Mary Sue Coleman & Bill Martin Statements, Q&A

Opening Statements, and Q&A from the University President and Athletic Director.<br><br> The complete text.

In attendance: Tommy Amaker, Lisa Tedesco, Marvin Krislov, Colin Dill, Graham Brown, Daniel Horton, Mary Sue Coleman, Bill Martin.

President Mary Sue Coleman:

"First and foremost we remain committed to the integrity of our athletics program. The acceptance by four former Michigan basketball players of improper loans from Ed Martin was wrong, it violated the NCAA rules. And we believe strong actions were necessary to make sure that such behavior never again occurs at the University of Michigan. We've always accepted responsibility for the concerns raised by the NCAA and by the infractions committee that are displayed in this report. We agree that these were very serious infractions and we accept the additional penalties imposed by the committee that address the loss of four scholarships over four years, an extension of the probation period to four years, and the requirement to disassociate from the players involved, or demonstrate why they should not be disassociated. We own the wrongdoing and we own the responsibility.

"Sticking with this investigation over many years and despite the many obstacles we faced was very difficult. Yet, we did the right thing and we're proud of how we handled this investigation. We pursued it relentlessly, even at a time when it was very difficult to get information. We fired a coach, we made top-to-bottom changes in our athletic program and in our enforcement processes. We persisted in this investigation until we got to the truth and we knew exactly what had happened. And then we took tough medicine on our own last November when I stood before you. And now we'll accept the additional sanctions as well. However, I have to tell you, I am disappointed that the committee's actions will have the effect of punishing our current, uninvolved student-athletes with this additional one-year ban on postseason play. I really do believe that this contradicts one of the core principles of the NCAA, and that is to do as little as possible to harm current, uninvolved student-athletes. Therefore, we will ask the NCAA to reconsider and spare our current student-athletes from punishment. We completely accept the additional sanctions that involve the loss of scholarships and the extended probation, but we believe this additional ban on postseason play puts a disproportionate burden on current players. We're going to file an appeal based solely on that part of the infractions committee report and sanctions.

"Lastly I want to say that it's really time for us to move forward. This has been a long time. We expect this focused appeal to conclude in the early fall, and we now are going to concentrate all of our efforts on supporting Coach (Tommy) Amaker and his great work, to build a wonderful basketball program at the University of Michigan."

On boosters.

"The University really did step up to the plate several years ago and in fact started addressing this. The hiring of Judy Van Horn (associate director of athletics for compliance) was a signal event for the University. Her position has been elevated to associate athletics director. Her staff has been strengthened. She is relentless in going out and talking to coaches, talking to players. She is exactly the kind of person we want in this role. She knows my door is open anytime if there's anything she's concerned about and she's thought that she's not getting the cooperation. Our athletic director said the same thing. His door is open all the time for her. I have great confidence that she will let us know if anything is remiss. We also let all of our fans know what our expectations are. We even advertise in our programs for games. You'll see a page about NCAA rules and compliance. We are doing everything we can to have a public education campaign about what is allowable and what is not. And then we're monitoring it very, very closely. I'm extremely pleased about what I've seen so far."

On not accepting the post-season penalty -- the appeal.

"We thought about this long and hard. When we were thinking about own self-imposed penalties back in November, again, we went through this long, hard procedure. We absolutely came unanimously to what we did in November. That we thought that this was significant, that it was the right thing to do. We all stood together and did it. Clearly, we were disappointed about the additional postseason ban. We worked through that. We're unanimous now in terms of doing the appeal. I want to make it clear that we accept responsibility for what happened. We're not trying to shirk that responsibility."

"I think Commissioner (Tom) Yaeger pointed out it's fairly routine for institutions to appeal. There have been instances in the past where such an appeal has been successful and I believe there was one with LSU. I don't know the details."

AD Bill Martin:

"Thank you, President (Mary Sue) Coleman, and good afternoon. Thank you to all for coming. It's certainly been a long time to get to this point today. We have said time and time again that our goal has been to get to the truth and to do whatever it takes to ensure we have a program fully in compliance with NCAA rules. Everything we have done has been with that single goal in mind. The infractions, as you know, and you heard Commissioner (Tom) Yaeger mention earlier this afternoon, date back to the early '90s. Some of the relationships that Ed Martin and our players had date back to high school and even middle school and those relationships were with their family in many instances. In 1996 when events led us to begin our first of three investigations, those involved would not cooperate. And we were not able to get to the truth. Only an unrelated federal investigation of Ed Martin allowed us to finally uncover the details. In the end, we conducted three separate investigations. We worked cooperatively with both the Big Ten and the NCAA in every one of those investigations. You heard Tom Yaeger affirm that fact. We have included the NCAA throughout this process and we will continue to do so as we move forward through the appeal process.

"The changes that have occurred throughout this process have been dramatic. Let me first talk about personnel changes we have made in the athletic department. All of the players who were directly involved with Ed Martin, or who were in the program at that time the infractions occurred, have long since left. We have three different athletic directors, three different coaches, three different college presidents and two interim presidents during this period of time. Just phenomenal turnover. Those of us who are here now -- myself, Mary Sue Coleman, compliance director Judy Van Horn, Tommy Amaker, and all the young men on our team -- had no connection whatsoever with these events, other than our complete and totally commitment to find out the truth, do whatever was necessary to clean up our program, and as President Coleman said, to accept responsibility. We hired Judy Van Horn because she is one of the most widely respected compliance professionals in the country. We wanted her no-nonsense approach. We wanted her appointment to send a strong message to our staff, our players, the Big Ten and the NCAA that we were committed to having the very best compliance program possible. I raised this position to the level of associate athletic director and added a number of staff. Both President Coleman and myself have told Judy that our doors are always open to her, and that we want a personal call from her if she has any concerns about anything going on in our department. As you know, we also took a number of other policy and educational actions to strengthen compliance and will share that list with you as follows.

"I mentioned that we worked closely with the NCAA in every phase of our investigation. Ed Martin's plea agreement with the federal government finally enabled us, together with the NCAA staff, to be debriefed by his attorneys. We promptly and fully reported what we found and we imposed thorough and appropriate sanctions upon ourself. Those sanctions were:

* Vacating 114 games, including two Final Fours;
* Removing four championship banners from Crisler Arena;
* Returning to the NCAA the monies we received from postseason play with ineligible players;
* Removing ourselves from postseason play for one year;
* And putting our men's basketball program on probation for two years.

"We imposed these sanctions because we thought it was simply the right thing to do. We made a deliberate decision to announce sanctions publicly because we thought it would set a positive example for accountability. As President Coleman stated, we will appeal only the extra year's postseason ban. We believe the additional postseason ban is counter to the core mission of the NCAA enforcement. This is from the NCAA bylaws and I'm quoting directly:
'An important consideration in imposing penalties is to provide fairness to uninvolved student-athletes, coaches, administrators, competitors and other institutions.'

"Our current student-athletes were not involved in any way, as weren't our entire coaching staff. All they did was play their guts out this season knowing they couldn't go to the Big Dance. I hope we can balance the need for punishment with the value for fairness. I'm very proud of coach Tommy Amaker and all that the team has accomplished this year. These young men have held their heads high in the face of an extremely difficult situation. The institution has worked hard. President Coleman did the right thing this year, and now we're looking forward to what's ahead. Thank you."

Regarding players staying at Michigan.

"Tommy met with six players who are still in town last night at 6:00. They are enthusiastically supporting the program. They are all staying. They support the coach, as President Coleman and myself do. They'll be here and we're going to have a great year going forward."

Regarding Steve Fisher.

"I'm not going to comment on Steve Fisher, but I will say this about the infractions committee. We all felt this was a group of our peers from across the country. They were very well prepared when we went before them. We have nothing but the highest respect for them and their end product, other than the one additional year of postseason ban."

"Is the system broke when innocent kids have to sit out a year or two but some of the adults are still working in high-profile positions?"

"The short answer is we don't like that. Nobody likes that. As you heard Commissioner Yeager say, they have to work on the facts and the evidence on the case to determine penalties and who is in receipt of those penalties."

Regarding the U-M appeal.

"Bruce Madej has available a page out of the NCAA bylaws that talks about their mission and the fundamental core principle I quoted from in my prepared remarks. Specifically states they are interested in fairness by not imposing additional penalties on student-athletes that were uninvolved in the infractions that took place. And it is solely on that basis."

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