and... i like them? I think I like them.
jonvalk's Wallpaperpalooza (1/4)
Things in the Past. There were some great diaries that would have been required reading if this was yesterday. Paps previewed Wofford (this you saw on the front page), Erik_in_Dayton tackled the history of 15 seeds upsetting two seeds; it's happened seven times since 1991. That may be more fun to visit now that the danger is passed, if only to relive 2012 Duke.
The game was played only 55 miles from Duke’s campus, but it was also the site of the first round game for UNC. Tar Heel fans gladly joined in rooting for the Mountain Hawks.
Oh man, Duke. That was two years ago. Is it still acceptable to laugh about it?
It is considered acceptable to still laugh about this game.
Speaking of way-back, remember the Big Ten Tournament? LSA has stats on that.
Meanwhile MGoBlueline put a ton of effort into reintroducing the hockey team for the Big Ten Tourney and then who-knows in the plinko playoff system. But those guys lost to Penn State in double-OT (finishing 2-3 on the year against the hockey equivalent of our lacrosse team) and will need to be lucky to earn a tourney bid. There were plenty of things to go wrong, including really bad turnovers and the now-requisite game-winner that almost went in but didn't.
The hockey guys (Brian, Center Ice and Blueline) will cover the most unsurprising upset ever in more detail, but there was one thing that infuriated me all game, and that was Penn State's defensemen were pinching despite being rather bad backwards skaters, and only a few times did Michigan challenge this by speeding through the neutral zone. When they did move up-ice with any kind of urgency in the 3rd period, DeBlois and Nieves split defenders and got off great scoring opportunities.
Since we're now left watching tourneys and hoping the unworthy don't steal autobids, here's a handy graphic of the tournaments.
Things in the Future or Never. Interesting, quickly consumed diary by saveferris looks at the history of 1-4 seeds in the NCAA tournament. Survey says:
I just stole his lede here, so I'll tell you that there's a Burke gif at the top if you take the link. My guess is the closer seeds are to each other the more this will look like 50-50, i.e. the reason two-seeds won just 4 of 12 Finals games since 1985 is only 12 two-seeds have made the Finals.
|The other Sierra (soph. OF Sierra Lawrence) has a .462 OBP going into Big Ten play.|
And Softball. I could probably say this about the softball team most years, but I really really mean it this year: pay attention because they're on a new level of awesome fun awesome. They've carried a 19-6 record so far through an epic brutal schedule. South Bend Wolverine provided the update as the team is (finally) going into Big Ten play.
Thing to Know 1: Pitching is huge in softball; one great one will put a team in the Top 25. Michigan has three(!) such towers. I'll stop comparing junior Haylie Wagner to Verlander because her 0.93 ERA/13-0 record is more like Walter Johnson. Freshman sensation Megan Betsa has 63 strikeouts in 49 innings. Something's been off with junior Sara Driesenga, who was All-Big Ten both previous seasons, and picked up the slack last year when Wagner was out. If Sara returns to form the pitching is just going to be unfair.
Thing to Know 2: Star shortstop Sierra Romero's looks like Miguel Cabrera at the bat and in the field; in the comments Hail to the Blue points out her glove is fine but her arm's been erratic.
[Jump for Best of the Board]
Check your spam folder? Faced with the prospect of a potentially contentious Signing Day presser, Michigan tried to defuse things by inviting select media to talk to Hoke, whereupon he could issue the standard claims that he isn't allowed to provide details. One group was notably absent.
Surprise! The Daily was not invited to Hoke's pow wow with reporters.
— Zach Helfand (@zhelfand) February 3, 2014
Not a huge surprise, that. But the guy who polished up some turds to net the football program its first-ever "major" violations is cool.
Meanwhile, the content. Michigan isn't actively trying to make themselves look bad here, but it's hard to tell. Hoke issued a statement denying any influence over the university's internal investigations, echoing a statement made by Mary Sue Coleman in response to a question no one is asking.
No one wants to know that. They want to know which of the following possibilities is true.
- No one in the OSCR or OIE bothered to tell Hoke that they had found Gibbons culpable in the 2009 incident on November 20th.
- Hoke was informed on November 20th that his kicker was getting expelled and played him against Iowa.
The lack of an answer there looks horrible, because #1 is more implausible than #2. As the Daily put it in an actually-quite-good unsigned editorial, "at best, this case indicates an unbelievable lack of communication between University units." Brady Hoke knows if you miss one damned class. A months-long rape investigation is on the radar.
They are hiding behind FERPA and, worse, "university policy"* when that law is probably not applicable and they certainly could answer generic questions about when the athletic department is notified that one of their players has an issue before the OSCR. The logical conclusion is that telling the truth would make Hoke and the department look bad.
Worse. I mean, they had Gibbons at the Bust ten days before he got expelled and got caught in a stupid lie trying to make his departure look better. They already look bad. The picture here is the athletic department not taking the OSCR seriously—not taking a finding of sexual assault seriously—even after they had determined to expel him. That is the assumption the data suggests, and no one will add more.
*[I wonder how the U would react if MGoBlog "policy" was to show up at pressers with the ol' jibbles out and about, repeating the last thing anyone said at maximum volume prefaced the world "no."
NO, WHY ARE YOU NAKED
NO, WHY ARE YOU REPEATING ME AT MAXIMUM VOLUME
NO, ARE YOU HAVING A STROKE
NO, ARREST THIS MAN
Saying you have a policy not to do something does not change whether or not you should do it.]
Also in looking bad. Bill Martin says he'd never heard that Gibbons was in trouble.
“An incident of that nature never came to my attention at all,” Martin said in a phone interview with The Michigan Daily.
Martin's tendency to be a space cadet makes that barely plausible for a moment, and then I remember that I knew something sketchy had happened with Brendan Gibbons in 2009. I didn't know much more than that, but apparently that still made me better informed than the athletic director.
One thing that does not seem that mysterious. The epic delay in Gibbons's case is a question raised by many; it seems obvious to me that the combination of the stricter University standard that was in fact implemented in August 2013 and the near-simultaneous wide attention brought by the Washtenaw Watchdogs article/rant made Gibbons's case tractable despite non-participation by the victim and put it at the front of everyone's mind. There is no conspiracy here, just massive stupidity.
Actual football things. At the media pow-wow, Hoke offered up some news bits, mostly bad things about injuries:
- Magnuson, Bryant, and Burzynski are out for spring. The former two had shoulder surgery; Burzynski is not a surprise since he tore his ACL midseason.
- Pipkins also out; also not a surprise with midseason ACL injury.
- Gardner will be "physically limited," no doubt with the world's worst case of turf toe.
The OL news is alarming. Magnuson is highly likely to be the opening-day starter at left tackle and did not play that spot last year. Bryant, meanwhile, has officially reached the point where it would be a shock if he was healthy enough to play consistently. He's a good example of where Michigan gets hurt by not oversigning: at a bunch of schools he would have been medicaled long ago and Michigan would have another shot at turning a recruit into a player.
Irvin. Here's Zak Irvin on The Journey:
Next up: Aaron Craft makes more pancakes!
Have-nots. New Miami (Not That Miami) head coach Chuck Martin took a virtual 200k paycut to take his new job:
Miami acquired Martin only after he agreed to forgo $650,000 at Notre Dame, a figure the Irish were willing to sweeten to coax him into staying. Martin, who received a five-year deal at Miami for $450,000 annually, said he wouldn’t have left “for just any MAC job” and was confident the infrastructure at Miami is sufficient to revitalize a program coming off a winless season.
That article has some stunning stats: in 2010 there were 37 assistants nationwide who made more than the average MAC head coach. In 2013 that number had shot up to 86. Bill Cubit got fired by WMU and ended up getting a raise to be Illinois's offensive coordinator. These days, a big time coordinator is looking at a major pay downgrade if he takes a low-level job.
Why? The Packers CEO claims that a successful unionization drive in college football would put "more pressure on the NFL to establish a developmental league." Uh… why, exactly? From the NFL's perspective the distribution of funds entering college football is irrelevant.
One very far off and potentially interesting impact it could have: if Northwestern wins and basketball does the same thing, that does create the possibility that the NCAA could affirmatively end one-and-done by collectively bargaining with their athletes.
Your shot: at least decent. Inside NU catches up with Elliot Gould, a former NLRB chairman, on Colter and company's shot at winning:
“The principle reason for that is their work — they have conditions of employment, they have compensation, they’re directed and supervised by the coaching staff — their work is not related to the educational enterprise,” he said.
Medical interns who are students have been allowed to unionize because they work very long hours outside of typical instruction. For athletes, that goes a step further, in that they are required to participate in their sports to remain on scholarship, even though those outside duties are far less educational than the duties of medical interns.
“Athletes are separate from the educational institution,” Gould said. “They’re supervised by coaches, not faculty involved in the educational enterprise.”
Gould was a Clinton appointee who would be inclined to see it in the kids' favor, sure, but he is also talking sense.
[Meta: I thought given the nature of subject it was better to break all this off from Dear Diary.]
Duty Calls (xkcd)
In the wake of news that Brendan Gibbons had been [Michiganese for] expelled for his 2009 rape allegation, there has been precious little more information made available, lots of questions raised, and a whole heck of a lot of judgments from people whose expertise=="I'm on the internet!" I'll admit to personally being one of the latter. However, buried amongst over 2,500 comments in Gibbons-related threads have been a few with actual constructive and helpful experiences to better help us understand what went down and why it took so long. A few suggested they had actual knowledge of the specific events and investigation, or second-hand knowledge speaking to his personality and reputation, but all had credibility concerns. Some were confronted and had their posts deleted when they couldn't back it up; those who named their sources stayed up but none really offer anything definitive.
User Erik_in_Dayton posted and has been updating a rather comprehensive chronology of the things not in debate. They are:
- Nov. 2009-Jan 2010: Alleged rape occurs off-campus, was reported by the Ann Arbor News. Charges not pressed, end of criminal investigation. Another player, encountering the victim's friend, allegedly threatened the victim if she came forth, and this incident was reported to campus police by two other unidentified players. It is unknown what, if any, steps the university or the football team under Rich Rodriguez took at this time. This is the same month Dave Brandon took over as AD.
- 2011: Rodriguez fired, Hoke becomes head coach in early January. White House decrees universities have to investigate all alleged on-campus sexual assault cases and use a standard of "preponderance of evidence." UM instituted an interim policy complying with this.
- 2013: Local gadfly Douglas Smith publishes alleged details of the story on his blog "Washtenaw Watchdog" that purport to include information from the police investigation and information reported to the university, and paint a picture of a clear rape and possible intimidation. University finalizes its policy on
SeptemberAugust 19 (MLive) . Gibbons informed there's a preponderance of evidence against him on Nov. 20 (prior to Iowa game); he plays. He doesn't play in the OSU game (he wasn't in pads but according to Upchurch's photos he stood on the sideline during the game), and meets with OSCR the following week, 12/4. On 12/19 he is expelled and sometime shortly after the AD's office supposedly becomes aware of this for the first time. On 12/23 Hoke says he won't travel w/ the team for the bowl game.
- 2014: Proof of expulsion is leaked to and published by the Michigan Daily. UPDATE: After I posted this Mary Sue Coleman clarified that the university's decision did not involve the AD's office.
[Hit the Jump for best answers to the hard questions]
Important (not important). This is a frog.
I have been exhorted to call this MGoFrog and make it a thing. I'm afraid that by doing so I will give Adidas an idea for a Michigan uniform, unfortunately.
Important (important). Will Heininger features in an Outside The Lines article on mental health issues for athletes:
"I had emotional pain that was overwhelming; I would wake up, and from morning until I feel asleep -- when I was able sleep -- I had troubling thoughts that were utterly consuming," said the 2011 Michigan honors graduate. "Not a minute would go by in a day, without my depression on my mind … this, this felt impossible."
One of the things CAPA is fighting for is better treatment for these sorts of issues; read the whole thing. Both of the whole things.
"Please enjoy this punch in the nuts." –DJ Newbill
CHAOS! Did you happen to watch the rote blowouts in the Big Ten last night? You did not, because Ohio State and Wisconsin lost to Penn State and Northwestern, respectively. At home. As our own BISB said:
Michigan and Michigan State are like two dudes in a hot air balloon over Pompeii right now.
— Bry Mac (@Bry_Mac) January 30, 2014
Yes. They're trying to push each other into the lava, but yes. Or Adam Jacobi:
The Big Ten Is Full of Blood and Spiders
Jacboi has a nice table that indicates the upcoming "no days off in the Big Ten"/"this conference is so deep" announcer memes are in fact on point:
|Year||Conf. Rating||Rank||Avg. B1G||Worst Team||Rating|
|2003||.7688||5||No. 56||Penn State||210|
|2004||.7520||5||No. 62||Penn State||218|
|2005||.7862||3||No. 47||Penn State||215|
|2013||.8459||1||No. 34||Penn State||148|
The closest thing to an easy out is the Northwestern team that is a half-game out of a first round bye in the Big Ten tourney; there's not even a last year's Penn State to kick around. There's a last year's Penn State plus Tim Frazier. See cliff above.
This is good and bad for Michigan. In the Kenpom world it's good since Michigan's beaten PSU handily and has yet to play OSU, but in the NCAA seeding world you get more credit for beating 6-seed OSU and terrible PSU than you get for beating 10-seed OSU and mediocre PSU. Neither of these effects are huge, so the correct reaction is probably just to point and laugh*. (And fume at how bad Big Ten refs are.)
*[But probably not at Aaron Craft. He got crossed over for the game winner, which was Newbill rushing a wrist-flick shot because Craft was coming. Meanwhile, Tim Frazier's statline: 8 points on 9 shot attempts, 7 assists, 6 TO. No offense to Derrick Walton, but put Craft on this Michigan team and they are a juggernaut. I shouldn't have mentioned this.]
Bill Carmody: gone, but not forgotten
The Wildcat conundrum. Meanwhile, we've been talking about how fascinating Northwestern is on the podcast for the last couple weeks. And boy, aren't they? Last year they were extremely bad, around 140th on both sides of the ball. The Wildcats then:
- fired Bill Carmody
- hired Chris Collins
- graduated two low-usage, mediocre efficiency seniors
- graduated a high usage, low efficiency senior
- got Drew Crawford back
- added a pretty terrible offensive player in freshman Sanjay Lumpkin, who they play starter's minutes
For some reason, the result is a massively unbalanced version of the team they were last year. Northwestern is 11th(!!!) in defensive efficiency on Kenpom for no discernable reason whatsoever. They have plummeted to 320th on offense. Their games are incredibly watchable for unwatchable games, because you're always trying to unravel the mystery of why the Wildcats are elite on defense. It makes no sense. No sense at all. Here's John Gasaway trying to figure it out.
Meanwhile, Northwestern is a half-game out of a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament and that gets BIG TENNNN, right? I think that's a BIG TENNNN.
By the way. Michigan shot 63% from two against the Wildcats and averaged 1.21 points per possession, and Alex Olah—Gasaway's best guess as to why NW is playing so much better D—was on the court for 30 minutes.
Recruiting battles past. OSU has a couple of guys on their team that Michigan pursued, and it's interesting to see their development. Or lack thereof, as the case may be.
Michigan stopped recruiting Amadeo Della Valle so they could go after Caris LeVert, who was right under OSU's nose. OSU grabs ADV; Michigan gets LeVert. In year two, Della Valle is a very poor man's LeVert: a skinny shooting guard with some ability to drive, but one who's only getting 30% of OSU's minutes as they struggle to generate anything on offense. LeVert generates a lot of assists; ADV is generating few. Hell, LeVert has replaced about 95% of Tim Hardaway's production a year after Michigan was trying to redshirt him.
The context of the team is important, but it seems like that Michigan made the right choice on that one.
The other guy on the OSU roster Michigan was involved with is Amir Williams, OSU's mercurial center. Williams has oven mitts for hands and gets pulled on the regular despite OSU's near total lack of post players to replace him with; he has seemingly not improved one whit from the absentminded freshman I remember from two years ago. Michigan was never really a consideration for Williams, but it's kind of amazing that OSU would probably trade him for Jordan Morgan without blinking.
Either way. In yesterday's post on Northwestern's prospective union I mentioned that the NLRB had flipped back and forth on the issue of student-employees being able to organize based on assertions from a 2006 paper. In that paper the most recent ruling had gone against the students trying to organize. Well, that has again flipped:
“There’s case law for the NLRB involving teaching assistants which supports their position,” Baum said. “There have been different decisions both ways. What they’re saying is that this really is a form of litigation to bring about change because they’re asking for something very similar.”
In December 2013, the American Arbitration Association announced that graduate teaching and research assistants at New York University had officially unionized. The group is the only graduate assistants’ union at a private university in the U.S.
Demonstrating the volatility of the NLRB, graduate assistants at NYU were granted the ability to negotiate a union contract and both improved health benefits and increased stipends in 2000. But in 2005 the ruling was switched following a case involving Brown graduate assistants in which the NLRB ruled that graduate assistants are students, not employees, and therefore cannot unionize.
The recent overturn of the 2005 ruling, though, is an encouraging sign for the newly formed CAPA.
One gets the sense that the NLRB tends to blow whichever way the White House does. In CAPA's case there seems to be no way to put the cat back in the bag if Northwestern does indeed get certified, so now is as good a time to strike as any.
Typical. FERPA means whatever Universities want it to mean, so the university says they will not release any details about Brendan Gibbons. This is in line with the university's general stance on releasing information—don't do it, because we have to cover our ass. Suspicious in most cases, here it verges on appalling given the fact that FERPA specifically states this:
The text of FERPA notes that the law shouldn’t “be construed to prohibit an institution of postsecondary education from disclosing the final results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by such institution against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of any crime of violence … or a nonforcible sex offense, if the institution determines as a result of that disciplinary proceeding that the student committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense.”
With lurid conspiracy theories flying back and forth, everyone would be better off if Michigan came forth and showed everyone exactly what happened to expel a student four years after the incident that got him expelled transpired. This is not an athletic department thing, but rather a larger pattern of CYA secrecy that's beneath the university. Or at least should be.
The university and athletic department handled Gibbons about as well as he handled this field goal. [Eric Upchurch]
The Daily has revealed that the sketchy way Brendan Gibbons exited the program—a "tweak" before the OSU game followed by barely-credible claims of "family issues"—was in fact a result of the university expelling him for the 2009 rape allegations that were exhumed earlier this year:
“You will be permanently separated from the University of Michigan effective December 20, 2013,” reads a Dec. 19, 2013 letter addressed to Gibbons at his Florida residence from the University’s Office of Student Conflict Resolution, which facilitates disciplinary proceedings against students. The Michigan Daily did not obtain these documents from the University.
In human language, "permanently separated" is expulsion. The OSCR took that action based on a preponderance of the evidence.
Why it took almost five years to reach this conclusion is unknown. The Daily suggests that revised policies from 2011 may have forced the University to re-evaluate, but policies from 2011 do not result in December 2013 expulsions. Given the timing here it's clear that the guy who dumped various court documents on the internet was the proximate cause. That is of course terribly embarrassing for the university, which was apparently fine with having a student they eventually concluded they were at least 50.1% sure raped a girl as long as no one was complaining about it.
Meanwhile, the athletic department's optics here are horrible. Having him on the team is not the issue, or if it is it's on Rodriguez's head. The incident was a year old and seemingly dead when Hoke came in; without the OSCR or other university body stepping in there would be no reason to reconsider Gibbons's status.
But once they knew things were coming to a head they could not have been dumber about this. Not content with offering up the generic and 100% true "violation of team rules" explanation—being enrolled at the university is kind of important if you're going to be on the team—they chose to cloak Gibbons's departure in a thin veneer of sympathy by claiming "family issues." That is a lie. Now they look horrible, and for something a bit more serious than having a noodle in the stadium.
Meanwhile, Hoke's explanation for Gibbons's unavailability for Ohio State is questionable at best. Was this "tweak" legitimate? Is it at all plausible that Gibbons was "iffy" for the bowl game on December 16th, three days before the very last gear of ponderous university justice ground to a halt?
"He's a little iffy," Hoke said. "He's kicking a little bit. But I don't want to over-kick him (in practice).
"I've never been a kicker, so I can't imagine that (muscle pull) problem. So, he's a little iffy."
There is absolutely no chance that Brady Hoke was not fully informed of the status of his kicker by this point. Dave Brandon did not call Brady up on the 19th and say "you're never going to believe this, but…" That's also a lie, and in the service of what cause again?
UPDATE: A user who used to work at the OSCR provides details on the process:
Having worked at the Office of Student Conflict Resolution (the "disciplinary" office that administered the expulsion proceedings against Gibbons) for two years in undergrad, I thought maybe I could offer some insight / clear up some confusion about the OSCR process in this thread.
OSCR is not, in any appreciable sense, an investigatory body. It is a passive office that acts only after receiving a complaint from some member of the University community. While any individual student, faculty, or staff member can file a complaint, the most common OSCR complainants by far are Residence Education (Housing) and DPS. In order to pursue a complaint with OSCR, the Complainant has to provide all the necessary evidentiary backing; again, OSCR does not investigate events on its own.
The process for initiating and pursuing a complaint with OSCR goes as follows:
- An OSCR staff member conducts an intake meeting with the Complainant to discuss the nature of his/her/its complaint and inform the Complainant of the various resolution pathways available (in addition to formal arbitration, OSCR offers a number of alternative dispute resolution pathways that do not result in disciplinary action).
- An OSCR staff member will then conduct an intake meeting with the Respondent to notify him of the complaint and inform him of his rights/options in the process.
- At that point, the Respondent can either accept responsibility for the complaint or indicate that he's willing to proceed to a formal arbitration.
- Assuming that the Complainant is also interested in pursuing a formal arbitration, OSCR will either appoint a trained member of the University staff to serve as the formal arbiter, or it will select a panel of student arbiters.
- After hearing from both the Complainant and the Respondent, the arbiter or the student panel will reach a finding of "responsible" or "not responsible," and will then proceed to make a sanction recommendation.
- Any recommendations for expulsion have to be approved by a member of the University administration. When I was there, I believe this was the responsibility of the VP for Student Affairs, E. Royster Harper.
As you can see, this is a multi-step process that requires several meetings and often many different witnesses, advisors, and arbiters. With that said, it is emphatically NOT a three- or four-year process. Given that all of the investigatory work is already completed before a complaint is filed, the formal arbitration process does not take very long at all. In my time at OSCR, I can't remember a single arbitration - including those involving sexual assault allegations - lasting more than a single semester, from initial complaint to final sanction.
In HTTV last year we made a strange assertion: that given the relative drop-off to their replacements, Kovacs would probably be missed more than Denard Robinson. I thought I'd pose the question now concerning this year's seniors, except there's one guy who could have gone 1st overall in the NFL draft LAST YEAR, and he's being replaced by either a member of the worst interior offensive line in Michigan memory or a guy who couldn't beat out one of those guys for playing time.
|Actually, #2 Taylor Lewan's twosie and #3 Taylor Lewan's pet pig are also out of the running. [Upchurch]|
So, OTHER than that guy,
Which senior will Michigan miss most next season?
Ace: I'll leave a couple very strong candidates aside—namely, Jeremy Gallon and Thomas Gordon—and go to the other bookend of the offensive line, Michael Schofield. Michigan already needs to get much (much) better play out of the interior of the line next year, not to mention a major step up in blocking from the backs and tight ends. Losing not just one, but two NFL-quality tackles means the Wolverines once again head into a new season with major uncertainty up front.
I expect the interior line to be better, especially since some of the true freshmen who weren't viable options this season—especially Patrick Kugler and David Dawson—should at least be ready to compete for a spot on the two-deep. Losing Schofield along with Lewan, however, means that there's almost no margin for error with the new tackles; Michigan needs to find two decent starters out of Ben Braden, Erik Magnuson, and... that's about it.
I guess Dawson could play right tackle, as could Kyle Kalis, but both are more natural fits inside. Chris Fox, coming off a major knee injury that delayed his freshman progress, and Logan Tuley-Tillman, a raw-upside prospect with a heavy emphasis on raw, probably won't be ready to step in and be very effective.
Losing Lewan hurts the most, of course; that's compounded by the absence of Schofield—who really came into his own this year—leaving Michigan with, at best, four relatively unproven players competing for two open tackle spots while the interior of the line is still very much a question mark.
[After the jump: Pining for (Scho)fields]