a terrible blight on our fine country
Michigan is in a more favorable situation than a corporation that has been publicly accused of say, securities fraud. Public allegations would trigger an immediate SEC investigation, and then you're playing defense in trying to manage the enforcement body's investigation, which makes it tough to build an affirmative case that the client didn't do anything wrong. Unlike the federal government, though, the NCAA is generally willing to let a university conduct an internal review before it takes a look at the situation, so Michigan is more in the position of a company that's had internal allegations of misconduct brought to its attention.
In that situation, the point of the investigation isn't to get to the "truth" in some objective sense, but rather to answer a simple question - knowing what we know, can we go to the enforcement body in question, lay out our facts, and convince them that there's no point in investigating any further? The client is hiring you to put together a case that answers the question in the affirmative. You're going to try to discover the negatives as well as the positives and not whitewash things if you conclude that something illegal took place, but you're also going to present the facts you do discover in the best possible light for your client.
Getting specific, Rosenberg's story indicated that Michigan has signed statements from every player stating that all time spent on football beyond 20 hours was voluntary. This is infinitely stronger evidence than you usually have in a situation like this. If the question is whether X occurred and harmed a group of people, and there are contemporaneous statements from the supposed victims that X did not occur, we'd end the investigation right there. Is there more to the story? Probably. But there's more than enough to convince the enforcement body that it's not worth pursuing the issue any further. The SEC or NCAA or whoever have limited enforcement resources, and they're not going to waste them investigating situations where they'd have no hope of winning any subsequent legal proceedings. And overcoming Michigan's paper trail in this situation would be virtually impossible.
So if a company in Michigan's position came to us we'd laugh, tell them they have nothing to worry about, take a look at the paper trail, and then either end things there or write a brief disclosure to the enforcement body saying that X was alleged, we examined documents that conclusively disproved X, and that's it. And that would be the end of it.
"We want the Big Ten championship and we're gonna win it as a team! They can throw out all those great backs and great quarterbacks and great defensive players throughout the country and in this conference. But, there's gonna be one team that plays solely as a team. No man, is more important than the team. No coach, is more important than the team. THE TEAM! THE TEAM! THE TEAM! And, if we think that way, all of us. Everything that you do, you take into consideration, what effect does it have on my team? Because, you can go in to professional football. You can go anywhere you want to play, after you leave here. You will never play for a team again! You'll play for a contract. You'll play for this. You'll play for that. You'll play for everything except the team! Think what a great thing it is, to be a part of something that is, THE TEAM! We're gonna win it. We're gonna win the championship again, because we're gonna play as a team! Better than anybody else in this conference, we're gonna play together as a team. We're gonna believe in each other. We're not gonna criticize each other. We're not gonna talk about each other! We're gonna encourage each other! And when we play as a team, and the old season is over. You and I know, it's Michigan again, MICHIGAN!"
From what I can tell a workout consists of some variation of the following routine:
1) Putting the ipod and armband on, setting the playlist you like best, and bobbing your head cause you know you can't dance
2) Getting to a station, putting weight plates on
3) Doing a set (and grunting for the last 2-3 reps)
4) Looking at yourself in the mirror while you muster up energy for the next set
5) Change the song on your ipod and begin the next set
Hyperbole aside, in that routine I see a relatively small portion of actual "workout" time. I imagine teams that calculate to the minute factor that into their time limits and only say time actually lifting iron plates is "workout time".
My point is that when a player says they take even 4 hours for a workout, it's entirely possibly that would still fall within a 2-hour limit.
Thanks NCAA for making all this crystal clear.
Now a slightly off topic complaint regarding punishments experienced for missing an off-season workout - note the article never states whether that punishment is for missing time in the within-rules mandatory 8 hours of off-season conditioning or for missing a voluntary workout. It simply aims to imply that it's for missing anything. That's the only "solid" evidence the article presents to show that off-season stuff is required - YES 8 HOURS IS REQUIRED!
Furthermore, if you schedule time to workout and don't show up (voluntary or not) - shouldn't you be punished. Your'e wasting someone else's time by making an appointment and not showing up.
As a proud Michigan graduate and individual who is responsible for guiding, coaching, and mentoring a team, I'd like to voice my support for Coach Rodriguez. As you know from your sailing career, character is shown to the crew when sailing rough waters. It's a lesson that I've learned personally and from observation. It's clear to me that Coach Rodriguez has character that is second to none. Through one of the most turbulent times in Michigan football history, there has been no wavering in his commitment to the players, coaches, and fans. No excuses were given by him at any time. Now, with accusations made regarding violation of practice restrictions, he has shown his character again and stands by his word in a public forum without placing blame or making attacks on the accuser. I am proud to say he is the football coach of the team I support.
Coach Rodriguez must produce results on the field. But with the solid example he and his staff set for the student athletes and for the general public, I believe the good results are inevitable.
Please pass along my support to Coach Rodriguez, his staff, and the players. And please remind them all - It's great to be a Michigan Wolverine!
I'm sure the grammar police will be on this in 3... 2... 1...
It's a tad long, but the primary message is that RR and his staff are terrific people and Rich in particular is a high-character guy -- his closing talk to the campers was off-the-cuff (seems he never reads a statement -- comes from the heart and the head) and hugely meaningful.
Evan was met at the entrance to Yost for camp sign-in by Tony Gibson -- big handshake, big smile, and asked Evan if he'd hit anyone yet today. Great welcome.
We then were directed to a table with Coach Smith and his wife, then to a table with Coach Frey, then Coach Tall and on down the line.
After sign-in, we went over to Schembechler Hall where Evan had his picture taken with RR, who told me I had a nice looking son (ok, I'm sold).
For the week, the entire camp for 13 to 15 year olds was run by RR and his staff. Coach Robinson and Coach Hopson worked the linebackers, which was Evan's group. Everything they did was "on the hop".
The dorm counselor was Scott Draper, a very fine gentleman who commanded the attention and respect of the 200 or so young fellows there.
We parents were treated with great warmth and respect, while the kids had the times of their lives. They were told that they may have come from a lot of different places, but for the camp, they were all Wolverines and all in together.
At the end of the camp, RR gave an off-the-cuff farewell that was priceless:
Take care of your parents,
take care of your brothers and sisters,
take care of your friends and teammates,
and take care of your schoolwork.
If you do that, everything else will follow.
I also had a chance to see Mrs. R holding court with a bunch of moms -- it looked like the weekend football mom's coffee klatch -- Rita couldn't have been more charming and welcoming.
These are terrific people and our beloved program is in fine hands. Bill Martin made a great hire, Lloyd finished with class and has remained classy, and Rich Rodriquez is a natural-born West Virginian who continues the tradition of excellence from Coach Yost on down. Bo would be proud, would respect the emphasis on the team, and the long blue line of Michigan men and women should also be proud.
Naturally, since this reader dared offer a contrary opinion -- one simply requesting caution, restraint, and fairness, and suggesting a reasoned debate -- the post was promptly locked, and its author accused of flaming skullduggery. I'm neither a flamer nor a troll. I'm an M fan offering a different POV. Within twenty minutes, that POV was summarily quashed. Can't debate with facts? Eliminate it. Can't answer questions posed? Lock it out. You've proved my point, sadly.
I thought this was a blog inviting reasoned debate, not just one-side rants that defy any counter-arguments. But this blog, like most sports blogs, is increasingly proving to be a hall of mirrors in a house for the blind. That's not the Michigan way. Real Michigan people invite and welcome healthy debates. They don't just lock away those who happen to disagree.
BTW: I'm an M grad surrounded by other M grads and ticket-holders. We want debate. We admire a lot of the points Brian has made, but also see plenty of room for debate. Just because Brian says something doesn't mean it's indisputable gospel. You do realize that, don't you? There are holes in his arguments as well. Too bad nobody seems to want to consider those. Meantime, actual reporting (as opposed to "analysis") by other media seems pretty consistent with the Freep story. And SI, by the by, is preparing a larger story about same. You may want the story to go away -- don't we all? -- but that doesn't mean it will, or should.