Unverified Voracity Gets Misty

Submitted by Brian on August 14th, 2014 at 1:54 PM


Bryan Fuller

On Csont'e York. It was inevitable that once the York video was released there were going to be a lot of strong reactions to it. I deleted a number of things that were over the line, and expected to.

I left up a bunch more that weren't quite delete-worthy but did make me feel uncomfortable. Most of those were uncomfortable because they weren't sad. Many called him a coward, others were almost gleeful in their eagerness to ship the guy out. Those threads don't reflect well on our community here.

While I think that York's second chance has to come somewhere else given the severity of what he did, I would appreciate it if everyone would keep in mind that even a kid who did a dumbass thing remains a person. There's an unfortunately paywalled profile of York from his time as a recruit up on ESPN. Chantel Jennings:

In August, he'll enroll at the University of Michigan and become the first person in his family to attend college. He has made it through the death of his mother, a number of family moves, and out of Detroit with a positive attitude. And through all of this, what he keeps closest to his heart is his family.

"My little brothers and sisters, I think about them," York said. "It has always been in my head that I have to do this for them. This isn't just for me. It's for my family. That's all I think of."

The reason York did what he did started with the people around him as he grew up and the primary emotion should be sadness that a kid couldn't keep it together. Once we're on to third chances I can see the disdain begin to creep in legitimately. Now, though, I just think of the times when I've been on the verge of a bad decision and struggled not to make it.

Kleenex at the ready. Austin Hatch and John Beilein profiled:

Three years ago, lying in a hospital bed in Traverse City fighting for his life, Austin Hatch's relationship with John Beilein went beyond a player-coach situation.

Nine days after pledging his verbal commitment to Michigan in June of 2011, Hatch was involved in a tragic plane crash that took the lives of both his father and stepmother and left him in a medically-induced coma.

At that point, no one was concerned about Hatch's basketball career. The main focus was saving his life.

And, unknown to Hatch at the time, one of those people standing at his bedside -- fighting along with him -- was Beilein.

Huge, they say. Michigan is apparently set to announce two home and home series:

Michigan football is set to announce two huge home and home opponents this week.

Terry Foster and Mike Stone met with Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon today and that’s when Brandon dropped the news that this announcement will happen later this week.

FWIW, apparently there was a connected guy on the Rivals board saying the opponents were Stanford and Duke in a since-deleted post. No idea if that's accurate or not; obviously only one of those teams would even sort of qualify as "huge." And with Stanford there's always the possibility that they return to historical norms by the time the game rolls around. I kind of doubt that's accurate anyway—tough to see Stanford taking on Michigan when they've got a nine-game conference schedule plus their now-annual game against Notre Dame. But anyway, stay tuned.

By the way, that post has a poll asking who you'd like to see Michigan play that includes Nebraska and Wisconsin, which was momentarily absurd until it wasn't. Marshall, another option, remains so.

WELP? Prepare for the Colening.

Everybody get up. But especially you. Aubrey Dawkins can get up, yo.

When Michigan took MAAR and then still went after Dawkins that was an indication they liked him more than his rating would imply, and In Beilein We Trust.

That shot came from an open practice Michigan held before their Italy trip during which Kam Chatman impressed:

Michigan’s most highly touted freshman is multifaceted and college-ready. The general consensus among the scribes perched up on the observation deck was that Chatman will be a day-one starter, barring anything unforeseen.

The 6-foot-7 wing drilled smooth left-handed 3-pointers as a standstill shooter and off the dribble. He looked comfortable and capable making decisions with the ball. He finished in traffic.

Quinn's colleague Nick Baumgardner concurred:

First thing that struck me was Chatman. High-level shooter, can handle, finish, isn't skinny. He'll start right away.

Both Chatman and Dawkins spent time doing post drills as they prepare to play Novak/GRIII undersized 4. DJ Wilson is also going to be a 4 of the not-undersized variety but is still being held out with his pinky injury.

Unfortunately, Michigan won't be streaming any of the Italy games.

Brutal departure/injury spree. Unlike Nebraska's, this one actually matters for Michigan: Northwestern tailback Venric Mark will transfer; leading wide receiver Christian Jones is out for the year with a knee injury.

Mark, of course, tortured Michigan two years ago with his quickness. Jones is less of a loss since Northwestern tends to plug and play at WR but he was still their best guy in yards per target by some distance. Looks like it's Prater time? Naw, man, it's never Prater time. Until it is. But probably not. Because a Rutgers transfer is the guy Inside NU is promoting for the job.

A man familiar with the situation. Michigan doesn't get much mention in CBS Sportsline's group preview of the Big Ten except for incessant Jabrill Peppers talk in the "best newcomer" category, but the one guy who singled out Michigan as an underrated team is an interesting one: Auburn fan Jerry Hinnen, who's seen both Al Borges and Doug Nussmeier up close and personal. His take on M:

Most underrated team: Michigan. The Wolverines have to visit both Michigan State and Ohio State, keeping their odds of winning the East low, but they might still be the third-best team in the league. A healthy Jake Ryan and a loaded secondary should give Greg Mattison his best defense yet, and going from Al Borges to Doug Nussmeier might be the biggest offensive coaching upgrade in the FBS. If the offensive line has a pulse, 10 wins will be in play.

That is Michigan's great hope.

Looking pretty good down the road. More high praise for a hockey commit:

Unfortunately, that is an addendum to an article running down the top prospects the OHL's Kitchener Rangers have. Luce checks in third after being drafted in the fifth round despite his NTDP commitment. Details:

Steady, instinctive blueliner with great size and poise. Textbook hitter and defender backed by solid positional sense. … Thrives in the dirty pockets of the ice, using his size and strength advantages to win battles and gain possession. Excellent one on one defender, keeps an active stick, extremely efficient at getting sticks on pucks. Difficult to drive the net or gain an outside lane on, manages gaps efficiently and takes advantage of his massive wingspan. … Projects as a tough, physical, stay at home defender who can contribute at both ends of the ice. …  Would be a top paring defender if he ever comes to the league.

Sounds like the kind of shutdown D Michigan hasn't had in a long time. I mean, Trouba, but Trouba was here and gone in a flash.

Kitchener does manage to snipe guys frequently, but in Luce's case Michigan should be okay. He's headed to NTDP and not currently projected to be a pick so high that he would get signed immediately and then reassigned. Also, his dad is the Panthers' director of scouting and played in the OHL himself—when they chose college it was an informed decision.

This is going to be a problem. The NCAA has just been hit with an injunction that says it cannot cap scholarship values below the federal government's full cost of attendance, so eventually those numbers are going to have to come up. The issue: those gaps vary widely between schools:

Michigan: $2,204
Ohio State: $3,346
Penn State: $4,000

Somehow it's more expensive to live in the middle of nowhere than an actual city or in Ann Arbor's notoriously expensive student housing market. Meanwhile, Tennessee has the biggest gap in the power five at 5,666.

It doesn't seem likely that Michigan's going to stand for a system where a kid going to Penn State gets 7k more over his four years, and there's no way in hell Georgia (1.8k) is going to go for a system where half the SEC is offering 10k+ more. So then what?

The power conferences have one way to normalize cost of attendance across all 65 schools: let every school go up to the highest cost of attendance figure, which in this case is Tennessee’s $5,666.

But that has its own set of problems. First, many schools would then be permitted to exceed cost of attendance, some by thousands of dollars. Not only is that philosophically troubling for the NCAA, it also complicates matters with financial aid offices. If a portion of an athletic scholarship exceeds cost of attendance and is not paid through the financial aid office, what is but payment for services rendered?

The shakiest part of the O'Bannon decision is definitely the proposed remedy, which forces the NCAA into a choice they don't want to make.

Etc.: You can see the Lego Movie at Michigan Stadium if you're a season ticket holder. The Pac-12 wants you to know it schedules hard and should be rewarded for it. Gopher blog predicts 31-13 M win over Minnesota. Fresno State tries to keep up with the Joneses.



August 14th, 2014 at 6:54 PM ^

The problem I have with Brian's statement is the complete lack of mention of the victim. Yeah, some of the York hate was over the top. I think the correct emotion is sorrow, rather than anger. But it's a bit disturbing that there are a number of commenters rushing to feel sorry for York over his presumed unpleasant upbringing, even suggesting he ought to keep his scholarship, and not even making a token mention of the guy with the shattered jaw.


August 14th, 2014 at 5:29 PM ^

but I can buy a ticket for $20 and get there in 20 minutes.

Let's face it, they made it further in the ACC last year than we have in the Big Ten in a while. So we shouldn't cast stones.

Also, Coach K. has been advising Cutcliffe on how to build a program to a point to where they get significant alumni support. (He apparently is equating football to where basketball was when he came in.) So - probably not Stanford level - but Duke may actually be able to build themselves into at least a Northwestern like mold over the next few years.

CRISPed in the DIAG

August 14th, 2014 at 7:28 PM ^

Hell, someone will give me four tickets for free.  Against Kansas.  If Michigan became a date on the schedule, neither one of us gets in.  

But my point was that the 33,000 seat stadium seems like an unlikely venue for Michigan - as much as I'd like to see it happen. 


August 14th, 2014 at 2:25 PM ^

"The shakiest part of the O'Bannon decision is definitely the proposed remedy, "

Hello. I totally understand that worrying about the solution should NOT prevent you from addressing the problem, but this issue was my biggest concern. How in the hell is the NCAA - of ALL the governing bodies in the world - going to keep schools in check when it comes to the "cost of attendance" normalized figure?


August 14th, 2014 at 2:55 PM ^

I agree a completely. And I think that you should find a solution before dealing with the problem. Sometimes the way you handle a problem isn't great, but sometimes it is the best way. And even when it's not, you shouldn't throw out your current method until a better one is determined.

You could say that because inner cities still have crime despite police presence that police protection doesn't work. Maybe that's true, but you don't just fire all the cops and then start thinking about what you're going to do instead.

LS And Play

August 14th, 2014 at 2:26 PM ^

Brian, there are plenty of people who grow up in difficult situations. Most of them don't sucker-punch someone in the face. His life circumstances don't legitimate this behavior, so I have disagree with you on this one.

oriental andrew

August 14th, 2014 at 2:42 PM ^

Nobody is saying it was ok for him to do that, least of all Brian.  I think what he IS saying is that he sympathizes with the difficulty of not making a bad decision in the heat of the moment, and that York's upbringing probably didn't do him any favors in that department.  How wrong his actions were is blatantly obvious - nobody is arguing that.  

LS And Play

August 14th, 2014 at 2:54 PM ^

After second glance, you might be correct. At the same time, "The reason York did what he did started with the people around him as he grew up and the primary emotion should be sadness that a kid couldn't keep it together" sounds like too much of an excuse for my taste. It just seems to me that Brian is using York's unfortunate upbringing as a crutch to let him off the hook a little bit for his actions, which I disagree with. That's all. It goes without saying that Brian does not think it this behavior is okay.


August 14th, 2014 at 2:28 PM ^

Their injuries hurt us, because they could be beating teams in our division.  If Nebraska can beat MSU that would be a big help.  Go Nebraska (and Iowa, Minnesota, and everyone else not in our conference-division-league-side-thing) - you're our best buds except in those rare times when we play you.



August 14th, 2014 at 2:31 PM ^

"Now, though, I just think of the times when I've been on the verge of a bad decision and struggled not to make it."

Excellent thought. Many have been in that place.

Now, that doesn't excuse behavior as bad as York's seems to be. In fact, we do him a disservice if we let him off with a slap on the wrist--as humans, we function best with boundaries defined from experience. Nothing will help York develop constructive patterns of behavior and coping with desires to do things like this as much as experiencing strong consequences for harmful actions.

But it's important to remember that he's a kid with much of his life in front of him. I've worked with kids his age and younger who have already done things as bad or worse than him--it's good to give another chance (without dodging the consequence) and it's important to stick with it. And it is important to believe that change can happen. York is in trouble and deserves to be; someday I hope he looks back at this as the moment where things started to turn around. Where he realizes there is a better way.

It can happen.


August 14th, 2014 at 2:35 PM ^

Lost in all this about York is why is Skeeps letting underage kids in their bar? If I was the coach I would make damn sure that none of my players that were under age were hanging out at bars on campus. They're breaking at least one law going in there and the optics are just horrible.


August 14th, 2014 at 3:03 PM ^

Yes, and I partied like a rock star. But I was smart enough not to get a fake ID and risk getting arrested when I could have just as much fun for cheaper at house parties. But football players are basically campus celebrities, there's no excuse for Skeeps not to know who they are letting in.  They risk losing their liquor license if they serve even one under age kid and considering all the crackdowns the cops and ABC do I'm surprised they would so cavalierly let these football players in.


August 14th, 2014 at 6:12 PM ^

I'm saying that the coaches are basically allowing a culture where it is okay to go out in public and drink and go to bars under age. You're saying the coaches could keep the youngsters better under control if they wanted to? A player who gets away with going to bars underage just because he is a football player also might think he can get away with breaking other laws.

Also, please don't compare my decision to drink underage to York's decision to knock someone unconscious.


August 15th, 2014 at 8:37 AM ^

Your original point is "Why is Skeeps letting underagers drink." Not that he should be punished for underage drinking. And I am not comparing the two at all. I was merely pointing out the fact that both of you made decisions, and neither one of them is because of Skeeps. That doesn't mean the actions of the decisions are equal.

The issue in all of this is the sucker punch. It seemed in your original statement that you wanted to focus on other things.

And without this video, Hoke would have never found out he went there? Hoke basically has 110 or so kids that he is looking after. How would he track one specific player to a bar? Put a tether on him? It isn't like Hoke dropped the kid off.


August 14th, 2014 at 3:23 PM ^

Skeeps has been a trouble spot for players in the past too. Our beloved commentator Brian Greise threw a stool through a window. Tate was pretty notorious there. I saw Mallet there and he was just as big a douche as any story you've heard. Keep in mind all 3 had these events as freshmen or RS freshmen... I agree with above posters. How much worse is this thanks to the video?

Skeeps is what it is, a college shitshow bar with cheap alcohol, loud music, etc. I much preferred other bars (in no small part because of how full of smoke Skeeps got) but York should have known better.

If the line is into the parking garage, you're much better going elsewhere.


August 14th, 2014 at 8:57 PM ^

Once a couple of drunk idiots (students at UM) tried to start a fight with some football players and some wrestlers at Skeeps. They were harassing a female friend of mine who was dating a wrestler at the time. The football players and wrestlers could have destroyed them, but showed a lot of restraint that night. I was impressed. This was in the mid-1990s.


August 14th, 2014 at 2:44 PM ^

 Obviously just throwing a kid out because PR dictates it isn't in anyone's best interest, but on the other hand, some things do lose you the priviledge of playing at Michigan on scholarship with no second chance, and this seems to be one of them. I think the best option for York is to find him a landing spot somewhere else. If Hoke and Co. can use their contacts and coaching relationships to find a good program, maybe at a lower level, where he can still have guidance and structure he'll need to get his act together, that's probably the best case scenario for him.

True Blue Grit

August 14th, 2014 at 2:54 PM ^

(Finding another program he can get a new start at)  I think if he stayed here, there will be too many people locally and in the Wolverine community who won't forget what he did, and it will create a lot of uncomfortable situations for him that will make life more difficult.  Probably the best course of action for all concerned is if he transfers and re-starts his football career with a fresh start.  Just my opinion.


August 14th, 2014 at 2:49 PM ^

I wonder if the Cole at LT thing is going to be just for App St and the result of a domino effect of Glasgow not being available. Glasgow seems to be the do-it-all piece of the OL and having him out could mean Magnuson needs to cover one of the guard positions while he's gone. That still means one of Kalis or Bosch isn't doing well, which is disappointing, but I guess not all that shocking at this point.

Or, maybe Cole is just that good. He is more of a plausible size now with his weight gain over summer (provided it's good weight) and it's not like he's at a huge experience deficit compared to everyone else in terms of games played or time in Nuss's system.


August 14th, 2014 at 4:05 PM ^

my issue with him burning his redshirt is that it leaves us with only 3 RS junior and senior OL in 2018 (presuming they don't get any more in 2015 which seems like the present assumption). That means we are in essentially the same place we are now with OL experience, which isn't great. Hopefully the decision to play Cole means they go after one or two more in 2015.

Ed Shuttlesworth

August 14th, 2014 at 2:56 PM ^

The saddest part of the York case has been what really caused it, which is the erosion of the idea that when you go from places like the D to Ann Arbor, you leave the D behind.  This used to so widely-understood as to be self-evident, but the noxious idea that you somehow need to be "true to your roots" and "not forget where you came from"-- enabled by odious cultural influences like ESPN -- has crept in and whittled away at that principle.  Which is why there are so many more violent acts committed by college athletes than there were 20-30 years ago.   

So Brian's somewhat right.  York was enabled to think the way he did by people who should know better, and encouraged implicilty and explicitly to "remain authentic" (and all the other BS constructions in the same key).  He was let down by people and influences that should have sheparded him through his life's second act far better.




August 14th, 2014 at 2:56 PM ^

Very well said on York. It was a terrible video, but Hoke is doing the right thing in taking his time and not letting public reaction to a video drive how he treats this young man.

On Cole, I find the fan base reaction ironic. Last year we were up in arms that the coaches could not develop OL talent and cited freshmen starting at other schools successfully. Now that the team has a well performing freshman we are panicking about the youth. Can't have it both ways folks.


August 14th, 2014 at 3:07 PM ^

The difference, as far as OL goes is the redshirt year. Some were upset (irrationally, IMO) that guys with a year to prepare still seemed lost out there. I don't think there are many that expect a true FR to be ready to start, even an early enrollee. Cole is either exceptionally mature for his age and well prepared by his HS coaches, or we are out of options (similar to the Bosch situation last year). Given the year it was clearly the latter and that the former is exceptionally rare, it's not that crazy to be alarmed by the situation.


August 14th, 2014 at 2:58 PM ^

"Most of those were uncomfortable because they weren't sad. Many called him a coward, others were almost gleeful in their eagerness to ship the guy out. Those threads don't reflect well on our community here."

I'll be honest: when I first saw this video, my reaction was anger and disgust, and I said, "Get rid of him." But as some time has passed, and I've become better aware of York's situation, the life he grew up in, and the environment he is trying to rise above, I can honestly say that I feel genuine sympathy for the kid.

And I still say, "Get rid of him." Because while I can sympathize for York, I have more sympathy for the kid lying in a hospital bed with his jaw in three pieces. He was put there because York had a violent physical reaction to a verbal confrontation, and that's never OK. Whatever was said, no matter how insulting, were only words, and nobody ever died from a cutting remark. While some of the threads don't reflect well on our community here, neither do York's actions, and only one put a person in the hospital.

I'm sorry - I really do feel badly for York, and I really hope he can get his life on track and keep it there. But do it somewhere else. Get rid of him.

And trust me, there's no glee in this whatsoever.


August 14th, 2014 at 2:59 PM ^

Before Mgoblog, Marlin Jackson did something bad, but I never saw it on video.  He was given another change.  At the time of the draft, I learned (from reading the newspaper) that Lloyd Carr vouched for Jackson's character, to Tony Dungy, leading to Jackson being a late first round pick who went on to intercept Brady in an AFC championship game (not the point of this post).  Does anybody know what Jackson actually did, and how it compares to York, and so on and so forth.