One nugget in the Ohio State/Tressel tattoogate Notice of Allegations [full version] released today concerns the gold pants:


I’m not a memorabilia dealer but from hours of watching Pickers and Pawn Stars, I realize buyers need to leave themselves with plenty of room for profit.  That said, I think the players could have done better.

There happens to be a 2009 version on eBay right now listed for $745 which is around fair market value these days.  (Sadly the market is saturated):


Remember when Rick bought a pair on two of these on Pawn Stars not long ago?  He paid the seller $1000/each (too much).   And we’ve seen other auctions asking between $600-$700 not long ago.

Because there’s an established market, I think the athletes selling their pants should have asked for and received closer to $500.

The NCAA also requested more info on the gold pants award, to be returned as part of Ohio State’s official response:


For starters, they can go to Coach Tressel’s website for a nice summary. 

I’d like to know the real “cost” to Ohio State which of course we’ll find out soon enough.  As Rick on Pawn Stars pointed out they are plated gold, and I’m guessing Ohio State will have to explain that some of the cost is variable based on gold prices.  Either way, I guessing the NCAA will be tallying up the cost of Ohio State’s gifts to the players in recent years.  It’d be something if they came back and said that the Buckeyes can’t offer both bowl rings and gold pants in a given season because the value of the gift exceeds current NCAA limits. 

19. March 2011 · Comments Off on Blue Blooded (Michigan 75, Tennessee 45) · Categories: Archive 2010 · Tags: , , , ,

If you peeked into the M Twitterverse in the waning moments of the dismantling of the Volunteers early Friday afternoon, you got a tiny taste of how it will feel if once we tip over the Buckeyes on a future Saturday in November. 

Tiger Blood.  ESPN captured this sign in the crowd:


And apparently Zack Novak spotted it, loved it, and found Kevin Pollack after the game a retrieved the sign.  Rothstein:

The fan who made the sign happily obliged, and it sat in his locker after the game.

“I just wanted the sign,” Novak said. “I think Charlie Sheen’s hilarious.

“That’s an awesome sign, that’s my favorite sign.”

The sign will go back with Novak to Ann Arbor, where he said it will hang in his room — likely right over his bed.

It’s unknown whether Novak ask for the number of the gal doing the hair flip, or where the dude behind Pollack got his Jalen-Chris-Juwan-Jimmy-Ray shirt.  I’d check here.

Drawing Blood.  You’ve probably heard several dozen times that Michigan didn’t make a free throw in the game, but to reverse paraphrase Patrick Ewing, we didn’t make a lot of free throws because we didn’t shoot a lot of free throws.  No one’s complaining, but maybe Smotrycz should have headed to the stripe after this?:


Cold-Blooded.  What was the most cold blooded moment of the game?  Darius Morris’s drive and behind-the-head scoop at the end of the half is up there.  Douglass’s 30 foot bomb followed by the two-handed Disco Stu slam?

Bad Blood.  Funny, many thought there was huge potential for a major Fab Five tie-in to the 2011 tournament—but not in the form of a Duke-Michigan game.  Many like me thought we were heading for a bracket potentially pairing a #10 Michigan in a second round battle with Steve Fisher and #2 San Diego State.  I’d rather be playing Fish but bring on the Devils.  Maybe by Sunday someone will explain to the “classy” Grant Hill that Jalen was talking about their feelings in 1991-92.

Remember the Vols crushing Michigan in the Citrus Bowl in ‘02?  Check out my epic “post” on the matter from back then.  Vintage.
* Great stuff from UM Hoops.   Post-game video, Five key plays, and more.

18. March 2011 · Comments Off on Hardcore Michigan Hoops (Spartan Nation Radio) · Categories: Archive 2010 · Tags: , , , , ,

I was back on Spartan Nation radio with host Hondo Carpenter this week talking Hardcore Pawn, Michigan Hoops, NCAA tourney expectations for the Wolverines and the Big Ten, and whether I’d be rooting for the Buckeyes in the tournament*.   Dig it:




* No.

tresselemails Check out the entire email thread on  HT to @DaBangStick

Google returns 71,600 results when you search on Tressel Weasel.  +1


While we’re on oldies but goodies, how about this gem from haiku contest winner Hacker from back in August 2008:

imageAnd as usual you can there are a few auctions of the evidence Buckeye gold pants – these beauties from the 2009 game:

       goldpants1                     goldpants2
     Current price: $501.00 (12 bids)                                Current price: $995.00 (no bids)


I stubbed my toe on this interesting nugget of Michigan football history recently.  It turns out that there was a foiled attempt by wiseguys to bribe an Oregon player prior to game against the Wolverines in the 1960 season opener. 

The failed fixing attempt was revealed to the media after the Wolverines’ 21-0 victory over the Ducks on September 24, 1960. 

Here’s a rundown of what happened:

  • Shortly after the Ducks’ plane landed at Willow Run (just down I-94 from Ann Arbor) airport, Oregon junior halfback Mickey Bruce was approached by a 27-year old school teacher from Brooklyn, NY named David Budin.  Later Budin told police he was acting on behalf of two gamblers from Miami, FL.
  • Budin allegedly offered Bruce $5,000 if he could “let a pass receiver behind him” and if he would cause the Oregon quarterback to “call the wrong plays” in the game against Bump Elliott’s Wolverines.   Michigan was a six-point favorite in the game.
  • Budin targeted Bruce because he claimed to be a friend a former Oregon basketball player named Jim Granada, who in turn was a close friend Bruce’s.
  • Budin and the two gamblers followed the Oregon team to their Dearborn hotel and approached the Oregon junior again.  After this second meeting Bruce went to Oregon coach Len Casanova and told him what was going on.  The FBI was contacted and they turned matters over to the State Police.
  • The two gamblers apparently got wise and split; Budin was arrested Saturday morning before the game back at the hotel.
    Days after the 21-0 victory word of the scandal made the papers but in the end, Budin wasn’t busted for anything beyond a misdemeanor…He was fined $100 for registering in a hotel with a fake name(!).  That’s a crime? 
    FWIW Bruce had an interception in the game.

Naturally Budin was in and out of the news in the 1960s for various gambling-rated encounters, including an investigation of college basketball fixing a couple years later.   He and his son Steven were indicted in 1998 for running an off-shore (incorporated in Costa Rica) gambling operation out of Miami. 

20. November 2010 · Comments Off on Interview: Men’s Soccer Coach Steve Burns · Categories: Archive 2010 · Tags: , , , , ,

I caught up with Michigan head Soccer coach Steve Burns on the field prior to the Wisconsin game in anticipation of the huge NCAA battle against Central Florida on Sunday.  Dig it:

MVictors:  You’ve got Central Florida tomorrow and you went down and scouted them this week.  What opportunities do you see and what worries you?

Burns:  They are a talented team.  It was good to see them because they are a lot better than I thought they were going to be.  Their strength is in their midfield–they run a 4-5-1.   I think the biggest thing is that they’re a team that’s not going to beat themselves, meaning they’ve got discipline and they play within themselves.  We’ve got to go out and beat them.  It’s going to be a good game.

MVictors:  I understand that tickets are scarce (for Sunday). What kind of crowd do you expect tomorrow?

Burns:  It could be upwards of 4,000.  The chairback seats sold out in about two hours and I’ve had a lot of requests for tickets.   I went out and bought 50 tickets and..I’m out, I’m out! [laughs].  

MVictors: What’s going to happen tomorrow?

Burns:  Well I’m hoping that it’s not like this [gesturing to the sunny sky].  I’m hoping that it’s gray, rainy and bitter.  I don’t think it’s going to be like that, but there’s going to be a big adjustment for them. 

They are flying in today.  I don’t know why they wouldn’t have flown in yesterday.  They are staying out at the airport because there are no hotel rooms.  So—the company line is that it’s going to be an entertaining game.  They are a really high scoring team like us, so I expect it’s going to be back-and-forth and wide open with lots of goals.

MVictors:  Is this the biggest game in Michigan soccer history?

Burns:  Well, in 2003 we played in the Elite 8 at Santa Clara for a chance to go to the Final Four, and that was pretty big.  But that was our first run ever in the NCAA tournament so we really didn’t know the significance of it and we didn’t appreciate it as much as we’re appreciating these moments here.

The hearing dragged on most of the day, perhaps a bit longer than the media hanging outside the committee room expected.   Hot news?  Beyond the AD dropping a few Dominos pizza pies on the press (hopefully topped with coffee beans) the timetable for the official NCAA decision is unclear.  Oh, and count the Alabama game as officially a "maybe", and Michigan and Notre Dame are still working out the details of the future of their football-playing relationship.

Statement from Super Dave Brandon, via U-M Media relations:

Statement from Dave Brandon Regarding NCAA Hearing

We feel that the committee gave us a full and fair hearing today. Our statements today were similar to those we provided the NCAA earlier this summer: We own the mistakes we have made, we fixed some process and communication problems that caused them, and we’re keeping a close eye on this so it doesn’t happen again.

I’m proud of the extra effort everyone has been putting into compliance these past several months. Rich and his staff – in coordination with the compliance group – have been working together to keep us on the right track.

We will await the committee’s decision and we will not speculate about the outcome – we must let the process play out. We won’t comment further on this matter until after we receive the committee’s decision.

We’re going to get back to Michigan now for the start of what we expect will be a great football season.

And talks about you-know-what.

Worth a listen, about 13 minutes of audio:

HT:  mgoblog user UMICH1606

25. May 2010 · Comments Off on Winged Helmet T (As in Trouble) · Categories: Archive 2009 · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

clip_image002 New York Times  – December 24, 1909

Michigan is set to release their self-imposed sanctions in about 30 minutes.   File this under FWIW, but despite what some maintain it’s not the first time Michigan has been mixed up with serious off-the-field issues.   I’ve covered a couple of these incidents on these pages and beyond, but thought it’d be a good time to review.  

These events happened years back and of course times were different.  There was no governing structure like the NCAA in place when this stuff went down, and much of the enforcement was placed on the leagues and on the schools themselves. 

Joy Miller Scandal (1909)
[Ed. This originally appeared in
Brian Cook’s Hail to the Victors 1909]
In early December 1909 the Michigan Daily reported concerns over whether newly elected team captain James ‘Joy’ Miller was properly registered as a U-M and if he actually attended enough classes during the fall 1909 to be eligible for the football team. Miller responded to the charges claiming he had switched majors and was confused over the registration process. He actually attempted to enroll back in school on December 8, filling out a card and paying his $45 dues.

While an official decision had yet to come down on the incident, Chairman of the Board in Control of Outdoor Athletics Geo. W. Patterson had heard enough and started firing off letters of apology to Michigan’s 1909 opponents. The U-M Bentley Library holds a copy of the apology sent to Minnesota in its archives. The one page missive, dated December 22, 1909, explained the situation:

The facts of the case are that Mr. Miller returned to college late this fall, registered in the Engineering Department but neglected to enroll in his classes, although he did attend some of them.

The letter closed by offering the University’s “sincere regret for this unfortunate error”, but notably, no where did Patterson suggest the result of the game should be reversed or reconsidered.

On Christmas Eve 1909 the New York Times broke the news to the world with a headline that howled “FOOTBALL SCANDAL IN MICHIGAN TEAM”. In the article Patterson addressed the question of potential penalties declaring, “As the matter stands any of the teams Michigan defeated during the year now has the right of protest, and may ask that the game be declared ‘no game’ or its result reversed. We are expecting such action.” He added, “The whole university is sick about the business.”

In early January Miller’s colleagues in the School of Engineering recommended that he be kick out of school. After ignoring several requests to return to campus to face the charges, Miller was officially expelled on January 14, 1910.

Despite Patterson’s suggestion that Michigan’s opponents could claim the results of the season invalid or even reversed, no such measures were taken. Given that the apology letters (at least the Minnesota note) were dated prior to when the major newspapers ran the full story, it’s possible that Michigan’s quick and obsequious admission of the embarrassing issue was enough to pacify its football foes.  Author John Kryk in his wonderful book Natural Enemies, agrees writing, “Michigan officials were able to save face, to a large degree, by the swift, open and decisive manner in which they tackled these scandals.”

Cloud over Kipke (1937)
Thirty years after the Joy Miller mess, Michigan was dealing with far more serious allegations.  Despite a coaching stint that featured four straight conference titles and a pair of national championships (‘32-‘33), head coach Harry Kipke was in trouble.  Yes, his teams had major struggles on the field in the mid-1930s but there were darker clouds afoot and U-M decided to let him go.   The Board in Control of Athletics issued to Kipke the following five reasons for his dismissal, and they were published in the December 12, 1937 Chicago Tribune:


Here’s a brief look at a few of the spiciest of the charges:

  • Subsidizing players.  Yes, it appears as though Michigan promised the classic nice “jobs” to incoming freshman.  According to a university report players were basically guaranteed a wage at certain jobs whether they showed up or not.  The local employer was “instructed to bill another Ann Arbor firm for the time the freshman collected for not working” [Chicago Tribune, 11/11/37].  The whole thing unraveled when a bogus “employer” wasn’t reimbursed in a timely manner and complained. 
  • Those “Private Associates”.  This was aimed squarely at Kipke’s relationship with Mr. Harry Bennett, henchman/muscle/head of security at Ford.  (Henry Ford sent his problems to Bennett and they disappeared – Or were buried up north.)  The university brass found Bennett to be a distasteful character and made that clear here.
  • Summer Practice.  Not sure if Kipke employed quality control coaches, but it was alleged that most of the team held cushy summer jobs at Ford and whilst there, even worked on their football skills, from the Tribune 12/12/1937:

    Kipke allowed fifteen Michigan football players to practice three and four times a week throughout the last summer while employed at the Ford Motor company.  The players were said to have worked in the service department under Harry Bennett, Ford personnel director.  On practice afternoons, it was reported, they were driven in a truck from their posts about the plant to a remote place on Ford property along the Detroit river shore for practice.

    Shortly after the dismissal Michigan hired legendary coach and athletic director Fritz Crisler.