiine Final Four coach Steve Fisher-is
fired by Goss; he wanted to "change the program."
'Dec. 9, 1997 - Michigan wrestler Jeffery Reese dies while
trying to make weight in a Crisler Arena tfrainng room,
spawning massive NCAA inquiries and reform.
Jan. 1, 1998 - Led by Heisman Trophy winner Charles
Woodson and MVP Brian Griese, Michigan wins the Rose Bowl
and first undefeated: National. Championship in 50 year.
Feb. 2, 1998'- G ossrestructures,.Athleti( Department,
overhauling executive positions.
April 4, 1998 - The Michigan hockey team is an unlikely!
NCAA Champion, defeating Boston College, 3-2, in overtime.
Sept. 12, 1998- Michigan opens expanded stadium with
state-of-the-art scoreboards and Internet link.
April 23, 1999 - Men's gymnastics goes from a winless
program to an. NCAA Champion in three seasons.
July 15, 1999 -The University Board of Regents approve
athletic budget despite deficit concerns.
Feb. 5, 2000 - Ongoing basketball controversy culminates in
reports of Goss' departure. Soc.Saf,Reots
Coach claims job is secure;
working with administration
By Mark Francescutti
Daily Sports Editor
The impending departure of Tom Goss, at least partially
due to recent events surrounding the Michigan men's basket-
ball program, gives Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe something
extra to think about.
Goss hired Ellerbe in 1997, which some say was a bold
move, as the athletic director selected him over other nation-
But Ellerbe said after yesterday's loss to Ohio State that he
feels his job is in no danger.
"I have already been talked to by the administration,"
Ellerbe said. "I have gotten great confidence from them."
Ellerbe said he has spoken to several administrators over
the past few days, but has yet to talk to University President
Sources within the Athletic Department view the Goss sit-
uation as an opportunity for University administrators to gain
more influence with athletics. But it seems the process has
jumped the gun with reports it's already starting.
Jamal Crawford's recent suspension by the NCAA for a
R AP I EDRF Dc n oRR
Goss conuld never escape the auestions he Inherited.