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Posted on Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 1:50 p.m.

NCAA reverses ruling that cost Michigan football team its stats against Western Michigan

By Kyle Meinke

Denard Robinson, Fitz Toussaint, Jordan Kovacs — and especially Brandon Herron — had a big week.

And they didn't even have to play a game.

The NCAA now will recognize stats accrued by the Michigan football team in its season opener against Western Michigan, after originally ruling it would not count them because the game was called before the completion of the third quarter.

The NCAA statistics and records advisory board unanimously voted during a conference call in early November to change the rule, determining that if the win-loss record from a game counts, so should the statistics. WolverineNation, a sub-site of ESPN, was first to report the ruling.

That overturned the initial call by NCAA director of statistics Jim Wright, who on Sept. 7 informed both schools, the Big Ten Conference and the Mid-American Conference that the NCAA could not count the statistics because of a "reasonable point of conclusion" policy that has been in effect for more than 20 years, according to an email obtained via Freedom of Information Act request by

"NCAA Statistics Policies require a football game to have COMPLETED three quarters for the team and individual statistics to count," Wright wrote. "So even though your game was just 87 seconds short of that requirement, there is no rounding up or down in this situation."

The Big Ten responded a day later by asking the NCAA to reconsider its decision.

"I understand you have a policy, but our preference would be for the school, conference and national stats to be consistent, if at all possible, especially since the game was so close to reaching three quarters," Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman wrote Wright on Sept. 8.

Wright had not responded to that request as of Oct. 17, according to the FOIA request. He did not respond to an email and phone call seeking comment Thursday. An automated return message said he would be out of the office until Wednesday.

But it appears he and the NCAA have reconsidered.

The reversal helps to clear up one-game discrepancies in statistics between the NCAA and the Big Ten, Mid-American Conference, Michigan and Western Michigan, each of which did recognize stats from the game. That caused some confusion as players such as Robinson and Toussaint neared and reached season milestones.

That's especially the case for Herron, who scored two defensive touchdowns — a school record — in the 34-10 win. He was in the odd position of being the national defensive player of the week, but not having his week acknowledged nationally.

Toussaint also was helped by the ruling. He joined Robinson in becoming a 1,000-yard rusher last weekend against Ohio State, giving the Wolverines their first pair of players to reach the mark in the same season since 1985.

But because the sophomore's 80 yards against Western Michigan did not count to the NCAA, he was credited with just 931 yards nationally.

Kovacs also had his 10 tackles restored. That was a season-high for him.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 5:16 p.m.

the ncaa continues to show they are a joke waiting to happen.........

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

I wonder why it took so long to report this. As the story states, this decision was made in early November, and I noticed a couple of weeks ago that, on the NCAA stats page, the game's stats had been added to the season's stats. Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 6:21 p.m.

Kyle, Thanks. I must admit that I keep (too close) track of the NCAA stats because, in these discussions, the questions of comparisons of this year's team to last year's comes up much too frequently, and the NCAA stats page make clear the margin of improvement in virtually every facet of the game. Thanks, again, for the reply. ERM's Ghost

Kyle Meinke

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

Edward, David's got it mostly right. The NCAA never announced its decision, and no one noticed sooner because, unlike you, we (as in, the writers) had stopped using the NCAA's numbers entirely because they were off by a game. That's why no one else had reported on this either. (And, for the record, Graham Couch and I have very little contact, unless WMU and U-M are about to play. We work for sister companies, but do very different jobs.) We had to make a decision at some point on whether to use the season stats, which includes everything we got from the school and Big Ten, or the NCAA's stats (they were the only ones not to include the game). We went with the consensus. I, for example, used Michigan's official stats (both online, and what they hand out to us) and for my numbers. Both included the WMU game. Definitely wish we would have seen that earlier, though. Good work on noticing!

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 3:13 p.m.

Both are subsidiaries of M-Live. I picked this up when, checking on NCAA stats, in the "games" column of every category, the NCAA started counting the WMU game where it had not before. So I cannot help but wonder why a sports writer working for or for M-Live did not see what I saw and, having seen it, did not make a phone call. Do their sports reporters not check the NCAA stats once in a while? GN&GL

David Vande Bunte

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 3 p.m.

Graham Couch didn't report it in the WMU section on MLive any earlier than AA reported it here. That says to me that even if the decision was made earlier in November, than it wasn't made public until yesterday. You have both the WMU and the AA beat writers reporting on the same story at the same time, I have to think if this knowledge was public, one of them would have reported it much sooner.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 5:21 a.m.

I just wanted to comment on that photo. Denard in the rain. What a great smile. It's not like he didn't experience rain in Florida. What a care free spirit. kids should smile and laugh a lot. Adults too. Go Blue!


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 5:14 a.m.

It's a small thing but the right decision. Nice call by the ncaa.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 5:14 a.m.

Hey Ted, I guess delusional thinking is en vogue among ohio fans!


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 2:24 a.m.

The only drawback of this decision is that Coach Hoke's stellar coaching job this year, was marred only by this game, and this will surely play into the re-evaluated decisions of those who vote for THE BIG 10 COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD. When you look at how Urban Meyer has instantly turned The Ohio St. program around in such short time and with a race that was ALREADY neck and neck , the pendulum will most likely swing in the favor of Meyer as being the new 2011 Big 10 Coach of the Year.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 5:17 a.m.

I detect some sarcasm. sarcasm comes from a Greek word meaning to tear flesh. Normally I don't approve but it's OK with anything involving the bucknuts.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 1:18 a.m.

I'm glad for this favorable (to Michigan) reversal. But, as I recall, there was never any reason to call the game at all. That storm was mostly to the South of Ann Arbor and produced short downpours which actually ended not long after the game was called. There was very little lightning: I was watching the weather radar at the time as well as the TV coverage. I live about 1/2 mile from the stadium: at times, I could see it raining on the stadium but saw no rain where I was nor for some distance in other directions. Same old story: Big Time Universities make a fat target for law suits. Better safe than sued, eh?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 2:35 a.m.

They pulled the teams off the field for the "first" storm that never hit. Then they put the teams back on the field and came close to finishing the qtr when there was a truly large and ugly storm west of town. There was no way the game was going to get in w/o doing what Notre Dame did--waiting several hours--because there was squall line after squall line lined up west of A2 marching east. GN&GL


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 2:25 a.m.

I thought it was lack of adequate lighting that was the reason behind calling of the game.

Wally the Spartan

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 12:27 a.m.

Good job NCAA. David Brandon always seems to make the right moves. He wouldn't risk the safety and welfare for his players, his family and his football faithful. His decision (to halt the game) with the western coach was the right move - and this should serve as a reward to the integrity and honesty of our athletic director. MgoBlueForTiM.....the right decision, the right reinstatement, the right AD


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

This makes perfect sense. It is illogical to count to game in the won and loss column but not the game statistic. For once, sanity rules. Too bad the NAA can't reverse the Fitz Toussaint TD late in gmae Saturday against OSU, as well as the 2 TDs we scored at Iowa that did not count. Guess that's asking for too much.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 5:09 a.m.

Great suggestions MRunner, I'm with you man!


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

NAA should be NCAA...


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 8:40 p.m.

i sure hope this is a sign that the ncaa has some smarts. we will know mid dec. when they rule on osu. i am getting a funny feeling they will not go hard on them. i sure hope i am wrong. if they do not sends wrong sign to other kids that play football. we shall see.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 8:10 p.m.

what rots my socks is that Urban Meyer by taking the over reins of osu is that he is now able to get 20 plus practices with the team,because they did get 6 wins and a bowl bid.. just don't seem right to me,when Michigan practiced 20 mins too long,and had sanctions placed on them.. That dumpster in C-Bus is beginning to smell really bad..


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 2:22 a.m.

OSU is going to get the USC treatment.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 12:38 a.m.

Same feeling here...I'm sure Urban Meyer and OSU feel the same way, too, or he probably wouldn't have taken the job.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 9:24 p.m.

I get that feeling too, Mort. OSU makes a lot of money for ncaa. Denying them bowls and future success has serious financial implications... so.... we'll see.

David Vande Bunte

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 8:27 p.m.

"The NCAA statistics and records advisory board unanimously voted during a conference call in early November to change the rule, determining that if the win-loss record from a game counts, so should the statistics." This was the only rational conclusion they could make. If the game counts, the stat counts. Kudos to the NCAA for making a good decision for once!

Wally the Spartan

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 7:51 p.m.

I agree with Briegle, @ notre dame and michigan state, it's win at any cost whether hazard weather (life threatening) or dirty football (life threatening). Kudo's for the Michigan Wolverine administration and to western michigan (although they were paid about $800,000.00) to have the sense to protect the wellfare of their players and fans. Go Blue.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 12:08 a.m.

But remember, God is on their side.

David Briegel

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 7:37 p.m.

I wonder why nobody ever figured out why Notre Dame risked life and limb to players and fans alike in their 6 hr effort to pull out a victory. Michigan had the sanity to protect their players and fans and the NCAA tried to deny their stats. How about a sanction for the selfish actions of Notre Dame?


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 9:04 p.m.

Yeah, considering what happened a year ago (a fall to his death from the tower that was rocked by high winds).


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 7:24 p.m.

I agree, although to be honest I wasn't even aware of the discrepancy until I saw this article.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 7:12 p.m.

Nice. That's the correct decision.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 4 p.m.

Agreed. It also gives Brady Hoke TWO thousand-yard rushers in one season. That is two more than Urban Meyer has had in his entire collegiate coaching career.