Another in the very occasional series.
I once heard that U of M is the only public school in the Big Ten that does not treat its out of state scholarship athletes as in state for tuition purposes. A friend explained that all others do, which would provide for a huge savings in the amount of scholarship tuition that the University pays, especially considering that most athletes come from out of state. If this is indeed the case, changing the rule would amount to a savings of millions of dollars, which would go a long way toward catching Michigan up in terms of facilities and coaches contracts. What is your take on this?
I have also heard this but don't know if it's true. Fortunately, a helpful reader who's name I've sadly forgotten pointed out a publicly available copy of the '06-07 Michigan athletic department budget. It projected that Michigan would pay 12.1 million in student financial aid last year. Details:
Financial aid to students: The athletic department grants the maximum allowable scholarships to all varsity sports. Total grant-in-aid equivalencies are approximately 335 with an estimated in-state to out-of-state ratio of 30%/70%.
Athletes are compensated for more than just their tuition. They get room and board and books and scads (scads I say!) of Entree Plus, so the calculation isn't quite as easy as dividing 12.1 million by 335 and saying "a-ha!". But the average cost for a year of tuition at Michigan appears to be slightly over 10k for in state students and slightly over 31k(!) for out of state students, though many athletes go to school in the summer. Assuming everyone does and the 10k is actually 15k, if all 335 grant-in-aid equivalencies were charged at instate levels only five million of the 12.1 would actually be going to tuition and each player with a full scholarship would be given $21,000 per year for living expenses. And that's erring on the conservative side. No freakin' way.
It's true: Michigan charges out-of-state student-athletes out-of-state tuition. I can't speak for what other schools do, but at places like Texas this is much less of an issue. Does it really matter? I don't know. Michigan is running a sixteen million dollar surplus but, as everyone constantly points out, is slipping behind in the facilities arms race and will likely be applying much of that surplus to shiny new palaces down the road. If other schools ignore the soft costs of a few extra students, their palaces will be shinier and their Godzillatrons more Gozilla-y.
Yes, this is still the #1 Michigan blog in the Central Asian Steppe, thankyouverymuch. Look, I've totally got proof:
couple of questions about the WV basketball coach beilein. the buzz seems to be that he's good or great at x's and o's and is a good guy, etc., and that he does "more with less" but doesnt recruit that well.this worries me a bit. shouldnt we be looking for a coach that does "more with more ?"ok so we havent been awesome lately but a michigan basketball coach should be able to recruit some pretty good talent. the detroit news is saying he's a "safe" choice. thats neat and all, but shouldnt we be trying to win some games at this point. now, because it was the detroit news that said it, i thought two things:1. theyre probably wrong... and2. isnt that a little unfair (at least) b/c didnt beilien have two pretty good runs with his WV teams? and didnt they look pretty good doing it?so what do you think? is recruiting going to be a problem?jack from kazakhstanbtw. mullets in kazakhstan totally out of control.
I think this point's be addressed here and elsewhere plenty, but to be fair to Jack 1) he wrote this a long time ago and 2) it contains a critical update on the mullet situation in Kazakhstan.
Anyway: as Friday's UV highlighted, there was no discernible difference between the recruiting rankings of a team that got its coach fired and one that won two national championships back to back. And Michigan fans were livid about Amaker's crappy recruiting. Beilein doesn't have to recruit like Thad Matta or Roy Williams to have a shot at a national championship. He came thisclose to a Final Four with no guys who even sniffed the NBA and it's not like he's going to recruit worse than he did at West Virginia. Even the worst case scenario here is fun forays deep into the tourney alternating with rebuilding years.
We'll get a sneak peek at his recruiting ability in the next week or two as he tries to sell his system and his program to Legion and Harris. Will he keep both? I don't know. That News article over the weekend made it sound okay for Legion and bad for Harris, but Harris has always expressed a desire to stay close to home so his parents can watch him play and I doubt he'll find a situation more conducive to lots of playing time anywhere else. His stock has risen greatly since he signed his LOI, however, and there are a lot of schools who would love to shoehorn him into their class. Legion's always been jumpy, but his shooting is a natural fit for the Beilein offense and he seems interested in the possibility of playing in an offense with a point. Chances are he loses one, but if he manages to hold onto both most of the concerns about his recruiting ability will be dispelled within a few weeks of his appointment.
Brian,You probably like to use your own material on the blog, but maybe you too have noticed an interesting phenomenon with Michigan fans when discussing prospects for the next basketball coach.
Now that you mention it... yeah. Hell, I was vehemently opposed to Sean Miller for no other reason than his product hair.
The proprietor of the Georgia Sports Blog chipped in some personal observations of the 1-3-1, which is deployed on occasion by Georgia:
When Harrick [who you'll note was totally a product hair guy. -ed] was here we ran the 1-3-1 with Damien Wilkins (Super Sonics 6th man) at the top of the key. And we had our PG under the basket. The long ultra athletic and muscular Wilkins (6'5" and 210 lbs or so) drove teams nuts up top. But as all your articles pointed out, we couldn't run it much. Too exhausting for our PG on the bottom.
We used it as a change of pace to just wreck a team's tempo and kill momentum.
Today, we run it under Felton...and it works ok...unless we're playing:
1. the princeton back cut you to death approach
2. long athletic wings and post leapers like GT that brutalizes us on the baseline
3. Florida. They just shoot over it, through it, around it, etc.
We also drop our 7'0" shot blocking project into the middle of that scheme, and he has a blast with it. He's worthless on offense and man defense, but he's a disruptive force in the 2-3 and 1-3-1.
br />That defense with Michigan type players, will drive teams bat shit crazy playing you.
We're actually a pretty good rebounding team defensively in that set. But it's because our guards are our best rebounders. Our big men don't do much rebounding in the 1-3-1....well...they don't do much rebounding period actually. So there's that.
Sadly, I think Paul overestimates the "Michigan type players" we've had in recent years, but more food for thought on the 1-3-1. Beilein played down his use of the system in a post-PC interview The Wolverine posted, claiming that this year's team played almost exclusively man-to-man down the stretch. In the NIT championship game, however, the 1-3-1 was back with a vengeance. Flexibility? Oh, John. You say such sweet things.
And this one's really old, but awesome:
I went to Chicago last weekend for the Big Ten Tournament. It wasn't the best of times, what will all the OSU victories, but one event did stand out. Per NCAA or Big Ten policy, there was no alcohol in the stands at the United Center. (This is in contrast to, say, Joe Louis Arena, where I can drink and watch college hockey at the same time.) The only place to get a drink was at a bar that's built into the east side of the building off the concourse. Needless to say that at 11:00 AM CST on a Friday, while most of the stands were empty, the bar was packed to the gills.
After OSU put us down, my buddy and I headed to the bar to get a drink before Purdue/Iowa. It was really hot in the bar (filled to capacity on a warm day) and I removed my Michigan sweatshirt to reveal my "Charlie Weis should probably eat less" t-shirt. I became an instant celebrity. People stopped me to take my picture, complete strangers grabbed my shirt so they could read the entire caption, everybody loved it. There was even a slightly intoxicated Purdue fan who walked up and talked my ear off for five minutes about how ND steals all of their recruits. I just thought you'd like to know.
Charlie would later reveal that the slightly intoxicated Purdue fan was Scarlett Johansson. BUY SHIRTS!
Re-recruiting. With Beilein in as coach there are two major items on the Michigan agenda before the season: hiring assistant coaches and trying to keep the recruiting class intact. Beilein has implied in his numerous -- four appearances yesterday, Rome today -- radio appearances and press conferences that while most of his staff would be coming from West Virginia, there was at least one spot he was earmarking for someone with local recruiting ties.
An interesting name that a couple commenters have brought up is former Arkansas assistant Oronde Taliaferro. Taliaferro played at Detroit Mumford and Wayne State, coached Detroit Central for four years, and was hired by Heath, then at Kent State. Heath may want him on his staff at South Florida, but if he wants a more prominent job and a bigger paycheck Michigan could probably tempt him. Nathan Fenno floats Taliaferro and Amaker assistant Mike Jackson, who just took a job at Illinois State, in an Ann Arbor News article today. There's also been purely internet-based speculation about bringing in a Fab Fiver. Jalen Rose is probably not an option just yet, but Jimmy King has been hanging around the program in recent weeks. Maybe he's looking for a job?
On the recruiting front, the News got this quote from Legion's mom:
"Al talked with him (Beilein) for an hour on Wednesday," Williams said. " When you have a ballplayer like Al, it's not about him. What's important are the players you have around him."
I have no idea how to parse that quote or what it means. But there you go. It is good that they talked for "about an hour" yesterday and are meeting in person today. There's been a lot of chatter that Legion isunlikely to stay on board, but at least he's giving Michigan a shot. Meanwhile, a brief, dubiously-sourced panic spread on Michigan message boards about an imminent Manny Harris decommit to Tennessee. That hasn't transpired. Harris took in Michigan's first practice under Beilein and was reportedly going to meet with him again today or tomorrow. Kelvin Grady remains on vacation in Mexico.
Meanwhile, at least three WVU players are getting R-U-N-N-O-F-T by new 'Eer head coach Bob "Satan" Huggins. The Charleston Gazette pulls no punches:
But according to a source at Kansas State Thursday night, Huggins had already contacted one of his other signed recruits, North Carolina shooting guard Dominique Sutton, and told him that three West Virginia players were going to transfer and that there would be room for Sutton, Beasley and perhaps more.
It should be interesting to see not only whom it is that plans to transfer, but also whether they've been told they plan to transfer yet.
Zing! If Legion or another recruit defects and there's a WVU player out there Beilein likes he might end up here. (Sidenote: I was all set to have a lasting fondness for the WVU basketball team and then they had to go and hire the bar-none most loathsome coach in all sports. Yuck.)
About supermega recruits. They're often cited as a reason that the Beilein hire is a bad idea: he's not going to reel in Oden and Conley and etc. But let's compare Team A and Team B side by side. 1-5 is the starting five and 6 and 7 are the first players off the bench.
|Team A||Team B|
|Player 1||4*, #31||4*, #28|
|Player 2||4*, #36||4*, #36|
|Player 3||4*, #75||4*, #71|
|Player 6||4*, #45||4*, #31|
The teams are nearly identical. If you want to give one team a slight edge in recruiting it's team B, which happens to be this year's Michigan team. (Somewhat shocking: Lester Abram was an unranked 3-star.) Team A?
More sale! Note to anyone contemplating a "Jimmy Clausen is an Emu" baseball jersey purchase...
Be advised that entering the code "FASTBALL" in the designated savings field will result in 21% being hacked off its price.
Speaking of Jimmy King and four other guys (warning! dangerously high Stuart Scott levels!)...
For the love of God. Don't click here. I'm mortified.
If you want outrage about this whole Big Lead DDoS thing there are plenty of places to get it. Here we focus on cold, hard revenge. It seems that half of the people who email me are lawyers, so a question:
Is this audio passage from Colin Cowherd's show advocating a distributed denial of service attack grounds for a civil or criminal case?
After Cowherd did this, The Big Lead was indeed subject to a DDoS attack and was down for the entirety of yesterday.
Question 2: If so, anyone feel like suing the WWL?
Also, their game against NC State in the NIT:
Now would be a good time to mention that I spent a summer in Ireland and one night in some dance club or another -- don't ask, I was in a foreign country -- I heard some sort of vaguely familiar OONTS OONTS OONTS techno beat, then a vaguely familiar verse, and then the entire goddamn place burst out the chorus of "Country Roads," which had unbeknownst to me been repackaged as an ass-shaking dance groove.
I spent the next half hour giggling uncontrollably.
Frank Young, uh, makes it rain on dem hoes.
1. ESTABLISH TERRY FOSTER AS UNRELIABLE.
lament: the Detroit News has fancifully stuffed its entire archives behind a paywall. Anything over seven days old is only available if you decide to pay for it, and the day I pay to access a Terry Foster column is the day Terry Foster is right about anything.
Terry Foster does not care if the things he says are true or even remotely supported by the facts. I don't know if he just makes things up wholesale -- such an act requires creativity -- or just steals them from 16 year old punks posting on a Pistons board. This post from a couple years ago contains a classic example of Foster at his nadir. In brief, it discusses this nugget from Foster's short-lived blogspot enterprise:
Rumors are circulating that the Pistons might break up their starting five by trading Rasheed Wallace to the Chicago Bulls for center Tyson Chandler and forward Andres Nocioni.
This "rumor" circulated primarily on a couple internet message boards because some 16-year old kid threw it up there:
Jayborne23 posted on 8/23/2005 9:53:28 PM
HOLY S***, WAS I RIGHT?
Is Sheed for Chandler and Nocioni a real deal? Cause I sincerely made that s*** up. That hoopsworld article mentioned it. WHAT THE F***?
The whole totally awesome and enlightening series of events was chronicled in the aforementioned post.
B. CURRENT EVENTS
For a more recent example, here are these statements from Foster's Detroit News "blog," which isn't behind a fanciful paywall:
I've got bad news. As it stands now Amaker will return as Michigan coach for the 2007-08 season no matter what. That is the word from the inside. ...
And before you fire arrows at Athletic Director Bill Martin, save it. It is not his call. This is from school president Mary Sue Coleman who loves the Amaker family and what it represents. ...
If he stays it will show once again Michigan is not serious about basketball. [note this for later]
I was listening to one of the talk shows on the way over and they were talking about this being a must-win game for Michigan to make the tournament and for Tommy Amaker to keep his job as head coach.
I'm telling you that this guy is not going to lose his job. It is something I've been screaming from the roof tops for weeks. He is here for at least one more season although I admit he will be on probation next season when he returns
Remember that history has proven that Foster's "insiders" are sometimes kids in My Chemical Romance t-shirts in Wixom. On March 13th, he reiterates:
I believe most people in the Michigan Athletic Department believe Amaker is a bad fit here and would like to move in a different direction. But it is not their decision. I also believe Athletic Director Bill Martin would like to find a new coach.
The problem is Coleman is not convinced, even though folks are trying to convince her Amaker is not the guy. Based on that I believe Amaker is returning next season.
The next post on the situation is an artfully phrased lie about how much Michigan is willing to pay its next basketball coach, citing Amaker's base salary as a mere 165,000 when anyone who spends as much time around sports as he does knows that most contracts are structured like that and a simple check would have revealed that Amaker was making 700k plus a deferred compensation fund of 900k. Note also the baseless assertion the the "university lied to him" about a practice facility:
If youve read this blog you know Ive always believed that Amaker would keep his job. I base that primarily on the fact that Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman does not want to fire Amaker. She believes he is what is right about college basketball. He handles himself well. He cleaned up some messes that Michigan created and he has not made a public stink that the university lied to him.
Here is the issue. If you fire Amaker who can Michigan get who is better? Now there are a number of high profile coaches who are better. But here is the problem. Michigan does not want to pay much more than the $165,000 base salary Amaker is making. So tell me who the Wolverines can lure for that kind of money? Ive always believed Amaker should be fired. But I sat and thought about this. Until Michigan is willing to do the things it takes to become a winner, what is the point?
Amaker's fired the next damn day, but does this dissuade Foster from his crackpot theories about the power struggle going on within the department? No. He also throws out three names for the coaching search, only of whom (Todd Lickliter) was a reasonable candidate. The others are Tom Crean, who showed up in Foster's Sunday column (dissected here) as an example of how Michigan wasn't going to get a coach because they only want to pay 200k and Crean cost 1.5 million -- Beilein's contract is for a whopping 200k less than that -- and Bruce Pearl, neither of whom was ever mentioned again by anyone remotely connected to the search:
President Mary Sue Coleman did not want to fire Tommy Amaker as basketball coach. Athletic Director Bill Martin did. But Martin gave Coleman an ultimatum. Martin told Coleman that if she would not allow him to fire Amaker that he wanted to walk. Coleman felt pressure from Martin, but in the past week she began feeling pressure from the public too and it caused her to buckle and go against her initial instinct.
Michigan also wants to talk to Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl and Marquette's Tom Crean. The problem is they are out of Michigan's price range. To get these men Michigan must make a huge commitment on salary and promise them a practice facility and upgrades to Crisler. They made the same promise to Amaker. But he did not get it in writing and the school never delivered.
For the record, Bill Martin on the coaching search:
Q: What this your call?
Martin: It was entirely my call.
Q: Did other people at the university offer input?
Martin: Only if I sought input and I sought very little.
Is it possible Martin is lying? Yes, though I think he'd have little reason to. Far more probable is that Foster ran across an extremely convincing high school freshman from Warren.
2. THE NIMROD AND THE DAMAGE DONE
A. Establish the source of the racially-tinged accusation that Beilein will not recruit inner city kids.
On March 28th, a full week after Chris Balas at the Wolverine -- who kicked everyone's ass on the search by the way, the Ann Arbor News was the only group even close -- had disclosed Michigan's pursuit of Beilein to Rivals subscribers and via diffusion the entire Michigan internet, Foster finally wakes up. Even though he's breaking nothing, he manages to puff himself up like he's the real inside guy:
I'm telling you WVA coach John Beilein is the guy University of Michigan Athletic Director Bill Martin has on the top of his list. Beilein is a Michigan man. More importantly Beilein is a Martin man. This is exactly the type of coach Martin wants. He is a good on court coach, has a nice personality and will embrace our community which is very important. He'd promote the program and make sure Michigan's block M is out in the community way more than it is now in high school basketball gyms.
Here is what Martin is banking on. He is banking on Beilein's X's and O's being far superior than those of fired coach Tommy Amaker although his recruiting won't measure up. He is sacrificing players for strategy. It might work in Michigan will be a threat more days than not. I am not quite sure it makes the Wolverines perennial threats to win the Big Ten. However, that is not the issue here. The main issue is simply to make Michigan a threat and that is what Beilein can do.
A whopping three days later he's got his pet theory about Detroit and Flint.
One is the $2.5 million buy out West Virginia insists on taking and the second is Beilein won't be interested in recruiting Detroit and Flint heavily. He wants his own players and is willing to get lesser and coach them up. That means the big-name talent for the most part will continue to go elsewhere.
Please note the distinction between "he won't be able to" and "won't be interested in" recruiting Detroit and Flint. He repeats this assertion on his radio show over and over again, once claiming that one of his assistants told one of "his guys" -- probably the My Chemical Romance one, that guy knows his shit --at the Final Four. This leaks into a sort of conventional stupidity amongst the media. People like Pat Caputo, who are very, very stupid and unattractive and hate Michigan, lap it up. Media members who don't push it to the limit bring it up during his first press conference in order for him to dispel it, thus lending the accusation a patina of credibility when he has to address it like this is a real concern and not the cracked-out speculation of an idiot looking for attention.
And for the record, Beilein on the specific charge:
Condescending laughter and then "that's ludicrous." Because it is ludicrous... but somehow because a guy who has proven time and again he has no idea what he's talking about brings it up on the media platform Satan -- it can only be Satan -- has seen fit to offer him, he's forced to answer these ridiculous questions. And like it or not, every time Beilein misses out on a kid from Detroit or Flint or Saginaw (and he's going to miss on basically all of them next year since he probably only has one or two scholarships available) this refrain will pop up. It's a meme now and it has a life of its own that will serve to damage Michigan basketball until Beilein proves himself beyond the shadow of a doubt. It's a drag on the program that the media is so outright negative about it.
B. WE DON'T HAVE TO TAKE IT
It would be one thing if this was a supportable claim, but it is not. Foster's pattern is to grandly state that the "word from the inside" is one thing and then have that word turn out to be totally wrong. He has a track record of throwing things out without support that turn out to be wrong. Most likely he is just making stuff up or pulling rumors from the internet or contacting his dubious sources after they get out of trigonometry. In any case, the is a harm to the Michigan program and should not be tolerated by the university.
C. BRIEF CLARIFICATION.
If Foster was an actual journalist who dug up some NCAA violations that harmed the Michigan program and Michigan retaliated, that would be wrong. Uncovering the truth, even hard truths, is what journalism is supposed to be. But Foster is the farthest thing from a journalist. He uncovers nothing, supports nothing, and provides nothing other than stupidity. This isn't about journalism. It's about assholes.
3. ENCOURAGE ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT TO SHOW SOME COJONES
A major problem with Michigan's relationship with the Detroit media can be traced back to Bo and his Fort Knox philosophy about access. Michigan is widely regarded as one of the toughest athletic departments anywhere to get access to -- poor Johnny at RBUAS couldn't even get a Hart interview for an upcoming Michigan annual I'm editing -- and so there's little harm in ripping away at it, because it's not like they're going to give you less access. There has to be some carrot here -- more open practices, more player access -- in exchange for the stick: refusing any and all media credentials to any outlet that gives Foster so much as a dime. The Michigan athletic department should not stand for irresponsible, negative rumormongers who seek to profit by damaging its programs. (I, on the other hand, am a rumormonger who seeks only to huggle the Michigan athletic department in all its huggly snuggly places, and I don't get any access anyway.)
At the same time, they should create some compelling opportunities for access at other places: The Wolverine, the Free Press, etc., and then just wait. Is one man who can barely write the language worth it? Probably not. There was a time when Michigan needed the local media for attention as much as the local media needed them, but that time has passed. Then when Foster is gone, sculpt a bust of his head and stick it on a pike in front of Schembechler Hall.
Update 4/5: Linked to article on PA WR Vaughn Carraway. Black Shoe Diaries now has a recruiting board of his own; it thinks we lead for him. Bumped MI WR Fred Smith to green. Linked to article on PA LB Shane Hayle; not in top six but he hasn't really narrowed it. Added CA QB Dayne Crist. Downgraded WA DE Kavario Middleton to red; nasty Scout article. Added TX DE Kapron Lewis-Moore, MI TE Tyler Hoover, OH TE Kevin Koger, AZ RB Covaughn Deboskie. Removed MN LB Sam Maresh (Minnesota), PA RB Cameron Saddler (lack of mutual interest).
Editorial Opinion: Vaughn Carraway had an interesting offer list until recently: Michigan and UConn. Penn State joining that group makes it less weird and provides Michigan with some actual competition for Carraway's services. We must like him quite a bit to send him an offer with a number of other guys saying all the right things about Michigan, Texas' Darryl Stonum most prominently.
Carson Butler's dismissal makes tight end a high priority for this class; new to the board are a couple prospects who seem like good bets to end up at Michigan when it's all said and done. Hoover's an instate guy from Novi who has Michigan, Michigan State, and Northwestern-Duke-Vandy type offers; Koger's from Ohio, yes, but Toledo, Ohio, where Michigan fans are common. OSU and Michigan have offered.
Shayne Hale looks like another linebacker who's looking elsewhere and Kavario Middleton is a Washington defensive end who was tenuously listing us but now looks like he's going to stay on the West Coast. I haven't dropped them off the board yet but sooner or later they figure to.