One rolled Ford Explorer, three investigations, four former Michigan basketball players, eight years of speculation and $616,000 in “extra benefit” payments. They all finally came to a confluence during a five-hour meeting with the NCAA Committee on Infractions at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla. Friday morning.
An eight-member team representing Michigan went down along with a group of NCAA investigators to appear before the committee’s hearing, and fielded a slew of questions from representatives throughout the meeting.
“It went just as great as we could have expected,” said Michigan Athletic Director Bill Martin, who admitted to being nervous prior to the hearing.
The meeting commenced at 8:30 a.m. when the committee’s chairman, Tom Yeager, called the meeting to order. University President Mary Sue Coleman then gave the opening address for Michigan. Soon after the hearing reconvened following lunch, Michigan coach Tommy Amaker excused himself to return to Ann Arbor to prepare for Saturday’s basketball game against Ohio State.
The hearing concluded shortly after 2 p.m., leaving nothing for the Michigan representatives to do other than wait for the NCAA’s decision. Martin said the committee would render its verdict in five to seven weeks.
Martin said Michigan’s representatives admired the level of readiness and organization of the NCAA. The committee was able to move through the 10 to 15 pounds of material quickly and efficiently because both sides shared an understanding of most of the information.
University General Counsel Martin Krislov said Michigan has already acknowledged its misdeeds with its self-imposed sanctions, and it merely had to iron out a few questions.
“They had some specific questions that were not quite as explicitly addressed in the report,” Krislov said. “Most of it was on paper but there are always fine points in the way you relay things and there were some background things. I think it is also important to have a human face on it.”
None of the Michigan representatives would discuss the details of what occurred in the meeting, but said that they were pleased to be done with their side of the process.
“I think we did well in presenting the facts, and we will just have to see what they determine,” Krislov said. “I think we were well-prepared.”
While Krislov and Michigan’s NCAA infractions expert Mike Glazier of the Kansas City law firm of Bond, Schoeneck and King, have been thoroughly involved in the investigations, the presence of Amaker, Coleman and Martin were just as instrumental.
“One of the things that the NCAA looks into is what controls you have in place right now and what are you going to do to make sure that it doesn’t recur,” Krislov said. “That is why (Amaker, Coleman and Martin) were very relevant.”
Before the meeting, Martin said Michigan was “on the goalline.” Yesterday, he said the University is in the end zone waiting for the score to be put up.
But the basketball program will have to wait until between March 21 to April 4 to see that final score.