at least it's not just us?
free press jihad
OCR FTW. I'll let those inclined pore over it. It sounds a lot worse in this format than it did coming from Brandon; it sounds like they have reasonable explanations for some of it. The QC folk being impermissibly involved sounds pretty bad, though, and one Alex Herron is so fired.
NOTICE OF ALLEGATIONS
President of the University of Michigan
[NCAA Bylaws 220.127.116.11.1, 18.104.22.168.1.1, 11.7.2 and 22.214.171.124 (2009-10 NCAA Manual)]
1. It is alleged that from January 2008 through September 2009, the institution's football program exceeded the permissible limit on the number of coaches by five when quality control staff members (noncoaching sport-specific staff members who were not counted as countable coaches) engaged in on- and off-field coaching activities. The quality control staff members included Adam Braithwaite (March 2008 to the present), Dan Hott (January 2008 to the present), Josh Ison (February 2009 to the present), Bob McClain (January 2008 to February 2009), Eric Smith (January 2008 to the present) and Bryan Wright (June 2008 to the present). Specifically:
a. During 2008 and 2009 winter and voluntary summer workouts, and outside of the regular playing season, quality control staff members regularly monitored and conducted skill-development activities with football student-athletes that occurred two days a week. Additionally, the quality control staff members coached the football student-athletes through those activities to improve technique and develop fundamental football-related skills. [NCAA Bylaws 126.96.36.199.1, 188.8.131.52.1.1, 11.7.2 and 184.108.40.206]
b. During 2008 and 2009 spring and regular-season football practice, quality control staff members regularly assisted ' with football student-athletes' flexibility and warm-up activities. Additionally, on some occasions, the quality control staff members provided advice and/or corrections to football student-athletes pertaining to technique and plays. [NCAA Bylaws 220.127.116.11.1, 18.104.22.168.1.1, 11.7.2 and 22.214.171.124]
c. From January 2008 through September 2009, the quality control staff members sometimes watched game and/or practice film with football student-athletes and provided advice and/or corrections to the football student-athletes pertaining to technique and plays. [NCAA Bylaws 126.96.36.199.1, 188.8.131.52.1.1, 11.7.2 and 184.108.40.206]
d. From January 2008 through September 2009, the quality control staff members sometimes attended meetings involving coaching activities. [NCAA Bylaws 220.127.116.11.1, 18.104.22.168.1.1, 11.7.2 and 22.214.171.124]
Please indicate whether this information is substantially correct and whether the institution agrees violations of NCAA legislation occurred. Submit evidence to support your response. [Editor's note: rest after the jump.]
The University received a notice of allegations last night and held this press conference in response. Tim is currently holding the notice right now and it should be available online soon, but what I gathered from the press conference:
- Michigan checked up on and punished players for missing class in the summer, as suggested earlier.
- QC assistants overstepped their bounds and did some prohibited coaching activities.
- The infamous Sunday workouts from the Free Press article were indeed too long. By 20 minutes. Because it's unclear what exactly counts when it comes to stretching. Similarly, there were instances where Michigan may have been over the 20 hour weekly maximum by about two hours because of similar stretching-related issues.
Your initial take on this is likely to be "WTF where's the beef," and… yeah. 1 and 3 seem incredibly minor items that will draw something even less than a slap on the wrist. Possibly an unpleasant poke. Two, depending on exactly what that entails, could warrant a bonafide slap. Nothing found comes close to the Free Press's WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN reporting, which brazenly suggested that Michigan was exceeding allowable maximums by a factor of more than two.
Free Press: Fail
Let's stew on that: it was immediately apparent to anyone who did a cursory google search on the topic that allowable practice limits are a supremely gray area that every program in the country does an end-around on. This did not appear in the article. This is what the article suggested:
Players spent at least nine hours on football activities on Sundays after games last fall. NCAA rules mandate a daily 4-hour limit. The Wolverines also exceeded the weekly limit of 20 hours, the athletes said.
This was blatantly dishonest at the time and—surprise!—it turns out that Michigan is not blowing through NCAA regulations without care. The infamous Sunday activities were 20 minutes over. Because of confusion about stretching.
First: I don't think this is going to be a big deal. But Brandon did bring up that apparently Michigan is still under probation for the Ed Martin thing because the NCAA case took forever to conclude and since the allegations date back a couple years now that Michigan was technically five months away from getting out from under that. For something that happened 15 years and two athletic directors ago.
Brandon was very clear that the NCAA takes these sorts of things into consideration and it was not likely to be a problematic thing, especially given the nature of the current allegations, but he brought it up. So I'm bringing it up.
Anyone who had any doubts about Dave Brandon's suitability as athletic director, and there were a few, must have dumped them about five minutes into this press conference. Brandon was epic. He gave transparent, honest answers that sound a lot like the fictional Rich Rodriguez who lives only in my (and perhaps your) head. You know, the one that passionately argues the case for Demar Dorsey with unassailable logic.
Brandon's Q&A session was a combination of justified deflection, smooth answers to hard questions, and one totally unambiguous declaration that nothing in the NCAA report would impact Rich Rodriguez's job security. Many people in the liveblog were giving it to Birkett for that question, but isn't it much, much better that it was asked and answered so forcefully? If it's not asked then this news cycle includes a bunch of questions about that. Now there are no questions.
Michigan has 90 days to provide a response and there will be an NCAA hearing in early August. If Michigan chooses to self impose sanctions—which was broached just like that: "if"—it will probably happen after the response and, obviously, before the hearing.
I am not entirely sure whether the allegations rise to the level of major violations but it certainly doesn't sound like it. Scholarship reductions seem exceedingly unlikely. More ASAP.
[UPDATE: Okay. Tim has just provided the documents and they explicitly state that the allegations "are considered to be potential major violations" and that if the institution believes any of them should be classified as secondary they should present that in their response.]
Drumroll please. As always, Live Blog Chaos Mitigation Post. The brief version: it's moderated so posts only show up after a producer approves them. This prevents the thing from descending into unreadable chaos.
U-M to hold media briefing about NCAA report
ANN ARBOR, Mich. --- The University of Michigan will hold a media briefing at 1 p.m. ET Tuesday, Feb. 23, in the Regents Room at the Fleming Administration Building regarding the NCAA report about the football program.
The briefing will include U-M President Mary Sue Coleman, incoming athletic director David Brandon and football coach Rich Rodriguez. They will take questions immediately following their statements.
In the months since the university launched its internal investigation I've heard a thousand things of dubious provenance that range from an asteroid hitting Ann Arbor to the NCAA taking away ten scholarships… from the Free Press. So I'm loathe to say anything definitively.
Here's the but you were waiting for: but I do have a couple of folk I trust who have proven themselves one step away from important people. These folk say the results of the investigation are "not expected to have major implications." They will report something on at least two issues:
- Michigan checks up on players to make sure they are in class, and has been doing this since Bo. (I know someone who's had football players as a TA and can confirm that polo-shirt wearing folk checked in on luminaries like Jake Long.) This has been going on during summer classes; apparently it is not kosher to do this.
- The "quality control" people at issue in the investigation have football coaching experience. One of them, for instance, is our new safeties/OLBs coach. Before his time at Michigan he had some stints at smaller schools. Someone testified that the QC people did not have coaching experience, which may have been an "honest mistake," which the NCAA will rule on. How could this be an honest mistake?
The people testifying weren't the gophers or anyone at the workouts. It sounds like they were people in compliance or elsewhere in the athletic department but not the football program who were either ignorant or deceitful, either of which would explain the rumors going around about heads rolling in the aftermath of the report.
I followed up but couldn't get any clarification as to whether not expecting "major implications" meant they didn't expect any major violations. A major violation can have a minimal effect, as we've seen consistently over the past decade, but any major violation would sully Michigan's to-date pristine record and create another totally awesome media avalanche. It would be just like Michigan to get hit by the NCAA for making sure its players are in class.
Again, I think the above is worth posting and is accurate. It may not be comprehensive and may be a positive spin on something nastier. We'll find out in about an hour.
We'll have a liveblog going at 1PM. Tim will be twittering as well.
Moderate ado about nothing. So some guy sued the regents for that "informal" meeting that went down a couple weeks ago that discussed either earth-shaking sanctions or lopping off the heads of the people in compliance who screwed up the logging, depending on which probably-baseless internet speculation you prefer. Many internet lawyers have weighed in on the suit. The consensus appears to agree with this university spokesman:
University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald told the Daily the regents meeting didn't violate any regulations set forth in the Michigan Open Meetings Act.
Fitzgerald said at the time the meeting did not fall under the act because it was an “informal” meeting of the Board of Regents, not a “closed” meeting as set forth in the act.
Additionally, Fitzgerald said the meeting was not even classifiable as a meeting as defined in the act. The Michigan Open Meetings Act defines a meeting as “the convening of a public body at which a quorum is present for the purpose of deliberating toward or rendering a decision on a public policy.”
Fitzgerald said because the meeting was not subject to the act, no meeting minutes were kept.
There's also an interesting thread on the board from a guy who just had an in depth conversation with a newspaper editor who recently filed a similar suit:
a winner in this lawsuit would get access to the information and reimbursement for attorney fees. However, these cases can last months (my contact mentioned legal fees had exceeded $40k for one case) and the reason a singular person may not pursue this for the “freedom of information”. Also, it is possible a judge may not rule in your favor due to opinion on if the procedures where properly followed and you are simply out the money with no access to the meeting minutes. Again, if I have other litigation pending, maybe I take the chance. If not, I would be an idiot since, even if I believe I am 100% right, I risk that a judge does not see my side of the case. I am also either representing myself or have a lawyer doing some pro-bono work since I would not want to bankroll this.
Having just heard a significant amount of information on this type of lawsuit from my newspaper editor contact, I am curious to understand the real motivations here. I struggle with the idea that a random person who reportedly loves the program and is only motivated by that he “…hopes and prays the university officials follow the rules…”.
Even if the suit has merit, the results of the investigation are due to be announced in a month or so, long before the thing could wind its way through the courts, and the only thing it would turn up would be records of the meeting-type object that evidently don't exist.
Folk interested in who this Very Concerned Alum is need only hop in the super-stalky thread on the message board. He's a litigation-happy Granholm political appointee currently mulling a re-election bid. Media reports consistently mention his status as an "alum," but he's not really:
Education: Graduated 1997, Renaissance High School, Detroit; BA in political science, University of Michigan-Dearborn, 2002; nearly two years at Thomas Cooley Law School, Oakland University
No offense to any satellite campus alums out there, but that's like claiming you're an Illinois alum when you went to UIC.
Would this be fake? Dolphins beatwriter Armando Salguero is advocating that Miami snatch Brandon Graham at #12—something that could actually give me an NFL team to root for if Ted Ginn gets deported—and runs a quote or two from BG. This would shatter the FAKE scale if accomplished, even at a combine:
He expects to run in the 4.5s at the Indianapolis Combine next week. And he loves the idea of playing 3-4 outside linebacker.
"Oh yeah, I feel real good," Graham says about dropping in coverage. "I've been working on my hips, working on my drops every day in practice for Michigan ... With a little coaching from the NFL guys, I believe I can get it done."
Stephen Ross now owns the Fins, so if he's as terrible an owner as Daniel Snyder this is definitely happening. In other BG news, New Era scouting says the similarities between Graham and Lamarr Woodley are "almost scary."
Aw, come on now. I like Andy Staples a lot but re-ranking recruiting classes after a few years and trying to pass this off is ridiculous:
2. Boise State
Analysis: Want to know why the Broncos are such a trendy pick to bust into the BCS title game next season? …
So how did the evaluators at Rivals -- and Scout and SI and everywhere else -- so badly underestimate this class? Simple. Boise State doesn't have a huge fan base. There aren't as many potential subscribers, so, from a business perspective, it doesn't make sense to spend as much time evaluating Boise State recruits as Alabama or Texas recruits. That's probably the biggest flaw in recruiting rankings; the teams outside the traditional power structure can be vastly underestimated. Because if you look only at the teams that traditionally finish in the top 15, the rankings are usually pretty accurate.
While I agree that bigger schools get a fudge factor Boise State doesn't*, it's virtually impossible to compare this class of Bronco starters to any other because all it's shown is vast superiority to the rest of the WAC. Boise has played one BCS schools the last two years, and while the Broncos beat pretty good Oregon teams both years that is nowhere near the sort of baseline you'd need to make that sort of assertion. If Cincinnati had played TCU and Boise State played Florida, are we having this conversation?
*(If Jake Ryan had committed to Boise State does he have three stars today? Probably not.)
Going back to the inconsistent and inconveniently-located well? UMHoops and the Wolverine Blog have a two-part basketball recruiting Q&A session that's required reading if you're interested in the future of Michigan basketball. There's a lot of Zeigler talk, and most of it has the same understated foreboding I've got: I don't think he ends up at Michigan. Given that and the lack of an official offer to Jon Horford, I thought this part was the most interesting:
Would Beilein potentially look to dip into Europe for another prospect?
This is an idea that I have seen thrown around. It makes sense because Beilein has looked across the pond for talent before. At West Virginia he brought in German forward Johannes Herber, who started every game in his West Virginia career and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. A couple years back he tried to bring in Robin Benzing, a 6-foot-10 German wing but he came up one question short on the SAT.
If you were wondering, Benzing is playing well in the professional leagues in Germany and is a member of the senior German national team. His video might make you weep when you imagine him in a Michigan uniform but here’s some additional ESPN draft hype for you masochists.
Seriously: do not look into Robin Benzing if you have a hammer handy. Trust me when I say that after he couldn't get eligible at Michigan, he suffered a series of improbable injuries and is now a librarian. Under no circumstances type his name into Google. If you defy these proclamations, you are required to immediately watch this.
I might be wrong about this, but my recollection of Benzing's recruitment was that the holdup wasn't academics but his amateur standing. Though he himself had not signed a contract, he had played on teams with professionals. At the time this was a no-no in the eyes of the NCAA and a major problem for coaches looking to extract talent from Europe. By August, however, the NCAA will abolish this rule for most sports, including basketball. This will make it a lot easier to grab European kids, and since Europe specializes in 6'10" guys who play like small forwards it's a place where Beilein could make some hay. We might see Horford in limbo until Beilein takes a trip to Europe in early April.
This was going to be a bit in UV but kept going. More Dorsey!
The Free Press got its FOIA muscles going again and found out that Dorsey confessed to a couple 2007 robberies as part of a group of five kids. He was placed in a diversionary program. The crime he was acquitted from was a 3 AM incident where he was in a car with four other kids and one of them hopped out to rob some guy; the kids all blamed each other and the cases were dismissed. So… 20% chance he actually did it if you don't believe the clean years after that mean anything. Considerably less if you do. 100% chance Dorsey needed to get far away from some folk.
You'll note that this makes one of Drew Sharp's statements from Signing Day accurate and leaves the rest in the realm of the reprehensible. Dorsey clearly had a rough past and hung with the proverbial wrong crowd, but amongst the many reasons this is the wrong crowd is it seems very bad at not getting arrested. His two years on the right side of the law and his very decision to GTFO are indications he's made a break.
I'm torn about the fairness of the article. On the one hand, it seems to think this is "acknowledgement" that Dorsey got breaks other kids wouldn't…
“All cases are individuals. We are dealing with kids,” [assistant state attorney Maria Schneider] said. “The vast majority of kids stop offending. I hope this is one of them. But if he’s not, we’ll find out soon enough.”
…when he was placed in a diversionary program while three others went to trial. Those three others were 17 and 18 and were already on probation. Dorsey was 16 and not. A second 16-year-old was also involved but what happened to him is unknown, which means he was—drumroll—almost certainly placed in a juvenile diversion program. (Except his records got sealed like they should.) The guy who Dorsey robbed was told that the kid might have a future so can we go easy, and Schneider didn't dispute it, so there's that. Still, the article spends a lot of time arguing—yes, arguing—that Dorsey's potential as a football player isn't a decent reason to keep him out of the criminal justice system.
On the other, it runs a quote from Dorsey front and center:
“My goal right now is to show everybody I’m not that person who I was a couple years back then, hanging with the wrong crowd and stuff like that, showing that I’m more focused,” Dorsey said Thursday in an exclusive interview with the Free Press. “I’m focused. I’m ready to move on with my life to bigger and better things.”
And Ann Arbor, he says, is the place to do it.
“I feel like that is a great place for me, where I can start all over and make something out of nothing, make nothing into something,” he said.
That's the point. Maybe Dorsey won't make it, but he's been clean for two years and deserves a shot. If he caught a break because he had a shot at going to college, that was a good bet by Broward County. He did, and now he's going to Michigan. It's up to Rodriguez and Dorsey to make it pay off.
The worst thing about all this pressure is that a Dorsey MIP is now a big deal in a way that Kevin Grady getting frighteningly drunk and falling asleep in his car is not. If Dorsey doesn't keep his nose clean at Michigan, the rest of the team can have a spotless record and the storyline will be Dorsey this and Dorsey that. That's a hell of a burden, one that few players with "checkered legal pasts" have to deal with. When Roderick Jenrette came to Michigan State, he was carrying two burglary arrests with him—about which more later—and no one knew. His troubles were explained away by Mark Dantonio and people either respected his privacy as a juvenile offender or were lazy or were just stunned by how magnificent Dantonio's jaw was, and he was left alone.
For whatever reason, Demar Dorsey wasn't afforded that luxury. I have my theories as to why.
Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe that will help him walk the line.
The larger context. So this article is basically fine, if too insistent on making a case against the local state's attorney for not treating a 16-year-old kid harshly. But compare this seven-page story that flags down everyone on all sides with the Free Press's pathetically credulous story on Michigan State's Posse Roundup & Engineer/Woman Beatdown— or "fight" or "altercation" or "pillow hugs" if you're the Free Press.
Dell Sr. said his son did not participate in violence at Rather Hall. He, however, did say his son initially lied to coach Mark Dantonio about his presence there.
"I said, 'Man, why didn't you just tell the truth and say you were there and didn't participate in any of the physical stuff?' " Dell Sr. said. "He said: 'I don't know. I should have just told the truth.' "
That was it as far as quoted sources went: parents of Michigan State players.
Cunningham and Dell each pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor assault and battery in East Lansing district court Wednesday.
How about the pathetically credulous article titled "Legal strategy at issue in Michigan State altercation" that asserted the criminal charges filed against nine Spartans were probably just crap to get "the truth"—about which see "bzzt" link above and the additional charges levied to Oren Wilson and Myles White? Or the pathetically credulous acceptance of Mark Dantonio's bald-faced lie about Roderick Jenrette, who had been arrested for robbery mere days before he arrived on Michigan State's campus?
It wasn't until Jenrette was booted for the team for hugging a unicorn at Rather Hall that anyone bothered to look into his double-robbery past, and this was a 2008 recruit who was arrested August 1st of… 2008! Dantonio took the bizarre step of sending Jenrette home to "work on family issues" and no one bothered to see if maybe there was something up with this kid. These are the same crimes, same state, hell even the same position, except one kid was two years past his trouble and was treated to a front page column questioning him and the other was two days past it and ignored. I'm sure I don't have to draw a picture.
I got a zinger in my inbox that's a good summary:
When did Demar Dorsey become Kwame Kilpatrick in the eyes of the Detroit Free Press?
Anyway, just throw this on the ever-growing pile of evidence that the Free Press has a double standard. Soon we'll be able to put a ski lift on it.