Well it was just a matter of time. Anyone who was following the NCAA’s investigation of Michigan’s basketball program knew that sanctions would be handed down. The allegations made about players accepting $600K in illegal loans was simply too serious. The only question that remained related to the severity of the punishment. Most Michigan fans were hoping that the NCAA would be lenient in their punishiment as Michigan already imposed sanctions on the basketball program in November 2002. That was not to be. The sanctions handed down today by the NCAA just seem harsh and over the top. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that Michigan needs to accept responsibility and be reprimanded for what happened under Steve Fisher’s years with the Fab Five, but this is ridiculous. Reducing the number of scholarships available doesn’t make sense. In addition, saying that Michigan in not eligible for postseason play during 2003-2004 season is unfair as is further penalized the current players and even the coaches; none of whom were even at Michigan during the early 90s when the players accepted the illegal loans from a now “deceased representative of the university’s athletics interests.” Michigan already forfeit postseaon play in 2002-2003. Michigan will appeal this portion of the sanction, but I’m not optimistic that they’ll win. The NCAA is trying to set an example and unfortunately previous Michigan players (all now in the NBA) have provided them with an excellent reason for doing so.
Michigan’s Self Imposed Punishment announced in November 2002 includes:
(1) Forfeiting all games won while four players were ineligible;
(2) Repaying to the NCAA about $450,000 U-M received for postseason play with those ineligible players;
(3) Declaring the men’s basketball team ineligible to participate in the 2003 NCAA and NIT tournaments;
(4) Placing the men’s basketball program on probation for two years.
The NCAA penalties announced today include:
(1) Public censure and reprimand;
(2) U-M placed on probation for four years (Nov. 7, 2002 to Nov. 6, 2006);
(3) No postseason competition for men’s basketball program in 2003-04;
(4) A reduction of one men’s basketball scholarship (from 13 to 12) for the next four seasons (2004-05 to 2007-08);
(5) Dissociation for 10 years from the four athletes identified.