Ypsilanti — Well it is good to see all my nieces and nephews!
Well come on in and pull off your shoes and sit down in the old Lazy-Boy and I will tell you all a story that will be scary and an unbelievable but true story
Now your Uncle Mel could not believe the news when he saw it and he had to get conformation. It is true; the once proud women’s basketball program at Eastern Michigan University is now joining the ranks of basketball teams that are under suspicion.
A tainted program, they have committed rule violation and have received a self-imposed sanction while notifying and throwing themselves on the mercy of the NCAA.
What in the world was Eagles woman basketball coach AnnMarie Gilbert thinking?
What in the world was assistant coach Darin Thrun thinking?
Did anybody do any kind of thinking?
Apparently the answer is no!
Gilbert and Thrun you two really thought that neither one would get caught nor do you think that you are more powerful than the NCAA?
How embarrassed that you must feel and you two have embarrassed your boss Derrick Gragg not to mention your players and the school – shame on both of you!
What they did my nieces and nephew is, first of all they made the players practice longer than is allowed which cut into the study time and why did this happen because Gilbert could not figure out the rule that governs practice time.
She believed that the countable hours did not start until actual skill instruction began, it like looking at a class schedule if the class starts at 10:00 am and ends two hours later now here is the math question how long is that class period?
Gilbert believed the start of practice is when she appeared on the gym floor.
“I believed the overall length of time our players have been in the gym from the warm-up period, practice and any voluntary shooting,” Gilbert said at an interview with Compliancy Committee September 13, 2010. “When all that is combined, yes, that does exceed the permissible time limit.”
Gilbert sat in four investigating meetings conducted by Compliance Office between August 23 and September 17, 2010, Gilbert indicated during the third meeting that she had time to reflect on her earlier statements and would like to provide clarification.
Why did you tell a lie?
What is there to clarify?
Then during the summer the coaching staff made what is volunteer work out these coaches made the players practice. They would not be standing inside the gym but they would be close enough to see and make coaching commits and according to assistant coach LaTonya Tate that is a “no-no!”
The Compliance Office established from their investigation that the summer workouts in 2009 and 2010 workouts were not voluntary. A student –athlete must notify Gilbert if that player misses the summer workout or open gym activity.
In an interview with Compliance Committee August 27, 2010 Gilbert denied any of the activity was not voluntary and brought statements that the students signed indicating their acknowledgment of which were mandatory, these statement were reported signed by the student-athlete after the Compliance Office started the investigation of the rule infractions.
Gilbert says she did not take attendance but she would walk-by the open door of the gym and watched the workout and sometime would tell a player what needs to happen on the court.
If a player missed too many of these summer workouts she ask about that individual commitment to the program.
There were times when a prospective student-athlete visit campus, the coaching staff arranged for the prospect to participate in open gym with the current student-athlete and sometime the coaching staff would be watching this is a violation.
While Gilbert was out of town in the fall of 2009 there was a team meeting conducted Thrun who did even more coaching by getting the players to collaborate their stories, the investigation could not confirm but the Compliance findings that the evidence suggest that the student-athlete were directed to give false information.
The woman basketball program at Eastern Michigan University at one time in their history struggled for acceptance from the community and from the students not to mention the opponents on the court.
Gilbert was handed the reins from the most successful women’s basketball coach of all time at Eastern Michigan University Suzy Merchant who led this program from the ashes of non-existing to a program of pride for the players of the past who could look at the success and feel good about the direction the Eagles were going-up to the top.
There is no words that can describe or dismiss Thrun’s behavior his action toward the Compliance Office is inexcusable.
Gilbert and Thrun have been ordered to apologies to the members of the basketball team with an athletic director and a member of the Compliance Office to witness.
Going forward and getting into the schedule and the upcoming season the dark cloud that hover over the program will be a little less dark but it will be a stormy season.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.