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.


Ron Utah

August 14th, 2014 at 4:26 PM ^

I have lots to say about this issue, but I'd much rather just thank you for your tremendous opening in this post.  The MGoMob can get pretty, well, Sparty-ish sometimes, and I appreciate your perspective.

Again, thank you for writing this.

PS - John Beilein is the best.

Blue Durham

August 14th, 2014 at 3:07 PM ^

The problem I have with the "normalization" mentioned is this seems so much like what the Justice Department ruled against the Ivy league schools plus MIT.*

In the early 1990′s, a Department of Justice antitrust investigation, along with subsequent court rulings, changed how many private colleges conducted their financial aid dealings, and not necessarily for the better.

The DOJ investigation resulted in a suit against the Ivy Overlap Group, a group consisting of 8 Ivy League schools plus MIT which met annually to discuss students’ financial aid packages and prevent bidding wars over students. The DOJ argued that this was an antitrust violation–that the colleges were engaged in price-fixing by deciding on a common family contribution amount for individual students admitted to multiple Overlap Group schools.

Also note that the title to the article linked below sounds very familiar to the current NCAA defense. I just can't see this "normalization" ever being held up. Just like what the Overlap group, it is price-fixing.

*I actually think a number of other schools were also involved not mentioned in this article - http://www.quickanded.com/2008/06/price-fixing-for-good-of-students.html


August 14th, 2014 at 3:09 PM ^

I dont agree with a lot of what Brian writes, and have not been shy about expressing this. But he just schooled me on York. I was wrong in my harsh statements, and Brian is right about having empathy for him (while also having sympathy for the victim) and trying to understand a person before dismissing him for a bad decision. 


August 14th, 2014 at 4:12 PM ^

on what you didn't write except that somebody else implied that you indeed did write it.

That said, I feel strongly that when sympathy is granted to the guilty it is withheld from the innocent.  This is borne out in reality, though you may have sympathy for the victim in private, you granted public sympathy for the perpetrator.  Everyone is concerned about York.  What is his background, how much had he been drinking, why did he attack, what will happen to him.  Who has asked and seriously explored similar questions of the victim?  Who has inquired about his well being and future status?  What was his background, what is his story? What in fact will the university do, if anything for him?



August 14th, 2014 at 4:19 PM ^

If you can't feel sympathy for two opposing parties at the same time, I feel pretty bad for you.

Asking why someone did a bad thing in no way reduces the bad thing, nor does it diminish the victim's suffering. If someone steals my wallet to pay for his son's medicine, that (rightly) makes society hate him much less than a guy who steals my wallet because he wants to buy an XBox. I'm out the same amount of money, but I feel very different about the two attackers.

I feel bad for the guy who got punched in the face. I also feel bad for York, not because it isn't his fault, but because seeing a guy throw so much away is objectively sad.


August 14th, 2014 at 3:43 PM ^

I really enjoyed the opening parts of the post.

Is what York did wrong? Yes.

Does he deserved to be punished by the school/legal system? Yes.

Does the victim deserve some sort of justification in this matter? Most definitely.

But does York deserve to be called "gutless, heartless, brainless, spinless, coward, POS,etc" and cast off into the abyss to never be heard from again? Not at all.

Plenty of athletes, on all levels, throughout the years have made stupid decisions. Ray Lewis and Michael Vick are two that immediately come to mind. But instead of allowing one bad decision to lead them on a downward spiraling path, they used that bad decision as a learning experience and were able to help others refrain from making the same or similar bad choices. Hopefully, York falls into that category. Even if it's not in a Michigan jersey.


August 14th, 2014 at 4:21 PM ^

Ray Lewis should  have been gone from pro football long ago with no second chance.  With the mountain of evidence pointing to him being at least hevily involved with a murder if not the shooter. That far out ways sucker punching a guy when drunk. York should get 15 chances before Lewis should have ever been allowed to play football again. York made a terrible decision and will have to pay for that as he should . But one punch does not rise to the lvl murder or animal torture. But I agree with your senitment that hopefully he will pull his life together and live up to his potential.


August 14th, 2014 at 8:12 PM ^

The Ray Lewis incident was a stabbing not a shooting.


Lewis was also offered a plea deal for his testimony and was charger with only obstruction of justice.


The prosecution found a knife which they thought might be the murder weapon with no fingerprints or DNA on it.


That doesn't really sound like a mountain of evidence against him especially considering the other two guys got off.


If there had been a video of Ray Lewis stabbing someone maybe people would have been calling for him to go to jail for a long time.


August 14th, 2014 at 3:47 PM ^

Although I generally appreciate appeals for sanity and calm, I'm not sure I quite get Brian's point re York. No, of course we shouldn't cry out for blood-justice. Yes, forgiveness and second-chances are important. In this case, though, we can actually see that York violently sneak-assaulted a defenseless person, causing severe injuries. Maybe the victim said something provocative; it's probably even likely. But a verbal insult does not a justify a brutal physical assault. Michigan should honor due process. Given the clear video evidence, however, I'm not sure there's any scenario in which either the team or the school can allow York to stay in AA. 

Maize and Blue…

August 14th, 2014 at 4:19 PM ^

  One of my former colleagues (retired) was one of Marlon's High School teachers, and he told me that Marlon had a very difficult time growing up as a kid in Pennsylvania, but that he was able to rise above it, and turn his life around, and that of all of the students that he ever taught in thirty years, he was most proud of Marlin for how he turned his life around, went to UM, and became a good man.


August 14th, 2014 at 5:21 PM ^

The discrepancy of money between schools is the end of college football as we know it.  I don't even know if I can watch it anymore because it's obvious that kids are going to go where the most money is.  Sick to my stomach right now. 


August 14th, 2014 at 5:54 PM ^

clearly if Alabama or Ohio State or Michigan or USC, et al. come calling for you today, you are more likely going to choose one of them over Toledo or Utah or Boise, and there are only 85 scholarships.

Now if the big 5 are allowed to raise the number of scholarships back to 95 or 105, that would suck the talent out of the other conferences more than $2500 a year and a $5000 trust in licensing fees.

I don't see the equation changes much. It is David and Goliath now anyway.


August 14th, 2014 at 8:37 PM ^

I'm sorry, but loading up a punch and hiding it when his friend walks by, only to throw it when neither guy has much of a chance to do anything about it is gutless.

And that act alone shows that it was premeditated and he had a chance to think about the situation before throwing the punch.

Call it a "mistake" if you want, but it plainly wasn't a mistake "of the moment", and wouldn't have happened without a fairly strong disregard for his fellow human beings.  He deserves just about every harsh word he has received.


August 14th, 2014 at 9:03 PM ^

Each time I watched the video of Csont’e York sucker punching his unsuspecting victim, I wondered how much rage had been building up in him throughout his relatively short life.  And I wondered how both he and his victim must feel about the incident today.
I’m lucky to have been raised in an intact family in reasonably good surroundings and to have enjoyed a modestly successful professional career, yet I’m inclined to try to empathize with York while feeling greater sympathy for the victim.  However, in thinking about York’s actions, I’m also reminded of the violence and resultant suffering that’s so prevalent in recent news.
To paraphrase the quote attributed to the coach whom Bo Schembechler battled during the Ten Year Gridiron War between Michigan and Ohio State, "There are three things that can happen when you throw a punch and two of them are bad."   If the punch doesn’t land, and both you and the intended victim are separated without any further contact, that’s probably good, even though it still may be classified as “assault” under the criminal code.  But if the punch lands and causes injury or death to the victim, or a response from the intended victim causes injury or death to you, that’s bad.
Regardless of whether the punch was either (a) provoked by words or previous contact between York and his victim, or (b) somehow instigated by alcohol consumption or the hardships and emotional volatility in York’s personal background, the video provides no evidence of justification for the punch.  I can’t think of any good reason for that punch to have been thrown.
York is facing serious criminal penalties as well as expulsion from Michigan because of his actions.  I suspect that Brady Hoke and the Michigan football coaching staff considered both their legal obligations and their personal feelings for one of their “sons” in deciding to place York on indefinite suspension.  It would be easy to second guess and criticize them for not simply throwing York off the team and allowing him to fend for himself, but I can’t object to their allowing the “legal process” to run its course within the university and within the local criminal justice system before deciding how they should act further with one of their "sons.".
On a side note, I’ve watched the video that accompanied the paywalled November 29, 2012 article by Chantel Jennings on ESPN Insider in which she interviewed high school classmates and friends, Csont’e York and . . . Derrick Walton, Jr., after they’d both committed to attend Michigan.  Considering that one of York’s closest friends at Michigan is heading off to Italy for ten days and York’s football teammates are training intensely without him, in preparation for the start of the regular season, maybe Brady Hoke and his coaches have decided that it would be best to keep a watchful eye on Csont’e York.
It just may be that by keeping Csont’e York inside the Michigan football family for now, the coaches also are (a) protecting him from any impulses he might have to do more harm and (b) allowing him to get some help in coping with his problems before they’re forced by the university to cut their ties with him.  I would not be surprised if future social worker Devin Gardner has been spending some time with York.
*  Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
And all the clouds that low'r'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Shakespeare’s Richard The Third Act 1, scene 1, 1–4

matty blue

August 15th, 2014 at 6:17 AM ^

...a day that the athletic department doesn't do something cheesy and annoying.

(...whisper whisper lego movie whisper michigan stadium...)

oh, crap.  never mind.  almost made it.