For years, questions and rumors bombarded the Michigan men’s basketball team concerning the alleged involvement of former booster Ed Martin.
On Thursday the University finally issued its report about the matter to the NCAA, and proceeded to answer many of the questions surrounding the issue.
One of the keys in the formation of Michigan’s report was Vice President and General Counsel Marvin Krislov. Krislov was one of the attorneys present on July 26 in Detroit, when the University’s team of lawyers convened with Ed Martin’s, turning many rumors into fact.
“We met with Ed Martin’s attorneys after an arrangement with the U.S. Attorney’s office and the NCAA as well,” Krislov said. “That was a way that we were able to obtain information at that time. Martin’s attorneys had pretty complete knowledge of what had happened – Martin was available close by and there were a few occasions that they had to step out and talk to him.”
What was revealed at that meeting allowed the University to begin to close the book on its internal investigation into wrongdoing in the basketball program beginning in 1992 and ending in the spring of 1999.
According to Michigan’s report and Krislov’s explanation, while Martin may have been feeding money to former Wolverine Chris Webber prior to his arrival at Michigan, the arrangement did not violate NCAA rules until the Wolverines’ appearance in the 1992 Final Four, when Martin officially became a “representative of the University.”
“According to the NCAA definition of representative – not a booster – Martin became a representative in the Final Four of 1992, when the coaching staff knew or should have known that he was providing benefits to students,” Krislov said. “His credit card was on a list of rooms at the Final Four in Minneapolis, including the rooms for Mr. Webber, Chris Webber’s father.
“At that point, Mr. Martin became a representative of the institution according to NCAA criteria.”
That instance followed the portion of the University’s report stating that while $616,000 passed from Martin to Webber, Robert Traylor, Maurice Taylor and Louis Bullock, not all of the money went directly to the players. Martin provided the families with benefits, like the hotel rooms, as well.
Krislov also pointed out that the four former members of the Michigan team were not the only student-athletes cited as receiving improper benefits.
“We did learn that Mr. Martin provided some benefits to other Detroit area high schoolers that later attended other collegiate institutions,” Krislov said. “There may have been one other player who attended a university in the state – most of the information we focused on concerned the four players in the indictment.”
The sanctions that the University imposed fell short of limiting recruiting visits or scholarships, because Martin’s claims led to the belief that he never encouraged a player to attend any particular university.
“The latest letter of inquiry (from the NCAA) talks about the receipt of improper loans from Martin and there are no allegations about recruitment,” Krislov said. “Martin’s attorneys told us that he never tried to steer any player towards any institution and we have no reason to believe that he did – there’s no evidence that (former Michigan coach Steve) Fisher asked Mr. Martin to do anything with him or the institution.”