Larry Foote has added his words of support for Rodriguez and Barwis, characterizing the Freep story as a "joke." I would link to this, but at the moment it's only posted on a website that is not to be linked to, per our fearless leader known mysteriously as "Brian."
I'd like to give props to David Shuster, normally not the most pleasant TV presence in the world, for taking the last part of this hour to host John Bacon on MSNBC.
Both did a pretty great job of standing up for the U and RichRod.
Of course, the segment didn't have really any pretense of objectivity (WHOA, unusual concept to R/S!), but it's been one of the better jobs of pushing back against the allegations, and orchestrated by an alumnus no less.
So, David Shuster, for today, you are +1.
(PS, If MSNBC posts the video, I'll try to add it in the comments.)
He starts out pretty level headed. Then sinks into
- "Bo would choke on his gum" and
- " Mostly, this means that the atmosphere in Ann Arbor is even more toxic than we knew"
Rich Rodriguez will be on ESPN's First Take at 12:30pm EST today. FYI
Having read the article and the response, I'm pretty comfortable in knowing that the NCAA is not going to drop the hammer on Michigan. There will likely be no probation or scholarship reduction. All this is a distraction. One that will blow over soon. So why are we so upset? Why can't I get excited about the season again?
The fact is, the story is out there, and herher everyone laugh at scUM (uh .. we still went 3-9 last year). Also, everyone laugh at Tennessee, USC, PSU, and Iowa, etc., schools whose issues are, in my epinion, far more serious and pervasive than Michigan's. In fact, almost all schools have some experience with this level of "distraction". The deeper question is, why are we, as well as the national media, so concerned?
Is it because we run a squeaky clean program? Or because we never get in trouble? For those that think the issue stems from the fact that Michigan never, ever dreamed of skirting a rule prior to Rodriguez, I submit David Terrell's "3.3" GPA. Anyone that is familiar with DT knows that he was not the "bomba$$student". Something always stunk about that to me. Love it or hate it, but the puppet show that is Michigan football shows strings when you look close enough. Maybe DT was like Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting. Or, maybe something fishy was going on.
So, is it that we never get in trouble? There's no doubt that we haven't been in trouble, especially in football. But, we aren't immune to bad press. I'm a biased observer, but it seems like the press can't wait to pile on Michigan. Likely caused by years of excellence and large fanbases of our three rivals, but when Michigan does bad, for a lot of the country, the news is good. Lest anyone forget, we are not the only historical powerhouse (or the first) to lose to a D-IAA team. Just the most publicized.
IMHO, what's happening here is a boiling over of frustration. It's easy to deal with the negative when we own the Big Ten, save OSU. Things are much more personal when we're losing. However, it is important to note that, perhaps other than Notre Dame, we are the school that people love bad news about. Bad news about Michigan and ND sells.
With that backdrop, I think Bo/Gary/Lloyd is what Michigan needs. A headman that treats everyone outside of the program as a liability. An insular program that defends those inside aggressively, and keeps outsiders at bay. Also, we as a fan base, need to take a similar stance. Are we perfect? Nope. But, with the good and the bad, Michigan football is ours. As a fanbase, we need to understand that others love to tear our institution down. And we need to move on. So what that there are some silly accusations being leveled (it's not like we're paying off players, having player's get arrested, or cursing in practice). We need to be confident enough to blow it all off and move on. Stay excited for the season, and hopefully not feed the machine that will chase off RRod. To the extent that he isn't a homegrown "Michigan Man", the guy cares ... about the team, about his players, and about the institution.
Go Blue! Let's beat the Bronco's on Saturday!
Just so you don't have to read it, this is a paragraph from Drew Sharp's column:
"If it’s proven that Rodriguez broke NCAA rules, regardless of their practicality, Michigan has no alternative but to fire him — or risk exposing an internal hypocrisy of wanting to win the self-proclaimed 'Michigan way.'"