With the excitement of all things NCAA selection going on Sunday evening, I used the DVR to record ESPN’s Fab Five documentary for last night. I expected greater details into the relationship with booster Ed Martin and the fallout from the infamous timeout against North Carolina. The result was a stunning omission of most information about the illegal payments to the players.
From the perspective of media members from that period along with players and coaches on the Wolverines roster, the story highlighted what the players thought of each other and their opponents. It was very frank and showed how brash the Wolverines were when they took the floor together. From the steps on how they were recruited to what life was like trying to get the entire five into the same starting lineup, viewers are immediately taken 20 years back to balance the Fab Five era with the current one.
However, to say that the Fab Five came out of the film looking clean would not be far from the truth. While they frequently alluded to the envy over the money Nike and the university made from their jersey sales, only Jalen Rose highlighted how “Uncle Ed” would give them a few dollars every now and then to get the athletes through school. This, along with U of M’s allegations placed on just four players (Chris Webber, Louis Bullock, Robert Traylor, Maurice Taylor), demonstrates that we may never truly know how long this illegal culture existed.