biggest mountain out of a mole hill since the academics investigation.
this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
One of the things that struck me in the article was these asides inserted to make it seem like Michigan's happy-go-lucky freshmen didn't know just how oppressed they were:
“It’s crazy,” said Hawthorne, who was not complaining about his coaches and was apparently unaware of the time-limit rules. … Stokes was not complaining. Like Hawthorne, he apparently was unaware of the rules.
Of course they don't know the rules. Neither do any of the (unnecessarily anonymous) sources. All the folk who played under Carr knew was that there was some limit; they had no idea what counted towards the limit. For an example, here's Toney Clemons:
"The allegations are true," Clemons said. "Nothing is fabricated or exaggerated in that story. I was there on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. or 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. depending on if guys needed treatment. You were there daylight to nighttime."
Now let me launch into a diatribe about reporters and their lack of critical thinking skills. You are faced with an accusation that Rich Rodriguez didn't skirt NCAA regulations but rode roughshod over them. Presumably he's been doing this for eight years without anyone noticing that he was more than doubling the NCAA's maximum requirements. Do you A) think "wait a minute, there's a disconnect worth thinking about here" or B) uncritically accept the allegation and start screaming hysterically? If you picked B, congratulations, you can have a low-paid job in a rapidly evaporating industry.
"On Sunday, it was lifting, film, dinner and practice," Clemons told Schad. "I usually got out around 10:20. I truly don't want to be associated with the program back there. But I am going to help benefit my teammates back there by speaking and giving testimony."
Here are various items that are non-countable activities according to the NCAA:
a. Training-table or competition-related meals;
b. Physical rehabilitation;
c. Dressing, showering or taping; …
h. Medical examinations or treatments; …
m. Voluntary individual workouts, provided these workouts are not required or supervised by coaching staff members, except that such activities may be monitored for safety purposes or conducted by the institution's strength and conditioning personnel who have department wide duties.
o. The provision of videotapes to a student-athlete by an institution's coach that include a personalized message and athletically related information (e.g., discussion of plays, general workout programs, lectures on strategy related to the sport), provided the viewing of the videotape by the student-athlete is voluntary;
p. Use of an institution's athletics facilities (which may be reserved) during the academic year or summer by student-athletes, provided the activities are not supervised by or held at the direction of any member of an institution's coaching staff.
I am willing to wager many amounts of money that the Sunday lifting was of the variety that fits the NCAA's definition of voluntary, as was the film. The rehab/examinations/dinner and any downtime in between practice and film and other activities definitely don't count. At no point has anyone in the media even broached this possibility. It has not occurred to them. Some of them specifically omit it because it conflicts with their aims*; some are just professional parrots.
When Michigan releases its compliance information, Michigan will check in at four hours of countable activity on Sunday. If they're over at all it will be by a small amount. I bet a dollar.
*(Mostly the aim is to make their story seem awesomer and justify the expense. Rosenberg and his publicly-professed hatred of Rodriguez are another matter.)
biggest mountain out of a mole hill since the academics investigation.
give Chad Henne a plus one?
Since I can't give Henne a +1, I gave it to you for posting that link. This makes me appreciate Chad Henne in a new way. I'm really, truly glad that someone completely outside of RR's coaching tenure has come out and said this. It makes the whole thing much better to deal with.
I don't even have anything else to say, other than to be happy that a guy who will be an NFL starter in the next few years called out the guys who are complaining about the system.
I made the mistake of watching this interview, and I instantly became infuriated all over again. This guy talked up on his high horse and when he was asked about his response to Michigan denying claims he just said that we are going to have no where to hide this upcoming season and its all gonna come out. He was then asked by Michael Kin (who I think is a Michigan fan) about the alleged effects this had on academics last year, and of course Rosenberg left out the little detail about the teams GPA being one of the highest ever. I was basically screaming at the TV for Kim to bring up that detail, but this is ESPN we are talking about. Rosenberg is just loving his time in the spotlight, and ESPN is just egging him on.
Michael Kim went to Missouri.
based on the fact that workouts would be okay if conducted by the institution's strength and conditioning personnel who have department wide duties, there is no violation. Same with videotape review. Man, I would LOVE to cross-examine Rosenberg on this shit. As U.S. Attorney Pat Fitzgerald said, "You go where the facts take you. No where else." The more I read about the Freep's supposed "investigation," the crappier it looks. Michigan needs to message this from a PR standpoint. They won't, but they should.
And either Schad or the anchor said the players said they worked many more hours in the offseason training than allowed but "many of the hours were voluntary." Is that not the point?
It is funny that other papers tout how hard their sports teams will work (see Florida) - hardest summer camp ever...with Meyer saying...if they do not participate, they do not play... Is that any different?
I know the freshman don't the rules and brian I know you are overly optimistic, but RichRod did violate NCAA rules, however I agree with you that nothing will come of it. I want RichRod to succeed as much as you do, but you don't need to protect him as much as you do.
You're a far better man than Brian could ever hope to be. I, for one, appreciate this bit of knowledge, and hope to profit from it.
EDIT: aaaaanndd I was being sarcastic, folks.
or just stupid?
Tell us how, repeat, tell us HOW RR violated NCAA rules?
Practiced over 4 hour limit by account of 12 current and former michigan players
Or do some players (or former players) have either (a) an agenda or really not get it...
really not get it
Um.........NO. They had film, dinner, treatments, practice and lifting. I can guarantee you the practice portion was less than 4 hours. Rich isn't stupid. He's been doing this for years, and the rest of those activities don't count toward the 4 hour limit as long as they are voluntary.
I am slowly but surely preparing for snide comments from the ND fans tomorrow.
But, I gotta know -- where do you get "Rosenberg and his publicly-professed hatred of Rodriguez"? If that's supportable, that should be a footnote on every single post discussing this thing.
for the confusion over the "publicly-professed hatred" comment. Any back-up for this or is the evidence just in the tenor of the articles?
Not trying to sound cool or anything, but I spent a good of amount of time with Toney when I was a junior at Michigan. He was honestly one of my favorite players because of his personality and his commitment to Michigan. I remember he told me once about how he was a Michigan man and he knew that was something that could never be taken away from him for the rest of his life. I guess that all went totally out the window.
On one hand it does concern me that someone with so much love for the program under Carr could turn on it under RR. On the other hand however, I cannot justify what Toney is doing here. He says that he is standing up in order to help out his teammates that are still at Michigan, but it seems like he is doing the exact opposite.
If the training regimen is so bad, the players have the option of taking off. As we have seen, many have taken that option. A former player coming out and dropping bombs about NCAA violations does absolutely nothing positive for the players who are still there. Would it help Toney if a former Colorado player came out right now and said that Hawkins was a coke addict? NO! it would throw the whole program into disarray and make Toney probably have to deal with another coaching transition. Here, we are talking about going a couple hours over on workouts, and he is taking a position of savior for his poor comrades that are being FORCED to play for Michigan...MICHIGAN!
I'm afraid to say that Toney may have lost his status as a Michigan Man in my book.
...as much as it does his immaturity. It's abundantly clear that Clemons doesn't know the rules vis a vis what's countable and what's not when it comes to the 20/4 rule. I don't think he thought this through very well and I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that perhaps he was baited into some comments and/or they were taken out of context.
It's sad when partially innocent people in the situation (like Clemons) become a focus when the real focus should be on the horrific abuse of power exhibited by a major media outlet or (if you're so inclined) the so-called abuses of NCAA rules by Rich Rodriguez. Unfortunately, a lot of fans will go after Clemons, and this may turn him against Michigan. I hope this isn't the case.
For now, let's cut Toney a little slack here; he's just a kid.
I wonder if the coaches at Colorado are going to pull Clemons aside and make sure it is 100% clear to him that he does not have to attend the teams voluntary workouts but they really really really hope that he has time in his busy day to participate.
Excellent post, Brian.
We should probably move on, now.
Looking forward to your season preview tomorrow morning!
Look, I still love newspapers and it's really sad to see them shutting down. Unfortunately, some of them resort to desperate, yellow journalism in their death throes. Consider the pathetic hit piece by the doomed Ann Arbor News against Michigan athletics. Now, the Detroit Free Press launches sensationalistic attacks against Rich Rodriguez for doing the same thing that Bo Schembechler was sanctified for. Like all great football coaches, excellence is expected from their players. As Bo said when 65 of 140 players couldn't handle the new culture he brought to the Wolverines, "Those who stay will be champions." The players' extra time spent on football and conditioning is not mandatory but excellence is expected. Most of the players love the family atmosphere at Michigan and the way they are growing as athletes and students. Rodriguez like Yost and Schembechler, has become a true Michigan man. The Detroit Free Press should be ashamed for twisting the facts just to sell papers.
the worst part of this is that now I have to listen to my friends (and i use the term loosely) that are state and ND fans heckle me about this total BS.
I hate this defamation....until names are given and documents are released...i will not be reading or commenting on any it!
GO BLUE! (but only the true blue)
I live in South Bend and attend ND. Between this and the watched-pot-never-boils countdown to football, this week is going to be unbearable.
I currently live with two State fans, a Wisconsin fan, and an Ohio State fan. I woke up this morning to "Dang, Michigan can't even win when they're cheating huh!?"
Luckily the OSU fan hasn't heard about it yet (he's also the most reasonable of the bunch), and the other MSU fan and the Wisconsin fan are out of the house today.
We'd just better win some games... I'm afraid that's the only thing that will shut them up.
"I currently live with two State fans, a Wisconsin fan, and an Ohio State fan."
This sounds like the setup for The Real World: Loserville.
Time to get a new place, my friend.
Benefits his cuz if the cuz's arch-enemy has turmoil, right? Just sayin. . . .
Yes he is. He is also cousin's with Steve Breaston.
-4 hours of mandatory
-1 hour for dinner
-1 hour for downtime
-1 to 2 hours for rehab/training room
-2 to 3 hours of voluntary workouts
Sounds a lot more legit 24 hours later
Glad to see you're finally coming around :)
"... congratulations, you can have a low-paid job in a rapidly evaporating industry."
Beautiful. I wonder if that slob has considered the economic effect of a "diminished" UM football program on his home state.
Who knows? He might have an exit strategy; I saw him on the SI site not too long ago.
This whay I'm glad I don't read the Free Press. You take something that two freshmen said and try to turn it into something way over the top.
This Rosenberg idiot is just another main stream media clown looking to get famous. He got mentioned on ESPN . . . woo hoo!!! No reason to check the facts or validate his claims that this was anything but volunteer activities. Journalism really is dead. There's no violation here, but Rosenberg got his 15 minutes of fame.
Since I never win a sports bet, I'm happy to bet Brian 1 USD as per his post. I have paypal
Brian said he would bet a "dollar" that if M did go over the limit it would only be "by a small amount".
I'll up that a bit. I bet $1,000 that there are NO NCAA sanctions because of this.
Write it down. If it does happen, Brian will get the check to contribute to the charity of his choice.
EDIT: Guess this isn't much of a bet since I get zippo if I'm right. Would those odds be 1,000 to infinity?
Give me 20:1 and I'll take this bet. I had it at 10:1 but then I realized that someone might take me up on it, and I don't really feel like losing 1000 USD.
This story would have been much better and actually meaningful if it focused on what "voluntary" means. I have no doubt that two things are true
1) Michigan's "voluntary" workouts/film/scrimmages fit the letter of the law according to the NCAA
2) Michigan's (and EVERY BCS school) "voluntary" workouts/film/scrimmages do not fit the common definition of voluntary.
I personally don't have a problem with the second part, but it would make a fairly interesting story. Use that old NCAA survey that showed football players spend approximately 45 hours on football a week as a jumping off point. Talk about the hundreds of coaches who have the attitude "workouts are voluntary, but so is playing time." Explain how amazing it is that any football player can manage to get a 2.5 GPA while spending so much of his life earning his football scholarship.
That angle would make for a great article, but it wouldn't create the firestorm so it's not going to get written unfortunately.
I think a lot of this is under the presumption that these events actually were voluntary. It sounds like things are set up so that players are made to feel a lot of these "voluntary" activities are mandatory. Say what you want about extra work being necessary to succeed, but you can't directly punish players simply for not attending. It's one thing if a player isn't in shape/doesn't know the playbook as well/etc. later in the year and they get punished for that. But making people run more immediately the next day for skipping an optional is unacceptable. If players had that much of a problem with the amount of stuff they were doing, and it was actually voluntary, they just wouldn't have gone.
To quote Barney Frank: "What planet do you spend most of your time on?"
When you boss says, "I'm having a party, and I'd like everyone to be there. Of course, it's strictly voluntary"
Or your significant other says, "You don't have to come to my sister's wedding. It's strictly voluntary"
Is that unacceptable?
Are you going to skip the event?
anymore by whipping up an expose on General Motors. You now gotta to find another target.
"Where can I find a highly visable target in the area for my expose-without-a-home, that a lot of folks have a stake in or are keenly interested in? Where 'o where?"
Glances down at the M-Den catalog that his kid got in the mail yesterday . . . "I got it!!!"
Were they required to be at dinner? I mean, if they didn't go to dinner, would they have to go to bed without dinner? Seems mandatory to me.
Dinner isn't required because RR has no family values. Barwis just gives the players chocolate milk even if they don't eat all their vegetables.
I feel like Rich Rod is not going to be left alone on this... I think in the next couple days we are going to have a collection of coaches nationwide making comments about how those who work the hardest play the best football, and anyone who isn't willing to go the extra mile doesn't get to play in their system, either. This isn't just an assault on Michigan football under Rich Rod, it's an assault on what makes a talented football team great, and a non-talented team mediocre... practice, practice, practice. It's the same with everything else.
To be considered exceptional at something, according to Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, you need to spend 10,000 hours on that activity. Let's say that an average collegiate player at a Division 1 school works out 25 hours a week in high school on average for 4 months, 15 hours a week during the 8 month offseason, and let's say that it looks more like 45/25 in college. By the end of his senior year, he will have accumulated 10360 hours of football experience. That is probably more than a few thousand shy of the greatest players, who wind up in the 10,000 range by their Sophomore or even Freshman year of college, working 40/20 hours a week in high school or some such. If you look at the NCAA standards, 20 hours a week during the 4-month season, 8 hours a week otherwise (we will assume this is universal), you get a total of 4960 by the end of senior year of college. It is clear to me who the better player would be at the end of the day.
If we didn't have players more than willing to put in the extra hours every week, we'd have a team that looked more like Michigan Tech football than Michigan football, if we began with the same talent we do now.
Once again, we have much ado about nothing; volulntary workouts are "business as usual" in major college football. Only in the Ann Arbor-Detroit market do we have reporters who are such masters at baiting and misleading nineteen year-old kids into giving them information which they can turn into what they think is a "brilliant expose."
Usually, as in this case, the "brilliant expose" turns out to be another stale Captain Obvious skit. All it really accomplishes is to hurt the kids who were duped into "contributing" to the story for a week or two.
As far as the rest of the content goes, it's only the whining of disgruntled ex-players who, as Chad Henne said, don't want to be the best they can be. Since a lazy reporter probably resonates well with lazy ex-players, I'm sure it was a "match made in heaven."
Funny how reporters with no integrity are the ones who attack and accuse UM of the same. Maybe Rosenberg needs to look in the mirror on this one. I never thought I'd say this, but there is a great likelihood that Rosenberg is as ugly on the inside as he is on the outside.
I greatly doubt there is anything to these charges. Nevertheless, the Michigan faithful should take some lessons from this.
1. Those in Schembechler Hall should be very aware that there are many who wish to do them harm anyway they can. Some are inside the University itself. So carefully measure what you say and do.
2. Cancel that subscription to the Free Press and stop going to freep.com.
are nationally known for their investigative abilities - I guess I don't fault them for their reporting, but I'm left wondering how this all came about and will we ever know.
Did they just sit down one day and say 'let's investigate Michigan for NCAA violations' or did someone approach them first. Was it the transfers, an off the wall comment, an observation?
When it's all said and done I hope we find out. If they were just on a witch hunt to try and bring down the most storied College football team in history then I have lost all respect for them. If they were approached about blatant NCAA violations then I don't fault them for reporting them (although in an alternative world I would rather that they approached the school instead of going public.)
The Free Press sat on this "story" until one week before the start of the season. In reality, there is no story. Just what the Free Press concocted.
Open your eyes.
Edit: already mentioned