UM Panties Remain Bunched, Cause Strange Justifications

We found it interesting that the write-ups from several prominent and respected (usually, even by us) Michigan sites were so up-in-arms over the incident in Mackey Arena on Saturday. The incident, which you know unless you accidentally navigated in here while doing a Google search on Boiled Crawfish or something (and if so, welcome), was the one in which Manny Harris of Michigan put his elbow into Chris Kramer's nose and was then ejected from the game.

First, let's take a look at some of the foot-stomping going on out there in the 'sphere:

From the UM Rivals board:

Watch the clip and tell me: did Manny even make contact with Kramer's face? I don't think he did. I think Kramer flopped and broke his nose when he fell on the floor.

Yes, I'm sure that's what happened. Kramer's face never hit the floor. Come on. Look at it frame by frame.

From Maize n Brew:

"Unfortunately, Purdue's Kramer was checking Harris from approximately 1 inch away with his face very closely. So when Harris swung through, his elbow caught Kramer in the nose (who quickly went to the floor) and what transpired next could only be aptly described as a sham of officiating."

Who "quickly went to the floor"? Is this implying Kramer was acting? He actually lost consciousness. So yeah, what a flopper. Let's move along.

MnB then goes on to quote from the rule book, as do other sites, but they of course pull the parts that support their boy.

Do you really want to use the rulebook? Because so can we. Many of the UM sites are saying sure he deserved a flagrant, but since he didn't MEAN to hurt Kramer, he shouldn't have been ejected. Unfortunately, just like not knowing how fast you're going isn't an excuse to get out of a speeding ticket, not "meaning" to hurt someone is no reason not to be penalized. Let me share a subsection of Rule 10, Article 13 with you:

Rule 10, Article 13, sub e, sub-sub 2: Two free throws [are awarded] for an intentional personal or flagrant personal foul and the ball awarded at a designated spot nearest to where the foul occurred.

Any flagrant personal foul shall result in ejection of the offender.

Read that last line again. Not to pick on anyone in particular, but Michigan Sports Center makes the case like this:

This was a ridiculous call simply because Harris didn't intentionally hit Kramer. I can't stress that enough. It was an accident.

Once it was determined that it was a flagrant personal foul, Manny was done. It's not debatable. And it doesn't matter if he really is a nice guy and didn't mean to do it. He did it and so he's guilty.

What's really disappointing was the normally level-headed MGoBlog's take, which was this:

"It's one thing to lose. It's another thing to lose partially, largely, or entirely because of the incompetence of a referee.... [It was] a foul and was adjudged one until such point as Scrappy Heady IQ Head For The Scrappy Eckstein started gushing blood out of his nose and the Purdue crowd cried out, at which point it was cause to boot Manny Harris. From there Michigan imploded."

A few things... one, we're not arguing that the Big Ten officials are awful and incompetent and stealing money from the NCAA. They miss calls both ways. But these digs at Kramer as though he embelleshed this are just ridiculous. He didn't "gush blood" for effect. And it wasn't the crowd being angry that got Manny booted -- it was a couple of other things...

As already detailed, no matter how sweet a guy Manny Harris is, it was a flagrant foul. And a flagrant foul -- especially one causing injury -- is cause for ejection. Even if Manny teaches disabled children how to walk again and has singing voice that makes doves appear. It's irrelevant.

And, yes, Zack Novak's blatant elbow in the previous game against OSU does affect things. Sorry, boys, but your team is being looked at more closely now. You have guys throwing elbows and getting suspended and so when another elbow happens in the very next game you simply cannot act outraged that people begin to ask questions.

One of the other popular things today is to take rips at Jay Bilas' comments on ESPN that night. He said Belein has to "get his team under control." And this is true. Whether or not you think Manny's elbow was intentional, it's now a pattern. And who is responsible? The coach. None of us here think he's coaching them to elbow guys. But both incidents occurred when his players were very frustrated -- one in a blowout loss (Novak) and the other when their leading scorer was getting worked by Kramer.

And what about the other comments made by guys more respected that Bilas? How about Bob Knight pointing out that if the defender gets up on you, that's his space. You do not have the right to swing your elbows into his nose. That is a flagrant offensive foul.

Michigan fans have every right to be bothered by this situation. But to toss the rulebook around and act as though it's silly to eject a guy who drew blood by committing a textbook flagrant foul -- especially in light of recent elbowing fouls on the same team -- is just being a little bit short-sighted. We thought maybe everybody just needed to calm down after a disappointing loss and would then come to their senses. Guess not, though.

What enraged most of the Mackey crowd more than the play, though, was that after the decision was made, Belien's repeated physical turning around of the official to continue arguing with him. Matt Painter gets a technical foul at the end of the first half because he argued with the officials over a non-call when Robbie Hummel gets mugged, yet John Belein can assault the referees at his leisure and until he's done with his dissertation. We were there and, trust me, that's what almost caused the riot.

When Kramer got the elbow to the face, we didn't actually think Manny should be ejected. We were actually pissed at the officials at that point. As Boilerdowd said to me, "You have two teams that play pressure defense in each other's faces and you call a total of ten team fouls in the first half. This is what happens."

Was this like someone stepping on another player's head or like Zack Novak's elbow in the previous game? Absolutely, unequivocally, not.

Was it a flagrant foul that the rulebook says you get ejected for?

Yes, it was.

What you need to know.

I guess everything's OK...Good News!