Sunday, February 18, 2007

Whatever This Is: The Rule is Dead and the Fab Five

Craig: Gentlemen...
Steve: Behold!
Geoff: And welcome to yet another edition of "Whatever This Is"
Craig: Where tonight we come with reason to celebrate
Geoff: The hated Rule 3-2-5-e has been overcome.
Craig: Ding dong, that rule is gone
Steve: Pardon? Are we talking about the new clock rules from last season?
Geoff: Yes we are.
Craig: And the now late clock rules
Craig: But here's the amazing thing of it all…the rules they will use to keep the game shorter actually make sense to me.
Craig: Kicking off from the 30, The shorter play clock coming back from TV timeouts, Limiting reviews to 2 minutes (Which really should have been there in the first place)…All of these are good ideas
Geoff: All kicking penalties can be enforced from the end of the kick.
Steve: Wow, the NCAA made rule changes that make sense?!?
Craig: Which prevents what Bielema did against PSU, no?
Geoff: Right.
Craig: It's just amazing, they listened to the coaches, they came up with alternatives, and everyone is a winner
Craig: It especially hurt the cause when CBS' broadcasts were not shorter in relationship to the shorter games
Geoff: Very much agreed.
Geoff: Since play begins again when the ball is kicked off, you can only run so much time off the clock before it becomes really to your disadvantage to take another offsides penalty.
Geoff: And the 30-yard-line kickoffs make it that much harder, as well.
Craig: Which means the return game is so much more important
Craig: As is the kicking game
Craig: Special teams become all the more special
Geoff: Hopefully our new kicker has better distance than Rivas.
Craig: Only time, and the name of our new kicker, will tell
Steve: Speaking of our next kicker, are we looking at a true freshman or someone who's been in the system
Geoff: Red-shirt, I believe.
Craig: Concur with GZ
Geoff: We should direct any readers over to EDSBS's run-down of the new new clock rules.
Geoff: It's very good, as you'd expect.

Geoff: Let's move on
Craig: I was just going to say
Craig: Basketball on tap
Steve: What's the word?
Geoff: They lost to Michigan State on the road
Steve: Can't say that I was. I was surprised that they were tied 29-29
Geoff: I've moved on from this season already, spiritually.
Craig: As have I
Geoff: It started with the UCLA loss and ended with the Iowa one.
Craig: The season should be buried in a shallow grave then shot repeatedly
Steve: I think you have those in reverse
Craig: No, Steve, I don't…
Geoff: Stake through the heart, cut off its head, fill the mouth with garlic…
Craig: Throw it in the Neva River…
Geoff: "I don't have a lot of experience with vampires, but I have hunted a werewolf."
Steve: So you actually feel the need to torture it before killing it
Craig: Turnabout is fair play…
Steve: Okay, but we're not making the stake out of a mop handle
Craig: No, we can draw the line there

Craig: But I would like to talk about another ghost of the past.
Geoff: On Saturday the Associated Press ran a story about the ultimate cause of the situation we find ourselves in: The Fab Five.
Craig: It's a fascinating article on several levels
Geoff: It really is.
Craig: Not the least of which is the seeming lack of remorse by all involved
Geoff: It's the thing that most jumped out at me.
Craig: I can understand the all for one, one for all aspect of it
Craig: But to be arguing that Chris Webber is the one being wronged by the system
Craig: And to seemingly mean it
Craig: I mean, he did take something in the neighborhood of 600,000 dollars, correct? (Ed note: My bad, it was roughly $280,000) and then he LIED about it.
Steve: I believe that it was between Webber and 3 other non-fab five players
Geoff: We obviously can't the players interviewed didn't at least show some token contrition that didn't make it into the article, but seriously? Nothing?
Steve: Personally, if I were one four who didn't take money I'd be pissed at Webber for soiling my accomplishment
Craig: OK, but large sums of cash were taken by Webber among others
Geoff: Webber was the only one who took enough to get the 10-year ban (of the Fab Five).
Craig: And ye he's gone all "McGwire" about it, "I not here to talk about the past"
Geoff: Yeah. You could understand the silence, but only until the legal aspects were all satisfied.
Craig: Agreed
Craig: But now, everything has been sorted out, how hard would a "mistakes were made" statement be for him to make?
Geoff: We just want some acknowledgment that he knows that a bad thing was done to the University and that he played a big part in that.
Steve: I honestly think he believes he did nothing wrong
Craig: And that in doing that bad thing to the University, he hurt the University, the program, the alumni, and the fans, and that that wrong, though 15 years old, still haunts the program to this day
Steve: Is there another case out there of a single player causing a program so much harm?
Geoff: He may well believe that. He's said he thinks it's wrong that players don't get paid royalties on jersey sales. But that's not the issue. Ed Martin's money burned the basketball program to the ground.
Geoff: Webber's not the only one, just the most famous. Bullock, Traylor, and (Taylor, I think)
Geoff: They also took money.
Craig: I believe you have the other three
Craig: And the thing is, I think a lot of people could be forgiving if Webber admitted that what he did was wrong, he knows it, and it was a mistake
Craig: But what gets me about those three is that those three demonstrate the lack of institutional control
Craig: Because they were TOLD not to associate with Martin
Craig: They had been warned!
Geoff: Yeah. And that's why Steve Fisher is persona non grata.
Craig: I just wish I could make sense of any or all of this
Geoff: Fisher and his coaching staff viewed Ed Martin as the kind of guy they had to keep around to get the recruits in.
Steve: One of the things that upsets me the most about this thing was the culture of enabling.
Geoff: Despite the fact that he couldn't have been more obviously dirty if he'd had bells and a siren.
Steve: One of the things I take the most pride in about Michigan is how we are one of the cleaner programs, or at least that's my perception, and then a small circle of people bring the whole thing down
Geoff: The football program has been as clean as you can get at a big-time D-1A program. So has hockey.
Craig: But the basketball thing just kills us. No tournament since 1998, and every time that comes up, the ghost of Ed Martin rises up once again.
Geoff: It's the reason Ellerbee was allowed to stick around. It's the reason Amaker still has a job.
Steve: Like we previously discussed, one of the keys to getting the program back on track is to identify a talented young couch
Steve: Start winning some more games, attract better recruits, repeat
Craig: In order to do that, you have to be willing to admit there is a problem
Geoff: And according to recent reports, Mary Sue Coleman doesn't think there is one.
Craig: Exactly, and if the boss of bosses thinks there's no problem, well, then you have to wait it out
Steve: True, but I really can't press her on that one. Her primary responsibility is academics
Craig: I disagree… Her primary responsibility is the public image of the university.
Geoff: Her responsibility is the University at large.
Craig: And the basketball team, right, wrong, or indifferent, is a part of that public image
Geoff: She likes that Amaker looks to be squeaky clean and a good representative of Michigan. She doesn't see that losing makes us look like a joke.
Steve: We may talking about different problems, the problem I'm referring to is the basketball team losing.
Steve: I stand corrected
Craig: It's like a reverse version of the Flutie Effect.
Geoff: How often have you heard our football recruits talk about the Fab Five? It still comes up all the time.
Craig: And thus, if President Coleman does not see that losing in a highly visible sport means discussions of "what's wrong with Michigan" ad nauseum, in dozens of media and fora, then she will not make a move.
Craig: I'm just saying
Steve: As the AP article stated "[a school and a community where] football [is] the first, second and third priorities". If this were the football team instead it would be a whole different story
Geoff: Absolutely.
Craig: Well, yes, because money talks
Geoff: It's harder to ignore 110,000 than 13,000.
Geoff: But the exposure from March Madness is disproportionate to the actual revenue ticket sales generate.
Geoff: And that in turn shows up in merchandise sales. I haven't seen a whole lot of those maize basketball jerseys, have you?
Craig: And the hockey team doesn't get the face time on sports talk radio
Craig: The basketball team does
Geoff: [Note: Ringing the 5-minute bell here]
Craig: And it's always in a negative light vis-à-vis Michigan State
Craig: Which I don't blame State for, since they have done a good job
Geoff: Absolutely. As much as we love college hockey, it's still only a notch above curling on the national radar.
Craig: If basketball is a must, I'd like to have the kind that wins.
Geoff: Detroit talent has been in a bit of a downturn for basketball lately, but there should be enough prospects in this state to support two competitive programs.
Craig: This whole thing comes down to, if there was a simple solution, we'd already be pursuing it
Craig: And frankly, I just don't see it.
Geoff: There's no overnight correction to be made, but it demands a commitment from the athletic department over the long term.
Craig: Agreed
Geoff: It keeps coming back to basketball being seen as the embarrassing screw up kid.
Steve: Take a page out of Stalin's book and come up with a five year plan?
Geoff: Hopefully without so many dead peasants and kulaks.
Craig: and fewer revisions
Steve: Kulaks, but they're the arch enemy of the proletariat!
Craig: Does Godwin's Law also apply to Stalin?
Geoff: Not yet. Because Stalin jokes can still be funny.
Craig: Fair enough
Craig: But on that note, I hear the marching band playing us off for this week
Geoff: And I say that as a descendant of Poles.
Geoff: Sounds that way from here too.
Craig: So until next time, I'm CDB
Geoff: And I'm Geoff Somethingunpronouncable.
Steve: And I'm Harvey the Wonder Hamster
Craig: and that's all for this week's edition of "Whatever this is." Good night.
Geoff: See you next time.

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