Finally, the University of Michigan’s 10-year dissociation from Chris Webber, Maurice Taylor and Louis Bullock has ended and the university has opened their doors to them; it is up to the three former player whether they want to reunite.
“I’ve never met any of those guys, and I am looking forward to meeting them. If any of those guys are interested in meeting with me, that would be great.
” — Michigan AD Dave Brandon
The NCAA forced Michigan to dissociate from Webber, Taylor, Bullock and the late Robert Traylor (died in 2011 of an apparent heart attack) for a decade (until May 8, 2013) because a federal investigation revealed that the late booster Ed Martin (who died in 2003 at 69) gave them more than $600,000 when they were student-athletes at the university.
On Wednesday, Webber, Taylor and Bullock have the option of renewing their relationship with the school if they choose.
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.
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 (the freshman Traylor broke his arm in this accident) 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 triggered a six-year investigation into the Wolverine program which led to 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.
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.
*The University of Michigan took down the 1992 and 1993 Final Four banners the Fab Five earned at the university.