MGoHall Of Fame: We Should Have One

Submitted by Brian on February 29th, 2012 at 1:36 PM

zack-novak-bloodShawn Hunwick of the Michigan hockey team plays against Windsor in an exhibition match at Yost Ice Arena on Sunday, October 4th 2009(SAID ALSALAH/DAILY)

This message board post gave me an idea: this blog should create an e-HOF for Michigan athlete in the sports it covers. Retiring numbers is something that people do 30 years down the road, and probably never in football; legends patches will be issued to like six people. There should be an intermediate ground. Now is the time to create plaques.

First we must set ground rules.

Q: should there be a waiting period?

I remember thinking Michigan should retire Lavell Blanchard's number because he represented the start of a new era in Michigan's basketball program. That didn't so much happen. There's a reason HOFs usually impose a five-year waiting period.

On the other hand, it might be a good idea to be able to recognize players right away, and unlike actual HOFs if we mess up we can implement the Bill Simmons solution by creating a pyramid with the all-timers at the top and the guys were may have gotten over-excited about at the bottom.

Q: what should the criteria be for admission?

For one I think only players who played after 2005, when the blog started, should be eligible—at least at first. There may be a time when we start reaching further back but fundamentally this is about experiencing the careers of the guys who get in, something we can't do with Tom Harmon.

As far as who is a quality candidate, this is some combination of being really good and an ineffable other quality that encompasses having dreads or bleeding all over everything or developing a pathological hatred of the media or absolutely stoning North Dakota or talking up brunette girls in the aftermath of your game-winning kick. Like… this should be a thing Zack Novak gets in, no questions asked. It should be equally about the impact player X has on the pleasure of being a Michigan fan than about being really good. Really good helps, of course.

When Deadspin bothered with their HOF they required a 75% approval rate to get in. Here voting would only be open to >100 point users, I'd imagine. Is that the right number? Should it be a sliding scale such that anyone who just graduated needs 95% and it drops five percent each year until it gets to 75%?

Q: should there be an annual cap on admitees?

I was thinking three, but surveying this hypothetical field of candidates makes that seem slender: RVB, Martin, Novak, Hunwick, Molk. And then there's a backlog of players who have impacted in the era this blog was talking about sports. Maybe there should be a larger inaugural class.

Q: what about sports that don't get coverage around here?

Football, basketball, and hockey are going to get adequate face time. Other sports, not so much. This is largely because they don't get enough attention to have the aforementioned impact. I'd like to recognize everyone else but the reason I don't write about everything is I can't do so competently. Does this thing have a place for the Kellen Russells/Samantha Findleys of the world? Maybe we should set aside a non-revenue spot every other year or something.

The comments are your debating ground.



February 29th, 2012 at 1:42 PM ^

Maybe you should start off with an inaugural class of 3 for each year that the blog has been around.  If it started in 2005, that's 7 x 3 = 21.  Then you can add 3-5 each year beyond that.  I agree that 3 might be too few, but 5 sounds like a lot.  How about 4 new inductees each year?


February 29th, 2012 at 1:58 PM ^

Trying to find at least one every year of the blog's existence is going to be difficult.  Assuming only graduating/departing players are inducted, who would you put in for football in 2010?  Basketball up until just now?  Maybe Harris and Sim.  Would someone like Morris get in based on one great season?  Before that is there anybody who should really be included?

I think, this year aside, there are going to be too few candidates rather than too many.


February 29th, 2012 at 4:03 PM ^

I never said that it shouldn't include non-revenue sports.  But not every sport is deserving of an inductee each year.  Why force us to pick a basketball player if all the basketball players sucked?  Why force us to pick a football player when the 3-9 team had no standouts on offense or defense?  I don't really care whether non-revenue athletes get in or not.  If they're good enough, sure.

Section 1

February 29th, 2012 at 10:14 PM ^

Q: what about sports that don't get coverage around here? 


Especially, for sports that don't get coverage around here.  What a great way to honor a slect few great kids who don't play a revenue sport but who are some of the greatest Michigan Men and Women we could ever hope to encounter.


February 29th, 2012 at 1:58 PM ^

think it would be folly to not include just the 3 best athletes. 

Non-revenue sports can basically be considered anything except football, basketball and hockey, but that would leave off Sam Mikulak (all around gymnastics NCAA champion 2010), peter vandekaay (US Gold Medal 2008) among others. Softball has had some greats too.



February 29th, 2012 at 4:01 PM ^

won the NCAA women's gymnastics championship in the same year (but wasn't it 2011?), the set limit per year, revenue or non-revenue, gets tricky.  But since individual national championships don't come around that often, to say nothing of a double, it seems that should have serious weight in a legitimate hall of fame.  College athletes usually compete for 3-4 years, so are we talking about a single year of competition or voting per year for a career's achievements? 

U of M in TX

February 29th, 2012 at 2:21 PM ^

you could have 24, maybe round up to 25 for the first year and 3 every year after that.  The top 25 vote getters by percent (assuming they would be eligible by the sliding scale that Brian has set up), should be the first to get in.

What about a dedicated website, or wiki page that captures the voting history of each athlete and how they stack up to their peers?



February 29th, 2012 at 1:43 PM ^

I love this idea.

However I think we should be able to recognize teams as well. Like Team 132 as a whole should hold a place in the HOF, Brady Hoke's first season, everyone buying in, senior leadership, etc. 

There's no way we can fit in every guy on that team that deserves to be in the HOF, so acknowledging a team effort should be recognized.


February 29th, 2012 at 2:17 PM ^

Maybe we could have a "Team of the Year" kind of deal, where the squad who performs the best gets the nod.  Like last year, it would probably have been the hockey team (or possibly basketball).

But at the same time, that runs into the problem of only having (realistically) 3 squads to choose from, (basketball, hockey and football) unless we want to delve deeper into Michigan sports, which—outside of the regular softball updates and new lacrosse team—the blog rarely does.


February 29th, 2012 at 2:41 PM ^

What if we had a yearly "best team of the last 5 years" vote? That way you have 15+ teams to choose from.

Then you could set up a "king of the hill" type thing - if a team wins the "best team of the last 5 years" vote every year they are eligible, they get a place in the HOF. Thus, a team would really need to stand out from its peers to earn permanent recognition.


February 29th, 2012 at 4:40 PM ^

"Team of the year" is dubious because it would be stiff competition some years and weak others, while non-revenue sports would basically never win. Is there really a team this year better than the second-best team from the 97-98 school year (wheh hockey and football both won NCs). And this is a good year.

With players, I think it's easier to say "fewer players deserved the honor this year" but it's hard to have an amorphous number of teams that deserve to go and really regulate that the way we'd like. I think I'd have a hard time voting against any of this year's revenue sports if it were into the HoF, but including all three of them, and maybe any of them besides basketball, could be diluting the honor too much.

I think it'd be better to be simply create a "Pantheon of Champions" (both Big Ten and National Champions) and admission would be based on championships rather than a vote. That also allows recognition easily in all sports and doesn't let a decent football year dominate a national championship year in a non-revenue sport.


February 29th, 2012 at 1:45 PM ^

inaugaral class should be larger, subsequent years limit it to maybe 4 from the major sports and one non revenue athlete per year and even consider an "executive/admin/media position as well

Zone Left

February 29th, 2012 at 1:46 PM ^

Set a really high bar, maybe 90% for admission. This blog is full of homers. No limit to the number of admittees.

An alternate idea is a pyramid structure with Denard Robinson/Brandon Graham at the top (95% of votes) and scale it down to admit the guys everyone loves like Novak (75%) even though he'll never be an All-American level player.

Add a legacy class this year to include those folks who finished prior to the year.


February 29th, 2012 at 2:52 PM ^

The high bar is why I like a limited number of inductees. Maybe use approval of 75% (or whatever) to set nominations, then voters choose their top 3 (or 4, or whatever) out of the eligible pool. Each player can only be nominated a limited number of times - say 5. That way, maybe Martin, Novak, and Hunwick make it this year, but Molk gets another chance next year.

Then, effectively, you'd get the top 15 (assuming 3/year) players out of every rolling 5 year period. That seems like an appropriately high bar. It also gives a chance to reflect on the more marginal choices. Finally, it allows an additional distinction for the really, really greats - I'd assume Denard will be a first-ballot selection.


February 29th, 2012 at 3:41 PM ^

The core problem in need of resolution is how to balance inclusiveness and exclusiveness. In my opinion, your proposal is a great way to ensure that everyone who should be inducted gets in, while at the same time making inductions highly selective.

One thing we'd have to address is to set the total number of inductees correctly, taking into consideration the number of sports we're working with.


February 29th, 2012 at 5:45 PM ^

Determining the correct number per year could be accomplished by creating a sample ballot for each of the past years and voting using my system. We start with 3 per year and then decide if the cutoff leaves out too many deserving candidates. If so, try it again with 4 per year and so on until we get a satisfactory result. I think 2005 to now should be a nice enough sample to go on.

One addendum to my plan: to be on the ballot, you must have been nominated the first year you're eligible, then you're automatically on the ballot for 5 years (until you get in). This ensures that players are nominated for their feats at Michigan rather than subsequent success in the pros. This would leave Tom Brady out, which I'm fine with - he's an NFL hall of famer, but not really a Michigan hall of famer.


February 29th, 2012 at 2:18 PM ^

Probably the only time I've laughed at a Purdue presser (granted, it was the only time I watched anything from a Purdue presser) was when Kerrigan was talking about Denard catching him from behind after a fumble. His quote was something like: "Newsflash, guys, I'm not faster than Denard Robinson".


February 29th, 2012 at 1:51 PM ^

Maybe we could also have a hall-of-fame for individual events or plays.  For example,

--Hoke's inaugural press conference

--Van Bergen getting into the backfield on 3 consecutive downs against Indiana

--Martin forcing a pitch on the speed-option

--John Thompson's interception against Wisconsin