Looking Internally Addendums And Errata

Looking Internally Addendums And Errata

Submitted by Brian on February 1st, 2018 at 2:00 PM

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[Ray Brown]

A few corrections, clarifications, and additional items are warranted for yesterday's post. I got a few things wrong, and I missed a few other examples that help establish where Michigan finds itself in its efforts to not be at all like Michigan State.

Good news/bad news for FOIA. A couple of twitter folks pointed out that Michigan was successfully sued by the Mackinac Center over its worst-in-class FOIA department:

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So hooray that it can't be as bad, but again this is an FOIA department that had to be forced into even the vaguest approximation of compliance by a lawsuit. Michigan must have an FOIA department that wants to be open, not one that is occasionally forced to be.

The Iowa perspective. Patrick Vint performs an Iowa self-examination:

here's the biggest distinction between Iowa and Michigan State: While Iowa is certainly committed to secrecy, Gary Barta and his staff are equally terrible at secrecy.  Going all the way back to Barta's first scandal, the Everson/Satterfield matter (which will figure prominently here), Iowa has shown a total inability to keep a secret, no matter how hard it collectively tries.  Peter Gray got out eventually.  So did the Griesbaum firing and Meyer transfer, the rhabdo epidemic, the DRUGS? non-scandal in late 2010, and the McCaffery extension.  There are simply too many good reporters around the program with nothing better to do than FOIA the hell out of them a few times a year, and Iowa's FOIA office, to its undying credit, truly appears to adhere to the letter and spirit of the law in almost all circumstances (which is why Iowa stopped putting anything in writing, essentially).

There is the old adage that a government can never keep a secret for long because there are too many people who know how to talk.  That's Iowa; they might well want to keep secrets from everyone, but they're incapable of actually doing that.  That's a good thing.

Also, Kirk Ferentz swung hard towards law and order after some disturbing incidents about a decade ago—remember the point in time when Michigan had hired Rodriguez and it looked like Ferentz was running a cowboy program?—and the Iowa regents cover all three public Iowa universities (UNI and ISU are the other two), with representation about equally spread between the three schools.

On that local prosecutor's office. User Monocole Smile brought up Josh Furman's case, which was a kerfuffle in which two Michigan cheerleaders "restrained" Furman from going after a guy:

The trial began Monday when the two women who were involved in the incident testified they did not feel threatened by Furman during the incident. The women both testified were attempting to hold Furman back from potentially fighting another man who was in the apartment. Mason said that man had been sending Furman explicit text messages regarding his ex-girlfriend.

According to the ex-girlfriend’s testimony, she initiated the physical contact with Furman by grabbing his arm and hair. Mason said that it was clear that if Furman wanted to get past the women into the apartment, he could have.

“If this guy is strong enough to get past OSU’s (Ohio State University) line, he could’ve got past these two cheerleaders,” Mason said. “But, he didn’t do it.”

The prosecutor's reasoning for bringing potentially career-ending domestic violence, assault and battery, and illegal entry charges:

Reiser said regardless of the terms used by the women and their roommate, who also testified on Monday, to describe how Furman tried to enter the apartment — a 911 call played in court Thursday indicated he “forced” his way in, while one woman said Monday he “brushed” by her — he should have been guilty of illegal entry.

“The fact that he used forced at all shows the illegal nature of his entry,” she said. “He was not invited in.”

This is a football player brought up on charges for yelling at a guy and almost getting in a fight. That seems to be a fairly definitive "no" in the "subverted local prosecutor" category. Maybe "jerk-ish local prosecutor," though.

The exact Gibbons timeline. I was not entirely clear that Brendan Gibbons's incident happened under Rich Rodriguez's watch, as did the Lewan threat. It is Rodriguez who should have booted Gibbons. While I am a zealot about how "I didn't know" is not at all a defense for an authority figure, even I am willing to give a new coach a pass for incidents in the past when he takes a team over.

Brady Hoke was still a neanderthal in his reaction to Gibbons's upcoming expulsion. He lied for him, and when confronted about this by the media his attitude towards what had happened was either dismissive or uncomprehending. Take your pick.

Also: it was Hoke who immediately dismissed C'sonte York.

In "are you sure you want to run this NOW?" investigative reporting. Pity the poor Freep reporters who had to drop a long story about Michigan's endowment and how it's run during the midst of the MSU scandal, but they did. The crux opens the story:

Executives at some of the nation's top investment firms donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the University of Michigan while the university invested as much as $4 billion in those companies' funds, a Detroit Free Press investigation found.

More than $400 million of that amount was sent into funds managed by three alumni who advise the university on its investments. Critics worry Michigan’s approach of investing with some of its top donors, who also help guide the university's nearly $11-billion endowment, creates a conflict.

Robert Jones, an MBA graduate from Michigan who helped lead Goldman Sachs Group's quantitative equity fund management unit before helping to found his own firm, is a member of U-M's Investment Advisory Committee, which advises the university's investment staff.

Jones said in an interview last year his firm does not receive U-M investments. And he said he would worry about the appearance of a conflict of interest if his alma mater chose his firm.

"Maybe it would look like I'm only on the committee to further my company, which is not the case," he said, adding, "it just never occurred to me to ask them" for an investment in his firm because he holds a position of influence.

This is another attribute of the university's governance that should be questioned and perhaps changed. I'm sure the folks managing the university's endowment look at it as a favor; Jones points out the obvious downside. At least there is a high-placed person on the advisory firm who's willing to offer no-bullshit quotes to a paper about this practice.

On the other hand, Michigan's tendency towards un-public secrecy again crops up:

The public university lobbied to change the state's open records law to favor the private funds managing U-M's billions. That was to protect information about the performance of funds, including those controlled by top donors to the university. ...

Thanks to Michigan's lobbying effort to change state law, it is a closely guarded secret how well the investment funds run by donors have performed. The university also shields the fees it is charged to manage its money as well as details about profit-sharing. A nonpartisan state agency warned before the law passed that the change could mean "little public accountability for poor or questionable investment decisions."

And that's the way most universities prefer it.

"The reality is nobody gives away their secrets," Lundberg said in an interview. To reveal the performance of individual investments and the fees paid by universities, he said, would hinder the ability to enter high-yield investment funds and "would come at a tremendous cost."

I don't pretend I have enough domain knowledge to say who's correct here.

Also in mendacity. Michigan State has been pretending that a lawyer they essentially hired as defense counsel has been running an independent investigation.

As sexual abuse reports against Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar flooded in a year ago, besieged officials at Michigan State University announced they had ordered an internal review. Overseeing it would be Patrick J. Fitzgerald, a former federal prosecutor whose reputation for investigations into mobsters, terrorists and corrupt politicians led admirers to deem him a modern-day Eliot Ness. ...

And they accused the university of failing to conduct a top-to-bottom, truly independent investigation, settling instead for a review by a legal team that was also trying to protect the school from any damage in the courts. Michigan State portrayed Mr. Fitzgerald as reviewing the Nassar cases even as he was hired to defend the university from lawsuits.

“Michigan State led the public to believe that there had been an independent investigation,” Tom Leonard, the Republican speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, said on Friday in an interview. “And then as we continued to dig into this, we found out it was not an independent investigation. It was an internal investigation to shield them from liability.”

Mr. Fitzgerald said on Friday that his team had never been “engaged to produce a public report” on the Nassar case. He suggested that his team’s role had been misinterpreted by some. In fact, the initial contract between Michigan State and Mr. Fitzgerald’s firm makes no mention of carrying out an independent investigation or producing any report.

Even now they are stacking the deck in their favor by hiring an alum, John Engler, despite his clear disqualifying traits, like 1) being an alum, and 2) belittling sexual assault claims in Michigan prisons, a move that later cost the state nine figures. Rachel Denhollander:

"Engler is a deep political insider at MSU," she said in her Facebook post. "At a time the university desperately needs, and survivors pleaded for, outside accountability and leadership, the board chooses one of the most entrenched insiders."

She said that "despite the board's words about accountability, it is business as usual," and "I sincerely hope the board reconsiders."

Meanwhile, the lead investigator into MSU's culture of sexual assault is this guy:

MSU booster Peter Secchia, who has been under fire for his controversial remarks about the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal, has donated more than $200,000 to the Kent County Republican Party and helped pay for the retirement party of former Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth, who was named by state Attorney General Bill Schuette over the weekend to lead an investigation into MSU’s handling of the Nassar scandal.

An invitation obtained by the Free Press shows the Peter Secchia family, along with grocer Meijer, were the two major sponsors of Forsyth’s retirement party and roast at a Grand Rapids restaurant in December 2016.

Secchia, a wealthy Grand Rapids-area businessman and former U.S. ambassador to Italy, is also a major donor to MSU and to Schuette.

All of these moves are obviously unacceptable and not really warning signs, but rather MSU retrenchment. The only question is whether MSU can definitively pass Baylor and PSU or whether there will be some question remaining when this is all over.

Where is Rick Snyder in all this? He's a lame duck with no political future. The one thing he could do to maybe rehab his image in the eyes of a state that sees only Flint water when they look at him is to go on the warpath. CMU, EMU, WMU, Tech, Ferris, Mercy, NMU, LSSU, and Michigan grads surely outnumber this cabal of Spartans seeking only to preserve their precious wins over Michigan no matter how many lives get wrecked in the process.

Snyder's "mulling action." Dude. Go down swinging. You may be the only adult-type substance in the room.

Looking Internally In The Aftermath Of MSU

Looking Internally In The Aftermath Of MSU

Submitted by Brian on January 31st, 2018 at 2:12 PM

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i quit

In the wake of... all that at Michigan State I thought it might be apropos to survey Michigan's own house, looking for warning signs. In part this is because I think there is a major one. To me, there are four major components that lead to something as callous as Michigan State's athletic department: a commitment to secrecy, an incestuous power structure, leaders who don't care about anything but the bottom line, and the ability to subvert outside checks on your behavior.

Point by point:

Pattern of DGAF discipline because you only care about the bottom line

Brandon Graham : Glenn Winston :: Winston : EL citizens

Mark Dantonio established a long time ago that he more or less doesn't care if you, football player, do something bad. Delton Williams pulled a gun in a road rage incident and served jail time. He was immediately reinstated. MacGarrett Kings was arrested for "super drunk" DUI and got a zero game suspension. MacGarrett Kings was arrested for kicking a parking enforcement truck and resisting arrest, still got a zero game suspension. Glenn Winston broke a hockey player's jaw with a sucker punch, served six months in jail, and was immediately reinstated. LJ Scott was arrested seven times for driving on a suspended license without reaction. Auston Robertson was admitted as a recruit after multiple high school assaults, one sexual, and proceeded to commit a sexual assault while in college. He didn't so much leave the team as go on the lam.  Chris L Rucker was jailed for eight days during the 2010 season after a DUI violated his probation and played the weekend after his release.

And, of course, there was that probation. Rucker was on probation because even the Ingham County prosecutor's office—about which more in a second—couldn't make surveillance tape from a dorm brawl go away. That brawl was spearheaded by one Glenn Winston:

The fight took place during a potluck function sponsored by the Iota Phi Theta fraternity, hours after Michigan State's team banquet. Winston reportedly had been in an altercation the previous night at a party thrown by the same fraternity at an East Lansing nightspot. An unnamed Michigan State player was charged with public urination and possession of alcohol by a minor outside the Small Planet nightclub.

Dell's father told the Detroit Free Press that Winston informed his teammates about the altercation, and they agreed to follow him to the potluck the next night.

Winston was finally removed from the team, as well as one other of the twenty Michigan State players who decided it would be a good idea to rumble with the Jets.

It was only last year that the 16 sexual assaults Dantonio has overseen during his time at Michigan State were public enough, and the outside heat turned up enough, that Donnie Corley, Josh King, and Demetric Vance were probed, arrested, and booted. Even there Dantonio's hands were tied by the fact that their prison sentences are likely to extend past their eligibility.

Tom Izzo, meanwhile, kept Keith Appling, a man local police wanted to charge for rape, on the team for four years. He was not even suspended.

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i know what this press conference isn't about [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

So. There's that. Michigan does not show the same proclivities, mostly. We have no idea what John Beilein's discipline policy is like because—except for Mitch McGary testing positive for pot at the NCAA tournament—literally none of his players have ever been in trouble. Laval Lucas-Perry was dismissed for violating team rules but there appears to be no legal reason.

Under Harbaugh, the only thing approximating lax discipline has been Grant Perry's three-game suspension in the aftermath of an incident outside an East Lansing bar. That resulted in probation and a diversionary plea deal; it cost Perry a quarter of a season. Other incidents under Harbaugh have been met with summary execution. C'sonte York, Logan Tuley-Tillman, and Nate Johnson were all immediately booted for incidents that would have been met with zero game suspensions from Dantonio.

I mean this literally. York sucker punched a guy, which is the same offense Winston committed minus the broken jaw and six months in jail. Tuley-Tillman was convicted of taping consensual sex and sending it from her phone to his; his conviction was also diverted. Nate Johnson was sentenced to four days in jail and probation for a domestic violence incident. That number of days in jail doesn't even warrant a weekend suspension at MSU.

Pre-Harbaugh Michigan did have Brendan Gibbons. Gibbons was not charged as a freshman when his incident occurred, but he should have been booted anyway. "Woman you have sex with does rape kit immediately afterwards" isn't a convictable offense in the court of law but should be disqualifying for a Michigan athlete.

More disturbing is Taylor Lewan's behavior in the aftermath. For the record, Lewan denies that he said this:

The alleged victim also accused Lewan, a longtime teammate of Gibbons with the Wolverines, of then threatening her if she pursued charges -- "I'm going to rape her because, [Gibbons] didn't."

I don't believe him. I don't believe him because there is a UM police report on the incident with a specific and believable account of this interaction. Maybe the exact phrasing involved is incorrect but the overall thrust of the interaction is clear: an attempt to intimidate this woman. That should have gotten him suspended, but it's clear from the way the Gibbons situation played out that Brady Hoke was a neanderthal in this department.

That had to change. External indicators seem to indicate that it has. For what it's worth, the whisper network had outed Gibbons just as thoroughly as it had outed Keith Appling and Adriean Payne before ESPN finally put their names and acts into print, and I haven't heard anything similar since.

Subversion of local prosecutor's office

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lax MSU discipline did not help Keith Appling in the long run

The East Lansing police department recommended prosecution for Keith Appling and Adriean Payne after Payne essentially confessed in a police interview. No charges were brought for an astounding quid pro quo:

Schaner says campus police investigators told her that, because of Payne's police interview, they had a solid case to pursue. Once the case was forwarded from police to Ingham County prosecutors, Schaner was interviewed by an assistant prosecutor, Debra Rousseau Martinez. Schaner says Martinez told her she did not seem strong enough to stand up to questioning that would come as a result of making allegations against MSU basketball players.

No charges were filed in the case. The assistant prosecutor, Martinez, now works for Michigan State's Title IX office. She declined to comment on Schaner's case.

Meanwhile the Ingham County DA for the large majority of the timeframe covered here was Stuart Dunnings III, who eventually went to jail for a bundle of charges including soliciting prostitutes and, more relevant for this post, subverting the justice system repeatedly when favored people were caught up in it. Just a couple of the litany of offenses:

In August 2012, charges were inexplicably dropped in a drug paraphernalia case. When an investigator interviewed the person who dropped the charges — likely an assistant prosecutor, whose identity was redacted from the report — the person told the detective she doesn’t know why she dismissed the case and “she would’ve documented if someone had contacted her requesting she dismiss the charges.”

In November 2013, a woman arrested on a domestic violence charge claimed to know Dunnings personally and said she should be released immediately, a jail staffer told investigators. Dunnings called the jail and said he wanted the woman released into his custody. Though “the staff thought it strange that the prosecutor was getting personally involved in this case,” investigators found at least eight women had been released from the jail in 2015 “at the request of the prosecutor or the prosecutor’s office.” The Sheriff’s Office oversees the jail.

If Dunnings was willing to spring prostitutes from jail because he knew them, a call from Izzo or Dantonio only has one outcome. The woman assaulted by Travis Walton, who picked up a bizarre littering charge instead of the original assault charge, states the obvious:

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If Grant Perry played for MSU he would have gotten a littering charge, because it's hard to tell whether the Ingham County prosectuor's office is more incompetent or corrupt. This is Dunnings's replacement:

“You put all of these together after what we now know and they look like flags, but at the time … (it) was inappropriate, but did it rise to the level of knowledge of a criminal activity? No,” said Whitmer, who was appointed to serve the last six months of Dunnings’ term. She noted in a Friday interview that she was not privy to the investigation during her review of the prosecutor’s office.

This is a dude in jail.

Wriggelsworth said Friday that it wasn’t until this investigation that his office had anything solid — or even wrote an official report.

But the prosecutor’s activities were so widely known, in fact, that an inmate laughed when he saw Dunnings being led down a hall in the county jail in cuffs in March.

“Everyone knows” Dunnings had been involved with prostitutes “for years,” the inmate said, according to the records. “Damn, the man finally got caught up.”

Either the dude in jail is the smartest guy in the building or the cover your ass attitude didn't end with Dunnings.

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This does not appear to be the case in Ann Arbor. Even if Nate Johnson and Logan Tuley-Tillman aren't the best examples because both had been booted from the team as soon as their offenses had become known, they were still charged appropriately. Going a bit further back in time, Will Campbell was charged with a felony for this extremely unwise hijink:

Michigan senior defensive tackle Will Campbell is facing one felony and one misdemeanor charge of malicious destruction of property stemming from an April 7 incident, according to court records. ...

According to Ann Arbor police, Campbell was arrested after attempting to slide across the hood of a vehicle at 2 a.m. on April 7 in the 600 block of Church Street. An officer in the area could hear the sheet metal on the hood of the car buckle under Campbell’s weight — he’s listed at 322 pounds — and arrested the senior, police stated.

Campbell was intoxicated, according to police.

He pled down to a misdemeanor and paid restitution, as is appropriate for a first-time offender. He was certainly not undercharged initially. Meanwhile the main accusation leveled at Michigan's Title IX department recently is that they railroaded Drew Sterrett, a non-athlete whose preposterous expulsion was rightfully overturned in court. It is unlikely to be a haven for disgraceful ex-prosecutors who shuffled rape charges under the table in order to do Joel Ferguson a solid.

The nature of these kinds of issues is that they get shuffled under the carpet for years until someone ferrets them out, so that's not definitive, and unfortunately...

Terrible FOIA Office

ESPN had to sue MSU multiple times to get unredacted versions of the documents they requested, and was infamously sued by MSU because of this conundrum:

MSU argues in a court filing that it has been put in an "impossible position" because Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon's office asked the university to withhold the records and ESPN asked for them to be released.

That's not at all how FOIA works, but ESPN had to take that case all the way to the state supreme court before they could proceed. MSU's FOIA office was in full thrall to their university-wide omerta policy. Any FOIA office that acts similarly should put its university under similar suspicion.

Requesting Jim Harbaugh's very boring expense reports took Deadspin "months of back and forth," and this Daily article still remains the gold standard for FOIA office comparisons. Michigan's office is WORSE THAN MSU's, which is the second worst in all the land:

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This is probably something that goes back to a state law that needs to be changed, but Michigan taking fuller advantage of it than the sexual assault enablers in East Lansing is unacceptable.

As someone with some experience with the FOIA office I can tell you that Michigan had a policy under Dave Brandon (and may still have it under Warde Manuel) where athletic department emails were purposefully and systematically deleted after a certain period of time to remove them from FOIA. This meant the infamous "find a new team" email returned no responses when people suspicious it was a fake asked for it. I meant that whenever I tried to get all emails from Dave Brandon over a month long period there were no matching results.

The FOIA office also always, always, always replies that they will not be able to get to your request in the five business days mandated by state law and will use the ten day extension, whereupon they use the full three weeks before responding.

This is a statewide problem and should be rectified by:

  • Making FOIA requests free short of purposefully vexing ones.
  • Making "deleted" emails subject to FOIA; there is absolutely no excuse for Michigan's behavior in this regard.
  • Establishing certain things as outside the bounds of FERPA, like names on police reports.

Michigan, meanwhile, should take these steps independently. Because right now their FOIA office looks a lot like one set up to shield sexual assault.

Incestuous power structure

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clowns

Lou Anna Simon had never worked anywhere other than Michigan State. The Michigan State board of trustees is a collection of blatantly unqualified mandarins that in other circumstances would qualify as hilarious. It contains:

  • An 83-year old former football coach whose tenure ended when years of steroid abuse in his program came to light. George Perles denied any knowledge of such a thing.
  • Joel Ferguson, whose own words are sufficiently damning. If you need more, racketeering charges and straight up admitting that he's buying off the mayor of East Lansing.
  • Mitch Lyons, former MSU football player, who publicly outed Auston Robertson's accuser Robertson as the Corley-Vance-King whistleblower and was recently charged with assault. Lyons at least was the first to flip on Simon.
  • Brian Breslin, who is the son of the guy their basketball arena is named after.
  • Brian Mosallam, another former MSU football player. Mosallam at least seems to realize they screwed up massively.

Miraculously, the other three people are not obviously beholden to the MSU athletic department—their actions only imply it. Their unanimous appointment of John Engler to replace Simon...

...is a ridiculous, we-learned-nothing slap in the face.

Michigan had one notable misstep here that you undoubtedly remember: appointing Dave Brandon athletic director despite his extreme narcissism and total lack of experience in athletic department administration. Outside of that Michigan looks outside itself for top end hires. Mark Schlissel came from Brown, Mary Sue Coleman from Iowa, Lee Bollinger from Dartmouth (though he was faculty at M for a long time prior). The most recent president to move up the ranks from inside the university was James Duderstadt in 1988. Critically, no Michigan alum has been president at the university since 1951. An Ohio State grad has been president more recently than that.

Amongst the board of regents many care about Michigan athletics but there's only one person clearly indebted to it: Ron Weiser, who was endorsed by "Sarah" Harbaugh prior to the most recent board of regents election. There are no former football players or coaches.

Unfortunately, Michigan does display some signs of dysfunction at high levels. "Supplemental" pay has been rising dramatically in recent years, in an apparent effort—again—to skirt FOIA laws:

As a public university, U-M is required by state law to disclose annual salary reports. In those reports, U-M discloses base salary. Yet faculty say base pay is only part of the story, and that in disclosing full-pay U-M will increase accountability.

A group of about a dozen faculty members published an open letter to regents in April, suggesting that faculty pay has been increasing modestly in the last decade, while administrator pay at the school has increased substantially, both through hikes in base salaries and through supplemental pay.

"It shows this disparity [in pay] is growing," Dario Gaggio, a history professor at U-M who co-authored the letter, said of the supplemental pay data. "The higher up you go in the hierarchy, the faster the compensations grow."

He added: "I think the whole system really is in need of a general review."

The University in general shows little to no resistance to the increasing disparities between rank and file pay and executive pay that plague every industry in the country but are especially grating in a non-profit, public-interest enterprise like a public university. And they go out of their way to disguise that. From such small mendacities greater things can spawn.

Michigan, in general, must become more open. Open about compensation, compliant with the spirit of FOIA, not the mere letter. After all:

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"A sign of high integrity is not [being] worried about being FOIA'd"

Unverified Voracity Spends 30 Seconds Grunting

Unverified Voracity Spends 30 Seconds Grunting

Submitted by Brian on January 19th, 2015 at 11:14 AM

Bill[1]

Things pass. Passing NCAA legislation is like hiring assistant coaches: things are done, and then they're done again, and then they're done, and finally they're officially done. These may or may not be officially officially done because NCAA, but it sounds like it is done-done:

  • full cost of attendance scholarships,
  • mandatory four-year guaranteed scholarships,
  • allowing athletes to borrow against future earnings for one purpose: loss of value insurance
  • and new concussion management protocols.

One ACC team voted against the first proposal—I'd love to figure out who that is and if it's Clemson worrying that their bagmen will have to shell out more to make a difference. The SEC (surprise!) and Big 12 voted against the second, with the former using athletes in attendance as cover. This doesn't even make sense:

The SEC's athlete representatives took issue with a clause that would prevent schools from taking away scholarships, or in the case of sports with partial scholarships, reducing the amount of aid, from athletes for athletic underperformance.

"The student-athletes said, 'Don't do that,'" Jacobs said. "They said, 'Give them four years if you want, but … you can pull it away if the players aren't performing.'"

"Give them four years, as long as you can revoke it for any reason." That athlete and his nonsense is headed for Congress. No doubt.

As a result, the second proposal barely squeezed by.

I still have my doubts about how effective the mandatory four year scholarships are going to be. If a guy gets kicked off the team he gets to stay on scholarship, but does the team get to replace him? How difficult is it going to be for coaches to boot guys for unspecified violations of team rules? (Not difficult.) I still think the real solution here is to go from an overall cap to a yearly one. That moves the system from one in which retention comes with an opportunity cost to one in which it doesn't.

Anyway.

The third bullet point sounds seismic until you get to the colon, whereupon it is revealed as a logical change to give athletes some security even if they don't have up-front capital. The fourth may as well be termed the Brady Hoke Derp rule.

Hockey aside. I've mentioned it before: it'll be interesting to see what happens with college hockey after these reforms take hold. Smaller schools have the option to follow the Power 5, but it's doubtful they can do so for just their glamor sport since Title IX looms over all these discussions… unless they're one of the D-II or D-III teams grandfathered in.

Does Miami (NTM) have the dough to keep pace with the Big Ten? Probably not. Would Denver? Maybe—Denver only has one D-I sport. Would the NCHC create an unbalanced playing field within their own conference to help the resource-rich teams compete? I have no idea.

One thing that is definitely good here is that the value of a scholarship went up significantly. That'll help schools compete against the OHL.

You may have screwed up. The San Francisco 49ers fired one of the winningest coaches in NFL history to hire a career position coach who'd never so much as coordinated a defense. This seems unwise, especially when the guy doing the deciding here is Pete Campbell with puffy cheeks.

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NOT GREAT JIM

Maybe he's got great interpersonal skills?

Maybe he's going to surround himself with great coaches?

Kiffin front-runner to be 49ers' OC

Maybe he's going to keep the excellent defensive staff intact?

Source: 49ers have fired Fangio, Donatell and Leavitt

At least you didn't have to pay a buyout to fire your previous coach. So you've got that going for you.

Otherwise, the parallels between this and Brady Hoke's coaching career are eerie.

Hello Texas. Random article from Cleveland on Harbaugh recruiting Andrew Luck notes Harbaugh's excellent success in that talent-rich state:

Luck was one of three Texas players in Stanford's 2008 recruiting class. Harbaugh signed four each in 2009 and 2010 before leaving for the NFL. He moved around the state, getting players from Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.

And Brady Hoke… uh… not doing that.

The Wolverines have actually offered a surprising number of Texas players in the last four years according to 247Sports:

• 15 offers in 2015

• 9 offers in 2014

• 13 offers in 2013

• 11 offers in 2012

None of those players signed with Michigan, but that could start changing with Harbaugh.

I'm not sure how many of those offers were seriously pursued and how many were fired off hoping to induce a visit, but going 0-fer in Texas is some kind of problem. Which Michigan coach was assigned to one of the richest talent-producing states in the country?

I don't know. No, seriously, I don't know.

RALPH. Jim Harbaugh had a personal Ohio State back in the day:

A nine-year-old playing tackle football for the first time, Harbaugh stood at No. 7 in the tackling line, and immediately looked at the group of runners across from him to see who his No. 7 counterpart was.

He counted back, and saw the player he'd be forced to tackle.

"Ralph," Harbaugh recalled Friday afternoon during his speech to the Michigan High School Football Coaches Convention in Lansing. "So I said a prayer. I said 'dear lord, I know I'm only nine-years-old and I haven't asked you for a lot up until now. But please, dear lord, when I'm done with this, please do not let Ralph be No. 7.'

"Ralph was still there."

Landing spots. Roy Manning snags the OLB job at Washington State, making him the third former Hoke coach to find a Power 5 job. (Greg Mattison, who was retained, and Doug Nussmeier are the others.) Darrell Funk latched on at Akron, Dan Ferrigno at San Jose State, and nobody else is employed as of now. Al Borges was rumored to be getting the SJSU offensive coordinator job, but that was 1) contingent on Jimmie Dougherty getting a job at Michigan, which didn't happen and 2) reported only by Football Scoop.

I am reading lots about the coaching profession's opinion of Hoke's staff into this.

Redshirt. Not that it's a surprise, but don't expect to see DJ Wilson the rest of the year:

"We'd have to have a couple of major injuries," Beilein explained. "The only way that I'd play him right now is if I could look him in the eye and say, 'Listen, I think you'll play 15-20 minutes per game. That's what's fair to him right now."

Next year's "recruiting class" currently consists of Wilson and Williams transfer Duncan Robinson.

Gardner at WR. He's been impressive:

Michigan WR Devin Gardner: Gardner (6-4, 216) famously is making the switch from quarterback to wide receiver. He played wide receiver for half the 2012 season and didn't start focusing on the position again until early December, right after the Wolverines' season ended. "He got better and better each day," Jeremiah said. Gardner has good, not great, speed but can be elusive and has good hands, especially for a guy who has been a receiver for only about seven weeks. His size also is a big plus. He should become more acclimated to the position, and his pre-draft workouts could be quite interesting.

I didn't think much of his ability to find balls downfield when he was playing WR, but that's something time can fix. Also, for a 6'4" dude his speed is likely a plus.

Hooray. Michigan passes a law that may be directly aimed at Michigan's notoriously horrible FOIA department:

…will not be allowed to charge more than 10 cents per page for copies of public records; they can face increased fines for delaying responses, and people seeking the records now can sue if they consider the fees to be exorbitant. …

Another change in the law requires governments to provide the records electronically instead of on paper if the requester seeks them in that format.

Damages have gone up significantly as well. This doesn't do anything about Michigan's retention policy being "we don't have one," unfortunately, but it's a step in the right direction.

Etc.: LeVert's injury looked harmless. Hockey podcasting with Mike Spath. Zach Hyman is tearing it up. On something meaning something. We're relevant enough to be an offseason theme. Playcalling duties are yet to be determined between Drevno and Harbaugh.

Unverified Voracity Bounces

Unverified Voracity Bounces

Submitted by Brian on November 6th, 2014 at 12:40 PM

A note. UFR tomorrow. Life things.

Open practice. Basketball had one, and it was fun. The most interesting segment was an "overtime" period in which a mostly first-team unit took on a mostly second-team unit, which one of our users got on the tubes:

Impressions on the new blood:

  • DJ Wilson has the potential to greatly improve Michigan's defense. Maybe not this year, especially since they're running him out at the five some, but down the road. He's tall, has long arms, is bouncy, and has the lateral agility to check anyone approximately his size. He was about the only defender who was at all effective in a transition drill where the guy on D faces a 2 on 1. He's going to block a bunch of shots. Wilson played a significant amount of five with the next guy limited.
  • Ricky Doyle was participating, but only in short bursts, skipping all the running (he did pushups instead) and mostly watching. He seems limited by some sort of injury. Michigan's going to need him by the time they go to Brooklyn—he's much bigger than Donnal and Donnal struggled to finish at the rim to the point where he was sent on a run up the steps. We might retroactively appreciate Jordan Morgan's finishing this year.
  • MAAR is probably your third point guard if Michigan needs to dig that deep because of foul trouble or injury. He was able to penetrate to the lane several times, but like LeVert as a freshman he usually didn't have a great idea what to do after that happened.
  • Aubrey Dawkins is inexplicable. The guy is 6'6" and can jump out of the gym. The fact he had to prep and then only had a Dayton offer before Michigan swooped in is hard to believe; a guy with his athletic package should have mid-majors and lesser power conference schools leaping to offer him even if he's never seen a basketball in his life. He's going to be a lot like GRIII, I think.
  • Kam Chatman is smooth and skilled. Hard to get any serious impression of shooting ability in this brief window but he looked highly capable there—and that was supposedly his weak spot. Beilein will get you to shoot.

I forgot Duncan Robinson existed so I assumed the guy wearing 22 was a walk-on and didn't pay much attention to him; Hatch participated in some drills early but that was all.

One issue: the audio was severely distorted and made it impossible to hear anything. Hopefully they fix that if/when they do this next year.

Other open practice takes. Kyle Bogenschutz:

Most impressive? Michigan sophomore wing Zak Irvin. Irvin was just doing what Irvin does, knocking down threes from all over the perimeter and at an extremely high percentage. Of the opportunities Irvin had in live settings he didn’t miss many. Early of course and just practice but if Irvin is given some more looks like he had last year he will have a chance to lead the team in scoring despite LeVert being the most complete player on the team.

He also references Wilson's defensive upside.

Brendan Quinn:

Offensively, Chatman looks game-ready. The 6-foot-7 freshman is confident with the ball not shy about getting his shot off. Known as a smooth and methodical player, he had a little more bounce than anticipated. The questions for Chatman remain on the defensive end of the floor. Those will be answered with time.

A defense. What kind of argument to you have to make to get me to defend Dave Brandon? This kind:

Applying ESPN Grade To Michigan's Situation: Last Friday, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon resigned under pressure from boosters and alums unhappy with the football team's decline from the Top 25 and with stadium renovations intended to provide luxury to the 1 percent. Added to the bill of attainder should be that Michigan looks bad on graduation rates. The football graduation rate under Brandon averaged 69 percent, which would be acceptable at some lesser schools but is embarrassing at an elite institution like the University of Michigan.

He later cites Northwestern's 97% grad rate so I know what numbers he is using: the NCAA's graduation success rate metric. The NCAA's GSR site has numbers up to the 2007 cohort, who gradated in May of 2011 if they took four years. That's barely a year after Brandon's arrival and is in no way representative of anything he did academically. Michigan's APR has hit Northwestern levels the last few years as they dig out from the Carr/Rodriguez botched transition, and the GSR will follow… in like five years.

Congrats, Gregg Easterbrook. You have found a bad way to argue for Dave Brandon's dismissal. They said it couldn't be done, but you did it.

Coming up empty. The Daily has an article on Michigan's document retention policy, or lack thereof:

Despite the fact that Michigan state law requires public bodies to “protect public records from loss, unauthorized alteration, mutilation, or destruction,” according to University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald, there is no University policy currently in place to ensure that employees retain communications in accordance with state-level regulations.

State law stipulates that public records be kept and disposed of in accordance with a formal schedule, which requires that correspondence be retained for two years after the date of its creation before it can be destroyed.

University officials, however, claim that on-campus regulations are separate and exempt from state law.

“It’s our policy that it’s up to individual users to determine their own document retention,” Fitzgerald said. “The University doesn’t have a set schedule.”

Daily FOIAs for Brandon emails between March 13th and 14th of this year and between July 24th and 26th of 2014 came up with "no responsive records"; the Daily was looking for correspondence on the Gibbons matter. I can add that I filed an FOIA for the specific date of the Have A Happy Life email and, like one of our users, it came back non-responsive as well.

Hilariously, the University is arguing that it is "not a formal part of state government" to justify this behavior… after repeatedly arguing in court that they are. In yet further evidence that the Michigan FOIA department is out of step with standard practice:

When the Daily submitted requests for e-mail archives of various other Big Ten athletic directors in mid-2014, representatives from MSU, the University of Iowa, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Nebraska, Purdue University and the University of Illinois responded with offers to provide the records. The University of Minnesota, Indiana University, Pennsylvania State University and Ohio State University did not respond immediately.

A lack of transparency is always in service to the people entrenched at the top of the institution and not the institution itself.

Boo, John Clayton, boo. Clayton on Olbermann:

In brief: Clayton asserts that Harbaugh's going to be somewhere else next year but it is likely to be an NFL team, not Michigan.

Etc.: The Big Ten is bad at hockey. Except for Minnesota. Hockey commit Kyle Connor is kind of a big deal, and explicit that he is going to honor his commitment. Derrick Walton is set to make a leap. Tom Crean wrecked his program. Smart Football has a glossary.

Unverified Voracity Founds Iowa City Torch And Pitchfork

Unverified Voracity Founds Iowa City Torch And Pitchfork

Submitted by Brian on September 16th, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Let's check in with Iowa City. Hell no they ain't happy after a narrow escape against Ball State and then the missed-it-TO-made-it sequence to lose to Iowa State for the ninth time under Ferentz. The ninth time!

Aaand:

It's kind of like Michigan if Brady Hoke was permanently unfireable. They're probably going to be okay-ish, they are frustrated with their archaic program (and Iowa is way more archaic than Michigan except when Iowa plays Michigan), fans would probably like to move on. But, uh, not happening:

If Iowa were to fire Ferentz for convenience, the school would continue to owe him 75% of his annual guaranteed salary for the remaining years in his contract. …

Ferentz’s base salary has climbed each year since 2010, hitting $2.07 million for the current season. It stays at that level for the next five years. Ferentz also receives supplemental income in the amount of $1.48 million per year, bringing his total salary up to $3.55 million per season. That means if Ferentz were fired at the end of this year, Iowa would owe him $13.3 million, to be paid in monthly installments between now and 2020. That amounts to

roughly $2.7 million per year.

And this is a guy arguing that Iowa can totally afford to dump him. It is possible. Charlie Weis is still getting paid by Notre Dame; the Irish offered him a total of 19 million to go do anything else. (All will be forgiven if one day Weis cites Foul Ole Ron as one of his inspirations.) It's just hard to see Iowa pulling the trigger given that they've put up with all the stuff they've already put up with from Ferentz so far, including the rhabdo event and going 4-8 more than a decade into your tenure.

And then there's the question facing Michigan fans who want a change: is there anyone out there who seems like a good idea? Or is it Terry Bowden sweepstakes time again?

Alabama will just tell you stuff. Because it doesn't matter if you get the kind of stuff that laymen will understand, Alabama's just like "okay here let's talk about it," which makes for interesting articles about the Tide facing a blizzard of screens in their early games against overmatched foes and how you go about dealing with that:

"When they're throwing fast, get your hands up," defensive end Jonathan Allen said. "If they throw a screen, you have to retrace. That's what really defeats the screen is when the linemen retrace and run to the ball. That'll really take away from the screen. So our job's just beginning as soon as he throws the ball."

This is not rocket science. It is part of a respectful-seeming conversation happening about football in front of the media that the media can then go use to write interesting stories, thus increasing the overall happiness around the program slightly.

And this is Alabama, home to the notoriously prickly Nick Saban. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to be on the Michigan beat. I can count the multitudes who have fled.

Meanwhile at Michigan. The university's notoriously expensive FOIA department strikes again:

The only two possibilities here are that Michigan is breaking the law or that they run the most inefficient FOIA office in the country, which implies things about the efficiency of the rest of the unduly-closeted operation. Either way this should change. If you end up talking to Schlissel ask him which possibility is the truth.

And yes more dead horse spread punt stuff but this answer is just …

Okay. What would you like to talk about?

One of the ultimate people in charge of things. Spencer Hall roasts Goodell and shows why the people in charge of things are just in charge of them:

Remember now what a blank social boffin the NFL strapped to its face to begin with: a Senator's son from a safety school who quite literally never worked anywhere else but in the sports job he got directly out of college. Roger Goodell's resume is a hollow blandishment of institutional servitude. He fought in the arbitration wars; he coordinated the events. Calendars were heroically arranged.

Do not expect that having a job means anything. Every great organization will one day hire the moron who will destroy them.

People in charge of coin tosses are just in charge of them. If you missed this from Saturday, whoah:

That's Texas electing to kick after UCLA deferred, the ref explaining this, and Texas's captains going "sounds good to me!" Shockingly, Charlie Strong did not kick them off the team immediately. I would have.

Apparently this happens about once a year? I could never be a coach. I would assume that things like brushing your teeth were outside of my purview and lose games because of it.

Also in CFB oddities. So this was a trick play:

"What should I do on this play to draw attention to myself, coach?"
"Have you seen Showgirls, son?"
"No. Unless the answer is supposed to be yes. Then yes."
"Son. I'm going to need you to flop around like an electrocuted fish like when Nomi—"
"How about I just fall over?"
"…"
"I am just going to fall over."
"FINE"

Arkansas threw at the "tackle", who was eligible, and two different guys on Miami intercepted the same pass. Should have flopped around like an electrocuted fish.

And the oddest oddity. Boston College ran for 452 yards against USC! That is not the grand total of Eagle rushing yards in all Boston College games against USC ever! It is one game from Saturday! What?

you could see the Eagles wear down USC's discipline and will with one play in particular, applied heavily over the course of the game: the zone read with a lead arc block by a tight end.

The common way this play is run is with the QB choosing to handoff or keep the ball. If he keeps, he's attacking the edge based on a read of an unblocked defensive end, with a lead blocker for him on the edge.

BC kept USC off balance with a bunch of other stuff; it was an arc block on the zone read keep that was the killer time and again.

Etc.: Matt Hinton's weekly has landed at Grantland, and is recommended. We don't feature because no one pays attention to 34-10 MAC games. That UGA-SoCar first down is the definition of margin of error.

Guy with name as difficult to spell as Coach K bombs Coach K. I don't really know why Paul George exploding is a big deal in this context; if not playing for USA he would have been doing something else that put his leg in danger.

It begins. Malzahn wants to go even faster. Va Tech's offense under Loeffler. What's wrong with Iowa's ground game.