The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
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.)
Update: Don't read this. Read this. I am full of fail.
Swearin! Keep the kids away!
I'm still trying to figure out whether or not this Black Heart, Gold Pants post is entirely in jest or not, because the options here are either 1) it's really poorly phrased satire or 2) it's epically dumb. Neither of these things are expected from BHGP, even if the guy writing the piece is the one who flung Hawaii in the top ten of BHGP's blogpoll ballot for most of the year. How did that work out? About as well as Jake Christensen oh snap.
I think I've settled on 2 with a side of 1 when it comes to the accusations of islamo-fascism. If there are any islamo-facists in this kerfuffle, they're the jihadists from Morgantown. So, then, I have been Called Out and it is time to Throw Down because when you Mess With The MGoBlog You Get The Virtual Horns.
Step to it. Fisk style.
For the record, we were cautiously terrified of Rich Rodriguez to Michigan. But we made that calculation back when we thought Rodriguez was a football coach and not, well, a sleazebag.
I'm sure there will be plenty of awesome reasons to back up this "sleazebag" assertion.
First, RichRod bolts out of Morgantown in the dead of night like the bastard stepson of Art Modell.
(All these links point to MGoBlog posts, btw.) Yes, in West Virginia "the dead of night" is somewhere between 7 and 9 PM. The entire state, wreathed in a deadly black cloud of coal dust, gets three hours of sunlight a day and generally resembles Mordor. The departure was so secretive that fatwa-bearing jihadists who, judging from their message board posts, take three hours to read a road sign were there to chant O-H-I-O at him and take blurry pictures to post at Fatwa Central.
This accusation boils down to "took the Michigan job... and decided to go to Michigan to do so."
Then RichRod goes on Jim Rome (yeah, I know) and slams Ryan Mallett because the kid had the audacity to consider transferring out of a system that relies on a running quarterback and is actively pursuing Terrelle Pryor.
This is the "slam" of Ryan Mallett contained within that post:
"I believe he's going to transfer," Rodriguez said. "He has not told me specifically and he's told other folks in the program. I talked to him a couple times, again, before the bowl game and once after the bowl game and gave him our spiel. But, again, if he chooses to leave, he's going to make a choice that's best for him, and we'll be OK."
"I talked to him and all the quarterbacks about how our system can adapt to the quarterback because we've had throwing quarterbacks in this system that have had great careers and gone on to the NFL and all that," Rodriguez said. "But I did it a couple times (with Mallett.) I recruited him once, I recruited him twice and after the third call, I'm thinking okay, three calls is enough for me. It's a great institution and if somebody doesn't want to be here that's already here, you wish them well and move on."
"He's going to make a choice that's best for him!" "If somebody doesn't want to be here that's already here, you wish him well and move on!" What an asshole!
Obviously something is seriously wrong with Iowa. If this qualifies as a "slam," Hawkeye State will keel over dead upon reading this post. We should probably just eject the state and all its testosterone-free girl-men into space, where they can suffocate like the prancing nancies they are.
Those moves really just make you a dick.
Indeed. Going to the place where you are employed and wishing a departing player well: total 100% dickitude.
But we aren't done; apparently, on his way out of Morgantown, RichRod did his best Arthur Andersen impersonation: [long excerpt from the WVU article highlighted yesterday excised]
This is specious to say the least. Recruiting and summer camp notes? Financial records? Booster rolls? Training schedules and results? The training notes are especially intriguing, given Michigan's new S&C coach and his love of "bioenergetics":
"The science of bioenergetics is the basis of our conditioning program. It's all designed scientifically to meet the end needs of an athlete who plays in a given position under Rich Rodriguez."
Sure thing, Victor Conte.
Bold words from a fan of a team that pumped Robert Gallery so full of testosterone you could shove him into Roger Clemens' ass. (They probably extracted it from the general public; this explains the fainting belles that comprise the rest of the state's purported male population.) And yes, it's "specious" if, in fact, the allegations are entirely true and not 90% made up by lunatic jihadists from the Black Lands. Which they so obviously are, you daiquiri-sipping pansy. Sure, there are no computers and no copies of these critical files. Sure, there's no backup system whatsoever. Sure, completely awesome head coach Bill Stewart who totally deserves the head coaching job has no idea how to "log up". Sure, all these ludicrously implausible things put forth by insane rednecks are obviously true.
While the rest of the football world gave a collective "Whawhawhaaaa?", MGoBlog,* not exactly a rock of journalistic integrity, spent most of the day on other Rich Rodriguez matters.
For the record, those links have between them 459 words of non-quote content, an average of 115 each. MGoBlog more than doubled that.
As for the shredding, Brian is curious but hardly worried:
Why would Rodriguez shred all this stuff?...Michigan fans: because he knew crazy WVU officials/FOIA-toting fans would go over the documents with a fine-toothed comb and attempt to nail him on every piddling recruiting violation like "called five minutes late."
Yeah, or he wanted to destroy all evidence of a continuing scheme under which Rodriguez would take booster (read: Arab oil) money, funnel those funds through tax-free municipal bonds, then send the now-clean cash to trainer Brian McNamee so WVU players could spend their offseasons getting "the Roger Clemens treatment."
You prick. You ballet-dancing, View-watching, Sara Jessica Parker-adoring skirt. I have been mostly joking in this post, but this is a complete misrepresentation of that portion of my post. Here it is in full:
Why would Rodriguez shred all this stuff? (Ohio State fans: because he's a dirty cheater covering his tracks. West Virginia fans: because his one goal in life is to destroy us. Michigan fans: because he knew crazy WVU officials/FOIA-toting fans would go over the documents with a fine-toothed comb and attempt to nail him on every piddling recruiting violation like "called five minutes late.")
What is obviously being communicated: different fanbases will leap to different conclusions because of their inhere
nt biases. What the snipped version communicates: MGoBlog is hopelessly biased.
We ... had the audacity to ... dick ... Arthur Andersen.
Whoops! Bad snippage. My bad. Although this obviously proves Black Heart, Gold Pants is gay for Arthur Andersen.
The kicker, IMO, is that the post is titled "You Can't Spell "Myopic" Without "Michigan Wolverine Football... Yup"; this aggression will not stand coming from a fan of a program who's coach makes six quintillion dollars a year but still places his kid -- already on football scholarship! -- in federally-subsidized low-income housing. Oh, and:
Ten percent of Ferentz's team was arrested for Serious Business this year, and the Hawkeyes have suffered a 44% attrition rate (hey, what do you know: a link that actually points to a post that says what you imply it says) since 2002. Myopic? Myopic? Look in the mirror. You'll see tears and smeared mascara, but only very vaguely because you have astigmatism all up in your ass.
Who's the dick now, dicks?
The Diag notes a kinda-important visit that's no longer happening in February:
Big news on the Terrelle Pryor front - he has changed his official visit date and will head to Ann Arbor this weekend (he was originally scheduled to come in just before signing day).
This is good news. Pryor has three weekends left to get official visits in, but his basketball team has Saturday games on the last two. This upcoming weekend is the last one he can spend the entirety of at a particular. He's serious about Michigan. Reported interest in Oregon and LSU is unthreatening: unless Pryor's going to commit somewhere he's never been he's basically got to fly in and out of these places thousands of miles from his home in a day.
Pryor will in all likelihood attend Michigan's 7PM basketball game against Iowa. For anyone in the area wondering what they can do that will infinitesimally affect Pryor's decision in a positive direction: for God's sake go to the Iowa game. Especially if you are hot or prone to getting extended "We Want Pryor" chants going. Buy tickets here. Buy 4-or-more "Family Packs" here. Purchase colorful posterboard upon which to offer Pryor your firstborn here.
One bit of good news:
Muskegon High School coach Tony Annese said Tuesday afternoon that his former player had decided to return to Michigan for his senior season.
"I had lunch with him and we really talked about getting a degree," Annese said. "And he said that's what he wanted to do."
The only player rumored to be an early-entry candidate we've yet to hear from is Tim Jamison, though he's expected to stay.