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Martelli, Washington respond to Dickinson’s criticisms of Michigan’s NIL program

Dickinson called out the university and his coaches responded

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 19 Div I Men’s Championship - Second Round - Michigan v Tennessee Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A few weeks ago Michigan Basketball star Hunter Dickinson voiced his displeasure with the university for how they were handling their NIL situations. He condemned the school while also praising Jim Harbaugh and Juwan Howard for their efforts. Here was the most damning quote from his interview with Tim McCormick and Sam Webb:

“If I’m the number one player in the country for basketball or football, why would I come to Michigan, where they’re saying they have the potential for you to get something? When I’m at Alabama for football or if I’m at Kentucky for basketball, they’re like, ‘You can commit here and get this deal, you can sign it right after you sign the letter for a million dollars.’ I would never come to Michigan if that’s the case... They’re gonna lose out on so many players if they don’t start stepping up to the plate. I feel bad for Coach Juwan and Coach Harbaugh because they’re trying. It’s not their fault. The coaches are trying for sure.”

So, Webb went right back to the university and asked for them to comment on what their most important player had said about the athletic department. They responded with Phil Martelli and Saddi Washington coming on the Michigan Insider morning show on Sports Talk WTKA on Friday.

Here’s a brief synopsis of what they said:

WASHINGTON: ”There are no guardrails right now. That’s the problem. NIL is not the problem. The problem is there’s no guardrails for the student-athletes, for administrators, for universities, or for programs in general. And that’s a scary thing.

You would have liked to have thought at the very top in the executive offices of the NCAA that there would have been a better plan to kind of help everybody, one: be educated. But then, two: not let this thing just become roughshod and wild, wild west. Because, let’s be honest... and a lot of people won’t say this out loud... but the people who have seemed to have just gone rogue with this; they’ve been doing this a while. They’ve been doing it a while.

Now it’s legal, and that’s fine. We all embrace it. But the concern, and I think what Phil was (saying), there’s got to be some checks and balances in place to make sure that everyone is not taken advantage of. And not just the student-athletes, the universities. I mean, we just came off a pandemic. Most of these universities and athletic departments’ budgets have been hemorrhaging for a couple of years now. Right? And coming out of that, now we’re just throwing all this money at these players. And the perspective... even the most sane and rational people who want to do things the right way… if you get enough money thrown at them, their perspective changes.”

MARTELLI: “The rule today, is that there are no rules. Right? So, in a way it’s like if you’re 16 years old and you have to have a parent in the car… well the parent is making sure that you’re going 55 and that your seatbelt’s on. In this NIL people just piled into the car without seatbelts, and no brakes.

There’s no brakes on the car. So this thing is going in every different direction. Add in the social media - if you want to call it ‘fake news’... the things that are out there. For instance, last Friday I got off a plane in Philadelphia. I looked at my phone and there was a prominent, prominent, prominent national broadcaster on my phone saying, about Hunter that, ‘Hunter needs to shut up because everybody knows he’s making a million dollars.’ Up until he made that statement I was not going to react to the ‘shut up’ because Hunter had gone off the rails a little bit. I called the guy and I said, ‘listen, wherever that narrative is that he’s making a million dollars… that’s not a fact. It’s absolutely positively not a fact...’ These people aren’t sitting around. And these agents aren’t sitting around. The usual mandated contract for an NBA (player) negotiated NBA contract, you get 4%. People are slotted. On this (NIL) there are guys taking advantage of these kids and their families at the tune of 20 and 22%.of the deals that they’re cutting. And when somebody says to you… which did happen to me in the last five days… ‘I’m looking for a phone number on a kid.’

(The person representing him) said, “great, what’s the deal?’

I said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. The kid is going to come into a program that will prepare him for an education at Michigan, and to work with it with an elite staff… not an average staff… an elite staff. And at your position, you’d be working with an NBA guru.’

And the guy goes, ‘what’s the deal?’

I had to ask him again. And this is an acquaintance… not a friend, but an acquaintance. And he gave me a figure. And I said, “all right, talk to you later.”

I can’t do it. And Michigan can’t do it. And Sam, you’re being very kind... Hunter left the rails, right? Talked about his school (and) talked about the athletic department. And here’s what I would say (in response): Michigan, right now, is going at the speed limit. But once everything gets in order… whether it’s a state law or whether Congress reacts to the meetings that they had with these commissioners… then Michigan is going to do what Michigan does, and go to the top. We’ll have the very best NIL program in the country. A lot of programs, in my opinion, are diving into this thing, they’re in mid-dive right into a swimming pool, and then they’re going, ‘oh my God, there’s only three feet of water in there.’ Because, no one knows what the baseline is. And no one knows what the rules are.”

For more, listen to the whole interview on WTKA.

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