John Beilein passes on chance to declare Michigan the rightful 2013 national champs

Michigan head coach John Beilein yells from the sidelines during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Minnesota, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Hours after the NCAA demanded that Louisville remove its 2013 national title banner, Michigan coach John Beilein made it clear the Wolverines won’t be raising one of their own.

Beilein told reporters in Ann Arbor on Tuesday that he doesn’t consider Michigan the rightful 2013 national champions even though the Louisville team that defeated the Wolverines in the title game has now been discredited.

“We lost to a great team,” Beilein said. “We didn’t win it all. If some other people are going to come and say, ‘Hey, you won it all. You’re the champions,’ then we’ll take it. But I’m not going to declare that. I’m declaring that we played our tails off that entire year and we got every bit out of a really young team.”

Beilein’s comments were in response to an NCAA appeals panel’s decision to uphold a previous ruling that Louisville must vacate 123 victories, including its 2012 Final Four appearance and 2013 national title. It’s the first time in Division I men’s basketball history that a championship has been vacated.

Louisville’s punishment is the culmination of an investigation that began in August 2015 when escort Katina Powell released a tell-all book containing explosive allegations about the Cardinals basketball program. The NCAA’s investigation subsequently corroborated that former Louisville basketball staffer Andre McGee paid Powell to send strippers and escorts to dance for or have sex with Cardinals players and recruits at parties typically held in the university’s on-campus basketball dorm.

For the past eight months, the fate of Louisville’s 2013 national title has rested on the university’s last-gasp bid to overturn the penalties handed down by the NCAA last June. On Tuesday, the NCAA revealed Louisville had lost its appeal, meaning the 2013 championship game will be erased from the official record books, no champion will be listed for that season and Michigan will remain runner-up.

It’s a shame the 2013 title game is being nullified because it was a classic from start to finish. It featured two fast-paced, high-scoring teams, a slew of college standouts and future pros and a pair of unlikely heroes in Spike Albrecht and Luke Hancock.

Louisville won 82-76, but Michigan fans will forever wonder what might have been had Trey Burke’s spectacular second-half block of a Peyton Siva layup attempt not been called a foul. The Wolverines were within three and might have been able to use the emotion of that play to swing momentum.

While Beilein will not publicly contest Michigan’s status as national runner-up that season, the coach of the other team Louisville beat at the Final Four is not so bashful. Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall told reporters on Thursday that he’d love to organize a game between the 2013 Shockers and Wolverines to decide the real national champion.


Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet and Cleanthony Early vs. Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Mitch McGary? With a claim for the 2013 national title at stake?

Probably everyone outside the city of Louisville would enjoy that.

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Jeff Eisenberg is a college basketball writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!