When Kurt Wermers left town, he tried to take a potshot at the Michigan coaching staff, comparing them unfavorably to Lloyd Carr’s (under whom he never played, for the record). This, of course, has a serious short term effects of making the media insufferable for about a week, and compounding the similar accusations made by Justin Boren on his way out of Ann Arbor. Long term, it may diminish offensive line depth, and even chip away at Michigan’s ability to recruit players (though it flies in the face of, like, everything that anyone else has said about the staff).
Perhaps the most serious damage Wermers may have inflicted, though, is not in terms of what he did do, but rather what he didn’t: stay eligible. Michigan’s football APR has been declining slightly over the past few years, as the Carr tenure waned and now even more Rich Rodriguez has come into town with his demanding program. Several players – whether they didn’t fit the system, weren’t willing to put in the work, or just wanted to go to Ohio State in the first place but were guilted into Michigan by Bo and used a father’s plow service(!) as an excuse to leave Michigan – have departed since the new sheriff in town took over.
The NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate is used by The Toothless Organization to determine which schools aren’t taking care of their student-athletes academically. It is calculated by a 4-year average of scores out of 1000, and if said score dips below 925, tTO will write you a strongly worded letter, then give no actual sanctions (though they’ve gained some teeth, and have punished even a couple BCS conference teams). So how has Michigan done over the past couple years? Take a look:
These numbers have, as mentioned above, been on the decline for a couple years, and as higher-APR scores from years past move out of the 4-year average, and the more recent years (with worse APR scores) go into the equation, it doesn’t necessarily bode well for Michigan. Each player leaving the Michigan program costs the team 1 point out of 1000 in the APR calculation for that year. If a player leaves while he is ineligible for NCAA competition, it reduces overall score by 2 points. It’s unclear exactly when players count towards the next score: I believe those who left before the 2008 season have already been counted, and no others have.
|Ryan Mallett||Winter 2008||Arkansas transfer|
|Chris McLaurin||Winter 2008||Medical reasons, unclear whether he’s still in school or will count against APR|
|Corey Zirbel||Spring 2008||Career-ending injury, still in school and won’t harm APR|
|Justin Boren||Spring 2008||OSU transfer|
|Marques Slocum||Summer 2008||Likely ineligble|
|Marcus Witherspoon||Summer 2008||Left after 2 weeks at school (does he even count against APR?), academically ineligible|
|Tony Clemons||Winter 2009||Colorado transfer|
|Zion Babb||Winter 2009|
|Artis Chambers||Winter 2009|
|Avery Horn||Winter 2009|
|Sam McGuffie||Winter 2009||Rice transfer|
|Steven Threet||Spring 2009||Arizona State transfer|
|Kurt Wermers||Spring 2009||Ball State transfer, academically ineligible|
|Dann O’Neill||Spring 2009||Western Michigan transfer|
That means 8 players have already left the team since the end of the 2008 season. According to history, more may be on the way. With Michigan’s APR trending downwards, it appears as though the 2010 score will be more of the same. Will the Wolverines dip into the danger zone – below 925? They haven’t come close yet, though they’re certainly heading in the wrong direction. But hey, there’s always applying for waivers.