U-M announces conclusion of Ed Martin investigation, self-imposes sanctions
The University has announced the conclusion of its investigation into the men’s basketball program and improper monetary loans made by retired autoworker Ed Martin to four U-M players.
In a Nov. 7 press conference, President Mary Sue Coleman confirmed that a meeting on July 26, between attorneys representing the University and attorneys representing Ed Martin, detailed $616,000 in loans made by Martin to basketball players Chris Webber, Robert Traylor, Maurice Taylor and Louis Bullock, in violation of NCAA rules. The interview with Ed Martin’s attorneys was made possible by a federal indictment of Martin and his subsequent plea agreement.
“There is no excuse for what happened. It was wrong, plain and simple,” Coleman said. “We have let down all who believe that the University of Michigan should stand for the best in college athletics. We have disappointed our students, our faculty, our alumni and our fans. This is a day of great shame for the University.
“I am determined that nothing like this will ever happen again at Michigan,” she said. “Let me say loud and clear: Integrity is our top priority.”
In a report submitted to the NCAA, the University detailed the findings of its investigation—the third in six years—and outlined corrective actions it already has taken as well as sanctions it will impose on the basketball program.
The self-imposed sanctions include:
• Forfeiting all games won while the four players were ineligible, including the 1992 and 1993 Final Fours, the entire 1992–93 season, and all the seasons from fall 1995 through spring of 1999. The University has removed four championship banners that were hanging in Crisler Arena, and will excise mention of any victories from all programs and written materials
• Repaying to the NCAA about $450,000 the University received for postseason play with those ineligible players
• Declaring the men’s basketball team ineligible to participate in the 2003 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament, as well as the 2003 National Invitational Tournament
• Placing the basketball program on probation for two years, during
which time the president will supervise detailed reports on compliance
to be made to the NCAA
“Despite our best efforts, we were not able to substantiate the allegations of loans to the four players until the federal government got involved,” Martin said. Nevertheless, he said, the University did a number of things over the years to strengthen compliance with NCAA rules.
Judy Van Horn, whom Martin described as “one of the most widely respected compliance professionals in the country,” was hired in 2001. Martin elevated her position to associate director of athletics and upgraded her staff to include three full-time staff and two interns focused on compliance.
“Judy’s voice is very, very important in our department,” Martin said.
Other actions he listed were:
• Revising the policy on complimentary tickets
• Limiting access to the tunnel area of Crisler and to the locker room
• Developing an intensive education program on NCAA rules for players and staff
• Careful tracking of student-athletes’ automobiles
• Requiring completion of written tests and signed verification from student-athletes on
booster rules and extra benefits.
• Regular outreach by compliance staff to booster groups and local businesses.
None of the current men’s basketball coaches, staff and players was at the University during any of the time periods when the contact between Ed Martin and the players was occurred.
“I believe that my job as athletic director is to hire coaches of honor and integrity, who can win at the national level the right way, and who can recruit student-athletes who graduate,” Martin said. “I see the results of this work in Coach Tommy Amaker. When I see the way he runs his program and the high standards he sets on and off the court, I know that our basketball program is in the best hands.”
Amaker said, “It’s good that we are finally able to bring this process to a close. I am focused on the future of this basketball program. The Michigan basketball coaches and players are all committed to building a program that lives up to the high expectations that have been set for us.”
Martin said the University will submit its report to the NCAA, and will then be scheduled to appear in a hearing before the NCAA Infractions Committee. No date has yet been set for that hearing.