That was one awesome piece of journalism. Thank you for the read. I will now forward to everyone I know.
at least it's not just us?
Michigan's epic document dump provides a harrowing window into the world of TPS reports, staplers, and increasingly alarmed emails that is the University compliance environment. I started reading these things and I could not stop, delving deeply to 73-page Exhibits that are little more than compliance folk making heroic efforts not to bludgeon the football administration and hardly getting responses.
A couple things are clear.
Brad Labadie should be fired. Now. I'll leave the decision as to whether he should be put in stocks on the Diag up to Brandon, but I vote yes. The vastly ineffectual management of Scott Draper should also see him go out the door. If either of these individuals had competently executed his job, there is a strong possibility this whole thing never happens.
Brandon said yesterday that none of the seven people who got naughty notes put in their permanent record would see further repercussions. I strongly disagree with this decision.
The CSO made several attempts to obtain written job descriptions for the quality control staff from Scott Draper and Brad Labadie during 2008 and 2009. A copy of the written correspondence related to these efforts is attached as Exhibit 15. Draper provided the first version of the job descriptions on August 28, 2009 after the University began its investigation following media inquiries. See Exhibits 3 and 4.
Exhibit 15… good lord.
Judy Van Horn asks Ann Vollano to get job descriptions for all sport-specific administrative staff. Her only sin here is saying "Let's strategize on how to implement."
Van Horn emails Draper about a meeting that Draper may or may not have to attend about "compliance monitoring systems that are under Brad's purview":
There have been some glitches with systems that Brad thought would work better under Rich but haven't as well as times where Brad has felt hounded by CSO staff and CSO staff have felt him to be nonresponsive. I think we need to touch base to make sure we can close out 2007-08 and have a workable plan and strong relationship moving into 2008-09.
In this email Van Horn mentions the CSO is expanding monitoring of QC-type people, a "growing employment area" subject to "increasing NCAA scrutiny and controversy" and they are proactively attempting to get these agreements in place in order to avoid any troubles.
If there is an issue with Brad, I need to know about it. If he was disrespectful or anything along those lines that is something I need to address. If it is not, then as his supervisor I should be made aware of it and handle it with Rich. … Please help me understand what is going on I am in the dark. If there is an issue I need to be made aware of it. Brad reports to me.
Vollano sends a memo requesting job descriptions for all sport-specific staffers in an effort to ensure Michigan is "meeting NCAA coaching staff limit requirements," asking for a response no later than August 22nd.
Vollano emails Draper, reminding him to turn in the form requested in August. Draper says he did it, asks Vollano to look for it again. Vollano says it is not present and the CSO has been "on high alert looking for it." Draper says he will re-do it and bring it in in the morning. Rich Rodriguez is CCed on this email. He does not receive further correspondence.
Vollano emails Draper having received football's "limitations form" but still needs the job descriptions.
I have left a couple of messages but I thought that maybe email would be easier. I want to remind you that I need job descriptions for all of your non-coaching-specific staff members, As you may recall, the "Designation of Coaching Category" form for the 2OO8·09 academic year was changed and to include space for each member of your non-coaching sport specific staff to sign. In addition, a copy of each sport specific staff person's job description was to be attached. I have your form but I do not have any job descriptions for any of the non-coaching sport specific staff. The job descriptions should include the title of the position and a description of duties. Once we have the job descriptions, we will have the staff members sign an agreement related to their role with your sport. The role of non-coaching, sport-specific staff continues to receive increased scrutiny from both the NCAA and Big Ten Conference staff. These agreements will ensure that we are meeting NCAA coaching staff limit requirements. Thanks for your attention in this matter. An Email would be sufficient if it is easier for you, Take care! Ann
P.S. I have attached a copy of the form with all of the signatures and positions that you turned in. lf there are any people missing, please let me know. Thanks!
Labadie responds that he "just listened to the voicemail from earlier where you said you are not taking it personally" and asks for the people who need job descriptions… that Vollano has already told him twice already on the memo.
The 28th: Draper submits a job description for QC staffers. It is a hastily slapped-together piece of crap.
The 29th: Free Press report published.
The 30th: Draper submits another job description for QC staffers.
You know the CARA forms? Yeah… about them:
The CSO made repeated requests for the CARA forms during 2008 and 2009. Most of these requests were made to Brad Labadie by email. See Exhibit 18. Scott Draper received a copy of several of the e-mail requests to Labadie. The CSO also notified Joe Parker, Senior Associate Athletics Director, Development/Corporate Relations, about the football CARA forms issues in early 2009. After the requests to Labadie produced no CARA forms from football, on May 19, 2009, the CSO office again informed Parker about the absence of CARA forms for football. Parker contacted Labadie and Draper about the issue the same day. Van Horn also notified University auditors of the issue, and the auditors found no CARA forms for football when they reviewed CSO records in April and May 2009. …
CSO officials did not meet in-person with Rodriguez to notify him of football's failure to provide CARA forms until July 30, 2009. The University is satisfied Rodriguez was unaware of the problem until he received the auditor's memorandum dated July 24th, 2009.
… The CSO was persistent in its efforts to gather CARA forms from football, including eventually seeking the assistance of the direct of athletics. The University believes, however, t he CSO should have met with Rodriguez to alert him to the CARA forms issue and seek his assistance much sooner than it did. The University believes that had the CSO done so, the CARA forms issue likely would have been addressed at a much earlier date.
The next section details what Rodriguez's part was in this. The U did not believe Rodriguez knew about the specific CARA procedures; RR states that he was not briefed until the summer of '09, but the matter was on multiple rules education agendas. Van Horn stated she and RR "agreed that Labadie and Draper would continue to be the administrators responsible for football compliance issues."
As you'd expect, the compliance issues are sheltered from the coaches as much as possible since they have more important things to be doing. The U is "satisfied Rodriguez did not know that the football program had failed to submit its CARA forms for more than 18 months."
Let's go to Exhibit 18, then. It's 73 pages.
"Compliance assistant" Rachel Strassner sends a general email asking for telephone recruiting logs, off campus contacts, and CARA forms for December '07—before Rodriguez was hired. On the 31st, Strassner specifically emails Labadie asking for CARA forms from October, November, and December of '07, telephone logs for December, and a bunch of other stuff. Again: before Rodriguez is hired.
Monthly reminder from Strassner. On the sixth, Strassner emails Labadie again requesting missing docs: one week of CARA forms from November, recruiting logs from Mike Debord, December telephone logs from all coaches, and October contact logs from most of the coaches. On the 12th she emails again asking for the missing CARA week, a number of contact logs, and everyone's telephone logs. On the 20th she's still missing the single CARA week and believes one other week has an overage.
Reminder ping. Strassner now sending emails with the subject line "Compliance Documents – STILL MISSING". The November 18th week that has been outstanding for months is still outstanding, as are contact logs and telephone logs. Questions about possible overages have not been answered.
A week later, Strassner sends an email to Michael Parrish, cc-ing Labadie and asking for CARA forms for January and February, February telephone logs, and February contact logs. Vollano replies to this, noting the university's auditor will be in on Thursday and "Auditors like to find things missing so they can put them in their reports." A week later, both Vollano and Strassner request the missing logs again. A week later, the email mentions the auditor "is in the process of reviewing football's records"; it does appear that the rogue November CARA form has been submitted along with most of the missing Carr-era documentation and the contact/eval logs from the first couple months of the Rodriguez regime.
Ping. Strassner now trying "Compliance Forms Missing – DELINQUENT." We have our first Labadie sighting as he emails that Carr and Rodriguez didn't make calls in certain months and that the CARA forms are "being completed." Quiet month after this.
Ping. Apparently everything except the CARA forms has been submitted because Strassner's gone down to DEFCON 3: "CARA Forms – Delinquent" and all the telephone/contact log mentions have been dropped. Unfortunately, as time passes the CARA forms keep building up. Labadie has not submitted CARA forms since January 6th. At the end of the month Strassner asks again. Also, CSO still needs Fred Jackson's telephone log from December.
Draper is now getting CCed on "Football CARA forms MISSING"; Strassner has taken the desperate, futile step of using the little doohickey that makes your emails "high" importance. CARA forms and the rogue Jackson telephone log have not been submitted. Getting slightly snippy: "Please let me know when I can expect these."
This is the point where Brad feels "hounded by CSO staff" and CSO staff feels he could be a tetch "nonresponsive." The department stops asking about the 2008 CARA logs here so it seems like they were submitted at this point.
Michigan sends a memo to all coaches and admin staff reminding them about CARA forms for 2008-09.
Strassner has either moved on from a student job or an internship or thrown herself off U Towers, leaving one Roy Shavers Jr the thankless task of attempting to get CARA forms from Labadie. He takes up the monthly pings. The U reduces the submission frequency from weekly to monthly. It is the CSO's hope that this will simplify the process by "avoiding the need to ask you at the end of each year to account for past weeks of your team's countable athletically related activities."
Just a ping.
Ping, and then Shavers emails Labadie to remind him he needs to turn in CARA forms for August and October.
Ping, ping. The U has pinged Joseph Parker at this point and he now (Jan 8) asks Draper, Labadie, and Parrish to get the CARA forms completed, mentioning that "we need to put a process in place to ensure this information is delivered to the CSO staff in a timely manner." Bill Martin is CCed. Labadie responds that he will get CARA "cleaned up" at upcoming meetings/workouts.
Twelve days later, Parker emails Labadie again asking about CARA.
Ping, ping. Parker emails on the fifth noting that "as a follow-up to our conversation yesterday, compliance has not received any CARA Forms for football for 2008-09." Draper replies that Brad is acquiring the "last remaining signature[s]" from the seniors.
Ping. On April 3rd Vollano asks "any idea when we can get the CARA forms?" Incredibly, she then adds "I do not want to bug you about it but as an FYI, the university auditors are going to start their audit of CARA" instead of "if you do not give me the forms I will chop your head off."
On the eighth Shavers emails Vollano noting that they are missing all CARA logs and the telephone logs from November, December, January, and March. Vollano pings Parrish.
Ping. On May 7th Vollano emails Labadie with a last-ditch plea: "I just wanted to let you know that the auditors are here doing CARA. They have an empty folder for football. Any chance you bring them over?" Double incredibly, she ends the email "Thanks for your help" instead of "I hate you so much."
Labadie actually responds here: "Figured out what the voicemail was about. Sorry I've been out this morning and I just got the auto reply that you are out later today." Vollano replies the next day asking for the forms ASAP so the auditors can review them, nothing that their report goes to "Bill, the President and Regents."
Two weeks later, Parker emails that Vollano has been requesting the documents for "several months" and asks if they can submit the CARA forms by tomorrow. Labadie replies "Yep. Had them finished yesterday at workouts and they should have been delivered today."
Poor, sweet Ann G.Vollano the next day:
For this, she has been officially censured. Poor, poor Ann G. Vollano.
Van Horn and Draper set up a meeting. Unclear why, but "CARA forms" is on the agenda. A week later, Michigan sends out the annual CARA memo. A meeting agenda with Martin on August 18th summarizes the "formal communication" regarding the 2008-09 CARA Form fiasco, noting that "at the time of audit during may 2009, no football CARA forms from the 2008-09 academic year had been submitted to the CSO," that "all other varsity sports" had submitted the forms, and that an "inordinate amount of communication occurred between CSO, football administrative staff and sport administrators regarding football CARA forms."
A section later it notes that "having student-athletes provide written verification of the time they spend in CARA activities protects the head coach and institution from unfounded allegations."
August 28th: CSO finally receives CARA forms for winter and fall of 2008. They are signed by Rodriguez, but not student-athletes.
August 29th: Free Press report.
August 30th: Vollano emails Labadie a special individual ping stating they need the August 2009 CARA forms. Labadie replies in 21 minutes. Subsequent CARA reports are submitted monthly with student-athlete signatures.
You'll note a few things other than a torrent of email from poor, sweet athletic department compliance personnel virtually begging Labadie for CARA forms: the documentation problems started before Rodriguez even arrived, that Labadie had been "hopeful" the bookkeeping processes would be better under Rodriguez, and not even the freaking auditors being in the office looking at an empty folder could get a response other than "ohhhhh, that's what that voicemail meant." The main document also states that Labadie was the responsible party for the warm-up and stretching time that put Michigan over on Mondays during 2009, although Labadie said that this opinion was based on conversations with Barwis. Why the person in charge of football compliance administration thinks he should talk to Barwis instead of compliance is unknown.
Most importantly, either Labadie lied to Draper when he said he was just getting the "last signatures" from the seniors for the 2008-09 forms or Draper lied to CSO. The main document states the CARA forms, hastily submitted the day before the Free Press report, have no student signatures. Draper, for his part, made zero effort to check up on his employee despite his apparent desire to play Tropico at work all day. He had no idea there was anything going on for months, and complained to compliance that he needed to know what was going on with the person who reports directly to him.
The worst part of all of this is how comprehensive, intelligent, and concerned the compliance side of all this was. CSO constantly badgered Draper and Labadie for the missing documents and was in the process of putting together a system that would hopefully have clarified what the QC assistants could and could not do. They anticipated potential problems with the QC staffers! Judy Van Horn just won a prestigious award and it's not hard to see why: Michigan's compliance department was machine-like in its precision. Its primary flaw was being far too polite to the unresponsive Draper and Labadie—not once did Strassner threaten to mail Labadie's pets to Albania, or shave his head in his sleep, or put him in a bun and leave him on Justin Boren's doorstep. If they had been cut-throat about it and immediately raised holy hell with Martin, Rodriguez, and others this may not have occurred.
Maybe there are things yet unrevealed by 100 pages of emails. Maybe there were behind-the-scenes reasons Labadie could not put the documents together. However, if there were the proper thing to do was to express this. Labadie didn't even get them in when threatened by an audit; it took the freakin' Freep report to get the sloppy, unsigned CARA forms in—the ones that Labadie claimed he was just getting the last signatures on five months earlier. The main document specifically states that when Rodriguez took over it was decided to leave the CARA process exactly the way it was under Carr, and Labadie still completely failed to file reports for a whole year when the system had been in place for several years and was apparently not an insurmountable task for anyone else in the department. Rodriguez's response makes it explicitly clear that no one informed him the already-prepared job descriptions for QC people had not been submitted and that the lack of CARA form submissions was also unknown. Why was it unknown?
Labadie told the enforcement staff that he did not tell Rodriguez that he had failed to submit CARA forms because he did not want Rodriguez to look unfavorably upon him.
There is no possible excuse for the massive breach in protocol here and the missing CARA forms and QC assistant job descriptions are the primary reasons Michigan is reporting major violations instead of a selection of secondary ones. Everyone involved with Michigan football compliance administration has failed massively and should be fired. Now.
That was one awesome piece of journalism. Thank you for the read. I will now forward to everyone I know.
Brad slams down the phone, which immediately rings. He angrily snatches it up.
VOICE: Brad Labadie?
VOICE: This is Ann Vollano at CSO. Sir, I have not yet received those CARA forms you promised me.
BRAD: Yah! I… Those are in the mail.
VOICE: Mr. Labadie, that very well may be. I must inform you, however, that absent the receipt of those forms by tomorrow afternoon, I will have to refer this matter to our legal department.
VOICE: My patience is at an end.
VOICE: Good day, sir.
If any of you have seen this movie, this is the perfect scene. Great work! I laughed out loud at my desk!
You're a ffffffucking liar!
Its primary flaw was being far too polite to the unresponsive Draper and Labadie—not once did Strassner threaten to mail Labadie's pets to Albania, or shave his head in his sleep, or put him in a bun and leave him on Justin Boren's doorstep.
This is the product of a mind that understands how to properly motivate and get the most from his employees. Sure, the health care costs might be high, but here at Veridian Dynamics, we're all about results!
The beatings will continue until morale improves.
It appears Brad did not get the memo. We are putting cover sheets on all our TPS reports.
Talk about incompentence and apathy.
This proves how things get fucked up if you have people who suck at their jobs.
I know there are folks who are convinced this was a set-up the whole time by people who wanted Ron English to be the coach or are out to get Rodriguex or something like that, but this just proves incompentence, not conspiracy.
But should it surprise anyone? Dont forget, this is the same athletic/compliance department that got caught with their pants down on the Artis Chambers incident back in 2007.
Never put smiley faces in your business correspondence. Never, ever.
What have we learned from all this?
Middle management in the Michigan Athletic Department is no different than middle management.....in any other company in America.
Although I agree...The difference being that I actually care about Michigan Athletics.
I had the same reaction as Brian when I read through the documents. But one other possibility leapt to mind, given the fact that the Freep story/NCAA allegations tied so closely to the CARA reports/job descriptions that CSO was unable to obtain -- how likely is it that someone within the dept tipped Rosenberg off to these issues? Perhaps I'm seeing a conspiracy where none exists, but it seems more than a coincidence that football admin was so obviously falling down on this particular job, and Rosenberg just happened during the same time period to launch an investigation into the seemingly trivial topics of excessive practice time/involvement of QC staff in "coaching" activities.
the July, 2009 CSO Audit memorandum that was distributed to Martin, and the Advisory Board on Intercollegiate Athletics. And that was the genesis of all of Rosenberg's reporting.
I'm not sure if you even suggested it, but there's no apparent reason that I can think of, why any of the people who are the subject of this blog entry by Brian would have given Rosenberg the report. I suspect that someone else entirely is responsible.
As the head of the athletic department, Bill Martin needed to ensure good communication and flow of information between departments. How about weekly or bi-weekly status meetings? I know Martin was a busy guy and probably much more concerned about building additions on to Michigan Stadium. But the devil is in the details and we were burned by them.
Great job Brian! As always, a very clear and comprehensive layout of facts and events. Very informative for someone like me who refuses to sift through pages upon pages of university PDF documents. Thank you.
Brian - I am totally with you. In this day and age, with this employment environment, I would bet there are plenty of people would would enthusiastically take his $72K a year job and make sure our flagship program is audit ready.
Labadie at least should be gone.
you say they could have reported secondary violations instead of major violations had these forms been filled out—I’m assuming that you mean
1) detailed QC job descriptions would have included the verboten skill development assistance and
2) prompt CARA forms would have detailed the first practice time overage, thus raising a flag and preventing further overages.
is that the case? #2 seems like it makes sense—I could see that going over one hour, once, isn’t a major violation. but it seems like it takes a few assumptions to say that better job descriptions would have prevented the QC skill development. the football admins would have had to have listed “oversee summer 7-on-7” on the description and the compliance admins would have had to know that was a violation. based on chait’s point re: confusion about QC duties it doesn’t seem clear that would have happened.
If the job descriptions had been in writing and gone through a review process, which was the entire point of generating them, it's likely Michigan would have caught the problem with the S&C/QC overlap.
Also, as others have mentioned it's undoubtedly the gap in documentation that prompted the whole public shaming thing. If the documents are submitted promptly Michigan quietly self-reports some secondary violations and this whole fiasco never happens.
Large organizations at their best...
My two cents. Vollano should be censored. This went on for well over a year. The fact of the matter is that there are people who just don't do their job, for whatever reason. If it's your job (Vollano) to make sure this stuff gets done, you have to make sure it gets done. You can't worry about offending someone or whatever. Ask them once, send one reminder, go over their head. If your job and your reputation is on the line, playing nice has to take a back seat. It sucks, but there's no room for that sort of passivity.
Labadie's behavior is very odd. Assuming he had the same job under Carr, he apparently got the stuff taken care of (though apparently not very efficiently). Why would you suddenly stop doing it all together when a new leader came in? That makes no sense. I see two possibilities. One, he pulled a Peter from Office Space and just stopped working. I've seen people do it. Sometimes you just stop caring. Two, as a poster mentioned above, he got some sort of resistance getting what he needed from the football staff. He would have been in a tough spot. Sometimes just not answering at all seems like a better idea than lying in writing. Either way, I agree with Brian that he should be removed from the job. If it's scenario one, that's obvious. If it's two, it's the same idea I applied to Vollano. If they won't give you what you need, you go to your boss or higher if necessary. You ultimately have to look out for yourself if you value your $70k job.
I really agree with your first point. It seems that the peolpe who spent months asking, and not getting, reports, job descritpions and other stuff should have, ya know, actually done something about it. Perhaps they felt that they couldn't. But holy shit, if they had gone to Bill Martin and reported this after a month or two, then maybe this doesn't happen. An no, "ccing" someone on an e-mail doesn't count. I want a report. With a shinny plastic cover. A report that says "Hey Mr. AD, these clowns are blowing me off. They are about to drive the bus off the cliff of NCAA compliance that we tried to tell them about. And, oh yeah, you are in the front seat of the bus and will hit the ground first so do something about it." That gets the attention of a guy like Martin a lot more than being "cced" on a damn e-mail. (Besides, he doesn't know how to use his Blackberry anyway, remember?)
Maybe they didn't have the power to write such a report w/o fear of getting fired. If that is the case, it needs to be fixed right now. Isn't being able to ignore compliance the first step on the journey to "lack of institutional control" and turning into SMU?
I hate when people get to have really cool jobs and then suck at them out of not caring. I'll take that dude's job if he doesn't want it.
I've seen a few "I'm in or considering law school, please tell me why I should step back off the ledge" posts on here lately, and I thought this thread might be ripe to offer some advice on that score. My best advice if you live in or around Ann Arbor: send your resume to the Michigan Compliance Department. It may not be $160K, but it will be work.
IMO, these people will be hiring soon and I think a strong case can be made that high on the list of job descriptions will be an ability to: (1) read and decipher NCAA regulations and rules, (2) dutifully respond to demands and requests for information, (3) perform required due diligence and keep meticulous files, (4) keep executives informed and briefed of compliance situations on a regular basis through regular memos (and telephone conferences as needed).
These duties are strikingly similar to the requirements of a junior contracts associate, and while weathering the storm for such a position, a compliance position at Michigan may very well be the best possible alternative. And, if you're reading MGoBlog, you probably have a vested interest in all things Michigan athletic.
SHHH! Don't tell everyone, man. You just took my idea.
Your annual law school loan payment would be more than a compliance job would pay - be prepared to make $30-40k/year. Also, if you couldn't tell by Labadie's responses - all 25 sports and every department - marketing, development, etc - sees you as a hassle and will avoid your voicemails and emails at all costs. It is very fulfilling work.
ON the bright side, you are allowed to do nothing and simply collect a paycheck. In fact, you can even lie to your superiors and get away with it.
As others have pointed out previously, I don't necessarily believe this whole thing is on Labadie. He very well could have been stuck in the proverbial "rock and a hard place" between either calling out the coaching staff/assistants, and not getting anywhere with coaches/assistants when he tried to collect the forms. I can't imagine that someone in his position would willfully and repeatedly ignore requests for the forms, especially once his boss was copied in on the emails and the audit was announced.
I also can't imagine Draper (his boss) not getting involved in a situation of this kind of imprtance if Labadie really wasn't doing all that he could. Who knows, maybe it'll all come out in time. Maybe it won't.
Furthermore, I really can't imagine David Brandon not firing the guy after all of this shit if he really was primarily culpable. I would think Brandon has most of the facts at his disposal at this point in time, and he doesn't seem like the type to tread lightly in this sort of situation. I just want it all to be over, and to win some goddamn football games this year, so we can keep our coach. I actually like the guy.
Nice comment. I feel exactly as you do about the whole situation.
Incredible work, Brian.
Playing devil's advocate, if there was anything shady going on, it could have been that players were refusing to sign the forms, and Labadie was caught between a rock and tattling on the rock.
But then it also seems plausible that if this was the case the investigation would have uncovered the problem and spoken to some of the players. It means that the effort to coerce players into signing would have been occurring across administrations (Carr/RR). Seems hard to believe that NCAA or the university or the Free Press would all come up without evidence of such a practice--it seems like one of the first things that a disgruntled former player would bring up.
Also, the problem seems to be that ALL the forms were missing, not just those from particular players.
When I see the word "coercion" in the same extended thought as these forms, I get the impression that the author is pre-supposing some level of falsification of official records. I really don't believe that anything was falsified, nor do I believe that players were "coerced" into signing these forms.
I rather look at these CARA forms like employee time cards. Anyone who has ever done work for the Federal government, (i.e. a contractor) is responsible for filling out a time card every working day. One of the few ways that a time card may be filled out and submitted in advance is if the individual will be on vacation or a holiday. It is the law, and compliance is strictly enforced. A contractor who fails to keep these records is subject to disciplinary measures. The Feds don't provide the time card, but they require companies to collect and archive the information contained on them for each employee, subject to audit. Once per week, each employee's time card is "signed" (physically or electronically) by the employee and submitted to the company.
It is much the same with these CARA forms. While the forms themselves are designed and used by the Compliance Department itself, (i.e. not something given to UM by the NCAA) the information they contain is required - insofar as I understand it - by the NCAA as a matter of record keeping, and subject to audit if requested.
So, in hounding the players to sign the time cards, the Compliance Dept. is trying to be compliant with NCAA policy. Failure to do produce these signed records upon request by the NCAA is itself a likely violation. Thus, the department's actions probably have nothing to do with "coercion."
I understand why the compliance department is hounding.
I don't understand how an employee could be putting off monthly "dings" to produce the signed forms. Things get delayed, things get late. But with constant reminders, for it to go nine, ten months, with "it's in the mail" responses and such...
I don't think any coercian had to be involved. It's not like a time card, in that there's no payment value assigned to the card for the players. I bet if you ask players, they will say "uh, yeah, we sign these forms."
I bet they sign a lot of forms.
However, if there was disgruntlement among players in early 2008 about practice time and their buddy-chum guy responsible for getting signatures didn't want to further disgruntle them because they were mumbling about practicing too hard, and then a bunch of those players split for Colorado or Columbus or Arkansas or the NFL combine, and thus he had a stack of complete forms but missing some key guys....see how it all could play out?
Again, just playing devil's advocate. Gross incompetency by this guy would probably be the best case scenario for Michigan (I guess). But there are other possible scenarios that may relate to the toughest months of the transition in early 2008, and then carried over as a result of guilt and long-standing negligence that had grown difficult to walk back.
It was in response to the response to yours ... Or whatever, (I am channeling that scene from Austin Powers about cross-mojination).
The response to your post had suggested that players may have been coerced into signing the forms. I don't believe that's likely the case. In fact, your example here is entirely plausible.
Brian, you're the Woodward/Bernstein to the The Free Press' Edward R. Meow.
isn't the reduction in QC staff counterintuitive as a punishment? since there were obvious problems there, doesn't this mean we are asking less people to do the same amount of work, but do it better. i think the better "punishment" would be to have to add staff in this department. you would naturally have tighter control and better management and their salary would servce as a "penalty" to the athletic department.
This is an absolute masterpiece.
It should go down in the blogging hall of fame.
I feel privileged just to read this site.
The problem is not that what Labadie, Draper, Judy Van Horn, Joe Parker, etc., did or did not do was so egregiuosly wrong.
The real problem is that these internal paperwork problems had so quietly turned into such a powerful shit-storm for Rodriguez and Barwis and others.
Yes, it is a huge problem now, and a despicable state of affairs that the Freep has created this controversy and used it to attack Rodriguez.
But I don't think these are felony-offenses for the people concerned. If there were no CARA reports at all, we'd still have violated no NCAA rules. The July, 2009 Audit report on this subject noted that there appeared to be no NCAA-violative problems. Our problems arose when Rosenberg combined the combustible mixture of missing CARA forms with player allegations of inhuman abuse at the hands of evil Coach Rodriguez.
Brian Cook, I write all of this without criticism of your fabulous reporting on the subject. Every word you've written is excellent. Do you get what I am saying here? What say you?
I'm not sure what you're getting at. There are plenty of problems outside the department, of course, but that doesn't mean that not submitting a year's worth of standard documents is not an egregious, fireable offense, especially since the slippage had already started occurring under Carr and the Rodriguez transition changed nothing specifically related to CARA.
If anything, the transition was the most critical point at which to have meticuluous documentation of what was going on because of thing like the stretching and the QC changes. At the point where Michigan needed Michigan's compliance forms the most, they simply did not exist.
Just putting it in context. The same context that you and I both insist on in the cases of Rordiguez and Barwis. (Geeze, is there anybody whose reputation took a a worse beating in September of 2009, than Barwis? Remember his mug being plastered all over the inside pages of the Sunday Free Press? Now, Barwis is pretty much of a non-entity in all of this. Rosenberg, missing his mark again.)
You've gotten the details as to Labadie's and Draper's malfeasances right; all that I'd add is that "and none of this would have mattered, but for allegations of NCAA allegations, none of which existed as of July, 2009." And then of course it did matter. And then of course the errors and omissions became soooooo consequential.
(I see bronxblue's post above; I recommend it. Good comment.)
I agree that this was a time when the compliance forms were needed the most. The failure to file these for a year almost seems deliberate, and comes across like an underhanded way to get RichRod in a heap of shit, especially after the great collapse of 2008. Very few have, or will look towards Draper and Labadie when these violations are brought up. All the blame falls on RichRod, including a charge of lack of compliance from the NCAA directed at the coach himself. This gives Rich a black eye, but a lot of blame should fall on Labadie for failure to do his job and communicate with compliance. Maybe I am a conspiracy theroist, or just have bad blood about people who have an agenda against Rich or non Michigan men, but it seems like this was far too important of a time for a large oversight like this and that this could be another example of the old guard not liking the change that has taken place.
It seems like there have been several of these responses to Brian's blog entry today. Along the lines of, "Wow, Draper and Labadie were so bad, they must have been trying to sabotage RR." That's a stretch, of a stretch, of an inconsistency, on top of an irrationality. I don't think that Brian Cook would endorse it in any way, shape or form.
The presumed leak, to Rosenberg, of the 2009 CSO Audit Memo, was basically as damning(!?) to Draper and Labadie as to RR.
Where I agree with EVERYBODY is that it is massively unfair that all of the grief has been heaped upon RR. That is the single worst injustice in this entire case. And I'd go further; not only is it right, and fair to RR, to distribute some of the blame (such as it is, not much 'blame' at all, if you ask me) elsewhere, but it is also to Michigan's substantive benefit to redistribute that blame. The one real outstanding issue we have with the NCAA now is the matter of RR's failure to foster an "atmosphere of compliance." RR has a very valid defense to that charge. Witness the failures of Labadie and Draper.
Still, I just don't see any egregiousness with Labadie and Draper. I guess it is because I have such contempt for the general allegations against Michigan as a whole.
I hate this. What possible incentive would Labadie and Draper have to risk their own employment to can Rodriguez? It's just not worth it. Cause NCAA violations for messing things up that are EASILY traced back to them? It's not rational, at all.
I don't know. This is a pretty bad organizational issue. Complete disregard for a process that was known to be under the microscope from the NCAA and the Big Ten is not good. They have compliance checks and balances because it isn't realistic for the coaches to be on top of all of the minutia. It's too bad it took all of this to get it out, but the reality is the violations are not earth shattering, and that is probably lucky. If those sort of compliance issues would have been able to go on, it's only a matter of time before something more serious slipped through. In a twisted sort of way, the Freep exposing this may have saved us from bigger violations in the future.
If Rodriguez was the sleazebag portrayed in certain corners of the media, it appears that there was no robust compliance effort that would have stood in his way as he heaped all sorts of abuse on his players and ran roughshod over the NCAA rules. In essence, the fox was allowed to guard the henhouse. Yet, in all the interviews of all the "hens" during this period (i.e., the players), they seem to be just fine with the way the fox ran things. Perhaps the "Rodriguez = sleazebag" thesis just might be invalid?
Well done. Donate button pressed.
I imagine reading through everything would probably cure most anyones insomnia. Thankfully I don't have it so it was nice to read a concise review. I don't understand. Don't these people run into one another a couple times a week? I think I have more personal interaction with my boss and she's a couple thousand miles away. They should have copied Rich Rod on some of these requests. He can be pretty intimidating. Last thing I would want is him showing up in my office asking why I haven't provided the information. I would have gotten on it immediately.
As much as I hate to defend some of the stupidity displayed here by the AD's office, this lack of oversight and missed administrative opportunities is indicative of the situation at most institutions that I have worked for (I can only speak to academics, but I presume that large private-sector companies are the same). It is unfortunately the nature of the beast that massive institutions (like UM) have so many points of weakness that an oversight here or a mistake there is all that is needed to create what (appears) to be massive instability.
Right now, I work as an attorney for a prominent academic institution, and half of my day is spent chasing down researchers, following up on research plans, and tracking paperwork both in and out of the institution. And I am not talking about just compliance paperwork and innocuous agreements; there are quite a few living creatures (mice, flies, etc.) and active cell lines that are floating in administrative limbo, owned by one party while being distributed by another, all lacking the necessary paperwork to make these transfers legal and binding.
The silver lining, of course, is that life finds a way to move on despite insufficient paperwork. Our researchers are not being nefarious in not obtaining the necessary paperwork; they are just busy with their work and most don't even think about the legal side of it. Government grants are tracked as well as possible, but dates and reports are sometimes missed and nobody loses any sleep over them because nothing bad really happened. Of course, if a local newspaper, in great need of eyeballs and any semblance of relevance, decided to perform an "expose" by contacting our researchers and scouring our books, they would uncover "massive instability" and "a clear pattern of malfeasance." Ignore the fact that these words could be thrown at virtually any major school, government agency, and company in the world - the newspaper would have its white whale and would technically be correct that a lack of oversight existed.
My point is that for all the gnashing of teeth, rending of garments, and thousands of pages of exhibits, the final result was a couple dozen extra hours of stretching, some individuals being places and seeing things they should not, and a gross disregard for, and negligence in, filling out monotonous paperwork. Maybe I am jaded by my job and the far more relevant scandals at USC and Kansas, but all this hoopla proved was that UM's compliance office dropped the ball a couple of times on minor issues, and considering what they have to deal with in such a big athletic department, I am pretty impressed.