The Real Athlete Blog


Category: Amateurism

  1. Fab Five Documentary Brings Up Questions Regarding NCAA "Preexisting Relationship" Exception

    by Justin Sievert 03-19-2011 03:31 PM Amateurism | Athlete Career Development | Education | Legal

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    Following this year's "Selection Sunday" we were treated to a trip back down memory lane with ESPN's documentary on the "Fab Five." The "Fab Five" was the moniker given to the University of Michigan's 1991 recruiting class which consisted of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwon Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson. This group led Michigan to two consecutive NCAA Division I Men's National Championship Basketball games during the group's freshman and sophomore seasons (1992 and 1993) and also had a dramatic impact on American pop culture through their baggy shorts, trash-talking, shaved heads, and black socks. While the majority of the documentary focused on the legacy left by the group both on and off the basketball court, the end of the documentary focused on the circumstances surrounding the sanctions that were handed down on the University of Michigan by the NCAA in 2003. 

    One of the major issues that arose during the final segment was Jalen Rose's admission that he accepted extra-benefits from Ed Martin. Martin, who had formed relationships with many youth athletes from the Detroit area dating back to the early 1980s, had provided Rose with benefits both before and during Rose's time at Michigan. These benefits would generally be a violation of NCAA rules, as boosters are prohibited from providing any type of preferential treatment, benefit, or service to a current or prospective student-athlete because of the student-athlete's athletics reputation or skill or pay-back potential as a professional athlete. However, the one exception to this rule is if there is a clear preexisting relationship between the booster and the student-athlete. In the documentary, Rose claimed that his relationship with Martin fell under this exception. The question that results is what exactly is a "preexisting relationship" under this exception?


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