"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Talkin'. I'd actually scheduled this podcast appearance at The Solid Verbal last week and the kids over there just happened to hit the news cycle jackpot. So, yeah, there's a podcast of me talking to Ty and Dan about the shoe that just dropped, Tate Forcier, the future of the program, and Admiral Ackbar.
One clarification: I was just talking extemporaneously about a question I hadn't thought about before when I mentioned that I thought Rich Rodriguez probably had an idea of what was going on with the quality control assistants. After some more research, I think that's erroneous since one of the charges is a "failure to monitor" on Rodriguez's part. "Failure to monitor" appears to be something that precludes Rodriguez knowing about the violations.
At least no one will ask this until—aw, who am I kidding.
Obligatory item in which I offer an opinion about virtually everyone acting stupid. First, Brandon Graham:
Former Wolverine Brandon Graham said he didn't experience any of the alleged violations during his time at Michigan and that the NCAA report shouldn't sour anyone's view on Rodriguez.
"Coach Rod’s a good coach, and people are just trying to get him in trouble to me," Graham said.
The obvious contrast is with Morgan Trent, who sold out the program in a statement. One: now we have a pretty good explanation for why Trent is a successful NFL player but basically sucked at Michigan. He did not like the program change and didn't put in full effort. Two: while people going "lol Trent you suck" are not covering themselves in glory, you can dump Trent in with those guys in a barrel of people I don't want to get a beer with.
Trent is symptomatic of the problems resulting from the vast culture change Rodriguez brought with him, and each former Carr guy who just can't get over the change who goes out the door or transfers before their time is one more scholarship not being wasted. Trent doesn't know anything about the exact specifics of what GAs and QC assistants are allowed to do and didn't know that stretching time was CARA. He's just talking out of his ass because he dislikes RR, and I hereby excommunicate him.
Additional random takes. Some other takes I missed yesterday. ESPN's Adam Rittenberg:
Michigan will be hit with some penalties, and "major violations" are possible. But these allegations don't seem to be overly extreme, despite some harsh language in the report. Michigan could be hit with probation or scholarship losses, and it will need to be more careful on these issues going forward. I'll repeat what I've said all along: Rich Rodriguez's fate ultimately comes down to whether or not he wins games, not what the NCAA decides in August.
In the end, I'd guess a quality-control staffer probably will lose his job, and changes surely are in store for the compliance department. Beyond that, maybe not much more than institutional embarrassment, which is no small price to pay at Michigan.
But the real change better start with Rodriguez, who has to know the new athletic director, while offering his support privately and publicly, also is reserving final judgment.
The difference between the two papers is kind of amazing, isn't it?
Recent interviewee Compliance Guy also has a post at his home base. It's measured:
Many of Michigan’s violations involve slippery territory. Hire enough noncoaching staff members, give them enough coaching-like responsibilities, and leave them with student-athletes and these violations are bound to happen. It might sound incredulous that the coaches didn’t consider stretching and warm-up to be CARA, but other preventive measures like training room activities are not included. …
Michigan is likely not facing the same level of sanctions as USC. In addition to the absence of a lack of institutional control allegation, Michigan’s excess CARA was not the “two to three times” or “nine hour days” that the players originally alleged.
I would expect a hodgepodge of significant but not devastating penalties including reduced CARA limits (either through a shorter season or reduced hourly limits), reductions in coaching staff members, recruiting restrictions, and reductions in financial aid. That Michigan is a repeat violator might only mean a longer probation of three to four years rather than the minimum of two.
"Reductions in financial aid" means scholarship losses, but more on that in a bit.
Section With Nothing To Do With You-Know-What
So I've got all these tabs that have just… lingered since about Monday night when minor amounts of hell broke loose. Here they are.
Eeee Brandon? Dave Brandon gets a fairly massive profile in USA Today, complete with video. Random quote pulled out:
"This feels to me like just such an appropriate next step. It's leadership, but a different kind of leadership," said Brandon, 57, discussing the impending move during an interview at Domino's headquarters, a few miles from the university's main campus. "This has provided me with an opportunity to connect with a place that has been incredibly important to my life."
We might not win much, but by God we go to Kenpom. The amount of pride I find in this statement from the man formerly known as Big Ten Wonk is completely irrational:
Seems to me that this type of progressive thought would suit a fan base like Duke’s — intelligent fans with a successful program — really well. Are you aware of any fan bases that are particularly attuned to it?
Well, it’s more anecdotal, and it’s drawing a distinction between bloggers and actual fans who I hear from. But obviously, I hear a lot from Duke and North Carolina, both because those are great combinations of A. successful programs and B. smart fan bases. I definitely hear a lot from that region of North Carolina. I think the key might be smart and impassioned fan bases, even more than successful programs, because I would also point to a community like Michigan, which has had next to nothing in the way of recent success. I hear a lot from Michigan fans — however improbably, they definitely are hip to this stuff.
Excellent work, Michigan internets. Say anything you want about us, but by God we know when to divide.
Justin Turner doom mitigation. AnnArbor.com article on Justin Turner got lost in the shuffle. In it are some reasons Turner didn't play last year that mitgate your (read: my) panic that he might not live up to his massive recruiting reputation, which would be a disaster:
“He wasn’t here in the summer lifting and going to class and doing all those things, so it’s really a few months,” Gibson said.
Once Turner got settled, he showed why he was such a well-regarded recruit.
Gibson said Turner split time between the scout team and regular defense by midseason, and coaches salivated at the thought of getting him in the rotation.
“If we’d have got him in earlier last year with the NCAA stuff, I think he’d have played a little bit,” Gibson said. “He’s a good-looking kid. There’s a lot of guys I’m anxious to see back there, but he’s one that sticks out.”
If Turner and Devin Gardner are on the field at the same time during the spring game, I'm watching Turner. That's how important he is for the program. The article mentions a possibility that Turner could end up at safety if that's the thing that seems to make the most sense, FWIW.
There is also praise for JT Floyd, but I tend to file that under the Johnny Sears rule: you talk up whoever you've got in the vague hope confidence can carry them despite your lyin' eyes.
Walkin' on. Good article in the Grand Rapids Press on walk-ons, though it misidentifies what a grayshirt is*. It highlights a physically imposing offensive tackle from Forest Hills Central who joins Baquer Sayed as Michigan preferred walk-ons who picked M over MAC offers. Meet Kristian Mateus:
It’s not the same because of the scholarship, but everybody is treated as the same player at Michigan,” said the 6-foot-8, 285-pound offensive lineman. “I feel good about that.”It’s not the same because of the scholarship, but everybody is treated as the same player at Michigan,” said the 6-foot-8, 285-pound offensive lineman. “I feel good about that.”
“Coach (Rich) Rodriguez was a walk-on himself, so he has made a commitment to make a walk-on feel as comfortable as possible,” Mateus said. “I was recruited by Michigan, took a visit there, went to camp there last summer, and it’s the place I want to be.”
Mateus had a Central Michigan offer and interest from Western Michigan and… Notre Dame? Probably not that latter but in any case sometimes you get weird breakout offensive linemen and having a MAC prospect walk-on is a non-trivial chance at a contributor.
*(Article erroneously states that a grayshirt is an early enrollee a la Devin Gardner, Ricardo Miller, and company. Those folk are usually termed early enrollees. Grayshirts are the opposite: instead of accelerating and skipping their last semester of high school, a grayshirt (usually) signs a LOI and then waits an extra semester to join the team. Sometimes they enroll, sometimes they don't. They're not on scholarship if they do.)
Brian you spoke ill of Trent!! I mean he could have just stfu, the program has taken enough shots at the moment. But know being the bitter bitch he is, he had to get one more shot in on RR and show Carr he is still a good boy!!
"Two: while people going "lol Trent you suck" are not covering themselves in glory, you can dump Trent in with those guys in a barrel of people I don't want to get a beer with."
That's Brian sounding a lot like Magnus, though more eloquently and with less All-CAPS. Magnus' point was never that Trent was wise in speaking up when he did and he's spot on in saying ad hominem attacks against Trent are weak sauce. We might not like what he said and he might have been overstepping bounds but that doesn't justify the responses that have come out of people's mouths in response to Trent
First of all, I don't care what Brian has to say about it. He's entitled to his own opinion.
Second, Huntington Wolverine summed up the gist of my argument pretty well. The weird thing is, I actually wasn't being a baby about it. The people who were being babies were the ones who starting insulting Trent, saying he never should have been born, calling him a piece of shit, etc. once his words soiled Rodriguez's program...when it was actually Rodriguez who soiled the program in the first place.
I still think it's funny that nobody except the mainstream media is holding Rodriguez accountable. Everybody around here seems angrier at the Free Press and Morgan Trent than they are at the guy who, you know, broke the rules.
But this is the last I'll comment on it here, since I've said enough in other places.
Really good to hear more about Turner and that the coaches were seriously wrestling with playing him and burning the redshirt. Another great example of some of the extra helpings of adversity this program has had to endure during this transition. What kind of difference could he have made over the end of the season if he's been able to enroll on time instead of having to deal with that stupid Ohio Standardized Test.
That game was in November, would have clinched bowl eligibility, and included horrific pass defense by Michigan. It is my opinion that they should have played this kid who apparently had them "salivating." Getting bowl eligible is worthy of burning a redshirt. Period.
Hey I'm "all in" for RR, but if what Gibson is saying is really true, then that was (another) coaching blunder. Turner's fifth year is no good to you if you're gone baby gone by then, Rich.
If the best long-term interests of the player and team were in conflict with the short-term interests of the coach I am happy that the player's and team's interests won the day. Hard to criticize a coach who looks at the situation and says, "The best thing for my player, his development, his career, and the long-term success of the team is to red-shirt him; the best thing for me personally is to play him. Let's red-shirt him."
It is easy to look back in hindsight and say that playing him would have won us another game, but the coaching staff didn't have hindsight.
I said this when the Trent quotes first arose, but I'm fine with him saying that RR needs to start winning or he is out. He is a fan and alum, and he is entitled to his opinion. But we all know that if half the athletic department and at least some of the coaches had no idea that certain activities violated the NCAA rulebook, Morgan Trent surely did not know the nuances of the manual. His claims that he "knew" violations were going on, then, do nothing more than portray him as a sore loser who was unhappy about his time under RR. Being angry with RR is one thing - Trent has a 100% right to not like the guy, especially in comparison with the guy who recruited and coached him. But Trent was oblivious to any potential violations, just like most of the people at UM.
Now, I could go the snark route and say that being oblivious to events happening around you is exactly how I would characterize Trent's coverage abilities, that doesn't help the situation. And I doubt Trent was the only former player contacted about this story; he was just the one eager (and dumb) enough to give the juiciest quotes. But at this point, giving any more credence to a guy who is clearly lying just validates his stupidity and grudge with RR.