Michigan Bball vs NCAA: A Trilogy

Michigan Bball vs NCAA: A Trilogy

Submitted by AC1997 on February 27th, 2018 at 9:43 AM

As the current NCAA scandal unfolds and we hear more and more players, coaches, and schools accused of violating the NCAA rulebook we are inundated with thoughts from fans and media about what should be done.  A common refrain among ESPN experts and fans of implicated schools is speculation about the reform they hope is coming for the fool-hearted NCAA vision of amateurism.  While you can count me among those hoping that some smart people come up with a new system when the dust settles, that’s not what I want to hear right now.  Right now I want the NCAA to show no mercy and mount some skulls on their wall. 

Where does that harsh take come from?  Simply put – Michigan has crossed swords with the NCAA three times since I started rooting for the basketball team and in all three cases the punishment was slow, painful, and excessive.  I don’t like hearing that Miles Bridges can pull two twenties out of his pocket and avoid missing any games after what the NCAA has previously done to Michigan.  Since I realize that many readers of this site are too young to remember the trilogy of NCAA wars, allow me to recap.  Much like the original Star Wars Trilogy, the most meaningful story is the middle episode. 

**Note - despite my efforts, this story is a long one to tell.  I've placed links throughout and created a TL:DR summary at the end if you want to skip to it**


Episode I:  A New Hope….the Fab Five

Many fans are familiar with the saga of the Fab Five and the ensuing fallout thanks to the wonderful 30-for-30 documentary.  In a nutshell, it was discovered that Ed Martin had been laundering money from his racketeering ring through a variety of college and high school basketball players – many of whom attended Michigan.  He wasn’t influencing which schools the kids went to really, but he was definitely providing them benefits without being a parent or guardian – an NCAA violation.  When the dust settled Michigan was penalized by the NCAA as follows:

  • Fired coach Steve Fisher
  • Banned from post-season for 2-years
  • NCAA Probation for 4-years
  • Loss of a scholarship for 4-years
  • Vacated all or part of 5-seasons of victories
  • Removal of 4 banners from the rafters

Michigan deserved to be punished for what happened, as do the schools revealed this past week.  But keep the severity of that punishment in mind when you compare it to what other schools are going to get (or in the case of Louisville, already got).  Did I mention that it took the NCAA a whopping SIX YEARS to complete the investigation?


Episode II:  The Empire (NCAA) Strikes Back

The sequel to the Fab Five story is probably more relevant to the situation we’re seeing unfold right now.  It is the story of Jamal Crawford and his ill-fated attempt to return Michigan to basketball relevance.  This story is lesser-known in the annuals of Michigan history and the younger readers of this site might not remember it. 

The story unfolded in the 1999-2000 season.  Believe it or not, Michigan had not yet received the full punishment from the NCAA for the Fab Five investigation – that was still on-going long after they had left.  But the stain left on the program was clear and Michigan’s reputation had already been tarnished.  The last of the players caught up in the scandal (Louis Bullock) had left and Brian Ellerbe (an atrocious coaching hire) was trying to pick up the pieces.  He signed a recruit named Jamal Crawford for the '99-'00 season, who you could easily argue has had as good of an NBA career as any former Michigan player. 

Michigan started that season 12-3 with eyes on making noise again in the post season.  Then questions started swirling about Crawford’s standing with the NCAA.  The NCAA took exception to the fact that Crawford lived with a family friend for his last three years of high school in Seattle.  His side of the story was that he had to get away from a bad situation where he was raised and this family friend offered to take him in and care for him.  However, since the friend was neither family or a legal guardian, the NCAA ruled that everything he provided for Crawford (food, clothing, car, etc.) was impermissible under their rules.  Crawford was suspended 6 games and ordered to pay $11,500 to charity in order to regain eligibility. 

On top of that punishment, the NCAA then rubbed salt in the wound.  The day Crawford was to return from suspension was against MSU with Michigan’s season starting to unravel without their star player.  About 30 minutes before the game it was ruled that Crawford was still being investigated and could not play.  This time the NCAA was reviewing the fact that Crawford had submitted his name to the NBA Draft as a high school senior – something that was not allowed at the time without loss of eligibility.  The NCAA suspended him for another 8 games, which included the end of the season.  Michigan finished the year with a record of 15-14 after that 12-3 start. 

More astounding than anything was the fact that the NBA never even acknowledged that Crawford submitted his name because he did so after their deadline and had already sent a retraction letter even though they never accepted his initial request.  All of this happened even before he committed to Michigan.  So let’s recap the NCAA punishment again…  For receiving living care and expenses on the order of $15,000 and submitting his name for NBA draft evaluation, Crawford was punished as follows:

  • Suspended 14-games combined
  • Ordered to pay $11,500 to charity

In fact, at the time the NCAA was on a run of suspensions and here is a good piece summarizing the punishments to other players.  A few examples from this era:

  • Kareem Rush (Missouri) – 9 games for getting money from his AAU coach
  • JaRon Rush (UCLA) – 9 games for $6525 from an AAU coach
  • Andre Williams (OK St) – 5 games for having his $20k prep school tuition paid for from a foundation that supported inner city youths
  • Chris Porter (Aub) – Suspended indefinitely for taking $2500 from an agent to prevent his mom from being evicted

When you read these suspensions you feel like the NCAA already has a nice blueprint for how to punish the recent names that came out in the Yahoo report.  I acknowledge that the ledger evidence does not directly imply those players accepted the money, but historically the NCAA has been inclined to “sit first, suspend later” while they investigate.  A former compliance officer was on ESPN radio this morning and was equally surprised these schools weren’t sitting players preemptively. 


Episode III:  The Return of the Jedi (NCAA)

The third installment is the least relevant but does serve to highlight some hypocrisy from the NCAA.  In 2014 Michigan was again near the top of the NCAA mountain after making the title game the year before and having the cleanest coach in the sport.  Michigan fell short of the final that year in part because their star center Mitch McGary had a back injury that forced him to cut short his season.  While in street clothes and unable to play during the NCAA tournament McGary tested positive for marijuana.  Here’s where the insanity of the NCAA takes over.

Had McGary tested positive during the regular season, his punishment would have been left up to the school and the Big Ten.  Similar offenses yielded small suspensions in recent years on the order of a game or two.  Yet because he tested positive during the tournament – when he wasn’t even dressed for the games – he was given a FULL YEAR suspension.  That’s right, the NCAA rule would have punished him more than just about any other transgression you’ll find in an hour of google searching. 


TL:DR Summary

To sum it up, Michigan ran afoul of the NCAA rules (however archaic they may be) on three occasions since I stepped food on campus.  The results of those three clashes with the NCAA were countless vacated wins, loss of banners, embarrassment, firing of coaches, lost seasons, years of scuffling as a program, etc.  Worst of all, the NCAA forced two of Michigan’s most iconic players (Jamal Crawford and Mitch McGary) to leave school earlier than they may have otherwise because of how extreme the punishments were they received. 

So tell me NCAA, when will the players and schools from this recent Yahoo story get the same treatment?  

Not SIAP: Mitch McGary's suspension increased by 10 games

Not SIAP: Mitch McGary's suspension increased by 10 games

Submitted by Joseph_P_Freshwater on September 13th, 2016 at 11:32 AM

According to Yahoo Sports, it doesn't appear to be a second violation, but rather failure to comply with procedural guidlines set forth in the progam.


Doesn't look good for Mitch.  It's the last year of his contract and his minutes/stats are decreasing


EDIT: Mlive is garbage and doesn't want to link properly for me.  Take my word.



What's up with Mitch? [McGary]

What's up with Mitch? [McGary]

Submitted by Rasmus on May 12th, 2016 at 12:15 PM

I'm a casual NBA fan -- I don't follow everything going on. So was a bit surprised to not see Mitch on the bench in these playoffs.

Looking into it, I see he took a leave of absence in April for undisclosed reasons -- he's not listed as injured. I'm not looking for baseless speculation as to what the leave was all about. Family, most likely.

I see from his Twitter feed that he is now traveling with the team and in his usual Big Puppy mode, smiling and bouncing around. So I guess the break from the game left him a little bit out of the kind of shape these guys need to be in for the playoffs? Or is it tactical?

NBA people -- any thoughts on why he isn't back on the Thunder's bench?

First Playing Time for Glenn Robinson III + other UM NBA Players.

First Playing Time for Glenn Robinson III + other UM NBA Players.

Submitted by Smoothitron on November 4th, 2015 at 9:48 PM

In his first playing time for the Pacers, GRIII made a big impact with 10 points on 3-4 shooting(4/5 FT); he also chipped in 2 boards and a steal in 19 minutes.  Perhaps most importantly, he found himself on the floor with the score tied and less than a minute left against Evan Turner, Jared Sullinger and the Celtics.  The preseason noise about his development might not be the mirage it appeared to be after starting the season with 4 straight DNPs.

Stauskas started again for the Sixers and currently has 14 points, 5 boards, and 2 assists in the 3rd quarter, albeit not very efficiently(5/14 FG, 3/10 3pt)

Tim Hardaway and Mitch McGary's teams are both in action tonight, although neither have played.  McGary has 4 quality big men in front of him in OKC, while Tim Hardaway appears to be the literal last man off the bench for Atlanta at this point.


Final lines:

Robinson: 10 PTS, 3-4 FG, 4-5 FT, 2 REB, 1 STL, 1 TO, 19 Minutes
Stauskas: 14 PTS, 5-19 FG, 3-14 3PT, 1-1 FT, 7 REB, 4 AST, 4 TO, 35 Minutes
Hardaway: DNP-CD
McGary: DNP-CD
Burke: 17 PTS, 7-13 FG, 1-4 3PT, 2-2 FT, 2 REB, 1 STL, 2 TO, 26 Minutes
Crawford: 8 PTS, 4-15 FG, 0-3 3PT, 5 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 20 Minutes

NBA Summer League Assist of the Night: Mitch McGary

NBA Summer League Assist of the Night: Mitch McGary

Submitted by Croatian_Blue on July 8th, 2014 at 10:20 AM

While playing 31 minutes, scoring 18 points, and grabbing 13 rebounds (6 offensive!), Mitch also managed to drop this sweet dime. (Someone, please feel free to embed.)


I hate you, NCAA.

MBB: Michigan Is Becoming An NBA Factory

MBB: Michigan Is Becoming An NBA Factory

Submitted by boliver46 on June 27th, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Title Says It All - well except that Beilein is King of the World.  Saving that for another thread.

Campus Insiders' Jordan Cornette and Ray Crawford recap the Wolverines selected in the NBA Draft including why Nik Stauskas will star in Sacramento and Mitch McGary will bring the Thunder in Oklahoma City.


Go Blue!!!

ESPN NBA Mock Draft 3.0

ESPN NBA Mock Draft 3.0

Submitted by I Like Burgers on May 29th, 2014 at 1:39 PM

ESPN's Jeff Goodman released his latest NBA mock draft (INSIDER) this afternoon.  His mocks are based on intel he gathers from NBA execs, and reflects the workouts that just wrapped up.

He has Nik going #10 to the 76ers which would be a little interesting since he also has them taking Wiggins at #3.  And he has Mitch going to the Heat at #26 which would be a perfect landing spot for him.

He has Harris going at 11 to Denver, Payne going at 18 to Phoenix, and GRIII going someplace in the second round.


Jeff Goodman Mock Draft 2.0: Stauskas and McGary both to Suns

Jeff Goodman Mock Draft 2.0: Stauskas and McGary both to Suns

Submitted by UMClassOf2018 on May 2nd, 2014 at 9:06 AM

Didn't see this posted anywhere, but Jeff Goodman released his new mock draft here ($)   http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/draft/mock/?season=2014&version=2&sourceId=3&preview=true


Goodman has Stauskas going to the Suns with their first pick in the first round at 14, then has Phoenix grabbing McGary at 27.

Also has Noah Vonleh at 6, Gary Harris at 10, and Adreian Payne at 21. Has the Pistons grabbing Tyler Ennis at 8 (and my Cavs taking Douggie McBuckets at 9).