When Indiana recruited a 7-foot center from Martinique by way of North Idaho College, a fair bit of skepticism passed through the fanbase. The Hoosiers had just said goodbye to Tijan Jobe, and would soon part ways with Bawa Muniru, two project centers with impressive physiques and, in the end, relatively little impact.
But everyone around the program insisted: Guy-Marc Michel was different.
From the time he signed through the beginning of practice, players and coaches insisted Michel would be an integral part of the rotation. Tom Crean said when he talked to his players in the summer about their top-eight rotation, Michel’s name always popped up.
And then we got to see Michel in action, first at Hoosier Hysteria and then at Night of the Living Red, we sort of saw what his teammates saw: A deceptively athletic, physical center who had gelled with his teammates and moved well off the ball, in addition to providing an obvious presence in the post offensively and, especially, defensively.
Taking a second look at Michel, it wasn’t hard to see him bothering Ralph Sampson or Dallas Lauderdale.
Sorry, I’m a little late on posting this. We got some time (and I got deservedly mocked for asking a question that got so jumbled up in my brain that I didn’t understand) with Tom Crean today.
The first, and possibly most important, topic we touched on was Guy-Marc Michel. Full audio of Crean’s comments is embedded below, but I wanted to pull out Crean’s comments on Michel, because he was, I thought, honest and firm in his opinions:
“It’s disappointing to say the very least, so, No.1 first and foremost, we want to make sure that Guy has a chance, has a future, and he’s gonna stay with us and basically be a student assistant for us. Then our plan from there will be to help him to become a professional. We would like him to get his degree, certainly. He’s doing an excellent job in school. We’re just continuing to go through the planning stages for him.
But I have trouble seeing any wisdom in the decision. I really do. I have great respect for how we handled it at Indiana. I have great respect for the council we got legally to work with it. It’s an unfortunate situation. It’s just extremely disappointing that there wasn’t any leniency given at all given the situation based on the circumstances. But, you go back to what’s at the top of this, and how do we help him have a better future.
Zach Osterman returns for his third installment of the Inside the Hall Podcast and joining him is former Herald-Times sports editor Chris Korman, now of The Baltimore Sun, to talk about this year’s version of the Hoosiers, the NCAA and Guy-Marc Michel and how the football coaching search relates to the basketball program.
So Guy-Marc Michel is in fact ineligible, and will be for the entirety of his stay at Indiana University. Inside the Hall explains why, and delves into some background on the issue as well, with details from overseas.
These words aren’t meant to sound petulant. They aren’t meant to sound like whining.
They might sound trite, but I can’t really help that. The definition of the word “trite,” according to Merriam Webster online, reads “hackneyed or boring from much use; not fresh or original.”
We’re talking about the NCAA. Forgive me if I’ve run out of new ways to say it.
My good friend Hugh Kellenberger (actually he’s a good friend of Inside the Hall at large, but I have met his child, so I choose to be even more personally friendly) wrote tonight that “honesty has no place in college athletics,” and in many ways he’s right. I agree with the parallels between Cam Newton and Josh Selby in comparison to Guy-Marc Michel, and the discernible and condemnable differences between the way each case has been handled.
But I’ll argue on a slightly tangential tack. What concerns me in Michel’s case isn’t so much the NCAA’s disregard for honesty as opposed to attempts at attrition (Newton) or contrition (Selby). What concerns me in Michel’s case is that, when it comes to foreign players trying to come to America to play college basketball, there does not exist an adequate framework for helping these kids do things the right way.
Let’s be clear: From the very beginning, Guy-Marc Michel did his damnedest to play within the rules. He signed what should amount to an amateur contract. He worked to better himself through the only means available to him at the time. He tried to go to school, as novel a concept as that sounds.
For his trouble — and five games played with a “professional” outfit in France — Michel will never get to play Division One basketball in America.
Julie Cromer, IU’s senior associate athletics director for compliance and administration, took questions from the media following the university’s announcement regarding Guy-Marc Michel earlier this evening.
Listen to Cromer’s comments in the embedded media player below:
OK, here is an attempt to further smooth out the questions surrounding the Guy-Marc Michel ruling, announced tonight. We’ll start with the timeline.
Indiana first found out about Michel’s amateurism issues over the summer. Michel played for SLUC Nancy, a member of the French Pro A League. During his time at Nancy, he was signed on as a trainee, but he played in five games at the end of the 2007-08 season, thereby making his contract professional. (We’ll go deeper into the contract in a second.)
In August, as part of its due diligence, the university also learned that Michel had enrolled in some classes at a university in France in 2006, which is technically when he would have come to the point of finishing high school. There are some equivalency issues, obviously, and Indiana was trying to figure out exactly when high school ended and what we would define as college began.
This is important, because once an athlete enrolls in what the NCAA considers college or its equivalent, their five-year clock begins, meaning they have five years to complete their allowed eligibility.
Michel’s problem comes in the overlapping of these issues. The old NCAA rule used to be that any time spent playing on a team with what would be considered professionals required a one-year suspension, plus a per-game suspension tacked on at the end, depending upon how many games the player actually participated in. The ratio of that suspension would have been 2-to-1.
Under that scenario, Michel would only have one year of eligibility left, and a suspension of greater than one year to complete, essentially voiding his last year of eligibility.
The details, per a release from IU Media Relations:
The NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee has denied Indiana University’s appeal on behalf of Guy-Marc Michel. As a result, he is not eligible to participate on the men’s basketball team.
According to the facts agreed to by the university and the NCAA, Guy enrolled in a French university in 2006, which started his five-year clock for Division I participation.
Guy played basketball for a French sports club from 2005 to the 2007-08 season. Although he competed the majority of the time on club teams not considered professional, he practiced and competed in five games with the club’s top-level team in 2007-08. Since the top-level team is considered a professional team per NCAA guidelines, his participation triggered NCAA amateurism violations.
Guy’s participation occurred before the new NCAA rule allowing prospective student-athletes to compete on teams with professionals while maintaining their amateur status.
The NCAA reinstatement committee and staff agreed Guy’s eligibility should not be reinstated because he does not have enough time left in his five-year window to complete the withholding conditions normally associated with this type of amateurism violations.
I know Cody Zeller is overloading everybody’s circuits right now, so this might be flying a little low on the radar, but it is far more immediate, nonetheless. It’s also pretty much, dare I say, a black hole of information at present.
To recap what we do know: Guy-Marc Michel sat Wednesday’s exhibition after Indiana revealed that the NCAA was looking into Michel’s eligibility. This investigation is related to some time Michel purportedly spent playing for SLUC Nancy, a professional team in France, in 2007-08. (If you check the fourth picture down on this page, you can make out fairly clearly the rather noticeable Michel.)
What’s at stake here isn’t whether Michel played or not. It’s fairly clear he got court time for this team, though how much and for how long is wildly hard to determine. As with the case of Kentucky freshman Enes Kanter, the NCAA’s look-see is interested in whether Michel was compensated for his time, and if so, how much. Rules allow for some leeway in the area of payment if players are plying their skills professionally overseas, for food, living expenses, etc. A salary on top of that — or money not imminently necessary — would present a larger problem.
Getting information on the issue is also a rather sizable task. Indiana isn’t commenting, which is smart. The NCAA, as of now, hasn’t responded to a phone call asking for comment, but I was warned when I left the message that it was generally policy not to comment on ongoing investigations. Both of these reactions are professional, and generally par for the course.
We’ve made some attempt to get in touch with SLUC Nancy, (though for obvious reasons we’ve yet to succeed) hoping to find out if they have any recollection of Michel, and whether the NCAA has contacted them.
I did manage to exchange a quick e-mail with Jared Phay, the coach at North Idaho College, where Michel played junior college. Phay said he wasn’t really familiar with the situation Michel is in now. He said North Idaho cleared his amateur status two years ago, and teams that have pursued him have always treated it like an important factor, predictably, in his recruitment.
Michel, Phay said, worked hard to retain his amateur status, and for what it’s worth, Phay said he was confident the situation would work out.
That generally sums up what I’ve been able to gather thus far. NCAA investigations are usually, by their nature, hard things to crack into, so it’s not all that surprising. And I know this doesn’t cheer up your IU football blues, but it’s all I’ve got. Enjoy your weekend.
He flashed some polish from downtown. He mixed it up around the basket. He stepped back and nailed a mid-range jumper; he drove to the hoop and scored. Watford’s offensive arsenal was on point from several spots on the court tonight, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say this is what we’re going to see out of the sophomore all season long.
It won’t always come this easy for him. He won’t always score over a point per minute (25 points in 24 minutes).
Remember: The competition was not anywhere near Big 10 level this evening. But Watford’s game stood out the most tonight as one that’s taken that next step.
He’s going to shoot better than the 37.5 percent from the floor a season ago. And with Mo Creek on the floor at the same time, defenses won’t be able to key on one or the other without suffering the consequences.
Just one of many reasons why this team can be better this season if things play to form.
Just a thought, but if Watford is knocking down threes, Matt Roth and Maurice Creek are back in the fold, and Hulls and Elston improve their 3-point shooting in their second season as Hoosiers, it could prove to be a strong asset for them this season.
If Guy can draw some attention down low, IU could even run a little one in, four out — similar to the sets the Orlando Magic run with Dwight Howard and their gaggle of 3-point shooters.