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April 20, 2014 - 11:01pm

This Week in History: University Athletic Department faces claims of illegal compensation


Fifty-eight years ago this week (April 28th, 1956)

Edgar Harden, former Michigan State University Big Ten representative, discredited allegations made by The Ohio State University Alumni Advisory Board against the University of Michigan’s Athletic Department, which were based in part on remarks he made at a private gathering.

OSU’s Alumni Advisory Board claimed the University compensated athletes illegally to gain an edge in recruiting. The Board claimed Harden said he had a list of donors who contributed the money for the compensation.

“There is no such list to my knowledge,” Harden said, adding that his claims might have been “extravagant.”

University Athletic Director Fritz Crisler, as well as a number of University football players, administrators and coaches, all said the allegations were absurd.

Twenty-eight years ago this week (April 21, 1986)

An attempt to remove the graffiti from the walls in East Quadrangle Residence Hall prompted discussions about the difference between vandalism and art, meeting both opposition from many students and an uptick in the graffiti itself.

LSA freshman William Pflaum said for him, the graffiti added to the character of East Quad.

“A graffiti wall could provide a form of art that is lacking in the Quad,” he said.

Others alleged that efforts to clean up the graffiti in East Quad amounted to the creation of a “police state.”

However, LSA freshman Peter Schuur said while he believed graffiti can be art, the recent additions are better described as vandalism. He cited a “Kill Reagan” sign in East Quad’s library as an example of that distinction.

The upswing in graffiti was widely tied to a letter sent out by members of the Residential College’s Executive Committee that asked for residents' help in minimizing the graffiti, and called it an “ugly and infantile practice.”

Ten years ago this week (April 21, 2004)

A preliminary admissions report identified three new supplemental essays as the reason for an 18 percent drop in applicants to the University.

The essays were added following a U.S. Supreme Court case that made University’s previous rare-conscious policy — affirmative action — illegal, which assigned points in the admissions process based on race. The essays were meant to give applicants a way to further explain their backgrounds to the University.

Melissa Pierce, a guidance counselor at Grosse Pointe North High School, estimated that among her students, applications to the University this year dropped 10 to 20 percent.

“There were students who chose not to fill out the application because they felt it was too hard to fill out, or they were concerned about how their essays would be rated,” she said.