Locked away at the University of Michigan are four banners representing on-the-court accomplishments of the men’s basketball team in the 1990′s. Two were for Final Four appearances in the 1992 and 1993 NCAA Tournaments, one for an NIT title in 1997, and the last for a Big Ten tournament championship from 1998. As part of self-imposed sanctions by the school for NCAA violations involving former players Chris Webber, Maurice Taylor, Louis Bullock, and the late Robert Traylor the banners were taken down from their place over the Crisler Arena floor. Among the penalties handed down by the NCAA was a period of ten years where the university could not associate itself with the four indicted players or the respective teams they played for.
When that period ends next year Michigan can once again raise the banners from the rafters if it chooses. It doesn’t appear that will happen based on what the school’s president, Sue Coleman, said recently.
“What happened was not good, and I don’t think they’ll ever go back up. I don’t,” Coleman said in her fireside chat with students on Tuesday.
“Some day, I won’t be president anymore, and maybe someone else will have a different view. But I think you have to reflect on the larger meaning and that we want to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”
“From my point of view, taking the banners down was the right thing to do because it was a very difficult time for the University and we were ashamed of what happened because the University has higher standards than that,” Coleman said. “We’re the University of Michigan — that shouldn’t happen.”
The most notable name of the four men indicted is of course Webber, part of the now famous (or infamous depending on how you choose to look at it) “Fab Five” recruiting class that also included current ESPN analyst Jalen Rose as well as NBA veteran Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson, and Jimmy King. As freshmen they led the Wolverines to the NCAA championship game in 1992, losing to the Duke Blue Devils. The group helped Michigan advance to the title game again the following season, this time falling to the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Final Four games of the 1992 NCAA Tournament were vacated as well as the entire 1992-1993 season by the university.
The most outspoken of the five has been Jalen Rose, whose part in ESPN’s “The Fab Five” helped make it the network’s highest rated documentary. Rose was once again vocal today as he took to his Twitter account to react to the news.
As Jalen said, stay tuned….