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    Pearson and the university are in trouble.

    More cases are coming to light and Michigan is going to have to get Wilmer Hale to expand their investigation.

    Comment


      If they don’t renew Pearson’s contract and then settle with the whistleblowers, won’t that just about do it?

      I haven’t heard about other cases. Do you mean in other parts of their athletic program?

      I’ve read some online comments that he had a reputation for this sort of thing at Michigan Tech. I don’t know if that’s true. Otherwise, I haven’t seen anything suggesting that Michigan knew about anything untoward before the allegations that triggered this report.

      Obviously, if there’s more, then more heads will roll, but he’s only had the job for five years total so it can’t go back too far.

      I don’t know if a year is too long to take for an investigation like this, but the AD has just been sitting on the report for three months and not done anything.

      If his plan was to just blow it off, then they would have renewed Pearson’s contract by now. But they haven’t. I’ve never heard of such a thing in sports. The delay is obviously about this investigation, not because they lost to Denver.

      There’s no outcome now that makes the AD look good or even competent.


      Obviously, being a bit of an asshole was accepted as the default setting for coaches in all sports, male and female, until fairly recently. It’s still largely accepted if the team is winning. I’m sure that there are others like that at Michigan and everywhere.

      But that’s not really why Mel Pearson is in trouble.

      What is damning here is the lying, the unwillingness to handle members of his staff who were clearly out of line, and the apparent retaliation against Steve Shields. Incidentally, Shields worked for Pearson at Michigan Tech and played at Michigan when Pearson was an assistant.

      So it’s not like he didn’t know the guy when he took this job.
      Plus, every thing was going pretty well. Their recruiting has been unbelievably successful the last few years and they’ve been winning a lot more than they were just a few years ago.

      So for Shields to stick his neck out to call out problems with the program suggests that he was really unhappy with how he treated some of the players.

      I’m sure there is a lot of “cry wolf” with players and their parents. Some of these players have never not been the best player on their team or had to deal with criticism, constructive or otherwise. So a lot the complaints from players and parents about this or that coach may really just be entitled whining.

      But it’s still on the coach, as the highly paid adult, to figure out a way to communicate effectively with their players. And, in any event, the issues described in this report go well beyond the griping of some unhappy players.



      Comment


        Two more questions:

        How does one become one of those lawyers that does these kinds of investigations? Is that a specific career track or just something that employment lawyers do in addition to litigating stuff?



        I understand that if somebody has a contract that runs out, the employer can just not renew it and not owe them anything. But am I right to assume that doesn’t totally shield them from litigation if the reasons for not renewing the contract were sketchy, such as, if the person were a whistleblower of some kind or other protected status.

        Comment


          No, it is something that former prosecutors and white collar defence lawyers (a very large number of whom were prosecutors) do.

          Internal investigations like this have become an essential pillar of Big Law litigation practices. We probably spent more hours on investigations over the last few years than actual lawsuits and prosecutions.

          And I consider losing a high profile job and paying out seven figures to be "trouble". i think there are more because Wilmer Hale were strictly limited in what they were investigating (primarily Shields and the bullying of the goalie), but found that more than a dozen players wouldn't talk to them out of fear of retailiation.

          The contract question is very dependent on the specifics of the contract, the reasons for the non renewal and state law. The fact that they are presumably public employees can bring a whole different set of rules into play..

          That said, I can pretty easily see situations where Michigan wouldn't be completely off the hook.
          Last edited by ursus arctos; 04-08-2022, 02:06.

          Comment


            Michigan recently paid almost half a billion dollars to settle those sex abuse cases and that hasn’t had the slightest impact on their “brand” as far as I can tell.

            This is small potatoes by comparison.

            I’m not really sure why the investigation was limited the way it was, but I suppose it can’t just be open-ended. The client wants to limit how long it takes and how much it costs.

            If the University was hoping to buy an investigation that would tell it what it wanted to hear and put the issue to bed, they miscalculated badly.

            This isn't getting much national coverage, but it is getting some local coverage and, as far as I can tell, the unanimous opinion is that he has to go and perhaps the AD should go too.
            Last edited by Hot Pepsi; 04-08-2022, 15:32.

            Comment


              He gone

              https://twitter.com/scottcwheeler/status/1555608208605167617?s=21&t=GYNMUa6-9scJ5jTPTzrs4w

              Comment


                I cannot recall ever seeing the words "at will employee" in a press release of this kind

                Comment


                  Most of us in the regular world are “at will,” but college coaches are not.

                  I suspect it’s extremely rare in college hockey - at least men’s college hockey - for a coach to simply finish the term of a contract. I’ve never heard of that happening.

                  Usually, a year or two before it ends, they’ll either be fired and bought out or signed to a new multiyear deal.

                  I know that Penn State just ran out the clock on a women’s basketball coach a few years ago and W&M just did that to a women’s basketball coach too.

                  In PSU’s case, that was probably penny wise and pound foolish. The writing was on the wall that she wasn’t going to be retained. For reasons I don’t get, the program just wasn’t working any more and the fans had lost hope and interest.

                  So why put all of those players and recruits in limbo for a year? Just get on with it and get a new coach.

                  In W&M’s case, they couldn’t really afford a buyout.


                  Comment


                    Yeah, I am shocked that he didn't have a contract

                    This story isn't over

                    Comment


                      As far as I can tell, this report simply leaked, somehow to Katie Strang and John Bacon* and that compelled the board and president to act.

                      But they had this report for three months. What was the plan? What were they waiting for?

                      We’re they planning to just never let anyone see it? How was that going to work? It was public knowledge that there was an investigation ongoing and the rough outline of what they were looking at was public.

                      Did they think everyone would forget and/or, not care? Yeah, college hockey, even in Michigan, is a pretty minor sport, but it’s not that minor.

                      I’ve also read that it was a “stand off” between Warde Manuel, the AD, on one side and the board and president on the other. How is that a “stand off?” He works for them.

                      Also, recall that UM basketball coach Juwan Howard recently smacked a Wisconsin coach in a postgame fracas. He was suspended 5 games, by the league, and fined $40k. I don’t think the university did anything beyond that.

                      I think most Michigan people think he shouldn’t be fired but a few hot takers thought he should be.

                      Either way, the AD didn’t do much.

                      That isn’t a good look.

                      *Bacon is described as an author and “Michigan historian.” I don’t know if that means he teaches history at U of Michigan, just knows a lot about the history of Michigan, or is an historian who happens to live in Michigan.
                      Last edited by Hot Pepsi; 05-08-2022, 21:07.

                      Comment


                        Bacon has an interesting CV

                        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_U._Bacon

                        Two Michigan degrees, a hockey coach, teaching at Michigan and Northwestern, and on the board of Michigan Tech

                        They certainly have a lot of institutional drama for a programme that likes to present itself as the moral arbiters of college sport

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by ursus arctos View Post
                          Bacon has an interesting CV

                          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_U._Bacon

                          Two Michigan degrees, a hockey coach, teaching at Michigan and Northwestern, and on the board of Michigan Tech

                          They certainly have a lot of institutional drama for a programme that likes to present itself as the moral arbiters of college sport
                          I see. He’s a sportswriter, journalist and non-fiction author, really. Not an historian.

                          Comment


                            Correct.

                            Though he does at least have a history degree and wrote a well-received book on the Great Halifax Explosion.

                            I would expect that is closer to real history than Bo's Lasting Lessons.

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by ursus arctos View Post
                              Bacon has an interesting CV

                              https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_U._Bacon

                              Two Michigan degrees, a hockey coach, teaching at Michigan and Northwestern, and on the board of Michigan Tech

                              They certainly have a lot of institutional drama for a programme that likes to present itself as the moral arbiters of college sport
                              They’re especially obsessed with only hiring “Michigan Men.”

                              The speculation on who they’ll hire next appears to only consider Michigan alums or former Michigan assistants. Or Mike Babcock FFS.

                              Comment


                                The University of Michigan is a great institution and one of the US' best public universities, but boy howdy do they have a high opinion of themselves.

                                Comment


                                  Originally posted by ursus arctos View Post
                                  Correct.

                                  Though he does at least have a history degree and wrote a well-received book on the Great Halifax Explosion.

                                  I would expect that is closer to real history than Bo's Lasting Lessons.
                                  Yeah, he seems very credible and reliable. I just wasn’t clear if he was in their history department.

                                  He wrote a lot about the Penn State football program’s recovery in 2011-2013 as I recall, but I didn’t know his background.

                                  Comment


                                    Originally posted by ursus arctos View Post
                                    The University of Michigan is a great institution and one of the US' best public universities, but boy howdy do they have a high opinion of themselves.
                                    Yes they do. It’s irritating. It’s the UVa of the North.

                                    Comment


                                      https://twitter.com/renlavoietva/status/1556634728060620800?s=20&t=2bXpjHTJ7a8teYiDBYd2qg

                                      He deserves a proper farewell tour.

                                      Comment


                                        Kadri reputedly offered $7MX7 from Lou Lamoriello.

                                        Comment

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