31. May 2011 · 7 comments · Categories: 2011

Over the past few days I’ve heard many Michigan fans comparing the 1990s Ed Martin scandal to the Sweatervest mess.   To me, this is much more similar to the events that led to the downfall of former Wolverine star and 1930s head coach Harry Kipke.   There’s a reason why we have buildings named after Schembechler, Yost, Crisler and Oosterbaan while the Kipke surname adorns a service road/path on the athletic campus.


 Love this wire pic- on eBay right now

Like Tressel, Kipke had early success—winning league championships in his second and third seasons before taking back-to-back national championships in 1932 and 1933.   Unlike the Vest, Kipke’s fortune turned sharply midway through his coaching career including the worst stretch in Wolverine football history from 1934-1936.

While it’s not clear to me when the corruption started, it’s safe to say Kipke had a bit of a system rolling when he was sacked in 1937.   Along with illegal summer practice up at Ford and some sketchy associates, under Kipke’s watch incoming freshman were given “jobs” (note me also doing air finger quotes right now).  

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.  I’m guessing the potential of one of these nice jobs helped lure Tom Harmon (1930s version of a 5*+ Pryor-esque recruit) from Indiana to Ann Arbor in 1937.  

We’ll see what happens to Tressel moving forward.  I hear the NCAA can ban him from associating with a school including Ohio State.  Kipke didn’t suffer such a penalty and had a strong backing from Michigan fans after he was canned.  He served on the U-M board of regents from 1940-47 and later served as president of the Coca-Cola in Chicago. Perhaps The Vest can sign on with Bartles & Jaymes.

Yost is Safe
Oh yes, remember this?   Last November I successfully lobbied the Big Ten media office last year to look again at the all-time conference winning percentages by coach, they moved Yost further out of reach from #2 Tressel.   To me, this was the start of Tressel’s fall from grace.  And while I’m confident the Vest never would have caught Yost, it’s over now baby: 

Rest easy, Coach!


  1. So good. Now if only they’d vacate enough Ws to drop Tress below Bo ;)

  2. Greg,

    Thanks for correctly noting that the worst three-year stretch in our history is 1934-36, not 2008-10 as so many UM fans assert. There’s no doubt that the Rodriguez years were overall very disappointing, but if you compare the two three-year stretches, no objective person can claim the more recent one to be the worst.

    What’s astounding about the 34-36 years is that we were shut out eleven times, including the six games against Minnesota and Ohio State, which were the two other dominant programs in the conference at that time. And it’s not as though we were getting shut out in low-scoring defensive struggles, either—Minnesota and OSU beat us 34-0, 34-0, 38-0, 40-0, 26-0, and 21-0.


  3. Concerning McSweatervest McCheatyPants and his OSU Custom Sports Car Auto Show off the field, these two quotes below from SI.com pretty much say it all….”Pryor, who will be a senior this fall, might have driven as many as eight cars in his three years in Columbus and drove up to a players-only team meeting on Monday night in a coal-black Nissan 350Z sports car with 30-day plates” AND “Pryor was stopped three times for traffic violations over the past three years, each time driving cars that were owned by Aaron Kniffin or a Columbus used-car dealership where he worked”….Nice, Real Nice….also says the NCAA is investigating up to 50 other car sales to players, family members and friends…….and by the way, there are some nice McCheatypants tshirts on eBay right now…just do an eBay search on “TRESSEL’S TATTOO & PAWN”….Keep up the great recruiting Brady and GO BLUE…

  4. Tressel is soon to be 94-22 (+ 12 vacated wins) at the very best. Percentage should be 73.4%, effectively dropping him from the list.

  5. @GB

    How did you arrive at that winning percentage? 94-22 is a winning percentage of .810. Also, his record will probably actually be 95-21, because losses also have to be vacated (any game involving an ineligible player is, win or lose) and the Sugar Bowl probably will be left on the books since the NCAA itself allowed the five players to play in that one. Tressel’s 2010 record will likely end up as 1-0.

  6. @jmblue Usually in football only wins are vacated. This was the case with USC–their official post-sanctions record from 2005 is 0-1, having had to only vacate the wins from their 12-1 season (the National Title Game loss, played with an ineligible Reggie Bush, remains on their record). However, the Michigan basketball team had all of its games vacated during the 1992-93, and 1995-99 seasons vacated, including some losses. My guess is that OSU will have to vacate their wins but the losses will stay.