Michigan basketball got big news today, with the commitment of Franz Wagner, younger brother of former Wolverines star Moritz Wagner. In the process, it looks like Juwan Howard has been exonerated from what looked like a pretty sloppy NCAA violation.
During a recent appearance on The Jim Rome Show, Howard was asked about Wagner’s status. At the time, it was assumed that he was still an unsigned recruit.
Coaches are not allowed to discuss those recruits directly. Based on what he said, it appeared that he broke that rule.
“Our communication has been great… Right now, he is making a decision if he is going to play with his national team to represent his country in the (FIBA) World Cup championship tournament. I highly recommend that he does. That’s a chance of a lifetime…
“At the end of the day, we’ve been communicating on whenever that process is over with, we’d love to have him on campus, wear a Michigan jersey just like his brother, and at some point compete for the University of Michigan and help this team in any way possible, and become a student-athlete at the university.”
Given Howard’s inexperience in college coaching, and the recency with which he was hired, it was more of a bad look than it was a serious violation. Still, its not what Wolverines fans want from their brand new head coach.
Today, Franz Wagner made it official that he will be playing at Michigan, and it sounds like Juwan Howard has been cleared in the process.
Michigan announced the addition of Wagner earlier.
〽️🏀 SIGNING NEWS! 📰
@JuwanHoward has announced 🇩🇪 German guard Franz Wagner has ✍️ a Tender of Financial Aid & will join the Wolverines this fall!
For full info ⤵️
Click on link: https://t.co/xPCAXND56g#GoBlue 〽️🏀 pic.twitter.com/QkN30qj9zS
— Michigan Men's Basketball (@umichbball) July 6, 2019
Mo Wagner was an impressive talent for the Wolverines, and 247Sports’ Evan Daniels says that his younger brother would be a Top 50-level recruit if he was in the U.S.
Franz Wagner would be a top 50 level recruit if he was in the U.S. There have been a number of schools reaching out trying to get involved, it's notable, especially considering Michigan now has a new staff.
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) June 20, 2019
According to MLIve, Wagner already had his Financial Aid Agreement submitted to Michigan at the time of the radio interview. While it was still unclear if he would matriculate to Ann Arbor, he was a signed recruit when Howard discussed his recruiting process.
MLive previously reported that Juwan Howard had committed a minor NCAA violation in discussing a recruit, Franz Wagner, during a radio interview on Tuesday.
After Michigan announced on Saturday evening that Wagner had signed with the school’s basketball team and would play for the Wolverines next season, program spokesperson Tom Wywrot told MLive that Wagner had in fact signed before Howard’s radio appearance.
Given that Wagner had already signed with Michigan, all of Howard’s comments on Wagner were fair game.
It was only ever going to be a minor violation, so ultimately this isn’t some game changing news, but it is definitely an added bonus to the already great news about Wagner.