in town for free camps
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. So this heavily rumored Carty bomb which may or may not be a dud is rumored to be coming out Sunday. There is a competing rumor that there is no definite timetable and the thing is still being worked upon. Informed sources are skeptical about the payload here, but everyone who's emailed me appears to be getting their info from the athletic department and may be predisposed to downplay the charges. To me, the competing rumors look like some internal conflict about whether they have an actual story here, a la the NYT on John McCain.
In any case, there will be two issues leveled:
- A sizable number of UM athletes have been taking spring and summer term independent study courses in kinesiology and sociology under a few specific professors.
- In the late 80s and early 90s, Michigan bent its admissions standards for athletes(!).
The second point seems so banal I can't see how anyone can spin it into a story. Since time immemorial, Michigan has accepted anyone who qualifies under NCAA guidelines. (JUCOs and transfers, however, are another matter.) I've heard from a couple different people that Carty's main source on at least the latter part is a disgruntled kinesiology lecturer who has job security issues or got passed over for tenure or some such thing who used to be on the admissions committee, so there's might be something embarrassing there. If the timeframe here is correct, any potential NCAA violations -- doubtful in any case -- are well outside of their statute of limitations, IIRC.
The first part sounds like the Auburn scandal that erupted last year, with one major difference: apparently these are real classes and an appropriate amount of work was done. We'll see if the article contests that at all. IMO, students with questionable academic credentials that universities have a powerful motive to keep in school shouldn't be taking independent study en masse. Like the Alabama oversigning thing, it looks and feels skeezy no matter what, and the potential for abuse is extreme. It's important to compare athletes to the progress of other students to make sure you're, you know, actually educating them.
On the other hand, football players have enormous demands on their time and I can see why they might need the flexibility afforded by independent study. A few credits here and there seem reasonable.
eeeeee Nystrom. A kindly(?) reader forwarded along this video of Eric Nystrom, now of the Quad City Flames in the AHL, reprising the saucy striptease from Slapshot. No, ladies, it's not Jack Johnson, but whatever. Beefcake incoming!
This video posted, I reserve the right for one cheesecake picture on a future date of my choosing, for gender balance.
On-ice. Chad Kolarik had a gimpy practice with the hockey team yesterday, leading the Daily to speculate on his potential return:
Still, Kolarik may have a chance to be back in the lineup when Michigan hosts a second-round CCHA playoff series next Friday.
"The deadline for him in my mind is next Monday," Berenson said. "Can he practice with the team, and compete and take contact and the whole bit? Because there's no time for players that aren't 100 percent when you get in the playoffs."
If Kolarik gets up to speed with his teammates during the first three days of next week, then he'll probably be in the lineup for the weekend, Berenson said.
That's great, awesome, terrific, unexpected quasi-news, though I doubt we actually see Kolarik for the first round playoff series. Said series will be against a team that finished eighth or worse in the CCHA and Michigan should be able to handle them without Kolarik; risking an aggravation seems imprudent. But if Kolarik could be 100% for the games at the Joe and knock the rust off before the regionals, that would be a major boost to Michigan's national title hopes.
One other injury note: during the senior day festivities after the Ferris game on Friday I noticed that Matt Rust is sporting a hard cast on one arm.
(Via Michigan Tailgate.)
There is also an enormous article in USA Today about how wicked sweet Yost is.
The cloaking mechanism broke. I blame Romulan saboteurs. It should now be repaired, which means mgoblog.com will work again. If this happens in the future, mgoblog.blogspot.com will still work.
Hockey split against Michigan State and Ferris State. Results: one CCHA title, one lost #1 ranking in the Pairwise, and burgeoning concerns about how good the team really is. Other than a lackluster pair of 4-2 wins over Lake State, each of which was a close game that looked more comfortable than it was because of an empty-netter, Michigan hasn't swept an opponent since the mid-January Notre Dame series. There are plenty of mitigating factors -- the Kolarik injury, some questionable play by Bryan Hogan, atrocious refereeing in the Miami series, and plain bad luck in spots -- but a 5-3-4 stretch run is quite a comedown for a team that was 22-2 before that.
Michigan's hold on a top-two spot is now extremely tenuous. Before Saturday's games they had ceded the #1 spot in the PWR to Colorado College; a CC loss to Minnesota State repaired the damage but the comparison remains terribly close. Meanwhile, an OT goal salvaged a 2-1 victory over Minnesota-Duluth for North Dakota, pushing their RPI ahead of Michigan's and giving them the #1 overall spot.
Michigan is now second with CC breathing down their neck. If CC passes Michigan, they'll miss the opportunity to take on a CHA or Atlantic Hockey autobid team. Worse, Wisconsin continues to linger around the edge of the tourney. They're currently the last #4 seed, and if that holds up Michigan's almost definitely going to draw them in the first round at home, for the following reasons:
- CC has to play at home since they're hosting,
- in this scenario NoDak is one of the top two seeds and has earned the right to get an autobid team, which they will do out East because Wisconsin is also hosting,
- UNH would be the other #1 seed and will almost definitely end up in Worcester for attendance purposes,
- the tournament selection committee always finds a way to screw Michigan since the back-to-back Yost regionals.
This last reason may be mad ravings, but the others are solid. Of course, given the way Michigan's game against Wisconsin went at the Showcase a first-round matchup with UW might not be the worst thing in the world.
Both CC and NoDak have two more regular season games before the WCHA playoffs; you want them to lose against Denver and Saint Cloud, respectively. Splits would be enough to temporarily send Michigan to #1.
As for the rest of the comparisons, Michigan's meh final two weeks hasn't lost them any ground but it hasn't guaranteed them anything, either. They have secured comparisons against State and Denver, but CC and NoDak are now neck and neck with M. UNH and Miami could conceivably pass Michigan if M flops in the playoffs. My ballpark estimate of what will happen:
- Fail to get to the Joe: Unless another of the top five implodes in similar fashion, M falls into the #5 slot and becomes the top two seed. Since Michigan will be playing at best the #8 team in the league, this is unlikely.
- Get to the Joe and go 0-2. See above. Winning those two games against a weak, non-TUC CCHA team isn't going to help them much.
- 1-1 at the Joe. Could be the #5 if the rest of the top five wins out (at least, as much as possible in the UND/CC cases), but probably the #3 or #4 seed; very probably going to be in Madison.
- Win CCHA Playoff top two seed, autobid foe in the first round.
There's plenty left to play for. One relief: there's no goddamn way we end up in a regional with North Dakota and Minnesota.
Elsewhere: Yost Built on the weekend. The Saturday game at Ferris wasn't televised, so I can't say anything. On Friday I don't think Ferris had more than one or two even strength scoring chances the whole game, but the penalty kill gave up three goals. Hill, the referee, was fine through a period, then started calling all manner of weird stuff including an interference call on Michigan after someone hit a guy who either still had the puck or had released it a split second before. Woo refs.
The Pairwise went crazy. There are ten teams in the WCHA. If the season ended today, eight of them would be in the tournament. Since these teams will continue to beat each other up in the final two weeks of the season and three of them must lose first-round playoff series, one or two will probably drop out. But at this point it would be a huge upset if only half the conference made the tournament. Which is, of course, insane.
Yost Built covered this in-depth. The WCHA's impressive nonconference winning percentage is largely built many games against the weaker conferences. Head-to-head against HE and the CCHA it's different:
Still, the top eight are 14-11-4 against the CCHA and Hockey East (and the top 4 are 8-7-2). That doesn't paint the picture of WCHA dominance that people would have you otherwise believe.
College hockey's system has always been strictly numerical and that's been both blessing and curse. The "curse" bit: rampant over-rating of a scanty few nonconference games. Most of the difference in a team's SOS comes from the wins and losses its opponents rack up in the six or eight nonconference games they play, and many of these are against the Bemjidi States and Wayne States and RITs and Alabama Huntsvilles of the world.
The WCHA is a fine conference, undoubtedly the best in college hockey. What the SEC believes it is to college football, the WCHA actually is to college hockey. But a couple of nonconference games here and there shouldn't be enough to override a season's worth of play in conference. Is the difference between the CCHA and WCHA so severe that we should prefer a WCHA team 5 or 6 games under .500 in conference over a CCHA team that's 6 games over .500? That's the situaton we have at the moment.
If a 12-14-6 Minnesota-Duluth or a 13-13-9 Minnesota gets in over 22-12-4 Notre Dame it'll be a terrible injustice. Though ND has struggled from time to time this year, they still sit 12th in RPI. What's holding them back is the Pairwise's stupid decision to count games against the top 25 double and ND's poor record against these foes. ND's nonconference schedule is tourney-worthy -- 7-3 with a split against Denver and a sweep of tourney bubble team Princeton -- and they aren't, like, eighth in their frickin' conference. The NCAA should declare by fiat that any team in the bottom half of its own league doesn't deserve a bid, and they should do it tomorrow.
So did the basketball coach. After Michigan's loss to Northwestern, John Beilein lost all his hair and about twenty pounds, then went bats in video you've already seen sixteen times:
Mmm, that's good crazy.
Tommy Amaker what? Some things are constant with Tommy Amaker, like his team sucking and causing Michigan to lose. Other things... what?
...[Harvard's] group of six recruits expected to join the team next season is rated among the nation's 25 best. This is partly because Harvard Coach Tommy Amaker, who starred at Duke and coached in the Big East and Big Ten conferences, has set his sights on top-flight recruits. It is also because Harvard is willing to consider players with a lower academic standing than previous staff members said they were allowed to. Harvard has also adopted aggressive recruiting tactics that skirt or, in some cases, may even violate National Collegiate Athletic Association rules.
(I have no idea who or what rated the Harvard class amongst the top 25 in anything; it's definitely not Scout or Rivals.) Oh, sure now he starts skirting NCAA rules to haul in good recruiting classes.
Northwestern Penn State what? Bleargh! After limping through an ugly win over Illinois, Michigan was on a four-of-five roll and faced two games against perennial doormats Northwestern and Penn State. Of course, they lost these games. UMHoops highlights the downfall in both games:
Another player posts his career high against Michigan. It's been a problem all year, whether it is Rice, Leuer, Grant,Coble, Moore, McKenzie or Battle they all do it the same way: rain three pointers on the Michigan defense. You don't win games in the BigTen when you allow your opponents to shoot 55% from deep in a game (box score).
No, you don't. Dylan continues, asserting that a 15-0 run on five straight threes is reminiscent of the team when it was run by a certain turtlenecked, fade-sporting Duke alum. Indeed, it is, and that might indicate the problems Amaker left the Michigan program still plague it and will until Beilein gets a different sort of player in. When I looked at Beilein's 1-3-1 zone I noted that said zone was not terrible against the three:
The traditional way to beat a zone -- rain threes on it -- appears less effective against the 1-3-1 than most. West Virginia was seventh(!) in 3FG defense this year at 30.3%, and opponents didn't get off an inordinate number of them: 33.7% of opponent shots, good for a middle-of-the-pack 151st. This isn't nearly as consistent as the turnovers, thoug(h. Last year's Sweet 16 outfit was still above average at 34%, but the two years before that were ugly. However, in no year did teams get off an inordinate number of threes. WVU has hovered around the national average.
This year, Michigan opponents are making it rain: Michigan is 312th (of 341) in opponent 3PT% and 217th -- well below average -- in the percentage of three-pointers opponents launch. Opponents are also making 49.4 percent of their two pointers and getting a ton of offensive rebounds; the resulting defensive efficiency (106.7 points per 100 possesssions) is an unstirring 280th. They aren't forcing the rampant turnovers Beilein's teams usually do, and thus the defense is dead.
The offense: 49th in three point shots, 301st in making them. End of story.
Baseball tied the Mets, then sucked. Michigan tied a professional team 4-4 and led in the ninth before a two-run homer. For some reason, an attempted Kevin Cislo bunt (in the fourth inning!) enraged Mets closer Billy Wagner:
If he got that bunt down, I would have drilled the next guy. Play to win against Villanova.
Uh... what kind of weird bunting bushido lesson did I and the rest of the free world miss? If anyone needs further evidence this Wagner guy is mental: Jim Rome enthusiastically agreed with him. QED.
Michigan, coming off a season-opening three game sweep of Villanova, proceeded to go 1-3 in the next four, getting smoked by #1 Arizona State twice and losing in extra innings to Portland. There was a win against Hawaii in there somewhere.
Elsewhere: Colin of Yet Another Michigan Sports Blog asked penetrating questions of a Baseball Prospectus fellow and got interesting answers
Dominique Douglas ate like five grand.
Yeah, that seems like a good idea.
Mysterious! A youtube user named "polaarbear" uploaded a home movie of one of the 1959 home games a couple months ago; he has returned with footage from the 1959 Ohio State game:
I love the bit where it cuts out and goes to home video of someone's graduation day. Does anyone know what the organized placard thing was supposed to be? It's incomprehensible to me.
I'm surprised he remembers. Anthony Morelli had a little chat with NFL.com, wherein he was asked this question:
In college, what player hit you the hardest?
Yeah... you know what's coming.
Michigan's Alan Branch. I completed a 28-yard out only to be hit on the chin and driven to the turf.
Uh.... what? Last time we mentioned Lansing-area Spartanbot Steve Grinzcel he was busy lauding the 7th best recruiting class in the Big Ten, but this is just plain weird:
New Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez will no doubt get jeered for calling out Ohio State during halftime of Sunday's Wolverine-Buckeye basketball game by the same pompous wet blankets who mocked Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio for throwing the gauntlet down to Michigan.
If you'd like to review the tape, Varsity Blue has it. On said tape, Rodriguez goes for the rarely seen anti-callout, specifically claiming that he "doesn't want to make any guarantees." The only thing he promises is that the team will "play hard and physical."
"Pride comes before the fall" it ain't.
Dual Threet. Speaking of Varsity Blue, they've got an excellent post up that explores Clemson's 1999 offense, which was Rodriguez-coordinated and slow-white-dude-helmed, at least in part: Brandon Streeter and Woody Dantzler split time. VB has some highlights and stats showing the results.
Frankly, they're not encouraging as far as slow-white-dude-helming goes. Streeter was obviously a much worse runner than Danztler; he was also probably a worse passer, with three more interceptions on just 13 more attempts. Streeter also had fewer yards per attempt and touchdowns; the only thing he was better at was completion percentage. Clemson's offense was around average at 26.8 points per game; it wasn't until Danztler took over full time that the offense really started churning -- scoring leapt to 34.7 PPG in Rodriguez's second and last year as the offensive coordinator.
Maybe that's just on Streeter not being particularly good, but chances are Threet isn't going to be particularly good this year.
All your buyout needs... can be met at the aptly-named "West Virginia University v. Richard Rodriguez: The Legal Perspective," a blog run and posted on by law-talking guys.
Pryor. Nevermind. A Mike Farrell article on Pryor:
Pryor admits he was set to sign with Ohio State the day before Feb. 6, but a conversation with his father, Craig, made him think twice. His father wanted him to take another look at Penn State and take an official visit.
The previous optimism-like substance in this space was based on the idea that Michigan was the surprise choice on Signing Day. That was not the case, so that optimism gets a stake in the face. Pryor still maintains that Michigan is part of his decision process, but... uh... no. Michigan was not the choice on signing day and Pryor will not be visiting. One phone call a week from Rodriguez isn't going to change anything. He's going elsewhere, hopefully in someone's Corvette with NCAA investigators in tow.
Eeee? Barwis? John Ferrara:
"We're all going to be in really good shape, and definitely there's a change with his program," defensive tackle John Ferrara said, patting his chest. "I can already see it on myself. In four weeks, the change my body's gone through is amazing. It's a credit to this new workout system he has, a couple new things we had never done before."
THE RESSONS AR MENY This provides conclusive evidence that State does rule all:
Stumble. I was looking for stuff on Darryl Stonum when I stumbled across this video of Sam McGuffie going for 6 TDs in his first-round playoff game:
None of those looked particularly difficult or anything, but FWIW. McGuffie's HS career would end the next week.
Draft Bits. Wolverines appear to be moving up the board: on ESPN Todd McShay mentioned Jake Long as the leading candidate to go #1 overall once the Dolphins decide Matt Ryan sucks, though not exactly in those words. Chad Henne's also supposed to be moving up into a solid second round pick; given the way these things work out I wouldn't be surprised if he snuck into the late first. Accursed shoulder injury.
He ran a what? I told you that guy was a 160-pound economics major. Yeah, so the football team held open tryouts yesterday. How did they go? Check the background of this picture from the Daily:
Add in one inexplicably hot chick and an international student that speaks no English and this looks like my EECS 380 class from back in the day. The Daily has a couple articles, one from an... er... "hopeful":
"We're just looking for athleticism," Hopson said. "We wanted to see how they moved their feet, their hips, and you can just put in the paper that you did fantastic."
I wouldn't have a shred of journalistic integrity if I omitted the fact that Hopson burst into a deep belly laugh after that sarcasm-laced response.
There's also a straight news story for your perusal with this awesome passage:
Some of Thornbladh's former teammates, including wide receiver Greg Mathews, quarterback Steve Threet and punter Zoltan Mesko, lounged on the pads behind one of the fieldhouse endzones and kept a running commentary on the performance of the walk-on candidates.
"Probably fun to see somebody else get pain delivered to them," Rodriguez said. "They got pain delivered this morning at 6 (at the team's workout). It's probably human nature to watch someone else suffer, especially when they were running gassers there at the end. That's probably the most enjoyable."
A reader who participated sent in this report:
Rich Rod held universal undergrad tryouts for walk-ons. It wasn't well publicized, but it happened today at Schembechler Hall. Don't know whether you care or not, but a lot of our coaches (ALL of whom were present) were fantastic guys. Rod congratulated all of us at the end even though most of us blew - it was an amazing gesture that I will never forget.
What I can vouch for is that Barwis is amazing. His presence is absolutely terrifying, he's so incredibly motivating that even in the brief time I was there I would have done absolutely any drill he made me do as hard as I could. He's a very, very special coach - you want to do exactly as he says because you're so very sure that it'll make you better. During the suicides that we did at the end, he singled me out because I was lagging and screamed at me; I've never willed my body to go faster ever in my life. Awesome.
Also got to meet a couple players that I think could contribute - there's a kid whose name I think was Caleb that I feel very certain may get at least a spring training spot - he was from Ohio and was trying out at RB.
It was an opportunity that I will NEVER forget.
Andrew C. (LSA Junior)
The net impact of the walk-on program is likely to be zero unless we have an Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God string of injuries at one position, but it's another symbol of change at Schembechler Hall. Rodriguez is open with information about the team, is expanding Michigan's presence with clinics and camps, holds open tryouts to laugh at undergrads, and wants to have a spring game somewhere or other for the publicity. The program seems fun and young again.
Hello, old friend. A brief bit of Weis-bashing for old times' sake:
Weis also plans to meet with various alumni groups he has cheesed off with his arrogance. Weis attributed the face-time plan to a new
NCAArule barring head coaches from evaluating prospects from April 15-May 31.
So he'll use the extra time to make nice with Notre Dame's grumbling alums. I've seen Weis walk away from conversations with people in mid-sentence. Harder to do that when you're the first Irish coach since Hugh Devore to lose to Navy.
Weis has resigned from playcalling duties with his typical humility, which was the entire reason
he was hired in the first place. I got some concerned emails about the Tenuta hire that I might address in an upcoming mailbag, but I'm not too concerned. Charlie Weis has proven a couple things so far: 1) he can recruit and 2) he's around the tenth percentile in terms of interacting with people in a productive way. Nothing's going to fix #2 unless Weis gets his brain trans-reversed by aliens, Steve Dallas-style.
Notre Dame is never going to be as entertainingly awful again as they were last season -- that was a once in a lifetime opportunity for schadenfreude -- but there's no way a good coach's team is that bad in his third season on the job.
Etc.: Rodriguez is studying up.
Recruiting summaries start tomorrow.
Braylon's going to shoot you. No. Seriously.
Don't make Shegos joke... don't make Shegos joke... check.
Gentleman Joe. Joe Tiller's just pissed because he can't move snake oil:
According to coach Brady Hoke, [Ball State commitment] Briggs Orsbon was offered a scholarship by Purdue Wednesday morning after Michigan stole WR Roy Roundtree from Purdue. However, Orsbon had already sent in his LOI.
Oh, so ethical, Joe.
Meathead, strike! I neglected to put Bret Bielema on the list of Big Ten coaches who had gone "avast!" and pirated recruits away from conference foes. Also, helpful readers pointed out Zook's fevered recruitment of cornerback Boubacar Cissoko before and after Carr's retirement and his boarding of the SS Hawkeye to plunder RB Jason Ford. This brings the total count of Big Ten coaches who know nothing of any "gentleman's agreement" in the Big Ten to nine, and essentially ten since Indiana temporarily picked off Jerimy Finch from Michigan.
Congratulations, Lake The Posts: if anyone picks off a Northwestern recruit your indignation can be righteous. Everyone else should probably check themselves.
What was I talking about? Oh, yeah. It's frickin' amazing the sort of rationalizations people will go through when it comes to Most Favored Team. For an example, see this morning's post where I'm like "we can still get Pryor!" Also:
We've seen how University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema doesn't take no for an answer in recruiting by the way he's convinced prospects who had committed to other schools to change their mind and play for the Badgers.
That persistence apparently also works when it comes to assistant coaches.
Herein Bielema's "persistence" in continuing to recruit committed players is framed as a positive character trait! This is the same paper -- based in Wisconsin, natch -- that published the thousand-year-old man's silly thing about how Rodriguez is going to get run out of the conference on a rail because of his swashbuckling ways.
It's a coach's responsibility to do right by the kids he recruits; opposing coaches can go swing.
Re-rebuttal. Black Shoe Diaries' response to this blog's Friday post on the recruiting ethics, or lack thereof, at Penn State already got smoked in its own comments by an alert Michigan fan:
The small lie: "While his former team was playing in their bowl game he was sneaking into the office to shred documents."
The truth: While Rodriguez was discarding documents, it was a workday about a week before Christmas, and he was cleaning out his office in full view of an office full of people, none of whom found anything unusual in what he was doing.
If you tell a small lie like like that to bolster your story, what else might be false?
An excellent question. Ironic, then, that BSD's post is titled "Success With Honor." It individually debunks each of the questionable recruiting hijinks cited here earlier, none of which I think is particularly compelling. It amounts to empty public relations, something JoePa specializes in.
The prime Shaw complaint:
I can't hold it against a kid for changing his mind, but I can hold it against him for the manner in which he does so. All indications were that Mike Shaw was going to Penn State right up until signing day.
Even after he made an official trip to Michigan the Penn State insiders didn't seem worried.
"I am visiting another school" is an indication the kid's verbal is less than solid. Heck, Penn State should have known for a solid month that Shaw's verbal was shaky, as he announced($) he would visit Tennessee and Michigan on January second. Solid verbals do not visit other campuses. The Penn State "insiders" lack of worry is the only data point to offset the fact that Shaw made an official to another school that had a scholarship offer out to him and then immediately went off the grid, refusing to speak to anyone from reporters to coaches.
I know JoePa is old and addled (and JayPa is young and addled) but this is not a solid verbal even to applesauce eaters, and Penn State should have been making other plans. Hell, Penn State ended up three commits short of a full class and had a crying need for RBs and WRs, they should have been looking for kids anyway. Applesauce is delicious, though.
The main point: Black Shoe Diaries has no goddamn idea what went on in the Shaw recruitment, because no one did. Shaw didn't say anything to the media for the last month of his recruitment. We do know that Penn State was directly informed on January second that Shaw's verbal was not secure (yes, even if he said "I'm 100% to Penn State" or whatever empty boilerplate he provided). If Shaw announced his decommit in a dickish fashion (which he did, for the record), that reflects on Shaw, not Rodriguez. Michigan called the kid and asked if he would like to be recruited. He obviously said yes, and found a place he'd rather go to school.
Suggestion: deal, because this guy...
The best idea. I referenced this in my Fanhouse post on the wizard hat thing, and now Vijay has fleshed out what may be the best idea ever for an early signing period. The issue at hand through the lens of the Roundtree commitment:
this is exactly why we shouldn't have an early signing period. Roundtree described a Michigan offer as a dream come true. He said he always wanted to play for Michigan. He got the offer, he gets his chance, and that's a happy ending for Roundtree. If he committed to Purdue, changed his mind and then decided to play for Michigan, it's the original commitment to Purdue that was a mistake, not his change of destination. Put Michigan's and Purdue's views aside, what Roundtree wants is to be at Michigan.
An early signing period does not prevent kids from making mistakes, it locks them into their mistakes. Instituting an early signing period to prevent kids from changing their minds is like keeping families together by outlawing divorce.
Word. Vijay's s
olution is an early signing period, as many coaches are advocating these days, but with a twist:
Allow recruits to sing a non-binding LOI any time from, say, July 1st leading into the senior year. Once they file the letter, their scholarship to that school is secure, and in return for that guarantee, the recruit agrees to have no contact with coaches or recruiters from other schools and not to make any official visits to other campuses. It also has the benefit of preventing other coaches from calling recruits who filed these papers (contacting them would be a violation). But, if a kid were to change his mind, he could simply file paperwork to rescind the NBLOI, at which point it's like he never filed one, and recruiting is back on.
He explains the advantages of such a system in further detail at IBFC; I am 100% sold. The NBLOI solves most issues with persistent recruitment of kids without restricting their ability to change their minds. The only change I would make is to forgo the idea of an early signing period entirely and just allow any recruit to sign a NBLOI after, say, June.
Explication. Kevin Quick was dismissed from the hockey team suddenly; we now have an explanation:
Sources said the defenseman stole a credit card, used it as a personal piggy bank and spent thousands of dollars.
I read somewhere -- where, I don't remember -- that his roommate, Carl "Bork" Hagelin, was pretty upset about the situation, so it was probably his credit card. (Via Kukla's Corner.)
Quick's dismissal, though unfortunate, isn't that damaging as long as the rest of Michigan's defensemen remain healthy. Michigan planned on bringing in potential first-round pick Brandon Burlon from the St. Mike's program that's provided Andrew Cogliano and Louie Caporusso in recent years, but didn't have any money available and thus couldn't sign Burlon to a LOI. Now they've got a slot for him even if Mark Mitera decides to return for his senior year. If Mitera leaves Michigan will bring in near-walkon Greg Pateryn, who's had an excellent year in the USHL and finds himself ranked 162nd in the CSB rankings. Either way Michigan should be seven-deep again on D in 2008, a welcome change from poor JJ Swistak and Danny Fardig taking shifts.
Yost Built has your Saturday recap, a frustrating 5-5 tie against the Redhawks. Michigan fans are paranoid about the refereeing when linesmen aren't setting up 2-on-1s by tripping Mark Mitera.
The three-point weekend still moved Michigan into first place in the CCHA, RPI, and Pairwise with three weeks left in the regular season. Michigan has a one-point edge in the standings but is going to have to finish with a blaze of wins if they expect to hold on:
- Idiotically, the first tiebreaker is league wins instead of head-to-head.
- Both teams have two games against mediocre Ferris State left and two games against one of the CCHA's three terrible teams (10th place Lake State in M's case, 11th place Ohio State in Miami's), but...
- Michigan's other two games are against Michigan State. Miami's are against last-place Western.
It's hard to see Miami dropping more than a point or two the rest of the year. Michigan may have to sweep State in a Munn-Joe weekend to lock down a banner.