Peanut Gallery Tuesday
No One Expects the Spanish Inquisition...
Well, we were all riding pretty high after the Illinois game. Excited that Michigan was actually going to make the Dance this year, thinking about the Big Ten tournament, looking forward to a Football season where we could look back on the success of the Basketball team as a sign of good karma for the season ahead. Then the Detroit Free Press has to go and crap on our parade. In a rather harsh article Drew Sharp rips Michigan a new one for its handling of its basketball program.
Among the highlights of Mr. Sharp's little diatribe are the following:
- "Let U-M put together a five-year stretch of conference championships, No. 1 NCAA tournament seeds and Final Fours, and you can put Michigan and Michigan State basketball in the same sentence";
- "But Michigan won't close the basketball gap with Michigan State until the deep-pocketed Blue hairs upgrade facilities charitably categorized as pathetic. U-M ranks last in the conference in basketball facilities";
and my favorite:
- "[Michigan] isn't a destination for basketball coaches. They don't pay. They don't invest. And unless they cheat, they don't reside amid the national elite."
Um, ok, we get it, you don't like us.
While I agree with Sharp's assessment that Michigan is not back on par with Michigan State in terms of basketball status, no one in their right maize and blue mind is even thinking that. Michigan has one win in its last 12 meetings with Michigan State. All of us who've spent time in Ann Arbor are savvy enough to look at that record and get the picture. I think Mr. Sharp needs to come back in off the ledge and put down the rifle.
One thing I didn't know was how bad the facilities are. If anyone has information on this I'd be grateful if you could share it. What I do know is that 10-15 years ago when Michigan was a premier program, the facilities were pretty damn good. But 8 years of sanctions will erase any interest a university has in investing in a sports program, plain and simple. No university, other than osu, which seems to take a "we'll show you, you asshole" approach to sanctions, invests heavily in a scandal ridden athletic program until the dust settles. Kudos to ohio state for their attitude on these types of things, but its not the "Michigan way" to throw their reputation and money down a sink hole like the one Fischer and Ed Martin created. Once Michigan is certain that the problems endemic in the program are cured, you'll see some money there. But until then, clean, profitable, and good programs will continue to get the bulk of Michigan's athletic budget. Maybe this year will be the year that gets Michigan back in that part of the recruiting game. We'll see.
With regard to the coaching issue, Tommy Amaker got a nice pay raise to restore respect to the Michigan program when he came over from Seaton Hall. Contrary to Mr. Sharp's assertions, he is not getting paid soley from the glowing admiration of the Michigan faithful. He's getting paid cash. Hard cash. Enough to make him leave a basketball rich recruiting area and a program that WAS on the rise when he left.
Sharp's last comment was a little out of line. Apparently he missed the 1989 season in its entirety. There have been plenty of good teams that came out of Michigan prior to the Ed Martin era, including Big Ten championships in 1985 and 1986 immediately preceding Michigan's 1989 National Championship. Prior to Martin, Michigan was clean, and Michigan was pretty damn good.
I'd also like to remind Mr. Sharp that his beloved Spartans only have two National Championships to celebrate, one in 1979 (there was a guy named Earvin on that team, he was good) and 2000. MSU only has one more title than Michigan.
So before labeling the entire history of a program as corrupt, dirty, and cheap, do your research.
For those of us that care about Michigan athletics, we've pretty wiped the success of the Martin years from our memories. To me, its as if they never existed because I like to believe that Michigan can and should win in a respectable way. I don't believe you have to sacrifice integrity or academics to be successful, and I'm ashamed that Michigan did that during those years. While many of us still enjoy the memories of the Fab Five running the court, stoned out of their minds, we know that those ill-gotten memories are just that. Memories of an ill-gotten past that are best remembered for what they taught us, and forgotten for the short term success they brought. However those memories do not diminish to contributions of people like Glen Rice, Roy Tarpley, Rudy Tomjanovich, or Cazzie Russell. Unlike Mr. Sharp, we at least realize this.
Important Basketball Update:
The Diag is reporting that Lester Arbam is back practicing with the team. While no one's sure if he can pull it off, Abram is shooting to return for the Indiana game.