Michigan sucks.

Neil WaechterCorrespondent ISeptember 8, 2010

Wolverines stir Harbaugh controversy

Story tools
CHICAGO - Almost three months after former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh questioned the ways in which his alma mater blends football and academics, tailback Mike Hart practically threw Harbaugh out of the Michigan football family.
"He's not a Michigan Man, and I wish he had never played here," Hart said Tuesday. "I've never met him, and I don't want to."
Now the coach at Stanford, Harbaugh fired up the controversy in the spring when he told The Examiner newspaper in San Francisco that Michigan admitted athletes who were borderline academically, then steered them into less-challenging courses to keep them eligible.
"They're adulated when they're playing," Harbaugh said. "But when they get out, the people who adulated them won't hire them."
Those comments still reverberate within the Michigan football program.

Coach Lloyd Carr said Tuesday he believed Harbaugh's statements were "elitist," "arrogant" and "self-serving." Hart added, "That's a guy I have no respect for."
*****

University of Michigan buries scrutiny of athletes' academics

Story tools
Administrators duck tough questions
If you don't like the questions, find different people to ask less challenging ones.
That seems to be the approach University of Michigan administrators took when two faculty members tried to examine the intersection of athletics and academics.
It's another disturbing phase in a saga that repeatedly finds U-M leaders running for cover rather than directly dealing with very troubling issues.
Last year, Professors Keith Riles and Richard Friedman began looking into whether certain student-athletes were being steered to pursue general studies degrees. They'd been concerned by remarks made by Jim Harbaugh, a former U-M football star who was critical of how academically challenged athletes were shepherded through the university.
Following up Harbaugh's charges, a four-day series published by The News in March detailed how some athletes were being guided into courses that weren't as rigorous as others at U-M.
Earlier this year and after our series ran, Riles and Friedman sent questions about these issues to U-M Vice Provost Phil Hanlon, as part of an investigation by the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs, or SACUA. But though Hanlon had previously agreed to meet with them, after seeing the questions, well, that wasn't going to happen.
Hanlon now says that SACUA didn't sanction the investigation. He's backed up by two SACUA leaders - who also happen to be tight with the U-M athletic department.
Riles and Friedman believe those faculty members - David Potter and Charles Smith - derailed their probe. "It's frustrating to have skepticism or interest interpreted as bias," Riles told The News.
Frustrating, yes - but not surprising.
Hanlon didn't want to answer the questions raised by Riles and Friedman, and used a bureaucratic subterfuge to avoid them.
In fact, U-M's top leaders - including Provost Teresa Sullivan and President Mary Sue Coleman - have no interest in talking to people who ask hard questions. Unless you've drunk the Everything's OK Kool-Aid, you're viewed as an adversary.
Because this culture of denial is pervasive at the top levels of the university, we looked to faculty leadership to pick up the challenge that administrators are unwilling to acknowledge, let alone address.
Professors like Riles and Friedman - who are rightly concerned about the university's academic integrity - tried to step into that leadership role. That they were pushed back by the U-M academic bureaucracy is very telling.
Universities across the country grapple with this issue. Who should oversee the education of athletes? Should it be the athletic department, which has a vested interest in ensuring that its marquee athletes remain academically eligible? Or should that oversight rest with the academic administration and faculty, who are responsible for the university's academic integrity?
At U-M, the answer doesn't really matter. The university's top academic administrators are clearly too afraid to even respond to uncomfortable questions - questions that might reveal the true extent of the athletic department's control.
It's not just frustrating. It's shameful.