Michigan coach Tommy Amaker’s plan to rebuild the basketball program could take a major nosedive before it even gets off the ground.
That is if Ed Martin’s upcoming meetings with the University produce enough information for the NCAA to act against the program. As part of Martin’s plea bargain agreed upon Tuesday, he must tell Michigan the truth about his involvement with former Michigan basketball players Chris Webber, Robert Traylor, Maurice Taylor and Louis Bullock. The University and Martin have not yet scheduled an interview, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Convertino said it would occur before Martin’s sentencing date of August 29.
The details of the interviewing process are not clear yet, but athletic department officials are anxious to hear what Martin has to say.
“We’re going to try to determine as best we can the truth of what happened,” University General Counsel Marvin Krislov said. “At the end of that period, we’ll submit a report to the NCAA. It will go before a committee before the NCAA that will decide what steps it’s going to take.”
“The Martin plea represents an opportunity to move ahead,” he added.
Martin refused to say what he was going to tell the University when he addressed questions from the media outside the U.S. District Court in Detroit.
The NCAA could slap the program with probation, television and postseason bans or scholarship reductions, depending on what the University uncovers in its investigation. The NCAA has a four-year statute of limitations on infractions but could reopen the case if certain conditions are present, even though the majority of Martin’s loans were given to players more than four years ago. Bullock, who graduated in 1999, is the only player who has not been away from the University for at least four years.
Krislov said that the investigation will be much more thorough than what was confirmed at the hearing Tuesday when Martin confirmed he gave the players an approximate total of $616,000, made up mostly of money from his illegal gambling conspiracy. He said that the University’s investigation will focus more on its administration, not the players and the loans Martin gave them.
“There are a lot of factors not relevant to the criminal case,” Krislov said. “What did the (University officials) know or what did the institution do about it? We need to ask the questions, and we will be much more specific about what happened.”
Krislov also said that finding out the depth of the involvement of former Michigan coach Steve Fisher and his assistants Perry Watson and Brian Dutcher will be relevant to the University’s investigation.
There is also a possibility that the University would impose sanctions upon itself before the report even reaches the NCAA committee, but Krislov was quick to point out that the University “is not there yet.”