Disappointing. Stunning. Disconcerting. Sad. All words that immediately came to mind after seeing the following headline on the Detroit Free Press: Cocaine deal led to Justin Feagin’s fall at U-M.
The short story is as follows: During his first semester at Michigan, Feagin, who had sold drugs while a high school student in Florida, sent $600 to a friend in Florida (known only as “Tragic” in the police documents, which are linked in the Free Press story) for an ounce of cocaine, which fellow student T.J. Burke asked Feagin to help him get so he could make some money. The cocaine never made it to Ann Arbor, and Burke sent threatening text messages to both Feagin and “Tragic”. On March 26 of this year, Burke, out $600, set a fire in West Quad near Feagin’s dorm room in an attempt to scare him. On July 21, one of Burke’s housemates recognized a police sketch of the arsonist and called the police, alerting them of the failed drug deal. Burke was arrested, and Feagin was interviewed by police two days later, admitting that he sent the money to Florida in an effort to buy cocaine. That evening, Rich Rodriguez dismissed Feagin from the football program.
I have nothing to add to this story. It certainly reflects poorly on the program, although it’s tough to tell how much weight to give one bad seed out of 85 scholarship players. Clearly, Feagin had a checkered past, and I would like to think that Rodriguez, had he had the requisite time while recruiting Feagin, would not have offered him a scholarship. However, this is purely speculation. The Michigan football program has moved on, and Feagin has gone to Appalachian State (although I do not know how this revelation will affect his status there). I hope both Burke (who was ordered to pay $14,213 to U-M, and faces up to 10 years in prison for the arson) and Feagin can turn their lives around.