We flash back to August 29, 2009. Rosenberg has a smug, sinister smile. He has finally done it. His article; “Michigan Program Broke Rules, Players Say” will surely end forever this thing that he hates most. We see the clips of the Rodriguez press conference and the pundits bashing Rich. Ahhhh, sweet satisfaction!
Then it starts going badly for Rosenberg. First, MGoBlog (and other bloggers) start to point out the holes in the story. Then, more and more sportscasters and writers start calling the article a “witch hunt” and a disgusting piece of writing.
Very shortly, the official investigation ends. The conclusion, “We have found no evidence that the University of Michigan violated any NCAA rules concerning allowable football related hours” was unequivocal.
Michigan finished 2009 better than many had expected and has continued to improve.
We return to present day.
“How could this happen?” Rosenberg agonizes. It’s bad enough that Rich Rodriguez is still the coach at Michigan. But, now this!?” What haunts Rosenberg most is that now it is universally agreed that his article in the Freep did what no one thought was possible. It brought the entire Michigan community (players, coaches, students, alumni, fans, faculty, and even the athletic department) to be “All In For Michigan”. That article, his article had become the critical catalyst in the success of the team.
Rosenberg knows he was the primary reason that the thing he hated most, the thing he tried to end in flames did not just survive but prospered beyond all expectations. All this in less than 4 short years.
Rosenberg takes a small key from his pocket and opens the bottom drawer of his desk. For a long time he just stares at the dark object it holds. Finally, he reaches down ……..
So, what was the headline and how does it end? I’ve written my ending (which I will post tomorrow) but I would like to hear how everyone else would end the episode.
EDIT (around 3:44 PM): As those who have answered figured out, everyone was supposed to come up with unusual endings. If anyone remembers the Twilight Zone, nothing was ever what it appeared to be.
EDIT; The Ending
Finally he reaches down, closes and locks the drawer, and returns the key to his pocket.
We flash forward about 8 months. It is a glorious fall day. Rosenberg is pushing around a shopping cart collecting bottles and cans to pay for his next bottle of cheap wine. He is in a parking lot filled with thousands of cars. All around him people are laughing, eating, drinking, and having the time of their lives.
In the background is the most beautiful football stadium on the planet. There is a huge banner hanging from the top of the stadium which replicates the front page headline: "Michigan (13-0) National Champions"
Note: Craig Roh's father posted this on the Scout free board. It will eventually fall down the memory hole if not reproduced somewhere more permanent, so I've placed it here. HT: Other Brian of Genuinely Sarcastic.
I am Craig Roh's dad and had the pleasure of experiencing first-hand the recruiting process and first summer with the UM program. I feel obligated to share with readers concrete evidence of the integrity and compliance of the Rich Rod program and staff. My son chose UM because it is one of the few schools in the country that has great football AND academics. He could have gone to UCLA, Cal, Stanford, USC..all great academic schools and he chose Michigan because it had the best of both.
He also selected UM because of the intensity and straight talk of the coaching staff. The first person he met was Mike Barwis. After spending an hour with Barwis, Craig turned to me and said, "He will make me the best I can be. That's what I want." When he met Rich Rod, he was further impressed with his openness and vision. Craig came here BECAUSE of the work ethic that was to be required of him. He WANTS to be pushed to the limits, not coddled and pampered.
He was recruited by Tony Dews. I am here to say that Coach Dews complied with every letter of the rules throughout the entire recruitment process, even the ones that seem senseless. He would not even give me a ride to lunch or pick up a $5 lunch tab because it was against the rules. He informed us of the recruiting rules over and over again. As I watched 35 schools recruit my son, I would put Michigan at the top of the integrity scale when it came to recruiting.
Let's talk about Craig's first summer. Again, Coach Dews made it abundantly clear what we had to pay for and what the school was allowed to pay for, what our responsibilities were and what the school's were. I was tired of hearing about all the rules. It was like dealing with the IRS. There was NO push to report to school early, in fact we were told that if Craig wanted to report to summer school early, it was on his dime and totally voluntary. Craig's summer was very balanced. He VOLUNTARILY asked to watch tape as much as he could. Nobody pushed him to do it or even suggested it. He had more free time than he wanted.
Lastly, I know for a fact that Craig missed workouts in the summer and even missed parts of at least three practices at camp so that he could attend class. He was excused with absolutely no repercussions by the coaching staff.
I am assuming that players who choose to come to UM under Rich Rod are coming here BECAUSE its hard. They want to become the best. They want to be pushed. They want great academics and great football environment. I detest the accusations made by the Freep. They think they are doing these kids a favor by easing up the workload and, in reality, they are undermining the very reason the kids chose UM!
But, for further understanding, use Michigan's own website. Apparently John Beilein is a big fan of football and considers himself a coach of football as well when he states "Mike Barwis' unique concepts and approach to strength training for basketball has been paramount to our success over the past 5-6 years." (http://www.mgoblue.com/football/article.aspx?id=111612) Stupid West Virginia people and their misunderstandings.
Delving a wee bit further, perhaps these stupid people coded Michigan's various websites when they, as previously noted, showed Barwis and crew to be the overseeing S&C body for Schembechler Hall. Schembechler Hall is not too open, however. It's open to specific sports. Just football? Nope. Football, men's basketball, men's hockey, men's and women's golf, and wrestling. Could Barwis be just working in a corner while wrestlers work with their own coach or, perhaps, does he work closely enough with these similar athletes, in the same building, with no Googleable staff, that he would train and assist athletes enough that he forced a "300-pound Mountaineer heavyweight to -- in MMA terms -- 'tap out.'" (http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/story/10900421) Oh. According to MGoBlue, "his assistants handle ice hockey, softball, wrestling and men's soccer. He oversees a staff that includes seven full-time assistants, one part-time assistant and 10 interns." (http://www.mgoblue.com/football/coachbio.aspx?id=105308) As such, they're allowed to help their specific sports single-handedly but by being their boss, Barwis is barred from being considered department-wide... how?
Supporting this notion, by the way, is the fact that S&C coach Jon Sanderson was hired to oversee conditioning for basketball and Olympic sports (http://www.mgoblue.com/basketball-m/article.aspx?id=180836). This would demonstrate coaches of big Division One programs oversee more than one sport. The final proving factor is that Jim Plocki is the strength and conditioning coach for the hockey program (http://www.mgoblue.com/football/page.aspx?id=28884). As his boss, Barwis would also be responsible for the hockey program. More than one department. What many seem to miss, when arguing this point, is that the football team exclusively trains at Schembechler Hall. During off-season, non-mandatory workouts, Barwis and staff, should they be seen exclusively as football s&c coaches and, through stupid interpretation, not be allowed to be there, would have to vacate the premises or stay in their offices, perhaps only coming out for a drink of water or to put NCAA-sanctioned horse blinders on so as to not see Robinson working out while helping a walk-on women's golf member on her squats.
Thus, at worst, the definition of department-wide applies to strength and conditioning coaches for all of a school's sports. This would be impossible for Michigan as they have sport-specific S&C coaches and no general S&C administrators. And no, the trainers are NOT the equivalent. At best, the NCAA's rule applies to the "football department" and implies that the S&C coach set aside to work for offensive lineman cannot regularly handle voluntary workouts where, surprise surprise, the offensive lineman "happen" to be showing up. Bestest case, this is all stupid research and the point is to not have someone who answers to a specific position coach not there as a proxy.
Sharp went on Dan Patrick to talk about...well...stuff. Besides the typical anti-Michigan BS (like calling quality control grad assistants assistant coaches) I think there was something significant in there that shouldn't be glossed over.
He said that the "current players" in the article were the two freshmen answering questions at Media Day. He then suggested that the other four people who tattled on the program were former players and could very well have an axe to grind.
Dan Patrick: Current players turned on RRod. What's that all about?
Sharp: Well the Free Press talked to a couple freshmen at media day. They gave an honest answer - that's what work days are like. They were surprised how long it was. Now there are some former players, who knows if they have an axe to grind, but it doesn't preclude the very real possibility that these guys are telling the truth...hard to believe all these guys are lying.
In other words it seems like this isn't a case where anti-RRod people currently on the team are going to the media to damage his reputation.
Now why the article said their "sources" had to speak on condition of anonymity due to repercussions from coaches is definitely an unresolved issue. Perhaps they feared their current coaches on whatever crappy teams they play for would punish them?
Audio can be found at: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/danpatrick/blog/75663/index.html
Please share your interpretations.
Listen guys, I know this week’s been tough. Everyone is counting us out, questioning our heart, our determination, our will to win. The fans and media say this team is a rudderless ship, taking on water and circling the drain. They say we are still looking for our identity, that we are missing some pieces to the puzzle and they doubt we’ll be able to pull together and find our way. They say it’s going to be another rebuilding year, that we’ll stay the doormat while our rivals sip from the cup of glory.
They say I’m on the hot seat, that I’m under fire and that the AD and Boosters ain’t happy about the product I’m putting out on the field. They say the inmates are running the asylum, that I’ve lost control of this team and that there is dissention in the ranks. They wonder if I’ll make it to the end of the season, and I’ll admit that the buck stops with me.
Our rivals are licking their lips and ready to give us the business, and they can’t wait to come into our house and beat the snot out of us. They are looking for revenge and retribution, and they’ve got some bad intentions. They can smell blood in the water, and they are circling in for the kill. They are going for our jugular, gentlemen.
And the media is saying that this team isn’t a family anymore, that we are bunch of individuals and not a cohesive unit. They say we’ve got too many off-the-field distractions, that our heads are not in this game and that we don’t have leadership at the top. They say we’re on the ropes, and ripe for a knockout. They say that this first game is a “Must Win,” that this game will define our season for us. One week until the biggest game our lives.
We are in hell gentlemen.
Now if we go out there, and we half-ass it 'cause we're scared, all we're left with is an excuse; we're always gonna wonder. But if we go out there, and we give it absolutely everything - that's heroic.
We’ve just got to dig deeper, deeper than we’ve ever dug before. We’ve got to find that inner demon, that eye of the tiger. I don’t believe anything they are saying about us out there; the only opinions I care about are from the men in this lockerroom. And what I’ve seen and heard is a team that is tired of getting dirt kicked in its face, is tired of being told that it can’t win, that is doesn’t know how to play the game the right way. I see a team that’s been cornered like a wild animal.
And you want to know what happens when you corner an animal – it comes out fighting for its life. We are fighting for the way we live our lives men, the way Michigan Men play this game. We are fighting for respect, for the right to be considered champions again. We’re on a mission gentlemen, to claw our way back into the light. I don't care if you like each other of not, but you will respect each other. And maybe... I don't know, maybe we'll learn to play this game like men.
That means we need to be willing to give 110% every time we step out onto that field. I’ve seen the blood, sweat, and tears that you guys have given to this program during the offseason. There is no other group of guys I’d rather go into battle with than the men in this room. Because we are going to lose as a team, and we damn sure are going to win as a team.
Football is a game of inches gentlemen, and on this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us to pieces for that inch. We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch. Because every game this season is going to be a war, and we are going to have to earn everything we get. Nobody is going to hand us a victory; we are going to have to take it from them. This game is four quarters, and don’t take a play off. Nobody believes in us right now; let’s go out there and give them something to believe in.
The first quarter, hit them in the mouth and let them know that they’re playing football. They start talking, you keep quiet and play your game. Play within yourself, but just keep coming. And look out for each other, and if someone makes his mistake, clean it up for him.
Second quarter, turn up the heat. Don’t give them anything easy. They want to run it on you, make them pay. They want to throw it by you, make them pay. They try to stop you, make them pay. I want them to look over on our side of the field and realize that they’re in for the fight of their lives. I want them checking their plane tickets at halftime to see if they can go home sooner.
Third quarter, they’re going to get tired, but you’ll keep coming. You are the best-conditioned team in the country, and your heart is the strongest muscle in your body. You just keep hitting them, you keep scoring, and you’ll see the fear in their eyes.
Fourth quarter, that’s when champions are revealed. You are going to need to take your game to another level, gentlemen, but you have laid the foundation and you know, in your heart of hearts, that you can get there.
Now, this season is going to test you gentlemen. There are going to be times when you want to give up, when you don’t think you can give anything more. But that’s when you have to band together and pick each other, support your brother out there and raise all of your games to places you never dreamt possible.
We’re in the business of winning football games, and business is about to pick up. So let’s go out there and shock the world. Go Blue!