- The Michigan softball team lost its first home game since 2008 last night. Pitcher Jordan Taylor only gave up one earned run during the game, but Tennessee capitalized on a few Michigan mistakes and ended up winning 5-0. The Wolverines only managed one hit during the game, breaking up the near no-hitter in the seventh and final inning. To advance to the College World Series, Michigan will have to win twice today. Game two of the series gets underway at 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU. If Michigan wins and forces a third and deciding game, it will start around 7 p.m. and be shown on ESPN2.
- Bree Evans, who’s had enough injury problems to deal with, hurt her right arm last night when a foul ball hit her in the dugout. Evans was on the ground for a few minutes before going to the clubhouse. She did come back out to Michigan’s dugout with her right arm in a sling, but there’s no word on how bad Evans’ injury is (she was supposed to get x-rays last night).
- The baseball team opened the Big Ten tournament with an 18-4 win over Iowa.
- MVictors took a look at where Bill Martin fits into this whole CARA forms mess.
- Get well soon, JoePa.
- Dave Brandon officially took over as Michigan’s new athletic director on Monday. He did some interviews (including one for the FOX Business Network) as a result and discussed various things, including Rich Rodriguez. Unfortunately Brandon will be asked a lot about Rodriguez until football season clears up that situation one way or another, but for now Brandon is maintaining his stance that Rodriguez is “our coach for this season.”
- Rodriguez was recently interviewed by the Toledo Blade.
- Bill Martin did an interview about his last days in his usual office.
- DeShawn Sims made the All-Big Ten second team and Manny Harris made the All-Big Ten third team.
- Since the NIT is no longer a realistic option for the basketball team, my assumption was that Michigan would play in the CBI. As it turns out, that won’t be happening, either, because Michigan isn’t interested. At first I was thinking that Michigan wasn’t interested simply because it’s the CBI (sort of like turning down a low-level bowl game because you think you’re too good for it), but Dave Birkett made a good point on Twitter about how U-M would have to pay for a home game and probably wouldn’t even come close to drawing enough fans to make it worthwhile. He’s probably right, because although I would consider going to an NIT game, I don’t think I’d even bother if it was the CBI. It’s tough enough to get excited over anything but the NCAA tournament to begin with, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the CBI is just not at all appealing to me.
- John Beilein was not too happy with the physical play that was allowed during Sunday’s game against Michigan State. I understand where he’s coming from, but fair or foul, that is just Big Ten basketball.
- It’s hard to believe, but Selection Sunday is coming up later this week. It seems like just yesterday I was at Crisler Arena celebrating Michigan’s inclusion in the tournament. Unless there is a miracle in the Big Ten tournament there won’t be much to celebrate about for Michigan fans this year, but as you get ready to fill out your bracket, check out some NCAA Tournament Projections and Predictions from Doc’s Sports.
- Chris Brown was selected to the CCHA All-Rookie Team.
- WolverineHistorian uploaded a new three-part video of the 2004 Michigan/Michigan State game.
- Michigan students Meryl Davis and Charlie White won a silver medal in ice dancing at the Olympics, and fellow students Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates finished 11th.
- Birmingham Seaholm wide receiver Shawn Conway committed to Michigan over the weekend after being offered a scholarship. Conway, Michigan’s third commitment for 2011, is a definite sleeper considering that Michigan is his only offer so far. I know many fans out there are concerned over the fact that Conway has flown under the radar so much, but let’s keep in mind that it is only February. A lot of times players that are sleepers will suddenly jump up in the rankings after their senior year or simply once they gain more attention. That’s not to say that will for sure happen in Conway’s case, but he has good size and good hands, making it seem like he could be a solid possession receiver for Michigan someday. For more on Conway, check out mgoblog.
- AnnArbor.com has a recap and various videos of the Victors Rally that was held on Sunday. The Wolverine Blog also has a few videos from the event.
- Coaches almost decided to play Justin Turner and burn his redshirt last season. Although I imagine he would have helped the secondary, in the long run I think that was a good decision.
- Brandon Graham’s stock soared after the Senior Bowl, and if he manages to run a 4.5 40-yard dash in Indianapolis like he did in practice recently it could continue to be on the rise.
- Bill Martin’s official title from March 8 (after Dave Brandon officially becomes the athletic director) to September 4 of this year will be “special adviser to the president.”
- The USA Today profiled Dave Brandon.
- Fielding Yost was a curler back in the day.
- Five Michigan hockey recruits are in Rivals’ top 50 rankings. Two of them have five stars.
- I think John Beilein’s expression during the Penn State game last Saturday just about sums up my overall expression for Michigan sports since October.
- Beilein doesn’t expect Ben Cronin to play basketball again.
- Michigan has submitted bids to host NIT games for both the men’s and women’s teams. At this point I don’t think Michigan will even have to worry about hosting anything for the men’s NIT.
- UM Hoops and The Wolverine Blog put together a two-part Q&A on where things stand with basketball recruiting.
- Brent Petway is headed to France to play basketball.
- Former Michigan basketball player Dommanic Ingerson was arrested last week in Oakland after stealing a purse and a jacket from two women and proceeding to swim in a lake naked.
- George Sisler, who played baseball at Michigan from 1913-15, was elected to the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
- The Big Ten has hired a research firm to analyze schools that could join the Big Ten. The initial list included 15 schools. Texas was not on the list, but you don’t need to really do research to know how big of an impact adding the Longhorns to the conference would have.
- Michigan Sports Center turned four on Sunday.
- The Crisler Arena renovation was approved by the U-M Board of Regents on Thursday. The $20 million project will overhaul quite a bit of Crisler Arena, though it is only the first phase of renovations.
The first phase would address the highest priority infrastructure needs such as repair of the roof, electrical, plumbing and air handling systems. Lower bowl seats also would be replaced, with the expansion of seating for people with disabilities, addition of hand rails and other code related issues.
On top of the initial phase, Michigan will look into doing additional renovations of Crisler Arena down the road.
Future phases could possibly address what would be left in the Arena, including the upper bowl, the concourses, the playing floor and other more cosmetic things.
I imagine the entire arena will eventually be overhauled in one form or another by the time all renovations are complete. Although it’s good that the first phase will address many of Crisler Arena’s issues, there’s no doubt that future phases will be necessary to truly fix things up.
- Bill Martin was asked about simply replacing Crisler Arena with a brand new facility, and this is what he had to say:
“We looked at it,” Martin said. “But understand to begin with that Crisler has good bones. It’s sized right. Structurally, it’s very sound and it’s going to last a long time.”
The cost of a potential new arena wasn’t a factor, Martin said, although when it is done he anticipates when all phases are done the renovations will cost between $40-60 million instead of a new arena, which could cost more than $100 million.
Personally I would have been on the new arena bandwagon simply because it’s tough for me to envision a renovated Crisler Arena truly being that much better than it currently is, but there would have been a lot of issues with starting from scratch. Aside from the cost, location would have been a big problem. Regardless of your thoughts on Crisler or its appearance, there’s no doubt it is in a good location. Unless Crisler was torn down and a new arena was built on that same land, it would be tough for a new facility to come even close to being in as good of a location as Crisler is. Either way, I would have been decidedly for a new arena unless this renovation and future renovations will really freshen up Crisler. It just has a dreary and dark look to it, both on the outside and inside, so hopefully the renovations will change that.
- According to a poster on MGoBoard, Kelvin Grady is going to rejoin the basketball team. He isn’t leaving the football team, though. Grady will simply be a football player that is also playing for the basketball team. Quite frankly I hope this turns out to be true, because Grady would have been the best returning point guard this season had he continued playing basketball. I don’t know exactly how he will fit into the rotation with Stu Douglass and Darius Morris at point guard, but I will gladly welcome the added depth. Grady’s defense is far from great, but he is a great shooter and does an even better job of running the floor.
- There is a video on MGoBlue of the basketball team celebrating after the UConn win, and it shows Rich Rodriguez high-fiving everybody and congratulating the team on the upset.
- Via PaulVB, UConn head coach Jim Calhoun had a great quote following his team’s loss to Michigan.
“Their 6’3″ guys bodied up and prevented our 6’9″ guys from getting lay ups. I don’t know how, but they did”
Speaking of Calhoun, he announced earlier this week that he is taking a leave of absence for medical-related reasons. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious.
- UM Hoops has a rundown of just how much Manny Harris struggled in the last part of Wednesday’s game against Wisconsin.
- John Beilein has no interest in recruiting players in the eighth grade.
- Florida defensive tackle Richard Ash has decommitted from West Virginia and committed to Michigan. Ash is from Pahokee, as are current players Martavious Odoms, Vincent Smith, and Brandin Hawthorne. Ash is a 4-star on Rivals and a 3-star on Scout and ESPN. He has a pretty impressive offer list that includes Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma State, Rutgers, South Carolina, South Florida, Tennessee, UCLA, and USC, among others. Ash is Michigan’s 23rd commit of the 2010 recruiting class, and another one could be on the way on Saturday when Maryland linebacker/safety Josh Furman announces his decision (he will choose either Michigan or Virginia Tech).
- Brandon Graham and Zoltan Mesko were named to the AP All-America second team.
- Roy Roundtree said yesterday that Brandon Smith missed a recent team meeting and is probably going to transfer.
- The Big Ten released a statement earlier this week saying that during the course of the next 12-18 months it will look into expansion. I really don’t think anything will come of it, but the debate about expansion has certainly been reignited this week. My personal opinion on the matter is that the Big Ten shouldn’t expand just for the sake of expanding. Some possible 12th teams that have been tossed around include Missouri, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Rutgers, among many others. Out of the list of schools that would realistically consider jumping to the Big Ten, none really excite me. I wouldn’t have a problem with adding a school like Missouri or Pittsburgh (I don’t think Syracuse would leave the Big East), but Rutgers, for example, just isn’t all that appealing. Obviously the best case scenario would be to finally add Notre Dame, but the chances of that happening are beyond slim.
I guess what it will boil down to are these things: 1) Is there a team out there willing to join the Big Ten that also fits the conference’s criteria? 2) Is expanding going to be a smart business decision? 3) Can the Big Ten fairly divide up the teams if a 12th team does join the conference? The Big Ten will spend the next 12-18 months trying to answer those questions, and once this “evaluation” is complete, there will either be an invitation sent to a possible 12th school or nothing at all will happen. My guess is the result of this evaluation will be the latter, but anything could happen I suppose.
- Both mgoblog and Crimson Quarry took a look at what schools would be realistic candidates to join the Big Ten.
- Missouri’s chancellor actually released a statement basically saying that if the Big Ten were to contact MU, it would be willing to listen. I don’t know if that is mainly just a bargaining move with the Big 12 regarding issues with revenue sharing and bowl selection, but Missouri is the only school to actually go ahead and release a statement about the Big Ten’s statement.
- Bill Martin said that Michigan is “open-minded” about the issue of expansion.
- Former Michigan defensive line coach Steve Stripling has been named Central Michigan’s interim coach, replacing Butch Jones, who left for Cincinnati.
- Illinois’ Arrelious Benn is going to leave school a year early to enter the NFL Draft.
- ESPN has apparently made the Michigan-Kansas matchup on Saturday its “green game.” What that means is that rather than simply watch a basketball game, we will get this stupid promotion shoved down our throat by ESPN.
- Zack Novak’s trip to Utah last week really sucked.
- UM Hoops did another Q&A with David Merritt to get his thoughts on what the team has done since the Old Spice Classic.
It’s natural for reporters to inquire about the status of Michigan’s football coach after two consecutive losing seasons, but I think it’s safe to say that Bill Martin and Mary Sue Coleman are sick and tired of being asked about Rich Rodriguez. Both were again asked about his status with Michigan after Saturday’s loss to Ohio State, and below is what Martin and Coleman had to say in response to the questions.
“Rich Rodriguez is our coach,” he said. “I and the administration fully support him, and you’ll see him in the future.”
When asked if that meant next year, Martin said, “Absolutely.”
Even if Michigan is found to have committed NCAA violations regarding excessive practice time?
“He will be our coach next year, today,” Martin said.
Asked to clarify what “today” meant, Martin said, “Well then delete the word today.”
“He’ll be here next year, no question,” Martin said.
University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham spoke to the Daily yesterday on behalf of President Mary Sue Coleman, saying Coleman “supports the coach and supports the football team,” but would not comment further because of the pending NCAA investigation.
The only way I could see Rich Rodriguez being fired is if the NCAA investigation turns up serious violations, and I don’t think that will happen based on the Free Press’ allegations. The punishment for the practice allegations has some precedent, and it wasn’t all that severe. What I’m referring to is if the investigation opens up a new can of worms that reveals other possible violations. If that happened then I could see a change being made, but as long as the investigation goes smoothly, Rich Rodriguez will be Michigan’s coach in 2010.
Athletic director Bill Martin was in multiple news stories in the last 24 hours for very different reasons.
One story that focused on Martin was about the fact that he still supports Rich Rodriguez. I know that is sort of a “Captain Obvious” type of story, but here is what Martin had to say when asked about Michigan’s football coach:
“He’s not going anyplace,” Martin said of Rodriguez, who replaced Lloyd Carr, who retired after the 2007 season following 13 years as head coach.
“Rich is an outstanding coach. There is no question he’s got my total support. I think the world of that guy. Is he perfect in every respect? Nobody is. But he works hard. He’ll get it right.”
“It was a very emotion-filled time for Rich and myself after the game,” said Martin, who said the Purdue loss was particularly hard to bear. “He helped me, I helped him (after the game). I think this loss was hard on all of us. It was hard on Rich, it was hard on me.
“But this guy is a winner. This guy’s not used to losing.”
The other reason Martin was in the news was because of a couple incidents that happened at football games this season. Once at the Notre Dame game and once at the Delaware State game Martin tried to enter the U-M Regents guest area and was stopped by an employee and asked to show his pass. This angered Martin, as he thought the employees (one is a student at U-M and one is a student at EMU) should know that he is the athletic director. Below are the details of each incident.
Employee Jackie Turner told police she was working the Michigan game against Notre Dame Sept. 12 and was assigned to the U-M Regents guest area, which also has a door leading to the general seating area. She said three men in U-M polo shirts attempted to walk into the regents’ area, and she asked to see the first man’s pass to get inside.
Turner told police the man put his right hand on her left shoulder and said, ‘Honey, I am the athletic director,” the report said. Turner said that he “then pushed her on the left shoulder just hard enough to guide her out of his way,” reports said. She told police she did not resist, and the three men walked by.
The second incident occurred during the Delaware State game. In that case, employee Arif Khan said he was working the south stairwell during the game, and after the game ended, Martin and a woman attempted to get inside the Regents area.
“Khan said that initially the two started to walk past him as if he wasn’t there,” the report said.
Khan told police he put his hand on the door and said he needed to see their passes to enter the area.
Khan told police Martin became upset and “used his right hand to forcibly grab Khan’s windbreaker and gripped a large portion of Khan’s DPS issued uniform windbreaker,” the report said.
Khan said the person then told him, “I am the athletic director, I can go in.” He also said Martin grabbed his identification badge hanging around his neck, saying, “I want to know your name.”
A University Development Events staff member identified Martin and allowed him to enter, the report said.
Neither Turner nor Khan decided to press charges over the incidents.
Martin wrote a letter explaining that the confusion occurred because of new security procedures, and he discussed his regret over what happened as well. Here is an excerpt from the letter:
“It was a frustrating situation, and one I should have handled differently,” he wrote. “… I have communicated with both employees to discuss the situation and express my regret. They were just doing their jobs.”
Based on what allegedly happened, Martin was a douche in both situations and obviously should have acted differently. Beyond that, I don’t have anything else to say about the incidents. The case is closed legal-wise, and I’d be willing to bet that if Martin is asked to show his pass again in the future, he will comply and be much more polite to the employees.
Mary Sue Coleman recently received a letter from the NCAA that is as a “notice of inquiry” about the practicegate allegations. The letter was sent to inform Michigan that the NCAA will continue to investigate the allegations, and that the investigation should conclude by the end of the calendar year.
Here is what Coleman and Bill Martin had to say about the letter:
Statement from U-M President Mary Sue Coleman
“As I said at the onset of this review, we place the highest importance on the well-being of our student-athletes and the integrity of our program. We continue to work with the NCAA to ensure that a thorough and objective investigation occurs.”
Statement from U-M Director of Athletics Bill Martin
“We continue to cooperate with the NCAA on this matter, which is why we reached out to both the Big Ten and the NCAA as soon as we heard the allegations. We remain committed to following both the letter and the intent of the NCAA rules.”
The new information this provided us is that we now know for sure that the NCAA is investigating the allegations and that the investigation should be over by the end of the year. Other than that this is really just a reminder that practicegate isn’t going away just yet. Sure, it was forgotten for the first two-thirds of the season, but it could only stay in the background for so long before what was basically an update brought it back to everyone’s attention again.
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