Originally created 06/18/97

College notes



Michigan athletic director Joe Roberson said he was disappointed in coach Steve Fisher's handling of an athletic booster who is at the center of an NCAA investigation into the basketball program.

Roberson expressed his sentiments to Fisher in a letter dated March 7. The letter was released to The Ann Arbor News on Monday under a court order.

Roberson praised Fisher's promptness in preventing major violations regarding Ed Martin's association with the program. But Roberson also expressed his disappointment that Fisher did not tell him immediately of the problems, which occurred last summer.

"... You failed to share with me your findings regarding Martin's efforts, his reputation in the athletic community, his presence at a recruiting visit you made, his relations with certain basketball student athletes and his potential influences on them," Roberson wrote.

"As we have discussed, it would have been more appropriate for you to have brought Mr. Martin and his activities to my attention at the time you became aware of them rather than for me to only learn of them upon the occasion of our departmental inquiry."

According to Michigan's report to the NCAA in March, Martin attempted to secure an apartment for two Michigan players last summer. In addition, he also offered a player's family airline tickets. Fisher halted the effort to obtain an apartment, and the player's family did not accept the tickets, the report said.

An NCAA investigation into the university's basketball program began more than a year ago but so far has revealed only two minor violations involving Martin. The university has hired a Kansas law firm to conduct an investigation, the results of which will be turned over to the NCAA.

Martin, who has been banned from the athletic programs by the university, has denied the allegations.

Roberson added in the letter that Fisher and his staff would receive training in NCAA rules and regulations at the conclusion of the season, with an emphasis on who qualifies as a representative of the university's athletic interests.

The newspaper had requested the letter - as well as all documents related to the internal investigation of the basketball program - through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

Washtenaw County Circuit Court Judge David S. Swartz ruled in The News' favor June 12, rejecting the school's argument that releasing the document would be an invasion of Fisher's privacy.

Vice President for University Relations Walt Harrison said in a statement Tuesday that the university decided not to appeal because the court's ruling focused solely on the letter of reprimand and not overall issues of privacy of employees.

MINUTEMAN TRANSFERRING: Inus Norville, a 6-foot-9 junior forward-center at the University of Massachusetts, plans to transfer to Wright State in the fall and play during the 1998-99 season.

Norville, of Fayetteville, N.C., played in 31 games for the Minutemen last season, starting in four of them. He averaged 3.8 points and 3.5 rebounds.

Norville will have to sit out a season under NCAA rules on transferring.

Wright State coach and former UMass assistant Ed Schilling said Norville is the hardest worker he has ever been around.

"He will be a tremendous asset to our program with his example of work capacity needed to win championships," Schilling said. "Inus will certainly make our inside players better this coming year as he will push them daily in practice."

KENNEDY FITS: In searching for DePaul's first coach in 54 years who is not a member of the Meyer family, athletic director Bill Bradshaw said he was looking for the right mix of experience and character.

Bradshaw says he found those attributes in Pat Kennedy, the coach at Florida State for the last 11 years. Kennedy was hired Thursday, replacing Joey Meyer, who resigned in April after a dismal 3-23 season.

Meyer, 48, spent 30 years at the school as a player, assistant coach and then head coach. He was a player and assistant under his father, Ray, and then replaced the elder Meyer when he retired in 1984.

"We had 109 queries (for the post)," said Bradshaw. "We took every candidate seriously. Our first and unanimous choice was Pat Kennedy."

Kennedy, 45, compiled a 202-131 record at Florida State and took the Seminoles to the NCAA tournament five times, reaching the regional finals in 1992-93. He has an overall record of 326-191 in 17 seasons, including six years at Iona.

Kennedy said the academic excellence, integrity and traditions at DePaul, a private Roman Catholic school, were factors in his decision to take the job.

"I'm ecstatic about being here at DePaul," Kennedy said. "I'm being afforded an incredible opportunity to supplement what has been done here."

Kennedy hinted he had become uncomfortable at Florida State in recent seasons, noting that despite his success, it remains known primarily for its football program.

Kennedy faced an ultimatum from athletic director Dave Hart earlier this year to improve his record next season in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Seminoles went 6-10 in the ACC last season and lost for the fifth straight year in the first round of the conference tournament.

But the Seminoles were 14-1 against non-conference opponents, and they lost to Michigan in the NIT championship game to end their first winning season in four years.