University of Michigan: it's scandals all the way down

I wonder what’s gonna be next out of University of Michigan? A couple of years ago, UM President Mark Schlissel apologized for the long history of conduct on the part of Martin Philbert. A couple of months ago, Schlissel himself got fired for having an inappropriate sexual relationship with his subordinate. Along the way, just in case you hadn’t heard, decades of sexual abuse of athletes by a staff doctor came to light.

And then this weekend, UM basketball coach Juwan Howard started a brawl, the most notable feature of which was him proactively reaching out and popping a University of Wisconsin assistant coach in the head, all because he wasn’t happy about how the UW coach was managing his team. Howard hasn’t apologized for any of his conduct. He also has hasn’t apologized for threatening to kill Maryland’s basketball coach last year. Instead, he explained it this way:

“I don’t know how you guys were raised but how I was raised by my grandmother and also by Chicago. I was raised by Chicago, I grew up on the South Side, when guys charge you, it’s time to defend yourself.”

It’s a bit like Andrew Cuomo defending his hugging, touchy-feely greetings by saying “that’s how they do it in Italy.” Cuomo wasn’t in Italy, and Howard wasn’t on the South Side.

To my knowledge, in the end UM didn’t discipline Howard for his verbal threat last year. The university’s motto is “leaders and the best”, but it rings hollow today: they are officially deferring to the judgment of the Big Ten conference to decide Howard’s punishment for yesterday’s brawl.

Leaders and the best, my ass. UM ought to be embarrassed.

Big 10 just suspended Howard for the rest of the regular season. He will be eligible to coach in the conference tournament and any other postseason tourney in which Michigan might participate.

UM is currently at 14-11, 8-7 in the conference. At this point, an NCAA tournament bid seems unlikely, but the NIT certainly is in play.