Novernber 8, 2002
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Canham condones Michigar
sanctions; condemns Fisher
By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Writer
If Michigan President Mary Sue
Coleman and Athletic Director Bill
Martin were hoping for positive feed-
back for the report that they filed with
the NCAA concerning the men's bas-
with Ed E
need look A
what they did was
exactly right and'
exactly what they had to do," Canham
said. "I really don't know what the hell
the NCAA Infractions Committee
could do in addition."
Canham also offered his support for
another former athletic director at the
University, Tom Goss, who was chas-
tised heavily while he held the post -
it was a reign that lasted from just
"Tom Goss fired (Steve) Fisher right
away, which was a good move," said
Canham of the former athletic director
"People were in such an uproar over
that, they wanted to fire Goss and
rehire Fisher - he got off on the wrong
foot, which was unfortunate because he
was a good A.D. Starting with Goss, the
University did exactly the right things."
While Canham refused to place
any of the blame for the Martin scan-
dal on Goss, he did not have as posi-
tive of a feeling about Fisher, the
coach of the basketball team during
the majority of the time when the
Martin issues took place.
"Anyone who looks at the violations
probably understands that this is the
worst violation in the history of college
basketball," Canham said. "What Fisher
has done to the basketball program and
the University because he's incompe-
tent is beyond belief. I don't think he
cheated, but he's incompetent - it's a
shame to see such a great basketball
program ruined by incompetence.
"Fisher had to know. When you have
10 guys driving around in $50,000
automobiles, you have to know that
they don't all come from home."
The athletic director position was
given to Canham in 1968, and he said
he was involved with the NCAA Infrac-
tions Committee. Canham's belief was
that Michigan had punished itself more
than was to be expected, and the Infrac-
tions Committee would agree.
"The one thing I found on Infrac-
tions Committees is that they are very
fair - they could put on longer pro-
bation or take away scholarships, but I
think they'll say Michigan did the
While he did believe that all the right
steps had been taken by the people in
charge beginning with Goss and contin-
uing through Coleman and Martin's
actions yesterday, Canham also stressed
one suggestion for making sure the pro-
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gram's problems will not be repeated.
"I think you need a faculty board in
control of athletics," Canham said. "We
had it from 1918 until (Bo) Schem-
bechler left the A.D. job in 1990, and
we never had a problem; that was done
away with by (former University presi-
dents) James Duderstadt and Lee
Bollinger. So then we have presidential
control and you get the biggest viola-
tion in our history."
Despite his frustration with the
change in the faculty board policy and
Postseason ban best left
Fisher's leadership, Canham continued
to reiterate how pleased he was with the
way the sanctions against the basketball
team and the report sent to the NCAA
was handled by Coleman, Martin and
basketball coach Tommy Amaker.
"Michigan has suffered and Tom
Amaker has been penalized beyond
belief," Canham said. "It was more than
I thought that they'd do, and I think the
Infractions Committee will see it that
way - everyone involved has done a
up to NCAi
n yesterday's press conference
announcing the self-imposed sanc-
tions Michigan will put on its bas-
ketball program, University President
Mary Sue Coleman made one thing
very clear: "I am determined that noth-
ing like this will ever happen again at
Michigan," she said. "Let me say loud
and clear: Integrity is our top priority."
Coleman is right. Integrity should be
one of Michigan's top priorities, and by
punishing its basketball program, the
University is demonstrating its commit-
ment to winning the right way. It is the
correct course of action.
But Michigan stands for more than
just integrity. It also stands for loyalty
and dedication to its student-athletes -
two qualities that did not show up when
the University decided to ban its basket-
ball team from postseason play this
year. This particular sanction showed a
lack of loyalty toward its current team
members - particularly seniors LaVell
Blanchard, Gavin Groninger and Rotolu
Adebiyi - who lost the opportunity to
ever play in the NCAA Tournament.
Even though a ban may be necessary
to properly punish the program, Michi-
gan should have remained faithful to its
current players by not taking the post-
season away from them.
"Even though this is the right thing to
do, I want to personally apologize to
our three basketball players who are
graduating seniors," Michigan Athletic
Director Bill Martin said.
But was this the right thing to do?
Was it necessary for Martin, Coleman
and Tommy Amaker to pull Michigan
out of the postseason before the NCAA
could make a ruling, especially when
no current player or coach is in any way
connected with the crimes?
Ever since rumors about the basket-
ball program began to surface in 1996,
the University has made a comprehen-
sive effort to examine the allegations.
The program was investigated three
times and two coaching changes were
made. Even though nothing was proven
until the federal government got
involved, the University made an honest
effort to uncover the problem.
"No one wanted to sweep these prob-
lems under the rug," Coleman said.
"Bill Martin has done all the right
things to make it clear to everyone in
the department that integrity is our top
If Michigan has done all the right
things, as Coleman says it has, then it
should not feel obligated to punish its
current players and coaches. The Uni-
versity's duty in this case is to punish
the program by separating itself from
the legacy left by Chris Webber,
Robert Traylor, Maurice Taylor and
Louis Bullock. It should take down
the banners. It should pay the NCAA
back for the money it was given. It
should forfeit those games and it
should be placed on probation.
It should not turn its back on its cur-
rent seniors by taking away their last
chance at postseason play. If the NCAA
needs to do this to Michigan, let it.
The NCAA might feel a one- or two-
year postseason ban is necessary for
this program to truly be punished seri-
ously. In fact, with the magnitude of this
scandal, a ban should be put in place to
punish the program. But let the NCAA
slap this penalty onto the list of sanc-
tions. That way, at least Michigan's
complete devotion to its current players
cannot be questioned.
The University did have motives in
banning its team from the postseason.
It's the one concrete punishment that
transcends the passage of time and actu-
ally affects the current state of the pro-
gram. It also might be an effort on the
University's part to discourage the
NCAA from imposing any additional
sanctions when Michigan brings its case
in front of the Infractions Committee.
"These are very serious sanctions,"
Coleman said. "We considered these
carefully in light of the gravity of the
violations and the consistent approach
the NCAA has had towards such prob-
lems at other universities."
These reasons are understandable,
but not acceptable. The Michigan bas-
ketball program most probably
deserved to get banned from the post-
season, but its current players did not
deserve to have their own school take it
away from them.
NaweedSikora can be reached
Sanctions won't affect M' recruiting
By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer
Yesterday morning, the Michigan
men's basketball program took a
major step forward in resolving the
Ed Martin scandal. To some, the
suffering will begin this year when
they see the championship banners
taken down - an asterisk added to
six seasons in which all wins will
be taken away. But in fact, the
Wolverines have been suffering ever
since speculations began.
Opposing coaches would use the
threat of sanctions to steer recruits
away from Michigan and toward
their school, resulting in a negative
stigma around the Michigan pro-
gram. But now, with the self-
imposed sanctions, Michigan can
move past the scandal.
Recruiting analysts feel that the
self-imposed sanctions will not hurt
Michigan's recruiting efforts and
that the future for Michigan coach
Tommy Amaker is starting to clear
"Let's say it does affect them,
who cares," HoopScoop analyst
Clark Francis said. "They've
already got (the players that) they
need. If (the NCAA extends the
postseason ban until) next year,
then maybe it hurts them a little bit
more. But I think they're in great
shape. I think they're a year or two
away from turning the corner and
being a great team in college bas-
Despite this cloud hanging over
the program, Amaker's recruiting
efforts have been very successful.
In his first year as coach at Michi-
gan, he brought in one McDonald's
All American - Daniel Horton -
as well as several other nationally
recognized talents to form what is
considered to be one of the best
freshman classes in the nation.
One of the fears that came with
sanctions was that perspective
recruits would void their verbal
commitments. But Amaker said that
he called his commitments for the
2003-04 season and reassured them
that scholarships would still be
available for them.
After Friday's Wayne State exhi-
bition, Romulus High School star
and Michigan commitment Ronald
Coleman met with Amaker to dis-
cuss the status of his scholarship
and to reassure the coach that he
still plans on attending Michigan.
Even if the NCAA does lengthen
Michigan's postseason ban by a
year, Coleman, who is set to enter
Michigan for the 2004-05 season,
will not be affected.
"Ron said that he's going to
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Michigan," Coleman's coach
Nathan Oates said. "The only thing
he was concerned about was if they
were put on probation and had no
scholarships, but coach Amaker
assured us that there would be a
scholarship available for him.
"That's where he's going, and he's
pretty fired up that if (self-imposed
penalties were) the only penalties.
Obviously he's disappointed for the
current guys - but if this is it,
which is what the coaching staff has
told us, then he's still coming to
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