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Front Page » November 14, 2002 » Sports » The Sports View
Published 4,329 days ago

The Sports View


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sports writer

While I have never been a fan of the University of Michigan, in fact most of the time disliking that school in Ann Arbor, what happened to that institution last week was sad and appalling.

The Michigan Wolverines, a school known not only for it's great football teams of the past, but for terrific basketball teams in the early 1990's when they won one national championship and took high places two other years, had to eat crow last week.

From an investigation by the NCAA, it was found a booster paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to ex-athletes who went to the school and played basketball during those years.

That meant trouble for Michigan. Now I am no lover of the Big 10 nor of Michigan, but there is certainly something wrong about a school that suffers consequences based on individuals actions that have no connection with athletic departments other than that the person might be an alumni and has lots of money.

At the beginning of this week Michigan had to take down it's championship banner and relinquish it's right to that championship. There are also other penalties, including not playing in the post season for who knows how long and a limit on basketball scholarships. They also have to pay back money they earned for winning that championship.

The numbers don't matter because if the school loses one scholarship or cannot play when they should be able to play, it is wrong. True some in the athletic department may have known about the situation; many are gone now. I find myself hating the way this is done. The NCAA blames the school, and penalizes those that have been left because of an overzealous school booster, a coach or two who looked the other way and players, some of whom are earning millions of dollars in professional sports.

Some of those coaches and officials are still out there, working at other schools. Shouldn't the NCAA penalize them?

And what about the players. One, has gone on to a big NBA career, checkered for years with inconsistencies (such as getting along with others and being in trouble) he has now found a home in Sacramento, where he is regarded as kind of a god.

I often write that in our sue happy society, things are pretty sad because of the litigious way people handle things. But if I were running the University of Michigan I would be going after the players that brought this on the school. I realize that many of these kids who come into athletics have nothing and are tempted by the money boosters can offer them. But what about the average Joe who has to work his way through college without any kind of scholarships and perks.

No; regardless of the circumstances, these athletes need to be made examples of. Many of them have done rotten things their whole life and gotten away with it because they could play "ball."

It's time to go after the ones that cause the problems, not the hapless programs that are left in their messy wake.

I find this is just one more reason to dislike Chris Webber.


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November 14, 2002
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