Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel responded to ESPN Sept. 10, denying the claim he apologized to Chris Webber over a 2003 investigation.
Webber, now the newest member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, told ESPN that Manuel gave him an apology for how he was treated during the fallout investigation leading to his 10-year dissociation from the university.
Webber pled guilty to the criminal attempt charge in 2003, admitting he repaid the booster for what was supposedly a loan, according to Webber.
''This wasn't some booster corrupting a program,'' Webber said. ''This was a guy I had known since approximately seventh grade. Everyone knew him as a basketball coach, one of the older gentlemen who knew everyone in Detroit."
According to Manuel, he never apologized. Webber’s claim is not true.
“I enjoyed the conversation with Chris when we met several years ago,” Manuel said. “But I can assure you I made no apology to Chris, and for those who may be curious, I never asked him to apologize to the University of Michigan. I wish Chris nothing but the best, and I’m happy that he’s being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.”
Webber told ESPN that Manuel privately apologized for how the university dealt with the investigation surrounding the talk around him accepting money from late booster Ed Martin.
“I was told by the athletic director at the University of Michigan that he was sorry,” Webber said to ESPN. “And he wasn’t even there at the time I was playing. He told me that he did his research and that he needs to apologize."
His exact words were “he needs to apologize to the 18-year-old Chris Webber because we didn’t protect him,” according to Webber.
Martin testified that he gave Webber and three other Michigan athletes more than $600,000 combined throughout their college careers for a loan. Michigan disassociated Webber as a player for 10 years after the trial, and the university banned him from the sideline at every sporting event.
Due to the scandal, Webber’s personal honors were vacated from all record books, including the 1992 and 1993 NCAA Final Four appearances with the Michigan Wolverines. According to ESPN, it has been two decades since the banners have not been on display at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.