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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. So this heavily rumored Carty bomb which may or may not be a dud is rumored to be coming out Sunday. There is a competing rumor that there is no definite timetable and the thing is still being worked upon. Informed sources are skeptical about the payload here, but everyone who's emailed me appears to be getting their info from the athletic department and may be predisposed to downplay the charges. To me, the competing rumors look like some internal conflict about whether they have an actual story here, a la the NYT on John McCain.

In any case, there will be two issues leveled:

  • A sizable number of UM athletes have been taking spring and summer term independent study courses in kinesiology and sociology under a few specific professors.
  • In the late 80s and early 90s, Michigan bent its admissions standards for athletes(!).
The second point seems so banal I can't see how anyone can spin it into a story. Since time immemorial, Michigan has accepted anyone who qualifies under NCAA guidelines. (JUCOs and transfers, however, are another matter.) I've heard from a couple different people that Carty's main source on at least the latter part is a disgruntled kinesiology lecturer who has job security issues or got passed over for tenure or some such thing who used to be on the admissions committee, so there's might be something embarrassing there. If the timeframe here is correct, any potential NCAA violations -- doubtful in any case -- are well outside of their statute of limitations, IIRC.

The first part sounds like the Auburn scandal that erupted last year, with one major difference: apparently these are real classes and an appropriate amount of work was done. We'll see if the article contests that at all. IMO, students with questionable academic credentials that universities have a powerful motive to keep in school shouldn't be taking independent study en masse. Like the Alabama oversigning thing, it looks and feels skeezy no matter what, and the potential for abuse is extreme. It's important to compare athletes to the progress of other students to make sure you're, you know, actually educating them.

On the other hand, football players have enormous demands on their time and I can see why they might need the flexibility afforded by independent study. A few credits here and there seem reasonable.

eeeeee Nystrom. A kindly(?) reader forwarded along this video of Eric Nystrom, now of the Quad City Flames in the AHL, reprising the saucy striptease from Slapshot. No, ladies, it's not Jack Johnson, but whatever. Beefcake incoming!

This video posted, I reserve the right for one cheesecake picture on a future date of my choosing, for gender balance.

On-ice. Chad Kolarik had a gimpy practice with the hockey team yesterday, leading the Daily to speculate on his potential return:
Still, Kolarik may have a chance to be back in the lineup when Michigan hosts a second-round CCHA playoff series next Friday.

"The deadline for him in my mind is next Monday," Berenson said. "Can he practice with the team, and compete and take contact and the whole bit? Because there's no time for players that aren't 100 percent when you get in the playoffs."

If Kolarik gets up to speed with his teammates during the first three days of next week, then he'll probably be in the lineup for the weekend, Berenson said.


That's great, awesome, terrific, unexpected quasi-news, though I doubt we actually see Kolarik for the first round playoff series. Said series will be against a team that finished eighth or worse in the CCHA and Michigan should be able to handle them without Kolarik; risking an aggravation seems imprudent. But if Kolarik could be 100% for the games at the Joe and knock the rust off before the regionals, that would be a major boost to Michigan's national title hopes.

One other injury note: during the senior day festivities after the Ferris game on Friday I noticed that Matt Rust is sporting a hard cast on one arm.

(Via Michigan Tailgate.)

There is also an enormous article in USA Today about how wicked sweet Yost is.

Etc.: Carr lauded; Debord hired(!); McGuffie called "White Lightning" two weeks ago.