Fighting back tears, Michigan Athletic Director Bill Martin told
reporters he had just ordered the removal of four championship
banners from Crisler Arena.
“It was like a dagger in my heart,” Martin said.
While this may have been the most symbolic and emotional action
that Martin and University President Mary Sue Coleman took against
the basketball program yesterday, it was just one small part of a
shamefully sad yet relieving day for the University.
In a morning press conference, Coleman announced that Michigan
had agreed to sanction itself for $616,000 of improper loans given
by former booster Ed Martin to four former basketball players
— Chris Webber, Robert Traylor, Maurice Taylor and Louis
In addition to dropping the championship banners and removing
all other references to the relevant players and teams, Michigan
chose to forfeit games won while those four players were on the
team, including two trips to the Final Four in 1992 and 1993. The
Athletic Department will also use $450,000 from its discretionary
fund to pay back the money received for postseason play during that
The current program will face a two-year period of probation and
will be banned from this year’s postseason play — the
2003 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament
and the 2003 National Invitational Tournament. Michigan will still
take part in the Big Ten Tournament because it is a regularly
scheduled part of the conference slate.
“There is no excuse for what happened,” Coleman
said. “It was wrong, plain and simple. We have let down all
who believe that the University of Michigan should stand for the
best in college athletics. We have disappointed our students, our
faculty, our alumni and our fans.”
Martin sympathized with the players, who will no longer have the
option of playing in the postseason this year.
“Even though this is the right thing to do, I want to
personally apologize to our three basketball players who are
graduating seniors,” Martin said. “These students had
nothing to do with what happened, and I am sorry that they have to
pay the price.”