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Michigan Hiring Juwan Howard Makes NCAA's Erasure of the Fab Five Even More Outrageous

ORLANDO, FL - OCTOBER 26: Assistant coach Juwan Howard of the Miami Heat exchanges words with referee on opening night agains the Orlando Magic on October 26, 2016 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Manuela Davies/Getty Images)
Manuela Davies

The Michigan Wolverines made an intriguing hire when the selected former program superstar and Fab Five big man Juwan Howard to be their next head coach.

That choice, however, makes the NCAA's systematic disavowal of the Fab Five era look even more egregious than it already is.

Howard, one of the members of Michigan's world-famous quintent of players that guided the program to back-to-back appearances in the national championship game, has officially been welcomed back to the college basketball world with open arms. The Fab Five at large, however, have been essentially erased by the NCAA due to their run being tarnished by players receiving improper benefits from a booster, Ed Martin.

Their Final Four banners from 1992 and '93 were removed from the Crisler Center beneath a dark cloud of impropriety. The whole situation was and is a mess. Howard's hiring just makes the NCAA's choice to scrub the record of that stellar 90s team look ridiculous and hypocritical. It proves to the world that they were looking to make an example out of those Michigan players, yet turn around and celebrate them as the folk heroes that they were if and when it became convenient.

This is yet another stain on the already-tarnished reputation of the NCAA, a governing body that would rather merely give the appearance that they care about stopping rule-breakers rather than actually punishing those who game the system and take advantage of student-athletes.

Howard's return to his alma mater should be a joyous occasion, a way to celebrate the homecoming of one of the school's most iconic players. But since his name has been scrubbed from history as a member of college basketball's most famous starting lineup -- despite the fact that he himself was never implicated in the Ed Martin scandal -- the college basketball world is left pondering how this saga could have played out differently.