3. Not So 'Fab Five'
In 1991, the University of Michigan brought in arguably the most heralded recruiting class in NCAA basketball history. The incoming freshmen included Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson, all of whom became starters midway through their first season. They earned themselves the moniker of the ‘Fab Five’ as the team made it to the NCAA championship game in both their freshman and sophomore seasons.
However, it was soon discovered that an ill-advised timeout wasn't the only problem for Webber and Michigan. A 1996 automobile accident during a high school seniors recruiting trip to the school, revealed a curious relationship between booster Ed Martin and the basketball program. A federal investigation soon revealed that for years Martin had been making payments to players to help him launder money from an illegal gambling operation. It wasn’t long before players were being called before a grand jury and the NCAA got involved.
Four players - Webber, Maurice Taylor, Robert Traylor, and Louis Bullock - were found to have taken a total of over $600,000 from Martin. The fallout then came swift and severe. In 1997, coach Steve Fisher was forced out and Michigan decided to impose its own punishment by vacating five seasons of victories, including all NCAA tournament records from 1992-99. Michigan also removed all commemorative banners from those seasons, and put the program on probation for two years. In the official record books, the Fab Five might as well have never existed.