Remember when we were arguing with Rutgers bloggers about which athletic director was worse?
All This Could Have Been Ours
I still believe Kirk Ferentz was someone's first choice to be Michigan's next head coach. We'll never know, but the preponderance of rumormongering from here and elsewhere is hard to deny absent any contradictory hypotheses.
From a neutral perspective, Ferentz was a weird first option. He was successful... three years ago. Because of that rapidly receding success he was paid six kazillion dollars a year. And he was way ethical if you ignore the spate of questionable characters he recruited over the past few years and the housing scam he ran with his son.
But by God, he looked like an honest man. Nice jaw. Appealing salt-and-pepper hair. Aura of calm politeness at all times. Super hot daughters and strapping lad sons. People began to question his performance, but most of the opinion directed at Iowa's extended run of Facebook terrorism was meta-criticism: "isn't it weird no one's giving Iowa heat"?
Ladies and gentlemen: heat. This Iowa stuff that's gone down? Heavy. In sum:
- Cedric Everson (remember him?) and Abe Satterfield allegedly have nonconsensual sex with another Iowa athlete.
- The university suspends and eventually boots Everson and Satterfield, but pressures the victim into handling it "in house," allows Everson to move in with his girlfriend(!) three doors down from the victim, and generally appears to have no inclination towards actually doing something until the victim files formal charges.
- Some recruit is chased by eight cops whilst naked, racking up Iowa's 634th arrest in the last three years.
The mother of the victim was so incensed she released a scathing letter originally sent to Iowa eight months after she originally sent it. This is the money quote:
"University of Iowa's character was non-existent. It is disappointing to say the very least," the alleged victim's mother said in a phone interview. "We were told the school will take care of it. We will keep it in house. We will be swift. We will be just, and you don't have to worry about it."
And this is the money quote about Kirk Ferentz, Michigan's probable first choice coach in November:
Speaking of dorm rooms, the alleged assault occurred in a "ghost room," registered to a third player but unoccupied. After the incident, according to affadavits obtained by the Press-Citizen, Ferentz ordered the player to reoccupy the room, and a different player moved into the room as well. The room was never secured, evidence was never gathered from it, and the incoming players cleaned all the mess from the alleged assault. [mess including a used condom and sheets with an "orangish-reddish" substance on them -ed]
When I read the Press-Citizen article the first time around I thought it was a case of university bureaucracy exhibiting spectacular stupidity, not malice. This is not. It certainly appears like the behavior of the athletic department -- keep it "in house" because Iowa's got a first class prison right next to the chem building, throw away the evidence contained in the ghost room, keep it vague in the media -- was mostly concerned with whether or not they could salvage the careers of two defensive backs.
Black Heart, Gold Pants has been calling for mass resignations, and I'm not quite there. But Kirk Ferentz is alleged to have instructed two football players to
destroy evidence in a rape case involving another football player occupy a room he knew was a crime scene. [Update: clarification; Ferentz probably didn't say "you go destroy that evidence"; he did tell someone to move into a room that he knew would be of police interest.] If that turns out to be true (since that information is based on affadavits given by the players who moved into the room, that's highly likely), Ferentz immediately sets up shop one level above Dave Bliss in coaching hell.
We've heard an awful lot about Rich Rodriguez's lack of character this offseason because he changed jobs, tried to reduce his buyout, and said some silly things about the truth coming out. This was despite a seven-year run without a hint of NCAA sanctions and repeated weak showings in the Fulmer Cup. Meanwhile, Iowa is imploding and it took the most serious allegations leveled at a college head coach since the Bliss incident for anyone to notice. If you hadn't listened to Kirk Ferentz and Rich Rodriguez, hadn't seen pictures of their wives, couldn't hear their accents, this would all be terribly mysterious.
But we have and it's not. The whispered accusation about Rodriguez -- he's a hillbilly -- is true. He shops at Costco and is only interested in Rudyard Kipling if he's 17 years old and benches 400 pounds. He makes goofy jokes at press conferences and occasionally says things you wish he hadn't. He does not inspire third-party confidence like Bo or even Lloyd did. He is not a titanic figure astride the globe, molding young men into little Academic All-American Adonises. He is resolutely, publicly human, full of venal sins. He is impossible to truly adore in the way college football fanbases wish to adore their proxy father figures. He punctures the "Michigan Man" myth every day. He, like Zaphod Beeblebrox, is just this guy, you know?
And, like, okay. I'm nearly 30. I have a father. I just want someone who will win football games and not utterly disgust me when the scales fall from my eyes and the preposterous lie is exposed for all to see. I prefer my heroes poor and uncertain of their future, anyway.
He told them to move back into the room, according to affadavits, not to "destroy evidence." Even the Johnson County AG is on record saying that nothing that happened amounts to obstruction of justice, which "evidence destruction" most definitely falls under.
We're calling for mass resignations, not mass firings. This isn't a matter of criminality or the minutiae of procedure. This is a human rights issue that goes way beyond Ferentz. This is an issue that involves how a university protects its most vulnerable students, NOT how a football coach runs amok.
C'mon, you're so much better than this, Brian.
This is very similar to the way Iowa handled the Pierre Pierce case a couple of years ago. This weekend, I was in a bar in Iowa City that displayed a bumper sticker that read, "Thank you, New Mexico." (For taking Steve Alford off our hands.) If Michigan had hired Ferentz away, there would be one that reads "Thank you, Michigan."
This is not the university's first chance to do the right thing by a woman who has been raped. And this is not the first time they've totally screwed it up. If what's alleged is true, and there was any justice, they'd fire everybody (and some people would go to jail for obstruction of justice) and then de-emphasize intercollegiate athletics until the athletic department proves it can get it right.
I don't think it diminishes the evil of what the young men are alleged to have done, to suggest that since we expect far more of the "adults," their shame is greater.
I'm ashamed to work here in a way that I've never been ashamed of being a UM alum. Dammit.
I agree, Kelly and Joanne have a right to their privacy and to not deserve to have internet junkies drooling over them, just 'cause daddy is head coach.
On a separate topic. . .
Brian. . do you know the name of the girl modeling the MGoStore shirts on the side bar?
Parsing devoid context is a waste of time.
No, Ferentz is not directly and personally responsible for the absolute mess this situation has become. Yes, there needs to be a serious overhaul of the UI administration. Yes, this includes Ferentz. Good fucking god.
Spare us the self-righteousness. There were like three posts concerning the potential attractiveness of an individual mentioned in Brian's post, which was not primarily about sexual assault. I was just wondering if one of the daughters in question was one that I knew had gone to Michigan and was a friend of a friend. The mention of breasts came up once in passing. This was gossip; not obsession. Making somewhat objectifying comments about a girl, though sexist, is far from trivializing, sanctioning, or even committing sexual assault, although I imagine that rape may very well be the product of objectifying and control-seeking mentalities. I am no expert on the criminology or psychology of a rapist.
I ranted about this in some other post, but I maintain that the rapidity with which the media (Rosenberg) excoriated RR for supposed family values problems and the kid gloves with which they're treating Ferentz for his role in covering up a rape are not accidental or unrelated.
As soon as Boren opened his eye-blacked, ping-ponging gob, the media swarmed. In contrast, Ferentz's name appears exactly once (and in a quote by UI AD Barta at that) in the story posted on espn.com (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=3500804).
RR is a hillbilly, and hillbillies cheat, lie, and drink that corn likker. Ferentz is not a hillbilly, and therefore is honest. Or so the narrative up north goes. I say the more l'affaire Ferentz bursts that myth, the better.
I'm not sure I really understand the point about RR "not inspiring third-party confidence like Bo or even Lloyd." As far as I've paid attention, everyone with any familiarity with RR's coaching thinks he's terrific at doing it.
I admit to being a little elitist about grammar (I liked that Lloyd would never misuse a word when he spoke to the media) but that's nitpicking. It's more important to me, from a media-relations standpoint, that the coach conducts himself with dignity (which you couldn't be sure of with Les Miles) and avoids being too antagonistic with the press (which was sometimes a problem with Lloyd). I think RR scores well on both of those.
"As far as I've paid attention, everyone with any familiarity with RR's coaching thinks he's terrific at doing it."
And what about those who aren't familiar with his coaching, and really don't follow football, but are M supporters for reasons other than athletics? Lloyd was much more their cup of tea.
Coaches, be they at Michigan or Eastern Mississippi Tech A&M, should project an air of professionalism. And although I disagree with the media's hunch that RichRod is a little loosey goosey and emotional (and thus unprofessional), I can understand where they're coming from. Again, I don't agree, but I at least see what they're saying.
My problem is with some people assuming that Lloyd somehow "did it right" while RichRod is doing it wrong. While I always liked Lloyd the man and the teacher, his orneriness with the media was unnecessary, unrealistic, and, yes, a tad unprofessional. Somehow Rosenberg and his ilk have forgotten that.
The aura of "professionalism" cuts many ways, and RichRod is at least no worse than Lloyd was as a very public face of University of Michigan.
Not sure I'd go so far as malice but the term "gross negligence" springs to mind.