Mary Sue Coleman against Fab Five banners going up in 2013

Submitted by CaptainBlue on April 11th, 2012 at 11:18 PM

Daily reporting that UM president Mary Sue Coleman is against putting the FF banners back up in Crisler. Take it for what it's worth, but I don't see how the Athletic Dept. would be able to get them up without her agreeing, right?


For the past decade, four banners have lain dormant, wrapped in plastic and placed among the columns of cardboard boxes in the archives of the Bentley Historical Library.

The banners represent one of the pinnacles of the Michigan men's basketball team’s success. Their resting place represents the program’s darkest hours.

And if the decision is left up to University President Mary Sue Coleman, that’s where the banners will remain.

“What happened was not good, and I don't think they'll ever go back up. I don't,” Coleman said in her fireside chat with students on Tuesday.

“Some day, I won't be president anymore, and maybe someone else will have a different view. But I think you have to reflect on the larger meaning and that we want to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”


Mr Miggle

April 12th, 2012 at 9:30 AM ^

You lost all credibility by saying that Coleman wouldn't put the banners back up because she was offended by Webber's lack of an apology. I'd like to see your source on that. My opinion is that she was deeply embarassed by the university's role in the scandal and she's not interested in doing anything to promote that era. I don't think an apology from Chris Webber would change her mind one bit.

I'd bet that the fans on this board that celebrate Fisher's work at SDSU are the same ones who want the banners back up. By the same token, I doubt very few of us who don't want those banners back up now have been able to root for Fisher.  

Citing Albom's book on the Fab Five was really funny, by the way.


April 12th, 2012 at 10:08 AM ^

As the posts below show, your understanding of Chris Webber's role in the Ed Martin scandal is poorly informed.  And your argument that the NCAA rules don't proscribe a booster from paying a student-athlete's family members is simply wrong.  See, e.g., the Reggie Bush scandal.  I blame Steve Fisher as much as I blame Chris Webber; Fisher let Ed Martin get close to the program despite Perry Watson telling Fisher that Martin was bad news.

Also, off the top of my head, I can think of at least 3 teams that have gone to back-to-back championship games since the Fab Five did it--and one that went to 3 straight title games:

  • Arkansas 1994 and 1995
  • Kentucky 1996, 1997 and 1998
  • Florida 2006 and 2007
  • Butler 2010 and 2011

The Fab Five's two Final Four runs occurred during my junior and senior years at Michigan.  I went to the Sweet Sixteen games in Lexington in 1992 and the Final Four games in New Orleans in 1993.  Those were two of the most memorable weekends of my 4 years at Michigan.  Unfortunately, those banners should never be displayed due to Steve Fisher's and Chris Webber's misconduct.  You can cherish your individual memories of the Fab Five and still recognize that those banners should never be hung in Crisler.


April 11th, 2012 at 11:58 PM ^

Lets see, Webber ended up getting run on a laundry list of charges, including lying to a federal grand jury (the icing on the cake).

The feds also found money orders from Martin to Traylor in one of their raids.  White was also charged (but those charges were later dropped after he cooperated fully with the FBI).  Other players were also called before court.  

Then of course you have Taylor and Traylor in the SUV (with high school recruit Cleaves and Martin) returning from the party featuring drugs, booze, and strippers.  

If Martin hadn't died and the FBI had time to grill him, I hate to think what they'd have found.  Nothing good to say the least.  

No banners, ever.  No association with them, ever.  They're one of the most shameful periods of our athletic history ever.  Yost's racism is likely the worse, but this one is solidly in the top five.  


April 12th, 2012 at 12:18 AM ^

They can hang the banners at their houses and wear their rings on their own time.  They disgraced our house and should not be welcome in it.  

This was not money to put food on the table for their families or pay for their grandmother's medical treatment.  This was taking cash ($37k and up) from a guy who ran a gambling ring.  This was taking cars from a guy who ran a gambling ring.  This was going to parties featuring drugs thrown by a guy who ran a gambling ring.

Think about the level of the scandal, the FBI was kicking down doors over this.  This wasn't some "The NCAA yells at you for a bit and you miss the playoffs for a few years".  This was "the federal government is here, and they're pissed off" level of scandal.  That kind of reaction doesn't happen over boosters giving "pocket money" and the like.  People who take part in gambling rings that reach the level of FBI raids have no place in Michigan lore or our sporting venues.  


April 12th, 2012 at 12:36 AM ^

Webber, Rose, Howard, Jackson, King.

Webber's crimes are covered above.  Rose was called for the grand jury for recieving money, although less amounts than the others called, he was still implicated though.  That's 40% of the Fab Five implicated in ties to Martin and his whole ring.  So yes I'm talking about the Fab Five.  We know Martin ties back to the program to 1989, we know he had ties to at least 40% of the Fab Five, and we know he had ties to the program after them. With that kind of involved you dump the era.  If 40% of a group is ineligble, the group itself doesn't get to be eligible.  


Mr. Yost

April 12th, 2012 at 12:00 AM ^

I LOVE the Fab Five...I believe they were victim to a system, I think they were great for college basketball...I will always side with them.

However, what happened, happened. Time doesn't change that. Welcome them back, even put their faces and pictures in wall murals and other projects. But no to the banners. If the NCAA doesn't acknowledge them, we shouldn't either. The fact didn't count.

But I should still see clips, faces, pictures, etc. when I walk around Crisler.

The games didn't count...but don't tell me for a second that they didn't exist.


April 12th, 2012 at 10:21 AM ^

I was contemporary with the Fab 5 and I relished in the phenomenon at A2. I hung out the window of my friends East Quad Window on the 4th Floor and watched probably the greatest pickup game of all time. As a University - except for those racist alums who were skeptical of even Cazzie Russell - we embraced them and profited. I was proud. It doesn't make the actions of the crestfallen C-Webb (my brother went to DCD a couple years behind Chris and saw firsthand the systematic graft) who was on the take from like 7th grade excusable or justify putting up the banners back up. But all the palace intrigue that was exposed after-the-fact has little to do with the incredibly fun, wild and exciting "era" on campus at the time.

I agree that the banners shouldn't be hung and that we should be overly contrite on account of the extrapolating negativity that eventually comatized the program for a decade plus. But aside from Webber, whose corruption is a far more nuanced (pre-dating the U by years) occurrence than is trivialized on most boards, the basketball was a blast: Crisler was transformed into a madhouse and the memories are real and something I'll always appreciate. Rightly so, younger posters see this as maybe overly nostalgic on the part of some of us oldies as they have really only experienced the Fab 5 as a dark historical footnote: "Scandal, something, something, Webber unapologetic, cash, something, something..." and I get that. But I will always love 'em. Go Blue!







April 12th, 2012 at 12:01 AM ^

The only way they go back up is if Webber comes forth and talks openly and honestly about it.    That way, they can clear the air, and allow for forgiveness.  And eventually Webber would be welcomed back, and they'd be able to find a way to properly honor the Fab Five, be it by raising a few banners or doing something else, like a monument or something at Crisler.


That will probably never happen.  Because Webber will never talk.


April 12th, 2012 at 12:01 AM ^

If they point shaved they never come out. If they took "pizza money" put them back up. They did neither and the university had some culpability too. That said, I am a " put them I the hallway" guy. I think that is fair and balanced approach, plus incidentally not bad for recruiting to be able to talk about the most exciting thing besides the running Rebs to hit college basketball in most our lifetimes.


April 12th, 2012 at 12:19 AM ^

I don't understand the "banners go back up if webber comes clean or apologizes crowd". One, he doesn't need to come clean, he got busted. Two, we always over emphasize the need for apologies and then still hate the apologizer even afterwards since, like most would be inadequate (see Ozzie guillen). That said, I don't think it's even necessary. The rest of guys who acted with integrity and have rehabilitated themselves with the school and UofM community deserve recognition. Leave c Webb home for the event if he wants to continue to play the victim here. Seems we should be allowed to separate our bitterness towards the dude from the overall love and desire to fondly remember the highpoints of the era/ larger group of good guys. I am ready.


April 12th, 2012 at 12:20 AM ^

of taking them out of storage and putting them someplace where people can see them... But not in Crisler, with the legitimate Final Four banners.  I think they need to be up to serve as a reminder of both past glories... and the price of disobeying the NCAA.  Another idea that would probably be harder to pull off well, might be to dedicate a home game a year, where they bring the banners out during half time and say something both about how well those teams played, but also something explicint reminding people why they aren't hanging with the rest of the banners.  But I think that's very hard to do tastefully and harder to do tastefully in a different way each year.

The Fab Five happened.  All of it, the good, the bad and the ugly.  I think it's ridiculous to hide the banners away forever and try to forget all of that ever happened or to only ever talk about it as what a bad thing they did.  Because for all of that, they won a lot of games and earned the banners with their play on the court.  But I also think that you have to treat them somewhat like the tainted goods they are.  Accept the glory, but also accept the blame.  I think there is a way to be proud of the accomplishment without condoning the actions.


April 12th, 2012 at 12:39 AM ^

bringing the banners back once a year to say "something explicint reminding people why they aren't hanging with the rest of the banners" would be a very awkward event to witness. I could see them using the banners as an example while speaking with the team at the beginning of the season.


April 12th, 2012 at 12:30 AM ^

The documentary made me a little sick when the players were complaining about "not getting their cut" in jersey sales. Someone should have explained to them why they were at Michigan. 1) Path to the NBA 2) Get an education, be a part of something really special (NCAA Basketball), have a great time and have a guaranteed job upon graduation. You don't take money.


April 12th, 2012 at 1:46 AM ^

We, as fans, can't ride our high horses about other schools that cheat and then make excuses for Chris Webber.  If we do, we're no better than those we profess to detest.  

Webber did exactly what Ohio State's football team did under Tressel.  He cheated, lied about it, and never admitted to anything that the FBI hadn't already found.  He has never demonstrated anything close to contrition.  Instead, he has acted as though he was entitled to cheat, and that those who would hold him responsible for his actions are the "bad guys."

Worst of all, Chris Webber made it "cool" to take Ed Martin's money.  If Webber hadn't taken it, neither would the next group of players.  What Chris Webber did was against everything the University of Michigan stands for.  

The bottom line: Chris Webber did exactly what we make fun of SEC football players for doing.  He is the biggest stain in the history of University of Michigan athletics.  His transgressions caused all of us as fans to suffer through ten years of basketball hell.

Banners from the time he cheated should be burned.


April 12th, 2012 at 2:20 AM ^

Not a fan of MSC.  Not a fan of less than forthright athletics, either.  So ...  I guess they can stay where they are.

220am and posting on mgoblog.  I do not have a problem.  I can quit anytime.


April 12th, 2012 at 4:27 AM ^

I for one would love to see them go up. It's not like anyone is going to forget how great that group was anyway. It's been 20 years almost. Time to let the butt-hurt go out the door. Let's be honest here.. Some of these posts talk about some magical tradition in basketball? Please. And blaming them for the shape of the program down the road is funny to me as well. Like keeping ellerbe and tommy turtleneck around wasn't a big mistake. They did more for the program than they hurt it. They aren't the ones to blame for 15+ years or hiring and recruiting bums.

The fact the university holds itself to a higher standard is a reason we could pull it off. By saying yes we are M, and we can do it... We've learned, suffered, etc. In reality tho, webber will have to tell his side first. And Id love for Brandon to market this.. These guys were bigger than the game...


April 12th, 2012 at 9:08 AM ^

However, I couldn't care less about C-Webb's side of the story and I don't feel like he owes anyone an apology. The university and College basketball gained 50 times more than anything he could have recieved from Ed Martin or anyone else.


April 12th, 2012 at 8:45 AM ^

I loved the Fab Five.  Lived and died with every win and loss.  Fact is, though, they underachieved during the regular season, never won a Big 10 Championship, and while their 2 tournament runs were epic (especially the win over Kentucky) in the end they didn't win anything.  Even as a kid I could tell I was seeing a group of supremely talented basketball players who didn't bring 100% every game, didn't really focus until tournament time.  So this group, who I loved, never won anything, and while winning nothing contributed to bringing down our basketball program.  Makes me feel pretty conflicted when I think about the Fab 5.  I still love 'em, but I don't want to see their banners in our house.  This is MIchigan, fergodsakes.  Not the SEC.  Not Ohio.  So I remember the good stuff, accept the punishment for the bad, and live with it.  

Mr. Brownstone

April 12th, 2012 at 9:21 AM ^

I totally agree with this. What did they win?? They never won anything. This isn't little league where everyone gets a treat after the game. Finishing second means you are first place losers. Great, lets celebrate that.


For all the supporters, picture the Fab Five playing for Sparty or ohio. Do you support hanging those banners now?


The University of Michigan has high expectations and even a higher sense of character. These happen to be far above and beyond a couple of banners in Crisler.


April 12th, 2012 at 9:03 AM ^

Put them up in a display case in Crisler Center. With posters describing the team, the run, the issues and the vacating. There's no reason we can't celebrate the on court accomplishments while showing the errors that happened. No need to hide our history, put it on display and learn from it.


April 12th, 2012 at 9:23 AM ^

I've put forward a similar notion previously.  The new Crisler Center will have plenty of display area.  Putting the banners in a display case and explaining the history, maybe with clips about the banners in the Fab Five documentary, would be a good idea.  People should understand the history so they can debate it.


April 12th, 2012 at 12:27 PM ^

Should players get a cut of the revenue generated by their personal jersey sales? I see a lot of 16s running around and Denard doesn't get a dime from that.

Should the NCAA be able to own the marketing rights to your likeness for life? This is currently in courts as many (including Bo Jackson IIRC) are suing the NCAA for selling trading cards with their likenesses.

Why not allow the Olympic model in college athletics? that hasn't tainted amatureism.

Can the NCAA justify the billions that it makes on March Madness while regulating if student athletes can be provided cream cheese or jelly on their bagels?



April 12th, 2012 at 12:09 PM ^

There's no reason we can't celebrate the on court accomplishments while showing the errors that happened. No need to hide our history, put it on display and learn from it.

No reason? What about the fact that we did all that with an ineligible player? Look, I loved the Fab Five. But Webber was retroactively ruled ineligible by the NCAA. It makes no sense for us to celebrate anything he did.  Would you expect USC to have a display case honoring Reggie Bush?


April 12th, 2012 at 12:22 PM ^

But if USC had a display case with the BCS trophy and a plaque that said something to the effect of "We had one of the best teams in the nation, but off field trangressions tarnished the university and lead to sanctions" along with information about the team, facts, why everything was vacated, etc. I'd support that.

It's not like the banners and games don't exist. Why not display them with their full history, good and bad?

IMO putting them up in the playing area (next to the 1989 banners) would be celebrating them and stupid. Hiding them in a library and pretending that they don't exist is also stupid. I think a display case is a good middle ground that can tell the truth.


April 12th, 2012 at 3:26 PM ^

Actually, in the eyes of the NCAA, those games do not exist.  If we had known all along that Webber would be ruled ineligible, banners would have never been made.  Given what we know now, we should just destroy the banners - continuing to store them is pointless.

You're looking at this with your heart and not your head.  Hey, I loved them too.  But Webber was ruled ineligible, which invalidates what the team accomplished.  I don't want USC to do anything to honor Reggie Bush and OSU to do anything to honor Pryor or Clarett, and it would be hypocritical of me to turn around and say that it's somehow OK for us to recognize the accomplishments of a player who took even more money that they did. 

Bottom line: if Webber wanted to have a legacy, he shouldn't have taken the money from Martin.



April 12th, 2012 at 9:34 AM ^

with all the dirty programs in the NCAA today and nothing is done about it why should Mich continue to honor the NCAA's rulings.   Ohio gets away with everything they want and don't even get a slap.  Yeah, take away a couple of sholarships but Meyer still signs as many guys as every other school.  So what is the penalty again?  And Mary Sue Coleman has proven over and over that she doesn't give a crap about athletics.