The Weekender: Michigan Athletics Disgrace Continues, NBC Offers to Put the Big Ten in Prime Time, and Mel T – Eleven Warriors

Michigan Athletic Director, Warde Manuel

Own the group chat with The Weekender, highlighting the biggest stories in college sports, featured writing from Eleven Warriors, and a look at what’s next.

Yet Another Michigan Athletic Scandal

While Rich Eisen and the “overcomers brave” continue to salute themselves after the school’s first win over Ohio State football in a decade, this past week was another ugly one for the University of Michigan Athletic Department.

On Friday, the Wolverines chose to sever ties with men’s hockey coach Mel Pearson after revelations of various misconduct cases surrounding an investigation that originated in October of last year.

Letter detailing the offenses written by general counsel of the law firm conducting the Michigan internal investigation has been public knowledge since late January. That letter suggested Pearson instructed student-athletes to lie on COVID-19 tracing forms and retaliated against a player for trying to address cultural concerns within the team.

It also claimed that former Director of Hockey Operations Rick Bancroft – who retired in June after more than three decades in Ann Arbor – discriminated against female support staff at Michigan. In addition, the letter stated that Bancroft had knowledge of the sexual abuse of the late university doctor Robert Anderson, which led to the school’s $490 million victim settlements earlier this year.

A follow-up investigative report by Katie Strang at The Athletic published this week provided further details of much of Pearson’s misconduct. In addition to encouraging coronavirus lies, Pearson deliberately misled incoming recruits about how much scholarship money they would receive, and also allegedly engaged in anti-Semitic behavior. Michigan ultimately missed the 2021 NCAA Tournament due to COVID-19 protocols after a Frozen Four loss the previous season.

The player in question who faced retaliation from Pearson was former team captain Strauss Mann, now a goaltender for the San Jose Sharks. Mann left the program early in favor of entering the Swedish Hockey League, despite serving as the Wolverines’ first goalie with captain honors in nearly 80 years.

Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manual issued a statement Friday that this decision, “has been weighed heavily and over some time.” Presumably, that was more consideration than was used to hold back Juwan Howard in February after he punched an opposing assistant basketball coach in the face during a handshake line following a loss.

NBC Has B1G Plans for Prime Time

ok, saturday nightwhere are you

As conference media rights negotiations continue to heat up, NBC plans to leverage its Sunday Night Football-style coverage of NFL broadcasts into a prime-time offering for Big Ten schools.

This would not only give NBC an effective monopoly on the most valuable weekend timeslots for football ratings, but would also likely compromise Notre Dame’s ability to have night games shown by their official broadcast partner. That could create extra incentive for the Fighting Irish to finally join the Big Ten.

Mel Tucker Is Now Selling His Own NFTs

The former UM hockey coach wasn’t the only Mel in the state of Michigan to take care of himself this week.

NFTuck owners will gain in-season private chat capabilities with the Michigan State head coach, as well as on-field access to practices throughout the season. As mentioned in Tucker’s tweet, all proceeds go to charity.

However, by launching a non-fungible token project — during the ongoing crypto crash — turning around a football coach who began negotiating a nine-figure contract extension less than two weeks after losing to Purdue … is definitely an option.

Start shorting #SpartyCoin now!

ICYMI

First-hand Observations from the First Training Camp of the Football Season

Ohio State returns to the gridiron in less than a month. Now that preseason is officially underway, the 11W beat offers direct insight into the team’s depth, health, surprises and other notes in the early stages of August.

Chris Holtmann Gives His First Press Conference Since April

Are you anxiously awaiting the return of basketball season as much as football? Griffin Strom has the latest details on Chris Holtmann’s Buckeye hoops and provides highlights from the 20-minute window of practice available to the media this week.

Kevin Harrish’s Final Skull Session

Friday was Kevin Harrish’s last day with Eleven Warriors after seven years. Arby’s world’s most ardent advocate wrote a thank you to co-workers and the 11W community in his farewell post, so please pay your respects in the comments.

What Next

  • Men’s Basketball: vs Puerto Rico, Today at 5 pm ET @ Bahamas
  • Women’s Soccer: @ NC State, Monday at 7 pm ET
  • Men’s Soccer: vs. Ohio-Domingo, Friday at 7 pm ET
  • Football Season Opener: vs. Notre Dame, September 3rd at 7:30pm ET

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