Major Major Major Major Comment Count

Brian May 25th, 2010 at 10:50 AM

"I have named the boy Caleb," he announced to her finally in a soft voice. "In accordance with your wishes." The woman made no answer, and slowly the man smiled. He had planned it all perfectly, for his wife was asleep and would never know that he had lied to her as she lay on her sickbed in the poor ward of the county hospital.


"The University is satisfied that the initial media reports are greatly exaggerated if not flatly incorrect."

-University of Michigan

So there are about a zillion documents to go over but here are your thunderbolts of justice:

  • Michigan has reduced the number of QC staffers by 40 percent (ie, by two) and prohibited them from attending practices, games, and coaches meetings for 2010. A new bylaw specifically allows QC staffers at coaches meeting, but Michigan won't take advantage of this until 2011. Michigan will not add more QC staffers until the 2011 season ends.
  • Michigan will give back 130 hours of practice time over the next two years.
  • Michigan has taken "corrective action" to prevent a repeat.
  • Two years of probation.

…aaaaand that's all, folks. No scholarships, no reductions in the number of actual coaches, and they didn't even fire anyone other than Herron—the other QC staffer they're losing is Braithwaite, who's now an actual coach. This is actually less severe than the mild sanctions this site has ballparked since May. The NCAA will accept the report essentially as-is in August and Michigan will get on with it.

This is it, by, the way: these documents are the official results of the investigation release to the public and the NCAA. Michigan took this seriously enough to bring in third-party NCAA investigators and this is what they turned up. If there is anyone out there still defending the original article as something other than a one-sided hit job that cost Michigan thousands of dollars and should cause any Michigan fan to boycott the Free Press until the people who wrote and edited it are gone, read the PDFs. Just a couple days ago someone was complaining that characterizing the violations as "stretching" was a dishonest representation of the violations and hurt the site's credibility. It's true that there is a tale of sordid institutional miscommunication buried in the documents, but "warm-up and stretching" is literally 90% of the hourly overages. The QC issues came because Rodriguez thought they were classified as S&C assistants, which they were not.

Compare that—a very serious document that will have consequences if it is wrong—to the Free Press report detailing lurid excesses, student abuse, and complete disregard for NCAA regulations. If newspapers cared about truth in reporting as much as the university does about its compliance with NCAA regulations, everyone involved with the story would be looking for a new job.



May 25th, 2010 at 10:54 AM ^

Per usual, the Freep front page coverage of this makes it seem like it's a huge deal, instead of underscoring the light nature of the sanctions. Buncha hacks.

steve sharik

May 25th, 2010 at 10:58 AM ^

If newspapers cared about truth in reporting as much as the university does about its compliance with NCAA regulations, everyone involved with the story would be looking for a new job.

Amen, brother.

[email protected]

May 25th, 2010 at 10:59 AM ^

"If newspapers cared about truth in reporting as much as the university does about its compliance with NCAA regulations, everyone involved with the story would be looking for a new job."

THAT is how you end an article. Well done as always, Brian.



May 25th, 2010 at 11:05 AM ^

FreeP allegation: Players given gifts, competitive advantage created
Reality: Magee handed a guy a box of Kleenex

the shots across the bow at the FreeP are outstanding


May 25th, 2010 at 11:05 AM ^

"The NCAA will accept the report essentially as-is in August"

Is the above definite.  Why does the NCAA even bother with the August hearing if thats the case?

Is there any chance the NCAA might not accept as is, add a scholarship deduction or something of the like?  Or can we rest 100% easy.


May 25th, 2010 at 11:11 AM ^

It is really unlikely the NCAA will add anything other than maybe another year of probation. The previous two cases saw self-imposed penalties accepted, and they were considerably worse violations. Also, Michigan hired a former head of the infractions committee to advise.


May 25th, 2010 at 11:37 AM ^


Assuming that the NCAA did want to add another year of probabtion after the August hearing, how does it go about reaching that decision?  Is it based entirely upon a review the University's investigation and findings, or does the NCAA do its own independent review? 

Thanks for the great work as usual.


May 25th, 2010 at 11:57 AM ^

But your post carried more finality.  It seems strange that if the NCAA thought today would be it, that they specifically asked for like 10 of our people to go to their meeting. And, your previous more strict ballpark estimates could possibly be what the NCAA is thinking along the lines of.


May 25th, 2010 at 11:05 AM ^

It occurs to me that if the Free Press had an ombudsperson, like so many reputable newspapers do, that they would be compelled to discuss the Michigan report, particularly the introduction, and assess what role they played in this and what steps they are taking to prevent this from happening again.  But, alas, they do not appear to have one, so we're stuck with this, gnashing our teeth and knowing that even in pointing out the error of the Free Press, it will be a hollow victory at best.


May 25th, 2010 at 1:27 PM ^

Many newspapers will cut quality and accountability in order to save costs and keep themselves afloat. This may not be a good long-term strategy, but most newspapers don't have the capital or foresight to implement one.

This may change when the newspaper industry has bottomed out. I think it'll depend on what business model they eventually end up taking. One approach may well include high quality journalism (and I think there's a market for it). However, it's also possible that the survivors go after the tabloid market.

Fall of the Ho…

May 25th, 2010 at 11:17 AM ^

Even if the free press had an ombudsperson, I would guess that his/her assessment of this saga would be that the paper was doing its routine duty of shedding light on the seedy underground of whatever.

Note also that this paper was the one that (1) did not take its star writer to task after he fabricated a heart touching story about MSU players attending a final four game, and (2) pulled a negative review of said star writer's book about the Ten Professors You Meet In Purgatory or whatever it was.

Note also that the free press' other banner investigative piece of late (the Kwame Kilpatrick text message story) was produced via journalistic practices that relied on getting said text messages through illegal means (as good and sordid as that text message story might have been.)


May 25th, 2010 at 3:29 PM ^

and while I think they do a pretty good job of discussing things and presenting things, I'm guessing you draw the same conclusions I do. A lot of what they seem to get out of ESPN is "well, that's just how we do things here." Sometimes they seem to draw some sort of contrition from Vince Doria or someone else there, but in general it's basically the same type of stuff over and over.

It definitely helps, though, because you can actually see ESPN's responses to direct criticism, and there is a link on their front page to the current ombudsperson. At least you have a feeling that some people there care. I didn't get that impression the last time I read the Freep ... it's a shame because there are probably good journalists there as there are everywhere, but when the big stories are written by people using piles of fecal matter taken from cattle, the good work is lost.

Section 1

May 25th, 2010 at 11:35 AM ^

they will tell you, "our Publisher, Paul Anger, answers directly for the paper."  Paul Anger will tell you the same thing. 

The Toledo Blade, the New York Times, and about 20 other papers have ombudsmen.  The Times doesn't even call their guy an ombudsmen.  He (Clark Hoyt) is "the Public Editor."

You can e-mail your Freep complaints directly to Paul Anger.  But be forewarned; he's already gone on record, defending Rosenberg and Snyder.

And Brian is right:  If the Free Press had the same transparency and accountability as what has now been demanded of the Michigan Football program, Rosenberg would be looking for a new job.


May 25th, 2010 at 11:10 AM ^

What I find scary, and a patent disregard of its responsibility as a newspaper, is that the Freep seemed to have been on a mission to have Rodriguez removed as a coach.

Fans all over the country often wish to have a coach replaced when a program doesn't succeed at the level it is expected to.  Yet, I have never heard of a newspaper doing what Freep did in this instance.  In addition to the obvious black eye painted on U of M, the cost of defending this investigation will probably be 7 figures.  All because a couple of reporters were unhappy with a coach.  The allegations, as many of us expected, were totally unsubstantiated.  Yet, there is no recourse except to not buy their product.  The quid pro quo doesn't seem balanced, does it.



May 25th, 2010 at 11:12 AM ^

The NCAA will accept the report essentially as-is in August and Michigan will get on with it.

I sure hope you're right. And comparing your knowledge of the Michigan football program to mine is like comparing Bill Gates' bank account to mine. But I think the above statement is a bit rose-colored. While today provided us with the answers to many, many questions, the one that matters the most will not be answered until fall. I'm very relieved that we've reached this significant milestone in this process, but I'm gonna remain in wait-and-see mode until the NCAA issues its final response. Call me paranoid. I'm funny that way.

I will say I am thrilled that the response from the U includes a statement lambasting the Freep for its inaccuracy.  The statement is simple and appropriately professional.  But don't you know there are those would have loved to word that a bit differently? "The University is satisfied that the Freep and its reporters are a bunch of fucking hacks that wouldn't know journalism if it bit them squarely on their zit-riddled asses."


May 25th, 2010 at 11:48 AM ^

Technically, he's not wrong yet.  That won't be till August.  Besides, if the NCAA wants to make an example of someone in order to bring all schools in line, would they be more likely to pick Michigan--the all-time winningest school with no prior major violations in its history--or San Diego State?  You see this sort of thing all the time in government, e.g. EPA going after major corporations for environmental impact vs. mom and pop operations who sometimes do much, much worse.

Basically, it ain't over till it's over.  I agree with you that I don't think anything will be added by the NCAA.  But that's speculation, not fact.


May 25th, 2010 at 11:59 AM ^

about the NCAA "making an example".

You realize, if they come down harder on M than they have on other programs for similar things, they will cease to be a governing body and become a joke of a bully.

They have not "made an example" of a school since SMU, and SMU deserved it!


May 25th, 2010 at 1:16 PM ^

the NCAA would be making an example out of  an institution that was completely open, honest and transarent in working with them throughout the investigation. That would send a clear message to every program that there is nothing to be gained through cooperation.

Pure conjecture on my part, but I would think that the NCAA would need to accomplish the following in order to impose sanctions in excess of what is proposed by M:

1. Reveal discrepancies or inaccuracies in the investigation results - highly unlikely as I assume what was publicized today are results from a joint investigation.

2. Expose a lack of cooperation, or systemic covering up of information that lead them to be suspicious of the current results - again, I would think highly unlikely given exactly how everything has transpired.


May 25th, 2010 at 12:05 PM ^

The fact that we're imposing/expecting probation on ourselves (seemingly)?  Because in at least the San Diego State case, they did impose the extra sanction, probation, that was significant enough that the school appealed it, and lost.  So, if you're stating you think there won't be more because we've covered the bases, that's one thing.  But to say there were no additional sanctions levied and the other guy is wrong is incorrect by your own Compliance Guy assessment of others cases.  But I do think there are strong signs that we're closer to them accepting it than not; unless the NCAA is as head up it's ass as we all think it is.


May 25th, 2010 at 11:29 PM ^

The thing that is scary is if the NCAA considers Michgan a repeat offender or not when they make their final ruling.  Using SDSU as a benchmark may not be a proper comparison if SDSU hasn't run afoul of the rules before.  

If SDSU has been clean (I don't know and don't feel like looking it up), and Michigan hasn't (because of men's BB), I don't think it's a stretch to say that the NCAA may pile on.


May 25th, 2010 at 5:37 PM ^

I am not wrong, because I did not make any definitive statement about anything the NCAA will or won't do. When this really is all over in the fall, you may be right and you may be wrong. I will be neither, because I didn't even speculate about the NCAA, much less state specifically what would happen. I merely expressed my hope that you end up being right, and that until the NCAA issues its final statement on the matter, I will not be able to consider this as "over" as your statement would imply.   

Fall of the Ho…

May 25th, 2010 at 11:11 AM ^

Listened to both this morning.  Amazing how 1130 (Tom Kowalski in particular) defends the Free Press by caricturing UofM fans as irrational in their reaction to the original report. 

Good on Ira (of 1050) for recalling his offer (at the time the "story" came out last August) to apologize to the Free Press, and then concluding that the paper was owed no such apology. 

Wolverine In Exile

May 25th, 2010 at 11:12 AM ^

we are looking at a situation where RR tried to take advantage of a muddy situation (one in which there was a reasonable argument to be made regarding using QC's as S&C personnel), a failure to properly communicate the stretching routines of the team to compliance personnel who were invited to watch and tell them what they could / couldn't do and politely declined, dispute over whether taped towels and a nerf football taped to a stick consituted real football related practice items or just non-football related practice items, and a QC guy who lied to investigators about an investigation that if the actions in question had occurred 2 years later would not have even consituted a violation!!

Also, the NCAA invesitgator couldn't even define what "coaching" was when asked by a student who being interviewed-- he let the student decide on what the definition of "coaching" was (see Rodriguez's response).

Mountain, meet molehill. I hope Rosenberg gets groin kicked by the dolphins he punched.


May 25th, 2010 at 11:17 AM ^

this one time i was about to go for a run.  my hamstring felt a little tight.  so i had someone at the gym come over and help me stretch it.  oh the humanity.


May 25th, 2010 at 11:27 AM ^

For Rich Rod and his staff, nothing has changed.  Unless the internal investigation showed otherwise the University was going to treat these "major" violations as minor.  For Rich Rod and his staff, the only evaluation they need to be concerned with is the  win/loss record at the end of this season.


May 25th, 2010 at 11:39 AM ^

The QC issues came because Rodriguez thought they were classified as S&C assistants, which they were not.

It's not even as bad as all that. It's true that, with one exception, they weren't really trained to be S&C coaches, but nonetheless it seems that if they had helped everyone in the weight room instead of just football players, it would have been fine. See Allegation 1, pp. 3-4:

The University concluded that violations occurred during the summer voluntary workouts because when the quality control staff worked with the strength and conditioning staff during the off-season, they worked only with football student-athletes. [Bylaw states that only strength and conditioning staff who perform their duties on a department-wide basis may conduct voluntary workouts. Even if the quality control staff members were classified as strength and conditioning staff when working in the weight room or conducting skill development in the summer, they nonetheless violated Bylaw because they worked exclusively with football student-athletes.]


May 25th, 2010 at 11:32 AM ^

1) What can/should the University to do in retaliation to the Free Press?  Is there any reason NOT to revoke their press passes?  If we cannot do this, why not?  If we can do so, but choose not to, what is the reasoning behind it?  Are there any other avenues (legal, practical or otherwise) for well-deserved revenge?

2) What can/should we, a powerful and large group of fans, do to retaliate against the Free Press?  Of course the passive boycotting of their paper is one thing, but could we not purchase billboards and advertising time to lambaste the yellow journalists who did this to us, as well as their employer? If this is not possible, why not?  If it is, but we choose to sit and do nothing, what justification would we have?

3) If we do end up having a successful season by universally-held satandards (8-4 minimum, but likely 9-3 with victories over ND & MSU at least), will the Free Press anti-Rodriguez faction finally give up their crusade?  If not, will anything?  I could see us going undefeated with a national championship and still receiving flack from that group of charlatans.


May 25th, 2010 at 12:20 PM ^

That's about it: no access beyond the "basic package". That pretty well reduces all of the Freep's columnists and sports writers to "just another a--hole with an opinion" status. No "insider" anything.

Indirectly, that will affect readership and subscribers. The public will want their news from an outlet that can provide it to them. There is no real or perceived value in being nothing more than an "Oracle of the Obvious."


May 25th, 2010 at 11:55 AM ^

1) Absolutely nothing; see the "you don't pick fights with people who buy ink by the barrel" anecdote.  Plus revoking their press pass now would look passive aggressive and as if we had something to hide.

2) Talk with your wallet.  Don't read, respond to, or subscribe to the Freep.  Their clock is running out anyway; it's probably better to bite our tongue than get all worked up and look like a bunch of jackasses. What would Lloyd do?

3) Probably not, but I honestly couldn't care any less what those clowns care about, and neither will anyone else if Michigan starts winning again.  As Al Davis said, "just win, baby."


May 25th, 2010 at 12:02 PM ^

Stop talking about, thinking about, eluding in any way to that paper. Stop wondering about what they're doing, and fantasizing that they're having a party, smoking cigars, drinking champagne, plotting the downfall of RR and the Michigan football program. Find other sources. Getting over your ex is the best revenge. 


May 25th, 2010 at 8:36 PM ^

Well, it is situational I think and probably depends on the reasons for and manner by which a couple splits up.

You are likely right that in the end if you are truly over someone then you wouldn't feel the need to throw anything in the face of your ex, however I think as part of the process of getting over them it might be catharctic to do so in some manner for some amount of time.

As an example, one of my best friends got dumped by her husband for a younger woman about 7 years ago and the divorce left her without much $$ and kind of stuck. She was pissed b/c her ex was now off taking nice vacations with the new chica and she was stuck just trying to survive and remain living in San Fran. He was a smug sh*t about all of it too and is the poster child for mid-life crisis. Long story short, she busted her ass, got an MBA and now out-earns him significantly, especially since he got layed off not too long ago and is in some $$ trouble now. She is too classy to overtly lourd it over him, but I know her pretty well and she definitely has a way of discretely making him aware of just how different things are now. Is she wrong? Perhaps, but I say more power to her. I think she is completely over him at this point, but still derives a little personal satisfaction from knowing that he understands how different hings are currently.

As for spelling, I can empathize fer sher ;)