Mike Lantry, 1972
This Schiano thing bothers for two reasons. One, he turned it down. Dammit. Two, Martin met with Schiano for like five hours yesterday and immediately offered him the job. Or something of that nature:
Schiano called the team to the Hale Center at 7 a.m. and told them he "still had work to do" at Rutgers. Schiano looked physically exhausted and said "this was a hard decision," according to a member of the football staff who was in the meeting.
The member of the football staff requested anonymity because of the private nature of the team meeting, but said Schiano looked "tired, beaten up and physically exhausted." He said the Michigan job was Schiano's if he wanted it, but the job was never officially offered.
Is this an offer? Technically not, but functionally yes. (I wonder if this is what happened with Ferentz, too.) In a few hours with a guy Martin knows way less about than Miles he managed to offer an obviously good candidate the Michigan job. A week ago he couldn't manage to offer an obviously good candidate the Michigan job... and lost the one guy who was all but certain to take it.
So now what? Schiano's out, Ferentz is out twice, Miles is (probably) out, and Brian Kelly is allergic to cats and Carr is demanding his pet Siamese Wuffles be appointed offensive coordinator. Or something. Jeff Tedford would probably say "thanks, but no" and Michigan is looking at... who? Brady Hoke or an interim Ron English? Someone shoot me. If it comes down to that, there's one clear choice: make a run at Miles. If that requires firing Martin, then fire Martin.
What about that contract he just signed? Well:
Beyond that, publicly released details about the contract have not changed much. He will be compensated for winning the SEC championship last weekend, a victory that will push his base salary to the top three in the league, about $2.8 million.
And his salary will move into the top three nationally â€” between $3.2 million and $3.5 million â€” if LSU wins the BCS national title on Jan. 7 against Ohio State.
The buyout to leave for Michigan, $1.25 million, reportedly remains unchanged.
It would be a considerable outlay to get Miles, but not prohibitive. But who's left? Michigan has prissily narrowed the field of acceptable candidates considerably, alienated the most natural fit, and is left without options. The fanbase and football alumni are outraged. And it's because Sailboat Bill is either totally incompetent or duplicitous. Does it matter which?
Right, so the "sailing" rumor went from hilariously improbable to likely to confirmed. The only thing more remarkable than that is that Martin deigns to defend himself:
"I did (call), Sunday morning," Martin said. "Why Sunday morning? I committed not to talk to Les Miles, directly or indirectly before the championship game on Saturday. That's the way this process is done, or at least the way I'm honoring the process."
Indeed, you committed not to talk to Miles "directly or indirectly." Setting aside that hopelessly Pollyanna view of the way things go -- too much "Leave it to Beaver" growing up, no doubt, here's LSU AD Skip Bertman in the Detroit News article about Michigan receiving permission to contact miles:
"I don't think anyone would try to speak to Les before the SEC title game, but that doesn't mean they couldn't speak to his agent (George Bass) before the game or at any time," Bertman said by telephone from his home. "There's no reason Bill or anyone else can't use headhunters to speak to Les' agent, but I would not assume that Bill would speak to Les himself without our permission. That doesn't mean he can't speak to other people."
This, of course, is all about Miles' agent trying frantically to get in touch with Michigan so they can respond to the situation he's facing. Do they not get the Detroit News on the virgin sea?
Oops. Let's punt.
The reason Miles couldn't get ahold of Martin on Saturday: Martin was on a sailboat. !!!
Obviously, if that's true Martin should be shot into the sun but I find that very, very doubtful.
Carty in the AA News:
Miles had no idea if Michigan really wanted him.
So Bass [Miles' agent] decided to ask.
He said he called Martin's cell phone on Friday and left a message. He just wanted to know where Miles stood.
Then, when he didn't hear back, the agent said he called Martin again.
"The (LSU) deal was so good that we couldn't just wait," Bass said via phone Tuesday. "I didn't know if we were one of the candidates in the pool at that time. There was just no communication."
Where was Martin? One source places him in Florida, at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo. Wherever he was, he didn't call back.
This is incompetence of staggering proportions. If Martin was a president, he would be William Henry Harrison. If he was a world-changing invention, he would be a Segway. If he was a football coach, he would be Charlie Weis.
The current face-saving explanation is that Martin is playing Ferentz and Miles off each other, hoping one will jump at a lowball offer loaded with incentives. When even the face-saving explanation paints you as a fool willing to let one million dollars per year jeopardize the well-being of an entire athletic department, you screwed up. Michigan's chances at landing Miles are now much weaker than they were a week ago, and it's because Martin blew the most important decision in Michigan athletics since 1969. Because he was on a damn boat too busy to return a phone call.
He has a chance to make good with an excellent hire; anything short of that and he should be run out of town on a rail.
I happened to go to an Ann Arbor bar last night. Readers may recall that Ann Arbor is where the University of Michigan -- often the focus of this blog's analytical endeavors -- is located. The basketball team of said University had a game last night against Utah State in the NIT, and there was indeed a basketball game on the various televisions scattered around the bar: Niagara-Florida A&M. At some point during the night a man in a Michigan hat approached the bartender, who nodded and went to the box-and-wire filled cabinet all bars that have televisions also have and fiddled with some stuff. Channels were being changed. The Niagara game blipped out of existence. In its stead was the Red Wings game.
If there had been no Wings game, the man would have asked for the Pistons game. If there had been no Pistons game, the man would have asked for NASCAR. If there had been no Wings game or Pistons game or NASCAR the man would have asked for the World's Strongest Man or bass fishing or possibly The View. At no point would the NIT flit across his neurons -- or those anyone with any sanity at all, really -- even to be dismissed with a short sharp burst of self-mocking laughter. The NIT does not exist. There is no NIT.
It's with some concern, then, that our athletic director hasn't announced anything in re: Amaker having honey smeared on his chest, a box taped above the sweetened area, and a rat placed in said box until he agrees to resign except "I won't announce anything until after the season." Does Michigan's performance in something that doesn't exist have an impact on Amaker's future? The implication is that it does, and therefore the implication is that a good performance can help Amaker's case. Furthermore, it implies that there is an Amaker case at all. There is no case. Michigan can win the entire freakin' Not Extant Tournament and it will matter not one bit. He should still have the rat thing happen to him, and if he's still recalcitrant we will connect small rocks to him with rubber bands and then hire dutch children to run away from him holding the rocks with predictable results.
This is the worst of all possible basketball worlds. If we had blown it against Minnesota earlier in the year or gotten swept by State or gone down to Six Guys With One Arm Between Them in the nonconference slate and finished the year a striking 12-20 and 6-10 in the league, at this very moment we would be doing the rat thing and the dutch children thing and if he still doesn't break we would be forcing him to drink just epic amounts of water and then providing only one possible outlet for the ensuing torrent, one that has a piece of paper on it that says "urination upon this contract constitutes a resignation from the Michigan Men's basketball head coaching job."
Instead, we wait. And if we can't find timbersports or the WNBA or Mind of Mencia, we might watch. But probably not.
Lester Abram is emo. He displays all the enthusiasm for life that Hunter S. Thompson has in this year's edition of Michigan NIT Newspaper Article:
"It's not like we're going to go out there and lose on purpose -- whatever happens, happens," captain Lester Abram said. "You're happy you're still playing, but nobody wants to play in the NIT.
"It's something you have to do, though."
Emphasis mine. I would find it helpful if they did, as then we would get some sort of final word on whether or not Amaker is gone. I regret to note that Abram seemed to have the same sort of can't-do spirit his last two years and that a lethargic, ennui-plagued Abram would be no surprise. You might as well break out the black eyeliner and horrible taste in music.
(Rosenberg: fire Amaker.)
Yeah... like... uh... Amaker on the NIT:
We're not apologizing for it," he said Monday. "We're honored to be a part of it, and we're going to do the best we can do.
"A lot of people would trade places with us, and I'm confident our players will approach it in that manner."
Complete list of noun phrases willing to trade places with the Michigan basketball program:
- Penn State
- anyone rushing puck against JMFJ
Math? Varsity Blue points out an interesting quote from Bill Martin:
"My goal in football, in the Big Ten, is to ideally play a complete round robin - 10 conference games and two non-conference (games). I've been fighting for that for four to five years. I'm not going to get it. But I think I'll get nine games, soon.
Loyal readers already know that having 11 teams play 9 games is mathematically impossible -- 99/2 is not an integer -- so that quote means
- They've decided "eff it, we'll go unbalanced,"
- We're getting a 12th team, or
- Martin's back on the applesauce.
More in a candid interview with the News.
TMFJ. Yost Built on last weekend. As everyone else has noted, when the seniors took a long moment before stepping off the ice for a final time Jack was amongst their number. Even Mr. MFJ's second-intermission dance had an air of finality to it.
Also, TJ is now ten points clear of any competitor who isn't either playing in Atlantic Hockey or on his line. If the Hobey goes to a skater, it has to be him. There are a few goalies out there with a shot -- Jakatis, Brown, John Curry at BU, Goepfert at SCSU -- but without a single strong contender like a Miller, it seems likely that the goalie votes will get split.
Irritating. This AP article is dramatically titled "Ohio State graduates 10 percent of its basketball players, study reveals"; it's the standard article you get immediately after the NCAA tourney field is announced with alarmingly low numbers for various highly-seeded teams. But NSFMF:
Taking into account players who transfer, enter from junior colleges and are graduated late, 38 percent of Buckeyes basketball players earned degrees during that period, Richard Lapchick, director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, said Monday.
38 percent is still not good but it is a more realistic picture of how many OSU basketball players are getting degrees. Does the story lead with this? No. It goes right for the sensationalism, probably because the "Institute for Diversity and Ethics In Sports" framed their press release like that. The perpetual disconnect between journalism and critical thinking amazes me.
PA has been good to us. If history is any indicator, Michigan will reel in at least one highly-rated prospect from Pennsylvania. Black Shoe Diaries has a look at Penn State recruiting through the dual lenses of geography and rivalry that includes Michigan. Net conclusion: PSU has to watch out for Weis and Schiano, who are raiding New Jersey, traditionally a Penn State stronghold.
Etc.: Enter Brendan Loy's NIT pool! Woo!