Freep to play hardball?

Submitted by Garvie Craw on September 8th, 2009 at 8:07 PM

I read this somewhere else - I have no proof. Sounds about right for the Freep, though. Would like to know if anyone with knowledge can confirm. Brian?

"The Free Press is going to FOIA cell phone records (including texts) from any cell phones issued by UM to the coaching staff. This is presumably in an effort to discover any text messages that show coercive action from staff/coaches to players who were not "All in" for UM practices."



September 8th, 2009 at 9:42 PM ^

The Freep is investigating UM because it's the big local team. If you think they should make similar requests of MSU, fine. But what on earth makes you think that for them to be credible they'd have to investigate all D1 teams? Do you realize how massive an undertaking that would be? It's a totally ridiculous and unreasonable request.


September 8th, 2009 at 10:01 PM ^

I'll grant you that, but the point is still true.

It's unreasonable to expect that of anyone, but the Freep HAS shown willingness to go ahead with knowingly incomplete information, in order to support their points.

It's NOT unreasonable to ask them to do extra research at this point, beyond what would be asked of other instiutions, to prove the integrity of their information.


September 8th, 2009 at 9:52 PM ^

Of course investigating every single D1 program is unreasonable, hence: sarcasm, which I would think most people would've gotten. But as I said below, having a larger sample size than one school wouldn't be at all unreasonable if they really want to be, you know, somewhat objective. Of course they won't though.


September 8th, 2009 at 9:50 PM ^

It does make sense if you want to try to put forth an objective article EDIT: or at least a larger sample size than one school. The Freep will have nothing to do with that sort of "old-school" journalism, however, and to your point you're right that it wouldn't make sense if their audience consisted of people who were not UM fans. I do no live in Michigan (anymore) and have never read the Freep other than a few UM article here and there, but from what I have read and from what others around here say it would appear there is quite a bias against UM, or perhaps more specifically, Rodriguez; so I suppose if that is in fact reality that their audience consists of Sparties and others who are not UM fans then yes, you are correct.


September 8th, 2009 at 8:16 PM ^

If there's one thing the Freep does well, it's obtaining and publicizing text messages. So, let's say they find a damning message - the original story was still baseless and the continued witch hunt confirms their malicious agenda. Unless the NCAA is ready to investigate every single program, this still goes nowhere. Man, that antique ship must really be sinking...


September 8th, 2009 at 8:17 PM ^

The problem with this is that unless there's a text that says, "We're pulling your scholarship if you don't come to this workout", there's really nothing that these texts can do. Saying, "You're not going to play if you don't come work out" doesn't make the workout mandatory.

This is more yawnworthy news. If it even is news. Which, right now, it's not.


September 8th, 2009 at 8:17 PM ^

These assholes apparently aren't going to let this go.

Why do private texts to students fall under the FOIA? Isn't student information supposed to be confidential?

Do phone companies actually keep a record of all texts made by their customers?


September 8th, 2009 at 9:37 PM ^

Two major differences, one I mentioned that the texts messages in all likely hood no longer exist. The second if they did exist they are with the service provider and not the university and thus not under the umbrella of FOIA. The city had records of Kwame's texts because they were part of civil suit against the city and had been brought there through the power of subpoena.


September 8th, 2009 at 8:26 PM ^

Yeah but they have to have some sort of basis for doing a FOIA. For example, I shouldn't be allowed to randomly see your text message records just through a FOIA. I'm not sure how this would be approved without it being an invasion of privacy.

Also, if the coaches were really being sinister, whats to stop them from buying a prepaid phone that nobody can trace and just text away? It certainly would never be linked back to them.


September 8th, 2009 at 10:07 PM ^

Hey man, according to the Freep it's basically The Wire

Richrod swears at players. Threatens them with death and dismemberment when they don't show up for "workouts". Barwis turning them into RichRod's private army

Failed cocaine deals, threats of death, corruption, agendas, and investigations.

It's totally The Wire.


September 8th, 2009 at 8:48 PM ^

Not a lawyer, but FOIA (at least national) does not require laws to be broken or suspicion. It is simply saying that anything that taxpayers are paying for should be subject to review by that tax paying public, with a handful of exceptions. So, if RichRod and staff is paid with State funds, and state FOIA laws are similar to national, taxpayers should have a right to the info.

If this occurs, I only ask that they request the same exact information from all other State funded schools in every state that has similar FOIA laws. If they don't, it truly becomes a witch hunt targeted at one school.


September 8th, 2009 at 9:28 PM ^

Kwame just had bad luck as Skytel uses a different technology that is basically two way paging and they have records of it.

"Neither case has anything to do with the average person whose text messages are routinely erased by the wireless phone companies, generally within a few days of being transmitted.

Verizon, Sprint and AT&Tall insist there are no stored volumes of text messages out there. "

So unless the university uses Skytel (anyone that works for Michigan and has a phone please comment) or someone on the staff is being wiretapped or I guess they filed it quick enough, there is no record of text messages outside of the the actual phone and those can be erased. Freep is going to need to keep fishing.


September 8th, 2009 at 11:00 PM ^

right, they won't be able to get the content of text messages, they'll just know that one was sent. that said, it'd be awfully suspicious if the timing of the texts repeatedly lined up with the timing of voluntary practices. it wouldn't prove anything of course, and no sanctions would result, but it would cast a cloud in much the same way the original article did.


September 8th, 2009 at 8:26 PM ^

Also, y'all shouldn't get in a tizzy about this. This, this, is actual reporting. It does make me laugh, though, that the Freep's apparent only form of reporting for their big stories comes on the back of text messages (if this does end up becoming something).

Listen, if we broke NCAA rules, by all means, punish us. The real contention and anger about this article is that they didn't do any reporting and that we (maybe) didn't break any rules. Now, this doesn't negate the fact that this looks more and more like a witch hunt. But in their eyes, this may be successful if they find something we did wrong. It just would've been nice if they had done such reporting before they released the initial article. Ya know, that reporting thing again.


September 8th, 2009 at 8:32 PM ^

Isn't the athletic department entirely self-sufficient and free of any public funding? If the cell phones come out of that budget, the Freep might find a roadblock in their effort to FOIA non-public information.