In the early aughts into the mid-2010s, Cartoon Network aired an adult animated show as part of its Adult Swim programming called "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." It focused on three anthropomorphic fast food items and their bizarre hijinx as roommates in South New Jersey.

Believe it or not, Aqua Teen Hunger Force was a huge success. It was Adult Swim's longest-running series before it was canceled in 2015 (although it's being resurrected later this year). The show developed a cult following from one particular viewing demographic (teenage-to-30-something stoners), but it also had considerable mainstream appeal, ultimately leading to two movies.

As you might imagine, Aqua Teen Hunger Force employed an eclectic cast of characters. One specific set of recurring personalities was "the Frat Aliens," a pair of college-aged extraterrestrials who were obvious parodies of frat bro culture. Named D.P. and Skeeter, these two appeared several times over the years, always donning their Greek sweaters and playing up on other fraternity conventions, like partying, chasing hot chicks, and incessantly invoking the station and status of their father.

D.P., in particular, was guilty of the latter. In every single appearance throughout Aqua Teen Hunger Force's long run, D.P. makes sure to repeat the same line about his dad's wealth, an overt jab at the trust-fund types that constitute a significant proportion of fraternities' memberships.

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"My dad owns a dealership," D.P. always says, complete with the arrogant assurance that so often accompanies people who were born into generational wealth and, as a result, have never been told no or held responsible for their actions.

That's all I could hear in my head when I read Michigan's formal response to the Big Ten's notice of impending discipline for the Wolverines' historically awful illegal-scouting/sign-stealing scandal. A shameless screed against accountability, U-M's letter was like D.P. come to life.

Michigan's rebuttal could be adequately and accurately summarized thusly:

"Everybody does it!"

"You can't do this to us!"

"Don't you know who I am?! My dad owns a dealership!"

Entire graduate-level classes could be taught on false equivalency using Michigan's letter as the only course material.

U-M calls out other Big Ten schools in the letter, accusing their league contemporaries of colluding to share the Wolverines' stolen signs, referencing that as some sort of exoneration for the expansive, extensive illegal-scouting ring they're credibly accused (with plenty of evidence already available) of operating. What Michigan doesn't produce, though, is proof that those other schools obtained that intelligence through illicit means, which is important insofar as U-M's entire attempt at making this false equivalency deflection work hinges on it.

Michigan also brazenly threatens the Big Ten and its other members in the letter with a not-so-subtle warning that they'll air others' dirty laundry if they're held to account.

The conference should act cautiously when setting precedent given the reality that in-person scouting, collusion among opponents, and other questionable practices may well be far more prevalent than believed.

Pretty damn ballsy. Then again, their dad does own a dealership.

RELATED: Jim Harbaugh Is a Liar, Incompetent, and/or Overpaid, According to Bo Schembechler

U-M also calls on the Big Ten to honor due process, which would mean the league wouldn't administer any discipline until an investigation could be completed and then ample time given Michigan to respond to any findings.

“There is no reason to shortcut a full investigation in favor of summary punishment," the U-M response reads, warning that any action taken otherwise would be irresponsible and unfair. That, of course, is rich coming from an institution whose leaders actively campaigned for immediate discipline and criminal charges against eight Michigan State football players involved in the 2022 tunnel fight at the Big House. In that case, Michigan had no regard for due process, which was actually owed to those MSU players since the matter was a criminal investigation, unlike Michigan's current predicament. There is no right to due process here since the matter isn't occurring in a court of law but instead within the confines of a group U-M has voluntarily joined and to whose rules it voluntarily agreed.

Michigan's entire argument here is conspicuously transparent. They couldn't care less about due process as a fundamental right owed to everyone. They only care about it when they stand to benefit from it. The whole due process talking point is just a thin veil for U-M's actual motive, which is of course to delay and forestall any and all punishment until after the conclusion of this college football season. It couldn't be more obvious. The Wolverines are demanding due process only as a means to buy themselves enough time to win a national championship before the sword of Damocles finally drops.

And that right there is all anyone needs to know in order to arrive at the necessity of a serious in-season penalty here. Michigan knows the repercussions of this scandal will be toothless if rendered after this year. They're openly admitting that they don't care if an eventual NCAA ruling forces them to vacate a national championship so long as they win it before any action is taken against them. That's because vacating victories and even championships is a completely hollow punishment.

RELATED: By Demanding Due Process In 2023, Michigan's Stance Is in Stark Contrast with ... Michigan in 2022

U-M may not be allowed to hang a banner that says 2023 National Champions, but they will still benefit from it via recruiting and myriad other impacts, including economic ones. Vacating that title wouldn't erase it from the public consciousness. That championship will still exist for Michigan, except in the eyes of the NCAA.

That blatant disregard for typical after-the-fact NCAA sanctions is precisely why the Big Ten ought to implement disciplinary measures of actual consequence now. What exactly those should be is open to interpretation. There is no precedence to work off of here, to which much of this situation's complicated nature owes.

What's not complicated, though, is determining whether Michigan is guilty of any serious wrongdoing. It's obvious to everyone that grave misconduct has been committed here, so much so that U-M's illicit scheme is practically a cheating innovation. Even Michigan and their fans know it deep down, as evidenced by their steadfast and ardent resistance.

But if you're genuinely still of the mind that Michigan didn't cross a line or that what they've done isn't severe, or if you're simply still on the fence, I would urge you to read their official response to the Big Ten. Make sure you read all 10 pages and that you give ample time to internalize everything therein.

Then pay particular attention to what wasn't included in all of those pages and thousands of words. Specifically, a denial.

Michigan Scandals, Controversies, and Embarassments During Warde Manuel's Tenure as Athletic Director

Michigan athletics has been engulfed by multiple scandals, controversies, and embarassments over the last two years, all occurring on athletic director Warde Manuel's watch.

As the issues continue to mount, and Manuel continues to be practically invisible to the media and public, it's a wonder Manuel hasn't been fired already.

Gallery Credit: Getty Images

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