Michigan’s Break From Webber, Taylor, Bullock Ends
LARRY LAGE,AP Sports Writer
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan’s 10-year dissociation from Chris Webber, Maurice Taylor and Louis Bullock has ended.
The former Wolverines have to want to reconnect with the school. And, the institution has to welcome them back after they were part of one of the biggest scandals in NCAA history.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon insisted the door is open.
“I’ve never met any of those guys and I am looking forward to meeting them,” Brandon said late Tuesday night in an interview with The Associated Press. “If any of those guys are interested in meeting with me that would be great.”
No one, though, is sure when or if those face-to-face or telephone conversations will happen.
On Wednesday, Webber, Taylor and Bullock have the option of renewing their relationship with the school if they choose.
Brandon declined to say whether each of them would have to apologize for what they were accused of doing.
“I wasn’t around when all of this happened,” he said. “I’ve never had an opportunity to interact with them to talk about anything and I am hopeful that opportunity will present itself.”
The NCAA forced Michigan to dissociate from Webber, Taylor, Bullock and the late Robert Traylor for a decade — until May 8, 2013 — because a federal investigation revealed now-deceased booster Ed Martin gave them more than $600,000 when they were student athletes.
Messages seeking comment have been left for Webber, Taylor and Bullock by The Associated Press.
Traylor died in 2011, when police in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he was playing professionally, found him dead in his oceanfront apartment.
Martin died in February of 2003 — on the same day Michigan officials met with the NCAA infractions committee.
The NCAA barred the Wolverines from postseason play for one year, took scholarships away and put the school on probation for what the governing body said was “one of the most egregious violations of NCAA laws in the history of the organization,” a decade ago..
“I didn’t do anything, so I don’t feel sorry for them,” Webber once said.
Martin’s name surfaced after Taylor lost control of his car on Feb. 17, 1996. He was returning from a party in Detroit with four teammates who were entertaining Mateen Cleaves on his official recruiting visit. Cleaves later signed with Michigan State and led that team to the 2000 NCAA title.
The well-publicized crash led to the first of three investigations, the firing of coach Steve Fisher and the cloud that has hovered over Michigan’s basketball program until current coach John Beilein turned the team around in recent years.
Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson — three-fifths of the Fab Five — were honored by the school in a bittersweet ceremony Nov. 21, 2010, during halftime of a game at Crisler Arena.
Above their heads in the rafters, the 1992 and 1993 Final Four banners they helped the Wolverines earn were missing. The school took them down, rolled them up, wrapped them in plastic and tucked them behind a locked door on the bottom shelf of a narrow cage near other artifacts such as Civil War diaries.
Juwan Howard, who plays for the Miami Heat, reunited with Rose, King and Jackson last month in Atlanta to watch the Wolverines play Louisville in the NCAA final.
Webber was there, too, but he was in a suite.
“You can’t think of Michigan without thinking of us,” Webber said in a 2007 interview with the AP.
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