Pick Up The Damn Phone Comment Count

Brian January 26th, 2016 at 12:58 PM


[Patrick Barron]

You will not be surprised that the Rashad Weaver decommitment set off another media/twitter/message board tempest. The guy who called Kyle Flood "real" two weeks before his grade-fixing scandal came to light has weighed in. Teddy Greenstein has resumed calling Michael Spath a hack so he doesn't have to actually address Michigan's point of view. Lawyers from Alabama have invaded my mentions.

This is not a good state of affairs. It is not the End of Integrity, as the pearl-clutching wing of the fanbase has fretted. The decommits will sign elsewhere; they won't have to transfer or take a medical midway through their careers. Finding yourself with a guy who would be better off elsewhere is inevitable and it's better to rip off the bandaid.

Michigan isn't in this situation because it's evil or untrustworthy, but rather because it's been disorganized and sloppy. There are countless examples just this year of similar decommits that were handled much better, like when Florida commit Isaiah Williams flipped to Washington State in December. Was that a voluntary switch? Not bloody likely. Did it cause a rending of garments and beating of the breast? Not at all.

Michigan took a number of early commits from fringe players, and they did so without checking up on grades. While there have been no complaints from anyone other than Swenson and Weaver, the sheer number of decommits looks bad even if Michigan has valid reasons for consciously uncoupling. There was no reason to take commits from a slew of academically questionable three stars this summer. Michigan gave them a plan to get right and they couldn't get there, which is fine. More or less dropping contact with them is not.

Meanwhile Michigan's two talent-based decommits were given broad hints but not told flat out until they did not want to take those hints. Whether or not this is how it's done elsewhere, that's the equivalent of breaking up with your girlfriend via meaningful eyebrow arcing and the occasional pursed lip. It results in confusion and people buying you gun racks.

Erik Swenson should have been explicitly dumped as soon as he did not show for Michigan's summer camp, and certainly by October, when his midseason senior film arrived in Ann Arbor. Weaver got enough of a message that he started looking around in November; his situation should have been made explicitly clear by midseason at the latest as well.

This is both ethically better and less damaging to the program. A Swenson set loose in October is both more capable of finding an appropriate landing spot and less capable of setting off a media firestorm. If Rashad Weaver simply flips to one of the four schools he visited over the course of the season his decommit is as newsworthy as that of Isaiah Williams, ie, not newsworthy except to Washington State fans.

So. To prevent further outbreaks, pick up the damn phone. By December.



January 26th, 2016 at 2:41 PM ^

I got in a lot of trouble, but for a lot worse than not being home on time.

I recall many times seeing the sun sinking behind UM Hospital and standing at the top of the Arb sled run thinking to myself: "Head home for dinner, or one more run?"

Only if I couldn't feel my toes anymore did I ever head home...

Same for skating at Burns Park. Of course they had lights so we could go back after dinner if our homework was done. And our parents drove us to and picked us up from these activities 0 times. Awesome!


Wolverine In Iowa 68

January 26th, 2016 at 3:56 PM ^

I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing "Hallelujah."


January 26th, 2016 at 1:51 PM ^

I would like to think that, with the size of the staff (coaches, quality control, recruiting, etc) that Coach Harbaugh has, what happened with Durkin shouldn't have had an effect. Add to that the fact that the general lack of communication has been rumored long before his departure, it's even more doubtful this had any impact at all.

Having said that, the point that Brian made would have mitgated this issue. Communication is key in any fruitful relationship...


January 26th, 2016 at 1:03 PM ^

Both of the siuations could have been handled way better. Hopefully Harbaugh learned something. I don't see him taking so many summer tour guys in the future. 


January 26th, 2016 at 1:44 PM ^

In the summer, Harbaugh was the new coach at Michigan and getting into the recruiting mix with big time players and campers.  Lots of excitement, but no visible results.  By Jan. 1, Harbaugh is the magician that turned the team around to a 10-3 record with a New Year's Day spanking of Florida.  That got the attention of the big time recruits that had been courted by Harbaugh and the staff.  Suddenly, some really good players were ready to turn blue.

Yes, could have been better handled, but Harbaugh created a good problem to have.  We went through the opposite problem in 2014 as the team sank to 5-7 and recruits melted away.


January 26th, 2016 at 1:04 PM ^

I'm not even on Twitter but saw some recent exchanges with a few morans from across the Twittersphere.  I'd rather they just get ignored and all ow them to go back to worrying about Roger Federer's serving.


January 26th, 2016 at 1:05 PM ^

One question though - are there more coming or was Weaver the last one?  Cause if there are more on the way it would be good for Michigan to get in front of this as fast as they can and not (as the great Don Canham used to say) turn a one day story into a two day (or even longer) story.

I dont think it serves anyone's purpose associated with Michigan to have these keep coming out individually.  


January 26th, 2016 at 1:12 PM ^

We've heard there are more coming, but we don't know the circumstances around them at all.  Could be similar to Swenson or Weaver, or the players could not make a fuss at all.  One thing is for sure, if another one happens it's going to be a big story now.  If something funny happens on signing day and one of these kids makes a big deal out of it them, it could be one of the biggesr stories of this signing day, and we do not want that.  Signing day is 8 days away, let's handle this stuff right now.

One thing I think people ahve to realize is that the press is not going to give us a fair shake now.  No matter what the circumstances,  if we get another "decommit" or two before signing day it's going to make the front page of ESPN.  So we have to play this smart and a little defensive.


January 26th, 2016 at 1:39 PM ^

Sounds like the vast majority of us are in agreement. It wasn't the most aggregious foul, but the coaches screwed up by not being more up front in steering these kids elsewhere, that it doesn't meet the ethics we would like the program to live up to, and that it creates image problems. Count me in the column of those who think Brian nailed it.

So this is a minor quibble, but I disagree with the notion that Michigan and Harbaugh have or will be treated unfairly over this. What are you saying -- yes, we screwed up, but the criticism is not fair because it doesn't capture every nuance of our perspective? That seems whiny and unrealistic. There's always some sloppiness to media coverage. Yes, it'd be great if every reporter was diligent and conscientious enough to get every fact right and to put them in perfect context. But when does that happen.

Be a big boy and expect that if you screw up you may get blasted, and some of the treatment may be off-target. If you don't like it, don't screw up.


January 26th, 2016 at 4:56 PM ^

Thank you.  

We were all quick to embrace all the fussing and fawning over Harbaugh's quirky recrutitng tactics when they created a buzz for Michigan and made us the cool place to be.

Now we have to man up and take the flip side of everybody watching every little move we make.


Ali G Bomaye

January 26th, 2016 at 1:39 PM ^

An early signing period would help ameliorate these kind of problems, but it could convert some of them into Bama-style "we encourage you to transfer" situations after the kids are enrolled.  What if a kid like Swenson signs at the earliest possible opportunity, then fails to develop?  Like Brian mentioned, it's far less damaging to tell a formerly committed kid he can't sign than to tell a kid who is already enrolled that he'll have to transfer somewhere.  

I'm not saying we would do this, but I can certainly picture some schools that would.


January 26th, 2016 at 5:03 PM ^

Guys like Swenson and Weaver wouldn't have been giving the opportunity to sign at the early signing period, so their situations would have cleared up a little earlier. Think of it as David Reese not being given the go-head to enroll early. The coaches aren't going to give a guy an option to lock his spot up early if they aren't sure they want them.


January 26th, 2016 at 1:06 PM ^

I don't even own a gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack.  What am I going to do with a gun rack?