U-M Player Comments Regarding NCAA
Infractions Appeals Committee Decision
Senior Forward Colin Dill
On the removal of the postseason ban ... "We have to focus and put ourselves in a position now to make the postseason. Just because it is clear now does not mean we have an automatic bid. We really have to fight to get us back to where we were at the end of last season."
On the mood of the team ... "I think that we were in shock. We got the call late to go and meet at Crisler. It was storming and we were all wondering what was going on. We saw Coach (Tommy Amaker) walk in and he had a big smile on his face, so we knew it was not bad news. As soon as he said it we were really excited. It was more of a shock than anything else. We were really happy, of course, to be able to be in a position where we can make the postseason."
On having more at stake this season than last year ... "We are able to add one more goal -- that is the ultimate goal of every team is to win a national championship. That will be definitely one of our goals to win it all. Before this fall had started it was not one of our goals because of the sanctions. Now that they are lifted, we can set our goals higher."
Senior/Junior Forward J.C. Mathis
On how the team found out about the decision ... "We met together as a team late last night. Coach Amaker went over everything and told us that we got the postseason ban lifted off of us and that we'd be able to go to the tournament and we all just cheered. He also told us no more excuses, it's up to us now, and we'll have to be working as hard as we already have been."
On being given the opportunity to play in a postseason tournament ... "I'm very happy. That's the goal that every college team has. My experience will be a lot better now, knowing that we have a chance to play in the postseason. We were already very motivated. This is just an added incentive. So now, with the chance to play in the postseason, it won't take a lot to motivate us or the other players."
On not being able to compete in the 2003 NCAA Tournament ... "It was very difficult, especially knowing that we had a very good chance to make it. The question on our minds was, Would we have been able to make it if we were eligible It was very hard. We watched the tournament saying next year we want to be there. Then when we heard the news this summer it was deflating, knowing that we wouldn't have the chance again, after we watched the whole postseason on TV. It was a little deflating and it was hard to watch, knowing that we possibly could have competed."
On how last season's ban affected the team's play ... "Every game we played last year, we always played with the mindset to win. We played as hard as we could. I don't think anyone put any less of an effort forward because we couldn't go to the postseason. In my opinion, if you watched us play, I don't think anyone could say that we weren't motivated or we weren't playing hard. I think we'll really be the same team and put forth the same effort and play hard as we did last year."
On his decision to transfer to Michigan despite the investigation ... "When I was considering coming to this school they were conducting the investigation, but I trusted Coach Amaker. Michigan was the school I wanted to play for and the university I wanted to go to, I was willing to go through any of the penalties that were enforced."
Senior Wing Bernard Robinson Jr.
On how the postseason ban affected the way the team prepared for the season ... "That wasn't our main concern for us as a program. We try to instill the tough-mindedness to be able to go through anything that the NCAA or anybody brings to this team. We knew coming into the season that we weren't going to be able to go to the postseason. That's how we were taking it as a team and we were ready to move forward from there. The NCAA Tournament gives us an extra boost and that gives us the extra bit of motivation, but we were already ready."
On his reaction to hearing about the decision ... "I had no idea whether or not this was going to happen. To be honest, I hadn't been thinking of it as of late. I knew we were supposed to get an answer toward the end of this month, but I hadn't been thinking about it, it had slipped my mind. We were focused as a team to go out there and compete and try to win every game, so no, I hadn't been thinking about it, and it was a great surprise for us."
On whether last season's ban led to the 0-6 start ... "The slow start was entirely on us. We had plenty of motivation to go out there and work from the beginning of the season to the end. We just started putting everything together in the games through the things Coach Amaker tried to instill in our heads. That's what we wanted and then we just went out there and did it and we began winning."
On if he's relieved to be able to put the investigation behind him ... "The NCAA has done a lot as far as penalizing us, so it has affected the university. That we'll be able to lift that penalty off of us and allow a chance at the tournament this year, that's almost come to me as a shock just to have the opportunity, especially during my senior year. I'm glad I won't have to deal with those questions anymore. But I'm sure they'll find some questions for me."
On not being able to compete in the 2003 NCAA Tournament ... "Growing up every kid who goes to a university or college wants to go to the NCAA Tournament, and for me the last two years going into a year knowing I wouldn't be able to go is something that hurts you inside. For me to sit there and watch those kids that I've seen play throughout my career in the tournament, it definitely hurts. We'll have a chance now and it's something that excites me and excites the rest of the team."
On whether last year's ban had an effect on the way the team finished the season ... "No matter what the situation is, we try to go out there and play as hard as possible. Those are games that we felt we should have won one way or another. This year if we get ourselves back in that position, we're going to play those games to the best of our ability."
On Coach Amaker's statement to the team ... "I think what Coach Amaker meant when he said 'no excuses' was, now that we have a chance to go to the tournament, it's up to us to direct our own path and to show everybody what type of a team we are. Everybody knows we have a chance to go to the tournament now, so it's up to us to make it possible."
NCAA Appeals Committee Reverses Postseason Ban (9/25/03)
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423