6A - The Michigan Daily - Monday March 25, 2002
Five" legacy tainted
Don Canham and Dugan Fife recollect contrasting views of greatest
BY JOE SMITH DAILY SPORTS EDITOR
They were considered the
greatest recruiting class ever
assembled, trendsetters that
changed the face of college basket-
ball on and off the court and one of
the most intriguing stories in sports
in the early '90s.
They were also called trash-talk-
ing, cocky and immature kids who
were successful and weren't afraid
to let anyone know about it.
Now, the "Fab Five," as they were
known nearly one decade ago, is
being labeled as a "disgrace" after
the latest Ed Martin indictment -
at least according to former Michi-
gan athletic director Don Canham,
who served in the position from
"We worked 100 years to do it the
right way, but then you bring the
"Fab Five" in and it ruins every-
thing," Canham said.
Instead of celebrating the 10-year
reunion of the "Fab Five" making it
to the national championship game
as freshmen and sophomores, the
Fab Five legacy has now been deliv-
ered a severe black eye.
The latest indictment states that
Martin, a banned booster, gave four
former Michigan players (including
"Fab Five" star Chris Webber) a
total of $616,000 during their high
school and college careers.
Webber, who testified before the
grand jury in Martin's case in
August of 2000, was alleged to have
received money from 1988 to 1993,
from his freshman year in high
school through his final season at
Now, with Michigan in danger of
serious NCAA sanctions, there have
been thoughts that the Wolverines
should disown former players Web-
ber, Robert Traylor, Louis Bullock
and Maurice Taylor for taking dirty
money. Michigan could again
impose NCAA self-sanctions such
as yanking down Final Four and Big
Ten Tournament championship ban-
ners, stripping the accused players
of records, etc.
FROM CORSICA TO CASH
Dugan Fife, who played with
Webber and the Fab Five, doesn't
know if the latest indictment is the
end, but hopes it is. He feels that
stripping banners down would hurt
others who weren't involved with
"I wouldn't," Fife said. "That
takes away from what guys like
James Voskuil or Rob Pelinka and
myself did for the program. Guys
who worked hard and put in a lot. I
think the sanctions have been
Fife vividly remembers Webber
driving around "an old, beat-up
Corsica which you could see the
pavement because of the rust stains
that went through the floor." Fife
said that at the end of Webber's
sophomore year - his last one as a
Wolverine before turning pro - he
upgraded to an SUV.
But Fife said that members of the
team don't recollect the image of
guys getting thousands of dollars
from a booster.
"No one ever flashed money, no
one ever picked up the bills at the
restaurant," Fife said. "If these guys
were getting that much, I wish they
would have picked up the bill a few
"Some of these guys had nice
clothes, nice jewelry. But we were
always joking if it was real or not."
But Webber doesn't take the
recent indictment as a joke. An
admittedly annoyed Webber refused
to comment for two days, but then
lashed out to a reporter from the
Sacramento Bee this weekend.
"I've done everything I've had to
do," Webber told the paper. "I've
gone to court and we talked about it
and everything is done. So, why
should I talk about it? To give y'all
something to talk about? There's
nothing else to do."
Jalen Rose, one of Webber's best
friends and now a member of the
Chicago Bulls, also broke his
silence on Thursday on Jim Rome's
"The Last Word." The former
Detroit Southwestern star said he
knew Martin since he was a young-
ster, but didn't feel like Martin was
a booster for Michigan.
"Now, I don't know if Chris was
getting that kind of cake or not,"
Rose said after Rome asked him
whether the allegations were true.
"I really don't have anything nega-
tive to say about this scenario, and I
really don't know how much money
that he was giving, if he was giving,
to other players."
WHO IS ED MARTIN?
Martin described himself to his
lawyer once as a basketball junkie.
He was a fixture in the Detroit high
school basketball scene and his
exploits with former Wolverines
may be costly to the basketball pro-
gram that he knew and loved.
The 68-year-old Martin is
charged with giving money to play-
ers as loans to hide profits he was
making through an illegal numbers
operation at auto plants.
Martin and his wife, Hilda, were
arrested on Thursday on charges of
running an illegal gambling busi-
ness, conspiracy and money laun-
dering. They pleaded innocent and
were released on $10,000 bail.
Rose and others just say he was a
friendly guy who helped younger
"Ed Martin was somebody that
helped me have a winter coat on my
back, so really he's not necessarily
a booster of Michigan," Rose told
"He was actually a guy that was
really friendly with the kids."
Gabe Brown, a team manager
during the Fab Five era, said he
recruiting class ever
remembered seeing Martin around,
but said he didn't see a correlation
between the banned booster and
"I thought he was great," said
Brown, a mechanical engineer who
is a brother of Michigan recruit
Graham Brown. "He was a really
nice guy, very friendly, cordial and
respectful. He was there rooting
everybody - a big supporter of the
FAME OR SHAME?
With former players like Webber
being implicated in what Canham
calls "the largest financial violation
in amateur sorts history and an
illustrious calamity for Michigan"
- action will most likely be taken
by the University. Whether or not
this involves Michigan disassociat-
ing itself with Webber, Traylor, Tay-
lor and Bullock, remains to be seen.
Mark Mayemura, an editor of
Recruiting USA and a recruiting
analyst for ESPN.com, says that the
Martin indictment "doesn't impact
Webber negatively." And other than
the fact that Webber may face
future tax problems from the IRS
for the cash given to him by Martin,
Mayemura's statement isn't that far
off the mark - legally speaking.
But will Michigan ever be able to
welcome back Webber with open
arms into the halls of Crisler Arena
- where his picture is on the wall
but his memory is as tainted as
Shoeless Joe Jackson?
"It's hard for me to say," Fife
said. "They say he took the money
when he was 19, I think he can
make up for his mistake. Maybe he
"I'd say come back, get your
degree and make it up to the pro-
As long as Webber pays for the
- Daily Sports Writer Raphael
Goodstein contributed to this story.
Chris Weber and the Wolverines played Duke in the 1992 NCAA Championship
game. It was the first of two losses In the championship game for the "Fab Five."
A who's who of the major players involved with the Ed Martin scandal
ED MARTIN - The former Ford employee is the considered by some to be the most
infamous "booster" in college basketball. Martin's "loans" to various Michigan bas-
ketball players have tainted a decade of Michigan athletics. He was indicted on
March 21 for running an illegal gambling ring, conspiracy and money laundering, and
faces the possibility of up to 20 years in prison.
HILDA MARTIN - Hilda was indicted with her husband for gambling, conspiracy and
CARLTON MARTIN - Ed Martin's son, Carlton was charged with illegal gambling in the
fall of 2000. He agreed to a plea bargain in which he would disclose information
about the backroom dealings between his father and the Michigan basketball pro-
gram, but failed to do so. He is now in prison.
STEVE FISHER - After capturing a national championship in 1989, Fisher recruited
what was hailed as the best freshman class ever in college basketball. His "Fab
Five" of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King
went to back-to-back Final Fours. Michigan fired Fisher in October of 1997 and now
coaches San Diego State.
CHRIS WEBBER - Webber was the most fabulous of the Fab Five, but left Michigan
after his sophomore year. The Ed Martin controversy has surrounded him his entire
career. In the Martin indictment handed down last week, it was alleged that Webber
received approximately $280,000 from the booster. He now earns more than $12
million a year from the NBA's Sacramento Kings.
MAURICE TAYLOR - An investigation following an incident in which Taylor got into an
accident in his Ford Explorer opened the flood gates on the scandal.
ROBERT TRAYLOR - Robert "Tractor" Traylor allegedly received $160,000 from Martin.
Louis BULLOCK - Bullock played at Michigan until 1999, which makes the four-year
NCAA statute of limitations moot in this case.
Canham d lms 'M'
took Board's control
By Joe Smith
Daily Sports Editor
What happens when you take the
control away from the Board in Control
of Intercollegiate Athletics?
According to legendary Michigan
Athletic Director Don Canham, it
results in the "largest financial violation
in amateur sports history and an illustri-
ous calamity for Michigan - a black
mark that will be forever there."
Canham, athletic director from 1968-
88, said that when former University
President James Duderstadt lessened
the authority of the Board in Control
right after Joe Roberson replaced Bo
Schembechler as athletic director. The
eventually tumultuous basketball pro-
gram was then left without proper over-
sight and ultimately leading toward the
type of violations mentioned in the Ed
"It's just like General Motors throwing
out the board of directors" Canham said.
"If the Board in Control had been consti-
tuted, this never would have happened."
Canham said that others, such as the
players and coach Steve Fisher are to
blame as well.
"Fisher is making a half a million a
year to supervise 13 athletes and he can't
do it?" Canham said. "I'm not accusing
him of anything but incompetence."
But with each of the past two Univer-
sity presidents, Dunderstadt and Lee
Bollinger, combining to "wipe out the
board completely" in terms of authority,
it left a bulk of the responsibility in
overseeing the athletic department to
the University president himself.
"Half the presidents in the country
haven't had jobs outside of academia,"
Canham said. "Most don't have any
idea of what an agent looks like or a
gambler looks like."
Right before he left to take the
Columbia University presidential post,
Bollinger proposed changes to the Uni-
versity Board of Regents' bylaws that
would effectively give more control to
the president and reduce the Board in
Control to a mere advisory position.
The changes also added two more fac-
ulty members, who would be appointed
by the president, to the Board in Con-
trol, and the chair of the Senate Adviso-
ry Committee on University Affairs
would become a regular member. The
bylaw change was approved by the
regents with little resistance at last
Steve Fisher took the helm of the program and won the national championship in
1989. But within 10 years his bags were packed as he left Ann Arbor In disgrace.
"All of this is to make sure intercolle-
giate athletics don't get out of control,"
Bollinger said at a Nov. 12 SACUA
meeting. "The Board in Control should
be, and has been unmistakably adviso-
ry; the name should be changed to
But Canham said the addition of more
faculty members instead of distinguished
alumni took away from the Board's bal-
ance. He said it also extended the presi-
dent's duties too far in matters in which
they aren't always fully informed.
Interim University President B.
Continued from Page 1A
ulations for its involvement with Martin.
Bollinger said he took a number of measures to cor-
rect the problem and prevent future incidents from
occurring, such as restricting access to the tunnel and
removing the coaches and athletic director who were
"My policy was to do everything within our power to
get to the bottom of it - I'm sure that will continue to
be the University's policy," Bollinger said. "We had an
inter-investigation, and I brought in an outside law firm.
We revamped the basketball program by removing the
coach and instituting all kinds of procedures."
The connection between Michigan basketball players
and Martin first came to light in 1996 when current
Houston Rockets forward Maurice Taylor, who allegedly
accepted $150,000 from Martin while playing for the
University, crashed his Ford Explorer with several
recruits and teammates in the vehicle.
James Duderstadt, who was the sitting president when
most of the exchanges took place between the various
Michigan players and Martin, was unavailable for com-
In 2001, Duderstadt published a book, titled "Intercol-
legiate Athletics and the American University: a Univer-
sity President's Perspective," in which he talks about the
strains placed on college athletes and hints at why some
athletes may feel the need to accept money.
"Today's student-athletes are, in effect, employees of
the Athletic Department, working at the job of athletic
competition while being paid an amount just sufficient
to cover their tuition, room and board," Duderstadt said
in his book.
Murray Sperber, a sports analyst and professor at Indi-
ana University who has observed Michigan athletics over
the years, said he believes senior administrators at the
University, such as the athletic director and president,
may have known about the exchanges between players
"$600,000 is a lot of money to change hands, and it
could not be a secret," Sperber said.
Although interim University President B. Joseph
White has only been in the position for several months,
he is now joining the list of presidents who have had to
Joseph White said he doesn't know
enough about the idiosyncrasies of the
Board to have an opinion on the sub-
"I don't have enough experience yet
with the Board in Control to answer. I
certainly think the faculty members
have a great deal of interest in athletics
and I think we have an interest to capi-
talize off that," White said.
Board member Percy Bates refused
to comment and fellow board members
Donald Deskins and Athletic Director
Bill Martin were unavailable.
Continued from Page 1A
really cut his legs out from under
Milson said that while he doesn't
think Horton will change his mind
based on the indictment, he isn't
sure what kind of an effect future
NCAA sanctions will have on Hor-
"He's very strong in his commit-
ment," Milson said. "And I'm as close
to him as anyone. He's got unfaltering
loyalty for Michigan. He isn't going
to change his mind just because of
some allegations. But if sanctions
come out of this ... I don't know. That
isn't my decision to make."
Other schools that showed interest
in Horton included Indiana, Texas and
Oklahoma - all of whom performed
well this postseason.
Under NCAA rules, Amaker wasn't
allowed to contact any of the recruits
in the past week since it is a recruiting
But he was at the Breslin Center in
East Lansing yesterday, watching
Abram's team beat Detroit Redford
and junior prospect Dion Harris for
the state crown.
Amaker couldn't be reached for
comment, only releasing a statement
Continued from Page 1A
exchanges of money between play-
ers and boosters, Sperber said he
does not feel regulations are
"Boosters have been giving
money to athletics for a very long
time. As a result, it got really out of
control in the 1980s, and the NCAA
put in very strict regulations," Sper-
ber said. "There are hundreds of
ways around it. So many of them,
especially inner-city players, have
A street agent is a person not
affiliated with the University, such
as Martin, who gives college players
gifts or money.
One of the more infamous "street
agents" is Rob Johnson, whose
involvement with the basketball
programs at Texas A&M University
and Syracuse University resulted in
both schools being penalized by the
NCAA in the early '90s. But, the
violations tied to Johnson, includ-
ing a $125 loan to a Texas A&M
player pale in comparison to the
huge sums of money that were
allegedly given to Michigan play-
ers, including -Chris Webber and
Sperber proposed that universities
consider paying college athletes as a
way to mend the problem.
"I guess one of the solutions is to
pay college athletes and get the
money above the table. The Detroit
Pistons pay a lot more than
$600,000 for college athletes," Sper-
He added that administrators have
a responsibility to prevent these
types of situations from occurring.
"Athletic departments are not
hard enough on these boosters and
particularly the coaches, and univer-
sity administrators aren't tough
enough on athletic departments,"