in town for free camps
Today was Return Volley day in the WFJihad; Rodriguez spoke to the Toledo Blade, made an appearance on the Huge Show, and held a teleconference with various reporters. I haven't listened to the teleconference yet, but did listen to "Huge".
The Huge interview was mostly a rehash of the Blade article except for one point I don't believe has been broached so far: Rodriguez's office cleaning took place in the middle of a typical workday in the WVU offices, in the midst of secretaries and associates and what-not.
Rodriguez has provided his side of the story now and probably won't be heard from again on this topic; WVU's "investigation" continues apace.
Sugar rush. Ryan Mundy refers to Mike Barwis as "a live wire." Uh... yeah (NSFW, but not in a naked way):
Talking. Orson interviewed yrs truly about the state of Big Ten recruiting; unfortunately a small part of the bit it on Michigan got cut off, though anyone who's followed this blog isn't going to learn anything shocking.
ALL HAIL LEMMING. At MGoBlog our policy on recruiting sites is simple: whichever one thinks the most highly of Michigan recruits wins. This year, Tom Lemming wins:
- #11 Sam McGuffie(!)
- #45 Brandon Smith
- #49 Boubacar Cissoko
- #59 Dann O'Neill
- #80 Daryl Stonum
- #93 Brandon Moore
All is forgiven, you oily, muscled ex-postal worker, you.
"Pitt's out, period. I won't go there, for sure," Pryor said. "I get false stuff said about me all the time. I'm used to it."
Pryor already took an official visit to Ohio State and said he counts Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Louisiana State, Oregon and Penn State among his finalists.
"I want to play in a college town, a facility that has 100,000 and is packed," Pryor said. "That's how I want to do it."
...then proceeds to dole out stadium capacities and fill percentages to eliminate non-Big Ten teams. VB then cuts OSU because of the college town thing to reach the inescapable "Pryor to Michigan... or, uh, PSU I guess!" conclusion.
Let's hope he places a strict limit of 200k on the town he decides to live in, but I think that was more a response to people quizzing him about Pitt. Pitt's in Pittsburgh, doncha know, and regularly packs its stadium to 50% of capacity. Pryor was expressing reasons he was not going somewhere; in context that quote is sadly without import.
I need some positive encouragement from the you about the football team in 2008. While I think Rodriguez is a GREAT coach and can do amazing things for Michigan, my concern with his hiring was always the transition. While I'm excited about the new era of Michigan football, I need someone to convince me that we're not going to go 6-6 next year. My big fear is a John Beilein-like transition period. Here's the parallel:
1. New coach comes in with a radically different philosophy
2. A large and talented senior class leaves the roster inexperienced (Hart, Henne, Long, Kraus, Crable, Adams, Englemon) vs. (Sims, Petway, Harris, Abram)
3. A collection of other experienced contributors leaves by choice or otherwise (Manningham, Arrington, Mallet....others?) vs. (Baker, Morris, Price, Smith)
4. The team is now composed of talented but inexperienced players who are not a great fit for the type of scheme the coach wants
5. The coach somewhat writes off the season while he pushes his system in place
Now, I certainly realize that the basketball team was not in great shape regardless of the transition and that losing 8 contributors from basketball is far more drastic than losing 10 from football. However, the similarities are starting to worry me. Everyone will now assume that we're getting Pryor - but what if we don't? Tell me why we can win 8 or 9 games....or can we?
-Adam R Cole
Uh, well... next year looks pretty rough to me and your basketball analogy is terrifying. I hate your analogy so much.
The upside: even with the departures of Manningham and Arrington, that's only eleven contributors departing. Michigan was pretty young this year and returns its entire defensive line plus its top three corners.
The downside: Freshman quarterback of some variety, entirely new offensive system, one returning WR with appreciable experience, and wholly new safeties. Ugly kicker: More attrition is on its way, as Rodriguez has repeatedly stated he expects to sign a full class of 25 players. Ugly kicker x2: road games against Penn State and Ohio State and, uh, I guess Notre Dame. Who will still probably be bad, but... yeah. So will we, in all likelihood.
I'm not expecting anything great.
so, we know that coach rodriguez (i cannot do coach rod sounds like a bad porn moniker) wants a full recruiting class of 25, but i am curious as to what you are hearing vis a vis antonio bass.
the kid will likely never play again, but he has worked his ass off (from the little i read) and stayed in school. is there any chance that the road to 25 recruits will come on the back of guys like bass?
i think coach is a good honorable man, and denying a 'ship to someone like that would have profound affects, not mainly upon his psyche, but his life options as right now the UM degree, along with his perseverance, are two things that can greatly aid his future. it would also seemingly send the wrong message to players. no?
thought you might look into/weigh in on this.
Players who cannot continue because of medical hardship can be removed from the team but keep their scholarship without occupying one of the 85 slots. When Zia Combs was forced to retire because of a neck injury, he remained on scholarship. If Bass does not return, and despite hopeful noises from his father whenever they ask him about it that seems exceedingly likely, he will still be able to get his degree.
brain, [WORD -ed]
i was reading "West Fin'Jihad: Day II" today and i finally reached the
doesn't it seem like WVU must have some good reasons to be *this* pissed at
RR? i mean, coaches leave schools all the time and very rarely is the venom
this poisonous...and in this case from the university itself, not just the
now, i know one might say, "yeah WVU has 4 million reasons to be mad at RR"
but this seems over the top.
put that together with the comments from the crazy NC State player who used
to go to WVU about RR.
point is, are you at all worried that RR might be, well, someone who we will
be cursing in 4 years with adjectives like dirty, selfish, slimy, etc.?
(Nick refers to this post from Scout's message boards by one Sean Berton, late of WVU and NC State.) I don't lend Berton's post much credence, since he transferred immediately upon Rodriguez's arrival and has no personal knowledge of the guy except a couple meetings, during which he found Rodriguez to be the worst person ever... possibly because Berton was not wanted by the new staff. Berton compares and contrasts Rodriguez to Nehlen, painting the latter a saint and the former a devil, without mentioning that Nehlen was and is one of Rodriguez's biggest supporters. Sour grapes from a guy in no position to make credible accusations.
As to your larger point: there is obviously extreme animosity between Rodriguez and the WVU athletic department that goes both ways. WVU is bitter, suing Rodriguez pre-emptively and releasing this likely-spurious shredding garbage. Today WVU papers are filled with the shocking revelation that Rodriguez called Michigan recruits after being announced as Michigan's head coach. Rodriguez has made some relatively mild public comments about being disappointed in the reaction of his home state and made a dark comment about stuff "coming out" that was tinged with bitterness; he's also either enlisted WVU booster Ken Kendrick to tell his side of the story or, at the very least, not politely asked him to shut up. His quotes in the Blade today are the topper.
This is an ugly public spat on both sides. He and Ed Pastilong hate each others' guts, and their uneasy truce finally blew up in the aftermath of the Pitt loss. That's the only way, IMO, that Rodriguez was ever going to leave WVU: if he found the working environment intolerable. Now each has found their nemesis in the other.
What does this say about Rodriguez? Well, not everyone gets along with him. He can probably be a bit of a dick from time to time. And Ed Pastilong is his antipode. It doesn't mean much else. For all the talk about Rodriguez's horrible ethics, WVU hasn't had a hint of scandal in his tenure there. His major sin appears to be making do with a cast of dodgy characters like Pacman Jones, et cetera, because of the limitations imposed on him by West Virginia's status as a state entirely devoid of football talent.
Though Jones and Chris Henry have proven themselves to be world-class jackasses, many other people in the WVU program have not. Pat White's a legendarily nice guy. Owen Schmitt is 250 pounds of awesome. WVU didn't score at all in the 2006 Fulmer Cup and had but 9 points in 2007, six less than Michigan. (I wonder if EDSBS ever anticipated the day when the Fulmer Cup would be used in a serious discussion of disciplinary issues. ) Nine points in the last two years is well within the bounds of reason.
Rich Rodriguez has a bad reputation, but for what?
One thing that might cause Michigan to regret the hiring of Rodriguez might be wild success followed by a big-bucks NFL departure. (I'll believe Michigan is not a terminal college job when I see it.) Personally, this would be okay with me since Rodriguez's name is built entirely around his NFL-unfriendly offense. Teams would be leery until he had a Spurrier-like run of ownage, and if Rodriguez does that... uh... okay.
Would such a departure be "selfish"? I guess in a technical sense, yes
. He would be doing something he wanted to do. But not really.
More in this vein:
For a guy who likes to come off like a real hard driving, critical blogger you either are displaying some incredible naivete or are just wearing maize-and-blue glasses regarding the destruction of records.
Rodriguez did do something in his office to some materials. Even the most venomous West Virginia, Rodriguez-hating fan can't make up all the details that have been provided.
At the very least what Rodriguez is accused of doing is petty and vindicative. Why in the world would he want to destroy player records? Was there something to hide? Or was he just pissed off at the nasty response to his leaving W. Va.?
At the very most Rodriguez performed a criminal act, ridding himself of personnel records, all of which are confidential and none of which he had a right to destroy. He works at a public university and I very seriously doubt that a UM coach, who if he/she had done the same thing would feel a nasty outcry.
I was a Rodriguez fan long before that eventful Friday afternoon when The Sporting News reported that Martin and Campbell were interviewing Rodriguez for the job.
His hiring sent me into an orgasmic ecstacy. I guess all orgasms are ecstatic.
This one was particularly powerful.
The fact is that at least some of the accusations will turn up to be true. Depending on how much is proven perhaps Fred Jackson will have "interim head coach" added to his resume.
Marvin and I are operating with different assumptions. His assumption is that there is enough smoke to assume Rodriguez did something wrong. My assumption is that Rodriguez has pissed off a group of people like no coach ever did before and they're out for blood. In clear terms: nothing the West Virginia athletic department claims can be trusted. Everyone from the governor on down is pissed and trying to nail Rodriguez on anything they possibly can. Witness the Rodriguez-phones-M-recruits thing from today.
If you're inclined to think Rodriguez is equally unreliable on this matter, fine. That leaves this situation at a he-said-they-said stalemate. Of the two scenarios -- Sacred Single Hard Copy and Insane Rednecks -- which seems more plausible? I know which one I've got.
Riposte. For those wishing Rodriguez himself would say anything, he has. The Toledo Blade, oddly, has the scoop:
"The things they are saying are not true," Rodriguez said. "It's a lie. How can you put out lies and think it's OK? They don't care what the truth is, they just want to smear Rich Rodriguez." [It don't matter to Jesus! -ed]
"The implication to me is slanderous," Rodriguez said. "What they are implying, to me, attacks my integrity, and that's why I'm so upset. This has gone too far.
"It's bad enough that they throw things out there, and my family gets harassed, my relatives get threatened, and they try and attack my credibility right in the middle of recruiting. And then to throw something out like this, with anonymous sources ...
"And how it becomes a story, and why it's become big news, to me, is just baffling."
"Every coach got a file when a kid missed a class. The academic people got it, and the athletic director got it. All this stuff about not having contact information or academic information on the kids, it's a lie, it's all a lie," Rodriguez said.
"They're painting a picture like I'm the only one that had those files, and I threw them all away. That's not the truth. They're painting a picture like I erased all the kids' files, and that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. And anyone with any common sense that's in a Division I athletic department or football program knows the same thing."
This is the crux of the matter: the accusations against Rodriguez are completely, wholly, and totally unbelievable. There is no way WVU does not have all the critical files the need backed up. This is a multi-million dollar operation. This is not 'Nam. Even if they did not follow basic procedures every small business in America manages, there is no way WVU would permit the announced coach of another school into the Sacred Single Hard Copy Room with a shredder, nor that "several" people would watch him shred Sacred Single Hard Copies and do nothing about it except let a single tear run down their cheek. Anything that only Rodriguez had was by definition a personal file.
More devastating allegations from WVU:
In the hours after telling his team he was leaving for the University of Michigan, former West Virginia football Coach Rich Rodriguez called at least two Wolverine recruits from his WVU cell phone, according to records obtained by the Daily Mail through the Freedom of Information Act.
The recruits in question are Boubacar Cissoko and Rocko Khoury, Wolverine commits from Michigan who never even looked at WVU. There is a third phone call that WVU thinks is Dann O'Neill, another Michigan commit from the state who wouldn't attend WVU if you held a gun to his mother's head, and others to places like Houston and Toledo that may or may not be to other Wolverine commits. This is a coach going to work at his new school after informing his old school of his decision, but doing it on the wrong phone.
Apparently either Dave Hickman or the WVU athletic department doesn't know anything about NCAA regulations, because this paragraph features in the article:
The NCAA recruiting calendar was also in a quiet and dead period when WVU believes some contact was made.
Dead periods and quiet periods have nothing whatsoever to do with phone contact -- coaches are allowed to call a recruit once per week. Instead they regulate in-person contact; a "dead" period means no in-person contact at all and a "quiet" period means no off-campus contact. The dead period regulation even has this disclaimer in it:
It remains permissible, however, for an institutional staff member to write or telephone prospective student-athletes during such a dead period.
Even an athletic department as addled as WVU's should know these things; throwing this in the article is an attempt to baselessly smear Rodriguez.
And it's one that appears to have worked. The Wizard of Odds frets that "the calls appear to have been placed during a recruiting dead period, meaning contact with recruits was forbidden, according to NCAA rules. This, of course, is an even bigger no-no." It is not a no-no. It is a yes-yes, but the dangerous assumption that something in a newspaper is correct causes memes like this to spread out of control. Reliable Spartan shill Mike Valenti got Hickman on his show yesterday and spent the time saying extremely balanced things like "he's [Rodriguez, not Hickman] being spiteful and really, really low about it." On PTI yesterday, Mike Wilbon called for Rodriguez's suspension until the matter's completion based on one anonymous source with no evidence but one hell of an axe to grind. Even Jim Carty, so skeptical at first, now claims that Rodriguez needs to "apologize and pay up". Apologize for what? Carty says that...
The first - and best - action the new coach could take is calling a press conference to announce he's paying West Virginia the $4 million buyout that was in the contract he signed.
It's the right thing to do.
You signed the contract. Live with it.
All well and good if Rodriguez is the only one in violation of the contract; he obviously does not think so. Neither do a whole bunch of pissed off WVU boosters. Was John Beilein supposed to "apologize and pay up" when he got his buyout reduced? Everyone regarded that little standoff as a matter for the lawyers and an obvious move by both sides that would end in a settlement -- these punitive buyout clauses are often regarded as unenforceable. Not so here. Why?
Look, if Rodriguez really did shred a bunch of critical WVU documents that had no duplicates elsewhere that's a serious problem. If these allegations turn out to be true it will seriously darken my opinion of this hire. But the accusations leveled are so improbable that what's far more likely is that some very bitter people in West Virginia just can't handle Rodriguez's departure.
I'm sure Dave Hickman is getting great information from someone high placed in the WVU AD, as he claims. But he appears to be regurgitating the information provided without applying a critical eye to it. Thus the "dead and quiet" period comment, and the remarkably gullible publishing of WVU's ludicrous claims they had no idea who was even on the team in the wake of Rodriguez's exit.
"We think there was a guy named Pat something," say West Virginia officials. "And maybe a 'Noel,' though that girl must be a kicker."
Do not believe everything you read in the paper.
Expect more articles with quotes like this:
University spokeswoman Amy Neil said the WVU Office of Admissions and Records maintains grade and attendance records in a separate location, so no student-athlete's academic career is at risk.
"We're not sure what records are missing, but all student records, including those of the football team, are kept within the Office of Admissions and Records," she said. "Those records are secure."
Really. I'm shocked.
Orson Swindle: The BHGP post was completely in jest
Though, as always, that's an impressive shotgunning there.
i considered that, i really did
Orson Swindle: They're completely f***ing around.
Brian: aw f***
are you sure?
Orson Swindle: Pretty sure.
But their response could be worth waiting for.
Brian: aw, goddammit
I, uh, well... yeah. Hawkeye State emailed me something one line and to the effect of "you knew I was joking, right?"
Aw... goddammit. I didn't, actually, except for the Ayatollah bit. I did consider it, as mentioned in the header, but eventually fell on the side of "real" because everything else I have seen multiple times on various blogs and message boards. Even though everything in it was really stupid it seemed plausible. I should have known better, as rampant stupidity is most certainly not a part of BHGP's usual repertoire.
I am the stupidest.
The latest on the fatwa. Rodriguez's agent has some responses:
The report has "a lot of misinformation and untruthful statements," Brown said.
Brown denied Rodriguez kept a personal file on each player and that a strength coordinator took photos of them. Every time players were tested, he added, "those records were given to the head coach and every assistant coach."
That means current head coach Bill Stewart should have copies.
"Regarding the class attendance records, I sure hope that West Virginia's compliance and academic office keeps those records because if they don't, they have serious institutional control problems," he said.
Brown said the university also should have any records involving the finances of the summer camps it ran.
He declined to answer questions about whether Rodriguez removed or destroyed documents.
Another quote, this one from an AANews article (all the articles about his agent's press conference or whatever have slightly different versions of the quotes, but no one has provided the entire thing verbatim -- frustrating):
"As any employee leaving a job, he's going to throw stuff in the trash," Brown said. "Personal information, personal letters from other coaches, his own game plans. Things like that he wanted to throw away, and at the same time didn't need to be found in the dumpster."
A dossier of the things Rodriguez is accused of shredding and their status:
|Contact info||No mention||Ludicrous. Look them up in the U directory. Or join Facebook.||N/A|
|Scholarship money awarded||No mention.||Even more ludicrous. WVU has no records of scholarship money distributed to their players save those on hardcopy in Rich Rodriguez's office?||N/A|
|Class attendance records||Sarcastic mention of compliance issues.||Similarly ludicrous. Unless Rodriguez and Rodriguez alone checked in on class attendance, someone else has these records, and if they don't the NCAA should pay WVU a nasty visit.||N/A|
|Personal conduct & community service||Refuted.||Not completely ludicrous, but it's still pretty doubtful that Rodriguez has the only copies of various things the players did, good or bad. Brown:
"Rich never kept any players' personal files," Brown said, adding that the computers in the coach's office and at a secretary's desk at the Puskar Center kept many of the same files.
|Would be sketchy, if Rodriguez knew he had the only copies.|
|Summer Camp financials||Refuted.||Right, Rodriguez has an apache box with Drupal on it and runs an online store that completely covers his summer camp financials. Ludicrous.||N/A|
|Booster data||No mention.||Right, WVU has no records of who gave the AD money. Ken Kendrick has to buy endzone tickets.||N/A|
|S&C files||Said that all assistants got copies and Stewart should have them.||A plausible thing for only Barwis to have the nitty-gritty details of; directly contradicted by Brown, who also denied any pictures, sexy or otherwise, were taken.||If the agent's version of the story is true Rodriguez was well within the bounds of reason to shred his copies.|
|Recruiting info||No mention||Totally plausible.||Possibly sketchy.|
This is a tempest in a teapot at worst. Of the recruits who decommited from WVU, one (Josh Jenkins) is visiting WVU, so they must have figured out his phone number again, and two (Taylor Hill and DJ Woods) are likely going to sign with Rodriguez and weren't going to go to WVU anyway without his presence.
MVictors got in touch with his local law-talking guy, who had this to say:
Coach Rod is certainly allowed to destroy his own personal stuff, but what exactly did he destroy and who owns it? From another related legal angle, there are intellectual property laws that come into play in the employment setting â€” i.e., whether the records he creates in connection with his employment are the property of his employer.
You might have had to sign an "inventions assignment" agreement (sometimes called a proprietary rights agreement) in your field, and many companies make that a standard part of their employee handbook and hiring practices.
More at MVictors; the upshot is skeptical.
Tick tock, you don't stop. A source indicates that WVU has been badgering the NCAA about potential violations committed by Rodriguez from the moment he accepted the Michigan job. Foremost among these is the infamous call to Terrelle Pryor before Rodriguez had been officially hired; there are supposedly like incidents. How WVU would ever prove Rodriguez said anything other than "Recruit X, I am going to be the head coach at Michigan," I don't know, but hell hath no fury like a West Fin' Jihadist.
Furthermore, WVU is attempting to insinuate to the NCAA that the shredded documents contained evidence of major violations committed by Rodriguez which the WVU athletic department of course knew nothing about. Yes, they are essentially saying "we have no idea whatsoever was on those documents, but we're pretty sure they were large huge big NCAA violations."
The comparison to end all comparisons. I may have to enter the blogger protection program after this, but... I swear to God this is exactly like that episode of "A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila." You know, the one in which the lovable but functionally retarded* West Virginian gets booted by the hot property, then proceeds to lose his shit in spectacular fashion, leaving everyone feeling dirty in the aftermath? You know, this one?
Yeah. This reminds me of that.
*(not meant to impugn the entire state, just the WVU athletic department.)