Unverified Voracity Sticks Around Comment Count

Brian June 15th, 2017 at 12:28 PM


Harbaugh goes to Washington. I would have enjoyed the look on his face if a senator asked him to stick to sports:

"Many of you are probably wondering why a football coach is speaking at an event like this. I may be a football coach, but I am an American first and foremost -- and all Americans should care about equal access to justice," Harbaugh said. "To me, it's not just about Michigan -- go blue -- it's about 'go red, white and blue.'

"The issue is about fairness, fundamental fairness. As I see it, if you have money, you have access to justice. If you don't have money, you have less access to justice. That's not the way it should work."

Harbaugh, who says he's always been a fan of lawyers -- from several of his personal friends to the famous "Judge Judy" -- said he became involved with LSC after attending a forum that showed him how many Americans are "left out" of the justice system due to their inability to afford proper legal representation.

Jim Harbaugh has to be the only guy on the planet who can say "I've always been a fan of lawyers" with seeming sincerity.

Bakich stays. Erik Bakich led Michigan to the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years and got 11 Wolverines drafted this offseason, a program record. This got him an interview at South Carolina and a job offer from Stanford. He turned the latter down:

I'm not a baseball guy but the impression I get is that this is somewhere between a surprise and a shock. Zach Shaw has a post at 24/7 with some details:

1) This can be considered a huge win for Michigan: As blunt as it sounds, I liken Michigan baseball to a BYU or Minnesota football. It has some history to it, but generally a fringe top-25 finish and semi-regular postseason play is probably the highest realistic expectation thanks to geography, scholarships and other factors. Anything above that should be seen as truly special.

In baseball, out-of-state recruiting is extremely tough at Michigan; thanks to the low scholarship limit (12.5 scholarships for a 33-man roster, per the NCAA) teams often use a half-scholarship option. But if a player from, for example, Georgia is offered a half-scholarship to Michigan (cost of attending would be about $23,000), it would much cheaper for him to walk-on at Georgia (about $12,000). ….

Factor in the fact that few elite players come from the state of Michigan, and the Wolverines are at a huge disadvantage. Somehow, Bakich bucked that trend, pulling in top-25 classes every year (depending on the site, of course, but even being in the ballpark is unprecedented territory) and consequently a top-25 team this past year. The team went from 22 wins pre-Bakich to 29, 32, 39, 36, 42 in his first five seasons.

Simply put, if you luck into a coach like that — let alone one that isn't even 40 years old — keeping him away from more established programs with more baseball success (and money) is an exception, not a rule.

The general reaction to the Kendall Rogers tweet asserting that Bakich turned down Stanford is "WTF?!" Suffice it to say that this is a weird one. But a good one. (Also Big Ten baseball should leave the NCAA and play through the summer with full rides for all, but I say that every time baseball comes up.)

Bombs away. Oh look, Don Brown:

The other teams on that list are desperately undermanned outfits blitzing out of desperation. Michigan is the only team that is actually good at D.

Prelude to an 18-team conference. The Big Ten is thinking about extending the conference schedule to 20 games. That barely dents the huge imbalanced schedule issues going to 14 imposed: you'd still play half the league once annually instead of twice. That might create enough room to protect rivalries like Indiana-Purdue and Michigan State-Common Human Decency, and therefore slightly juice TV revenues. There might be other reasons to do it but none that the front office gives a good goddang about.

The real solution is to add one game, not two, and play it Scottish Premiere League style:

Alternative: 19 game conference schedule.

PHASE 1: round robin.
PHASE 2: line is drawn between 7th and 8th teams in the league. Mini-leagues subsequently play round-robin. Rutgers is relegated to the Big East every year.

PROS: Absolutely fair. Winner is undisputed. Makes Big Ten title a huge important deal. Final six games for teams that make upper half would be knock-down drag out brutal free-for-all for league title. Would give top teams impregnable schedule strength. You could televise the schedule draw with Ronaldo and Messi in suits.

CONS: May cost league NCAA bids if the best team in the bottom half can't get any marquee wins in the last six games or the worst team in the top half just gets blitzed. Bottom half is just kind of sadly playing out the string. Uncertainty about final three home games may impact ticket sales negatively. Extremely distant possibility that the 8th best team 13 games in can climb all the way to the top.

In conclusion, anything that amps up the value of the regular season is good. Play For Stuff.

Or you could fix 2/9ths of the problem.

Rome costs. To the university, zero. To the anonymous donor, 800k. Manuel did a good job pre-empting complaints that this was a waste of money:

“It will be about $5,000 to $6,000 a person, so it was a great investment. It was just terrific. We pay them through an educational experience like Michigan does all the time. I don’t think about it in terms of paying our athletes but if people want to say we should give something to our students of value, I can’t think of a better way to invest in them for their lifetime and their experience.”

Manuel said the donor still does not want to be identified. Donors often make large contributions to athletics, and the donor can specify where the money should go or it’s used at the discretion of the department.

“We utilized the money he gave us,” Manuel said. “It was an unrestricted donation.”

Big time athletic programs spend a lot of money on diamond waterfalls and the like; this was much more educational and directly beneficial to players. Michigan shouldn't apologize for offering them whatever they can. They're not.

The loophole. You can't hire a football coach associated with a prospect, at least not if you want to recruit that high school for four years. (Two prior to the hire, two after.) But you can hire a dude's dad. I'm not trying to imply MSU did anything shady here because the dude in question is clearly qualified, but they signed Cody White this year; the year before they hired his dad as a staffer. Sheldon, the elder White, is coming off two decades for the Lions and is thus 100% qualified to join a trainwreck. It did jump out at me when MSU shook up its staff.

So. Actual football coaches cannot get entry level jobs because it might taint recruiting. But stuff like Ole Miss hiring Shea Patterson's brother or Tennessee hiring Trey Smith's sister(!) is still fine and dandy per NCAA rules. I'm not surprised, but I feel like I should be.

Etc.: Jordan Morgan back in the area after a 3-year Euroleague stint. This quiz is absurd but it only wants you to get five right. I got 9.5, because this is my job. I am angry at myself for knowing where Pop Evil hails from.

Harbaugh still not a fan of playing on Friday. VICE on amateurism. Spoiler: still a scam. Ian Boyd ranks college DCs; Don Brown comes in second to Brent Venables.



June 15th, 2017 at 12:49 PM ^

That Bakich letter is fantastic. I'm an even bigger fan of his now. I hope he continues to grow this program. I was able to see them play in Long Beach in 2015 and at Dodger Stadium this season. I hope they continue to make a west coast swing every year so the west coast wolverines get a chance to show our support. Go Blue.


June 15th, 2017 at 12:52 PM ^

Wait, Manuel got the Rome trip right AND improbably held on to a solid coach in a sport that Michigan had few hopes of ever becoming elite in?

At what point can we retire the "Warde is incompetent" idea?


June 15th, 2017 at 1:08 PM ^

I changed my mind on him after the Red situation.  Was pleased with the way he handled it and plesaed with his getting Mel as the replacement.  And to be honest I dont remember reading anything negative towards him since then - do you?

I know on a sports blog it seems like heresy but people are allowed to be wrong (I was on Manual) and they are allowed to change their mind.


June 15th, 2017 at 1:38 PM ^

I complained about Warde getting off to a bad start with the ND scheduling and his night game stance.  Neither of which I'm pleased with - think he dropped both.  I also wish he had come out more strongly in favor of Harbaugh/camps when the NCAA went on its warpath last year.     Otherwise, I like that he lets his coaches do things and stays in the background.  (No, its not a conflict to stay in the background and still actively support your coaches in battles with the NCAA - sometimes leadership must be heard).  And he's done quite well in the coach-employing realm...


June 15th, 2017 at 1:44 PM ^

complaints about Warde and felt we kind of got screwed in the ND series. But I think he has rebounded nicely with getting Mel and keeping the baseball coach. I think it's too early to get a real read on what type of AD he will be, but I think he's trending up.


June 15th, 2017 at 7:33 PM ^

Warde has really "stepped up to the plate". I was not a fan initially especially when Red was ready to retire but was convinced to stay another year. He did eventually get the right guy, securing Mel was a strong move. Keeping Bakich is huge. I'm still not sure about letting John Paul go but time will tell there.
]\/[ Go Blue!


June 15th, 2017 at 1:03 PM ^

Clemson is back-to-back champions if not for that porous secondary in the second half of the 2016 game. He never countered Bama's halftime adjustments.


June 15th, 2017 at 1:07 PM ^

Clemson lands classes ranked between #10 and #15 every year and reloads players and the defense is nasty every year.

Every defense gets beaten occasionally. Saban' does, Brown's does, Belichek's does, and Venables' does. He's really good.


June 15th, 2017 at 1:31 PM ^

played funny games with their recruiting numbers, their classes would probably be ranked higher.  Compared to other top programs they are on the lower end for the amount of recruits they sign every year which hurts them in the recruiting rankings.

In the past 5 years the number of recruits they have signed is:


'13 - 23

'14 - 21

'15 - 26

'16 - 21

'17 - 14


June 15th, 2017 at 1:15 PM ^

Shea Patterson's dad is a slimeball. That whole family benefited from Ole Miss in terms of cash and jobs. Some people here might remember his brother as the former St John's Jesuit HS quarterback. Dude was definitely not qualified for any college coaching position.


June 15th, 2017 at 1:33 PM ^

in the summer have the opportunity to play ball in the cape cod league, alaska, hawaii etc.

All to get futher exposure to scouts for potential Major league draft.  Do some futher research Brian before you make a statement that shows your indifference.  Hey, I love Mgoblog.

It is indeed huge to keep Coach Bakich at M.


June 15th, 2017 at 2:05 PM ^

It's a radical idea, but that's not an argument against it.

Instead of playing in the Cape Cod League, maybe the best HS baseball players will aspire to play in the Big Ten Summer Baseball League.  The fact that the Cape Cod League (and Alaska, and Shenandoah Valley if that still exists, and so on) are so prestigious just shows that this Big Ten summer wood bat baseball league would have a chance of actually working.

I mean, if scouts will travel to Kenai, Alaska, to watch a ballplayer in July, then surely they would be willing to travel to Ann Arbor.  If you were a ballplayer, would you rather be a Hays Lark, a Mat-Su Miner, or a Michigan Wolverine?


June 15th, 2017 at 2:25 PM ^

I think it might be a little too radical to work.  However, it's a pretty valid thought experiment--it challenges a lot of standing assumptions about how amateur baseball is "supposed" to be.

The plan includes increased scholarship money.  If the individual in question is choosing between a 25 percent scholarship at Florida or a 100 percent scholarship at Michigan, that might change the calculus a little bit.  Or it might not; you never know.


Pepto Bismol

June 15th, 2017 at 1:52 PM ^

I'd love to see a league/conference break the mold and do something fun.  This idea for the basketball schedule probably needs a closer look and some tweaks, but dammit that would be a great time watching B1G hoops down the stretch.

Reminds me of the draft order proposal usually associated with NHL - I forget the name (quick Google: The Gold Plan)  - where once you're eliminated from the playoffs, you begin accumulating points toward draft position.  It's innovative.  It's entertaining.  It would keep teams engaged.  It would eliminated true tanking.  So will it ever happen?  LOL, no.

I don't know why leagues don't fart around with that stuff more.  It's sports.  These are games.  They're meant to be fun.  Let's make them fun.



June 15th, 2017 at 2:16 PM ^

In defense of the Air Force...er...defense, they went through a pretty major philosophical change a few years ago with the switch to Steve Russ as the sole Defensive Coordinator.  Before switching to him they played a lot of bend, but don't break in order to bait the offense into a mistake and that style became less and less effective after Tim Deruyter(the DC who was successful with it) left for Texas A&M.  Last year Air Force also had an experienced and talented secondary(relative to what Air Force normally has), so they could afford to blitz out of more than simple desperation.  Admittedly Air Force's defense still wasn't good, but the blitzing IMO is more due to philosophy than, "Let's hope this works." desperation.


June 15th, 2017 at 2:27 PM ^

20 games is a step in the right direction, but let's go a week further and play 22.  Then you've got nine opponents you play twice and four you play once, which is more like how things were before Rutgers/Maryland.  Plus, the college basketball nonconference season is pretty crappy and could benefit from being shortened.

Whole Milk

June 15th, 2017 at 2:32 PM ^

That quiz was ridiculous.

I only got one right and that was because I'm a weirdo who knows how to spell the full extent of Timmy's name. Also, I was fairly confident Pop Evil was from GR. The more you know I guess,


June 15th, 2017 at 2:52 PM ^

"Sheldon, the elder White, is coming off two decades for the Lions and is thus 100% qualified to join a trainwreck."

Bravo Brian.


June 15th, 2017 at 3:24 PM ^

Have the top two from the bottom bracket play the bottom two (#7 & #8) from the top bracket as play-in games for the BTT...  Then both are fighting for something those last few weeks.

Looking at the quality of #7 - #10 this past year, those would be good games, and playing for a spot in the 8 team BTT...


June 15th, 2017 at 4:12 PM ^

I gave myself a half, because I only attempted to spell Timmy's last name (Sue me)

I knew the Ohio State-Michigan score because I remember being young and stupid and thinking they could win

I knew Miami (OH)

I randomly guessed Keith Jackson because it sounded like something he would say. 



June 15th, 2017 at 5:47 PM ^

Kudos to Warde for miraculously retaining Bakich. Stunning for the latter to turn down Stanford (if true). Glad the Manuel criticism has ebbed in light of hiring Mel and now this. As for Friday night college football, solidly with Coach Harbaugh. Should be sacred ground for high school football, no exceptions.


June 16th, 2017 at 12:26 PM ^

I got 2.5, which I'm not all too sad about considering my first game watched was the 2004 bowl game and I had just turned 8; also I don't know anything about Pop Evil, so who's the real winner here?