Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · U of M Basketball...
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U of M Basketball Deserves the Death Penalty

George Foster - November 7th, 2002
Sometimes a crime is so heinous, with such severe violations of civilized behavior, that the maximum sentence possible is the only just punishment. So, congratulations to the University of Michigan basketball program. The level of cheating committed in Ann Arbor over the last decade or so may be the worst in the history of the NCAA. If even half of the allegations charged are true, you are an embarrassment to the state of Michigan and have delivered a crushing blow to the integrity of college sports everywhere.
In 1987 Southern Methodist University was slapped with the so-called “death penalty“ from the NCAA for rules violations in football. As a result of university players receiving huge payments from boosters, SMU‘s storied football program was eliminated for the 1987 and 1988 seasons. That means no games, no practices, and no scholarships. Since then, the ghost of Doak Walker has suffered in agony because Mustang football will never be the same.
This saga may soon sound familiar in the Wolverine state. The NCAA will soon give its final verdict and sanctions for University of Michigan violations in its basketball program. U of M booster Ed Martin pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge last spring after being accused of giving $600,000 to four former Wolverine basketball players. Allegedly, Martin took advantage of any opportunity to transmit funds to players, including stuffing birthday cakes for players with wads of cash.
If money is the measure for severe penalties, U of M basketball is a goner. We don‘t even know if $600,000 comes close to covering Ed Martin‘s alleged slush fund that benefited Michigan players from 1988 to 1999. Former U of M star Chris Webber may have received $280,000, himself, from the time he was a freshman in high school. Supposedly, Louis Bullock was receiving mounds of cash as late as 1999, two years after the Big Ten and U of M concluded their investigations of the Wolverine basketball program. Their conclusions: minor violations may have been committed by U of M. I sure would like to know their definition of major violations.
Does anyone really believe that Wolverine staff members didn‘t think it suspicious that Ed Martin often showed up at recruits‘ homes during coaches‘ visits in the 1990‘s? Why did Martin supposedly get preferential treatment for season tickets at U of M‘s home games? In hind-sight, it now makes more sense that the parade of poor, inner-city elite players seemed endless during the time of the celebrated Fab Five and successor basketball squads. The road to Ann Arbor was apparently paved with mega-$$$$$$$$$$$ for these superstar teens.
In addition to the huge sums of money involved here, there are other reasons to drop the H-bomb of penalties on the Wolverines. Millions upon millions were earned for the university and the Big Ten Conference in TV appearances, NCAA tournament runs, and merchandise - all with basketball players illegally bought and paid for.
Also, before passing final judgment, consider how Ed Martin allegedly earned the huge amounts that were stuffed into the pockets of Michigan basketball stars - gambling. Martin‘s alleged sports betting ring coupled with his influence over the Wolverine hoop program, sheds new light on the Fab Five era. Maybe Martin‘s role is a clue to U of M‘s inability to win a Big Ten or NCAA championship despite being the most talented team in the country - by far. And why did Chris Webber call that infamous timeout against North Carolina? Maybe Ed Martin knows the answers.
My recommendation to NCAA committee on infractions: put U of M basketball out of its misery so it can start anew. Silencing Chrysler Arena for a couple of years may be the only hope of achieving a clean program in Ann Arbor once and for all.


 
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