There's been some consternation about Bill Martin's refusal to rule out the possibility of hiring a private law firm to investigate Rosenberg's allegations, especially given the Free Press's allusion to the role the law firm investigation played in the Ed Martin saga. I don't have any direct experience with NCAA investigations and enforcement, but I have spent hundreds of hours working on internal investigations for a large corporate law firm, so I can speak from direct experience as to how law firms handle internal investigations more generally.
Michigan is in a more favorable situation than a corporation that has been publicly accused of say, securities fraud. Public allegations would trigger an immediate SEC investigation, and then you're playing defense in trying to manage the enforcement body's investigation, which makes it tough to build an affirmative case that the client didn't do anything wrong. Unlike the federal government, though, the NCAA is generally willing to let a university conduct an internal review before it takes a look at the situation, so Michigan is more in the position of a company that's had internal allegations of misconduct brought to its attention.
In that situation, the point of the investigation isn't to get to the "truth" in some objective sense, but rather to answer a simple question - knowing what we know, can we go to the enforcement body in question, lay out our facts, and convince them that there's no point in investigating any further? The client is hiring you to put together a case that answers the question in the affirmative. You're going to try to discover the negatives as well as the positives and not whitewash things if you conclude that something illegal took place, but you're also going to present the facts you do discover in the best possible light for your client.
Getting specific, Rosenberg's story indicated that Michigan has signed statements from every player stating that all time spent on football beyond 20 hours was voluntary. This is infinitely stronger evidence than you usually have in a situation like this. If the question is whether X occurred and harmed a group of people, and there are contemporaneous statements from the supposed victims that X did not occur, we'd end the investigation right there. Is there more to the story? Probably. But there's more than enough to convince the enforcement body that it's not worth pursuing the issue any further. The SEC or NCAA or whoever have limited enforcement resources, and they're not going to waste them investigating situations where they'd have no hope of winning any subsequent legal proceedings. And overcoming Michigan's paper trail in this situation would be virtually impossible.
So if a company in Michigan's position came to us we'd laugh, tell them they have nothing to worry about, take a look at the paper trail, and then either end things there or write a brief disclosure to the enforcement body saying that X was alleged, we examined documents that conclusively disproved X, and that's it. And that would be the end of it.