Michigan Wolverines Are Being Hurt By Academics

Paul’s Big Picture involves the academic process and how it is ruining the chances for Michigan to get recruits & transfers.

With Michigan’s academic process hampering recruiting, another player chooses to go elsewhere instead of the maize & blue.

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Dylan Bair: But you actually have a very interesting Big Picture, somewhat in that realm. And IL is obviously deciding where a lot of guys are going, but for Michigan, there is a separate issue that is happening right now with their recruits. 

Paul Rochon: So, this is a good time to talk about it for several reasons. But most notably recently, of course, Michigan is hitting the portal.

Like every school across the nation. I’m talking basketball here clearly. And Terrence Shannon Jr. recently committed to Illinois, but this did not come. And they normally, oh, this kid hit the portal, Illinois recruited him hard. He decided to go to Illinois. No, this one came with a modicum of controversy.

You see? Several weeks before you committed to Illinois, Terrence Shannon Jr. was actually trending to Michigan so much that his AAU coach tweeted congratulations to him committing to Michigan. And if you had talked to any Michigan insiders or anyone that was familiar with the process of the situation, everybody thought that Terrence Shannon Jr was going to go to the University of Michigan.

And then out of the blue seemingly, which not really those in the know knew. He ended up committing to Illinois, Michigan fell out of the way, and you’re like, wow, what happened here? And then you had Michigan players popping off at Houston’s coach, essentially blaming him for not getting the transfer. You have Michigan fans in full meltdown over admissions.

Because admissions cost us. Once again, it’s the famous thing. Michigan’s admissions are, are stringent, and it’s really hard to get a certain caliber of players to Michigan. What is the issue? Well, I would like to set a few things straight. And for those of you that may be unaware, maybe a little bit of an education.

And for those of you that kind of pay attention and maybe clarify some things for you. That was one of the beauties of college athletics, something that makes them near and dear to me is, that it’s not like the NFL we’re here, not a contending team trying to win a Superbowl you’re pretty much a failure.

Like every team is trying for the same goal. What makes college football and basketball unique is all of these schools while there is an ultimate prize, are really playing a different game. It may be you’re in Indiana, in football, in a 9-1 season. And you get a nice bowl game and you get a nice trip and you win a bowl game and ended up at 10 wins.

And that’s a great season for you. Whereas 10 wins for Alabama would be catastrophic. They would be like, oh my God, is Nick Saban losing his touch? Right? It’s something unique about college athletics that every school kind of plays by a different set of rules. And I’m not talking about the cheating kind of rules.

Although we will get into that as we have this discussion. But everyone, whether it’s your pedigree, whether it’s your facilities, whether it’s your history, whether it’s just the talent base that you have, everybody has very unique goals. Unlike other sports, I almost look at it like premier league soccer, which nobody here really cares about.

But like, you’re one of the lesser teams just trying to avoid relegation. Those are your Maryland‘s of the world or are you a Man City or Man United where it’s top four busts. And we’re trying to compete for a title which United hasn’t done in a long time let’s be real. But bringing it back to football in college athletics, every team is competing for something different.

And part of the process is school itself. See, everyone likes to talk about, oh, school is a farce so we didn’t come here to play school. But at the end of the day, most of these student-athletes are not going to go professional in the sport that they’re playing in college. Even no matter how bad they want to, or how diluted their dreams may be.

And furthermore, whether they are going to go pro or not, they really do for the most part. Listen, Ohio State, Columbus, not really looking at you. They have to attend real classes. They have to at least achieve a modicum, a baseline of academic achievement to maintain eligibility and play their sport. 

But there is a side to this, which the classroom side fans already do not see, but there is another side to this that the fans completely don’t understand. And it is the admissions process and then the transfer process. Which are two very separate things and also varies from school to school. 

But we’re going to talk about Michigan specifically here. See, everyone talks about Michigan admissions because Michigan is a notoriously difficult school to get into, especially for a public university.

And on top of that, they do not cut the same level of breaks that other schools a la maybe a Duke does on their academic standards for students to get. So every time a student is not admitted to Michigan, whether it’s as a transfer or a high school student, they blame admissions. They say we can never compete with the Alabamas of the world because of our amissions.

The problem is, especially as it relates to transfers, is it’s not always admissions that are the problem. See admissions is only a problem for high school students. If you’re a super poor high school student and the coaches can not demonstrate that you may succeed at Michigan. Because once you get here, you do have to do the things to get admission.

Now you can have a degree in general studies. You can have a degree in kinesiology and it may be different than a pre-med degree. It may be a little bit easier, but you still have to put the time and effort in and Michigan is not about devaluing their degrees.

So if they don’t believe that you can achieve here with the extra help, with the unlimited tutoring, you get as an athlete. If they don’t believe you can succeed here, they’re still not going to admit you, but that’s a high school issue only. See in the case of Terrence Shannon Jr., he was fine.

He was coming as a transfer from Houston and he wasn’t admitted to Michigan. Admittance did not hold this up. The problem. If you’re going to get admission to Michigan degree, the school wants you to have earned most of your credits at Michigan. So there is a limit of how many credits you can transfer.

You can only transfer 60 credits as a transfer student to the University of Michigan. If you are not a graduate, which is a completely different thing, because then you’re coming with a degree you’re just applying for grad school. You’re not trying to get a Michigan undergraduate grade.

They don’t want three year students coming in, putting in two semesters at Michigan and finishing with a Michigan degree. Not just for athletes, but this is for students across the board. You’re Michigan degree should mean you did the bulk of your classes at Michigan. There’s also equivalencies. If you took a class that is not up to par at another academic institution, Michigan is not going to grant you credit for that.

Okay. So you take a kid like Terrence Shannon Jr. that’s done a few years at Houston and has gone to school for a few years and wants to come to admission. Well, automatically a bunch of his credits are disappearing. If he wants to graduate with a degree, if he wants credit for things that he’s already done. He’s not looking at Michigan unless he’s a grad transfer, which is where the shady part of this came in.

He could have finished a few classes at Houston over the summer, graduated with a Houston degree and came to Michigan as a grad transfer. He would have been applying to graduate school. But Houston, because he entered the portal and their coach didn’t want him leaving said, you know what, we’re not going to let you go to school in the summer here and finish your degree with Houston.

We’re not going to let you be a grad transfer. So he got admitted into Michigan, but because of how few of his credits transferred, he was like, I’m not about that life, man. I’m going to have to spend how much time doing classes I’ve already done. And I don’t blame him for saying, I don’t want to have wasted a year and a half of going to class and doing college material when I can just go to Illinois and not have those hurtles.

And it’s even more difficult because something, a lot of people don’t understand. It’s not just credits that are the issue, but NCAA rule. There’s progress to be on track towards graduation. You cannot just sit in college for four years, playing a sport and only finished two years of undergrad studies. That’s not allowed. You would become academically ineligible.

So a lot of this happens, you could transfer to Michigan, but because Michigan doesn’t accept enough credits, you’ve been in school three years. They’re only taking a year and a half year credits. Now you’re academically ineligible by the NCAA. Because you’ve gone to school too long and have too few credits. These are things that Michigan cannot do a lot about unless they completely changed their admissions process and their transfer process for everybody. Because they’re not cutting corners for athletes.

So all of the things that people think, oh, why doesn’t Michigan compete with the Dukes of the world, the Kentucky‘s of the world? When it comes to getting students, there are so many hurdles that people don’t see, and these things don’t often come to light. 

This came to light really because Hunter Dickinson and some of Michigan’s best players ended up going on Twitter and basically publicly scolded a coach that withheld essentially in principle, a transfer from coming to Michigan. And it’s so difficult when you have Michigan is not for everybody. Not everybody wants to come and do school while completing their degree. It’s difficult to get in.

It’s difficult to stay eligible once you’re here. But it’s even more difficult for transfers that have gone to school for a couple of years and actually have credits to lose but are not granted. So the next time you are pissed off at admissions, or you want to understand why doesn’t Michigan recruit at the level that OSU recruits or why can’t they raid the portal?

The way Michigan State raids the portal. There is so many layers to this and you really need to understand that it is not a simple process.

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Written by Amy Price

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