Day Of Slight Reckoning Roundup

Submitted by Brian on May 25th, 2010 at 1:16 PM

jihad-2006-2007-tercera-guerra-mundial-01lg barwis

just one more chance to use these babies after today

Recap. Read this again: Tentative Results of Jihad The Second.

Michigan's violations were borne of incompetence, sloppiness, and misinterpretation.

That's not why the Free Press story was major news last year. No one picks up the story "Michigan could be slightly over their daily allotted maximum in countable hours." The lurid allegations that Michigan was not just exceeding but totally ignoring NCAA limits on football-related activities are the entire crux of the Free Press article. With one brief assertion that the players interpreted the technically voluntary activities as mandatory, the Free Press dismisses the idea that a non-countable hour exists. In this they were not only totally wrong but dishonest. Honesty requires framing the facts in a responsible way. No effort was made at this.

One more tree. I previously asserted that Michigan's self-imposed sanctions would be accepted as-is by the committee given the recent precedents, but Compliance Guy foresees the potential addition of a year of probation (which who cares) and possibly the coach reduction it seemed like Michigan was anticipating when they hired Braithwaite:

While Michigan is reducing the staff that caused the football program to exceed the limits on countable coaches, Michigan is not actually reducing the number of countable coaches. This will be an area where the Committee asks why the penalty was not targeted more narrowly at the violation, and they may add a reduction in the number of countable coaches for 2010-11 and/or 2011-12.

This is phrased as a hypothetical, albeit one Compliance Guy seems to think has a better than 50/50 chance of happening. We'll see. I tend to think that Michigan has gotten very specific advice about what will be a sufficient penalty to self-impose, but he's the subject matter expert.

Man up. It's pathetic that the Free Press takes multiple direct shots from the university in their response to the NCAA and can't see fit to mention any of them in a whopping-for-print 2167 word story about the document dump today, which I will link sometime after the Sun engulfs the planet. The thing runs seven pages online and not one word is "exaggerated." At no point has the paper seen fit to defend itself from charges their initial story was essentially bullshit, and now the university itself has said as much and the Free Press chooses to ignore it.

Again, the reader is invited to compare and contrast the ethics of the two organizations. One immediately launched a massive investigation and forthrightly disclosed every document they produced or received from the NCAA within 24 hours of sending or acquiring it. The other has not seen fit to even comment on the vast discrepancies between their article and reality.

Furthermore, no other outlet featuring Official Journalists has seen fit to make anything but the most oblique reference to the shoddy reporting in the original story. How is that not news? It's hypocritical to circle the wagons.

BONUS: Brandon did interviews with "select news outlets Monday night": the News and AnnArbor.com.

Click clack. Rittenberg also highlights Rodriguez's attempt to put on a Steve Spurrier mask and bolt the room:

"I wish we could have got it done earlier. Get all this stuff behind us so the only conversation with the old ball coach is, ‘OK, who is your quarterback going to be?’ ‘Why’d you run this coverage?’ ‘What kind of scheme are you going to run on defense?’"

Okay. Deep breath. Okay. RICH RODRIGUEZ: YOU DO NOT EVER ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS USEFULLY WHEN I TELL TIM TO ASK YOU THINGS LIKE THAT. Argh.

The QC items in detail. The practice overages were obviously petty as soon as they were announced, but the NCAA's Notice of Allegations had some accusations leveled at the use of QC staffers that were vague. At the nasty end of the spectrum, Michigan could have been running an end-around on coaching limits intentionally. It doesn't appear this was the case:

They sat in on film sessions they weren’t supposed to. They attended coaches meetings that were off limits. And they took part in summer skill-development workouts that were restricted to non-sport specific strength coaches, trainers who work with multiple athletic teams.

But Rodriguez disputed charges that his quality-control staff improperly took part in winter workouts, an allegation Michigan accepted as fact.

In his response, Rodriguez argued that his quality-control assistants doubled as part-time strength coaches, something his filing says the NCAA allows and “Michigan’s chief compliance officer” - associate athletic director Judy Van Horn - “told the enforcement staff” may be “permissible.”

Back in the day I did notice the strange distinction in the NCAA rules between department-wide S&C staff who can work with athletes basically whenever and sport-specific S&C staff, who can't. There were still some violations there that deserved the punishment Michigan has proposed but the actual illegal contact with the players was due to a misunderstanding.

The tape really holds the towel together. MVictors notes this cinematic exchange in one of the Exhibit documents:

the_towel_thumb

That reads like a Cohen brothers script, doesn't it?

Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man. Feldman tweet:

ESPN poll: majority of football fans think over 50% of BCS teams would be in violation of "too many hours" rules if investigated by NCAA.

less than a minute ago via web

FWIW, which isn't much since this is a peanut gallery of people consisting of "ESPN poll voters." It does punch a hole in the meta-disaster narrative often crafted in the one-sentence-pargaraph sort of columns: sure, Michigan's self-imposed penalties are extremely light but think of the shame that will cause Michigan to be outcast. It's always annoying when a column's main argument is "look at this other column!"

As per usual. Wojo's column is about the only local take worth reading…

Michigan did what it had to do, and took great pains to explain its historic actions. It admitted guilt, in meticulous and frank detail. It outlined changes. And within the pages and pages of documents, it also took the next important step, and carefully began defending itself.

With one hand, Michigan slapped firmly, humbly. It acknowledged its football program committed major violations and placed it on self-imposed probation for the first time ever, a crushing day for the school.

…even though "crushing" seems an order of magnitude excessive here. Ed Martin was crushing. The practice violations here are frustrating, borne of equal parts incompetence and sloppiness.

Similarly, Adam Rittenberg leads off his initial piece with this:

Michigan begins its official response to the NCAA's Notice of Allegations with a sobering statement.

The University of Michigan ("the University"), which fielded its first football team in 1878, has won more football games than any institution, all without a major infractions case. After more than 130 years, the University's football program is before the Committee on Infractions for the first time. The University admits the violations in fact occurred. The University is disappointed that its history of no major infractions cases in its football program has ended.

It can't be easy for Michigan fans or anyone associated with the football program to read those words.

Well… am I the only guy who thinks the Michigan reputation for sanctimony is ridiculous? The last person who should have been allowed to say the words "Michigan" and "Man" consecutively was Bo.

I don't really care that Michigan has been deflowered by the NCAA per se. I care that the picture painted by the allegations is of a complacent and/or dysfunctional athletic department, and I'm a little put off by some instances of finger pointing in Rodriguez's individual response (which may be right but adopt an unpleasantly accusatory tone from time to time). If the violations were something that seemed like a willful and knowing flouting of NCAA rules, I'd be pissed. As it is I'm pretty much indifferent. As long as the U takes the opportunity to clear out 40 years of cobwebs, I'm fine with the ethical state of the department. The organizational state is another matter.

The University's public response has a necessary quotient of hang-dog apologizing. Gosh we're really sorry, please don't kick our face in, etc. That's the organizational equivalent of coachspeak, done more to placate the committee than to accurately reflect how much hairshirting is going on in private. The penalties speak for themselves: not much.

Rittenberg, by the way, does mention the University's pointed shot at the Free Press.

Etc.: DocSat take.

Comments

Colt McBaby Jesus

May 25th, 2010 at 1:29 PM ^

I agree that Rodriguez's blaming of other people in his response sucks, but what was he supposed to do? How is he supposed to say the he created an enviroment of compliance, while at the same time blame nobody else for the lack of compliance? The whole thing sucks, but I think his hands were tied. I just don't see how he makes a strong case for himself without laying some blame on others.

Plus, would it really serve the university any sort of benefit if he were to fall on sword? Then they can't deny this allegation and it is one more added to the tally. It was the lesser of two evils, I guess.

samsoccer7

May 25th, 2010 at 1:37 PM ^

I especially agree with the last point.  It kinda sucks to have Michigan football finally succumb to some sort of NCAA sanction.  But maybe we need to get off our high horses for just a moment (then get right back on again, b/c our school rocks, no doubt) and realize what this means.  It means we're finally pushing the envelope.  We're getting our guys to work their asses off to the point they are actually reaching the limit and going a little bit beyond.  It's not a good thing, by any means, to have this issue, but the "deflowering" of Michigan in and of itself isn't a big deal to me, once I overcome the initial shock of it all and the way it sounds in my head.  I think we're gonna be ok.

Bando Calrissian

May 25th, 2010 at 1:39 PM ^

"I don't really care that Michigan has been deflowered by the NCAA per se."

Brian, I just don't understand this.  I'm sorry.  I think it goes without saying that a lot of people took a lot of pride in the fact that our football program has operated above-board, free and clear from the NCAA, for the entirety of our history.  That's taking pride in doing things the right way, and being unapologetic for the expectation that this was how we did things at the University of MIchigan.  And even if you think these violations are relatively tame, which they are, according to the letter of the law, they're not consistent with who we are and who we should be as a football program.  It doesn't matter what other programs are or aren't doing.  The idea that Michigan should hold itself to the same standards as everyone else, and not expect ourselves to do things better and cleaner than everyone else, is foreign to our program's identity.

Are we moving in the right direction to make sure it doesn't happen again?  Absolutely.  But at the same time, we can't sit and say it doesn't matter, or that our clean record was something less than a large part of our tradition of success going back to the 19th century.  I for one hope the NCAA isn't knocking at our door for another 130 years.

mgoblue0970

May 25th, 2010 at 11:55 PM ^

Well, to the NCAA it matters.  It may not matter on this blog or to you, but you can be sure that "repeat offender" is going to be in play come August.

On the other hand, it's disappointing that Ed Martin comes up like it's Michigan's fault.  Michigan had pictures of the man in the locker room instructing the team not to go near him.  Yet some of the players did.  That's why I don't mind the some of the team hasn't really been "allowed" back.  But I digress.  

Brian

May 25th, 2010 at 1:48 PM ^

I just don't care that Michigan slightly exceeded practice time standards because of some incompetent middle management. Shit happens in organizations.Michigan is *extremely* committed to doing things above board, as this entire investigation has shown. The U has handled in exactly the way they should -- serious, open -- and that's what's important, not screwed up CARA forms.

I'm frankly annoyed with your constant need to make this out to be a serious ethical issue instead of a broken process.

Bando Calrissian

May 25th, 2010 at 1:52 PM ^

I'm not entirely disagreeing.  We've handled this the completely right way, start to finish.  If only the Athletic Department had done this at any number of junctures in the past...  He's hitting everything out of the park.  It's textbook.

And I'm not saying this is a "serious ethical issue."  What I am saying is it's not something to brush aside or ignore, and it is something that is unfortunately not consistent with the rest of our history as a football program.  I don't think that can be argued at all.

Nard Dawg

May 25th, 2010 at 2:20 PM ^

...from the response today that most of what is being admitted to was consistent with the previous regime. The slacking on CARA, confusion over QC staffers is not something associated with the new regime. Not to mention that most of the blame being dealt seems to be directed at holdovers in the administration from compliance to Draper to Labadie. So it seems to me that this is not some issue that is so out of character from the program's history. The only difference here is that you had an agenda driven paper with agenda driven people inside and around the program making outrageous claims that led to an NCAA investigation. I feel very confident that if there were a full fledged NCAA investigation 10 years ago or 20 years ago, the same magnitude of "major" violations would have been discovered.

This is why I am not all that upset about the marring of the program. I never had any misconception that we were perfect or never went outside of the arbitrary, ridiculous NCAA bylaws. The fact that the findings were so minimal is a huge victory in my mind for the program as I am positive that if a similar investigation occurred at any program in the nation, far worse skeletons would be found.

So it is unfortunate it is out there for the public now but I do not see this as some horrible scar on the face of our program.

WolverBean

May 25th, 2010 at 4:32 PM ^

I feel very confident that if there were a full fledged NCAA investigation 10 years ago or 20 years ago, the same magnitude of "major" violations would have been discovered.

Just read Bo's Lasting Lessons, and you can witness the hallowed Schembechler himself ADMIT to what would today be considered a "Major Violation!"  IIRC (don't have the book in front of me), the story goes that there was (perhaps still is) a rule that permitted only scholarship players to eat at the training table.  Bo felt it was ridiculous that the walk-on players weren't allowed to eat at the training table, when they worked just as hard at the same practice drills as the scholarship players did.  So, he declared that walk-ons could eat at the training table too.  Now, in the book, he makes a claim about "finding out which scholarship players wouldn't be there that day, so that walk-ons could take their spots, and therefore the total number of players eating at the table wouldn't exceed the limit" (which I believe was still 95 then).  But seriously, do you think Bo counted how many men came to the table each and every single time, after every practice, for 20 years?  Indeed, Bo's attitude shows not accidental oversight, but willful disregard for the rule.  The fact that I think all of us can agree with Bo on principle here doesn't mean this wouldn't still have gotten the program in hot water in today's compliance environment .  The idea that we've never done anything "wrong" ever in the 130 year history of the program is pure ostrich fodder.

And to further what Nard Dawg said: you want a horrible scar on the face of the program?  Try losing to Appalachian State.  The idea that 20 minutes of extra stretching and a bureaucratic snafu about the roles of QC and S&C coaches in some way tarnishes the image of our University is absolutely absurd.  The only people who are going to hold this against us are the ones who already hate us anyway.

STW P. Brabbs

May 26th, 2010 at 9:41 AM ^

For fuck's sake.  An overall intelligent post, but Appy State as a "horrible scar on the face of the program" is fucking ridiculous.  Has losing to Louisiana-Monroe scarred Alabama similarly?  It really seemed to cripple the Saban regime ...

 

Seth

May 26th, 2010 at 10:21 AM ^

Cripple the Saban regime it did not, but Louisiana-Monroe is going to stick for a long, long time.

People like watching the haughty humbled. And there are few things as respresentatively haughty and humiliating as a major power inviting -- nay paying -- a team at significant disadvantage to come be a whipping boy, and then having the little guy actually win.

Games against FCS teams are antithetical to the spirit of sport, which is meant to be competitive, compelling so long as the end is in doubt. As such, the upsets are remembered, and remain a black mark upon those who scheduled the game expecting to win without too much effort.

Michigan's upset is more compelling than Alabama's, because we were the No. 4 team in the land, with Chad Henne and Jake Long and Mike Hart all returning from a year spent in most every National Champion conversation. It was to be a year of vindication, but was toppled before it ever began in hubris. That we faced the best of the FCS (while La-Monroe was a middling thing) doesn't help all that much, since Alabama was going through its rebuilding year, while Michigan 2007 was a team capable of going toe to toe with a Tebow-era Florida squad, and ultimately beating them.

It is a scar. What is a scar? It's a mark of a deep wound, a mark that, once healed, in no way affects the performance of its bearer. But it is visible, in perpetuity. You can still win national championships with scars. You can call them badges of pride, or as reminders of mistakes made in the hubris of past years.

I think "scar" is a very apt description.

STW P. Brabbs

May 26th, 2010 at 12:43 PM ^

Well-written as always, but I disagree with the characterization.  If this is a scar, it's one that will fade to near-invisibility, and will remain significant only in the memory of those Michigan fans who dwell upon it.   I think you are adhering moral significance to M's decision to schedule an FCS team where it does not necessarily belong, and I'm fairly certain that your interpretation is not widespread (again, a scar with a lack of visibility to the outsider.)  People got off on the ASU win because they like Cinderella and they like to see the mighty brought low - had little to do with the cravenness of non-conference scheduling at the time and less now. 

mtzlblk

May 25th, 2010 at 2:25 PM ^

something to brush aside and ignore.

Be proud of the fact that in 130 years, the most serious allegations ever made against the football program amount to a proverbal 'hill of beans'.

Slight overages in practice time, due to a minor misinterpretation of a complex and arcane set of rules? 20 mins of stretching together vs. 20 mins of stretching on their own?

Some compliance staff helping only football players when they would be permissable if they had helped a few other athletes on other programs?

All of it resulting from a breakdown of communication between several departments and a completely new staff during a massive changeout to a new regime.

I'll take it. That's a fine record for 130 years.

Your concern would be better placed on those at a certain publication that dragged the program through the mud in full view of the public by manufacturing an expose to tarnish the image of M football in an attempt to bring down the coach. Your concern would be better applied toward wondering why this journalistic malpractice should stand. The reporting is what has besmirched the program, not the facts.

Sven_Da_M

May 25th, 2010 at 2:26 PM ^

... the underlying "violations" here are so trivial as to be (a) laughable or (b) commonplace in all top-tier BCS programs.

But make no mistake about one thing: there's a new sheriff in town, and his name is David Brandon.  He knows from being the CEO of public companies that there are thousands of compliance issues, some big, some small.  You teach people what to do, and you have people check up on them and then you check the checkers (it's called Internal Audit).

The Freep's histrionics aside, this should never have happened and it should have been caught earlier when it did.

Anyone in the Athletic Department who makes this sort of mistake now won't be around for long.  That includes the guy who washes towels up to and including head coaches.

Losers make excuses.  Winners do the right thing.

</rant>

P.S. How many days until UConn?

FrankMurphy

May 25th, 2010 at 5:03 PM ^

I don't know; I agree with Bando and I don't think Rittenberg's characterization of the matter is off the mark. To borrow your rhetorical device, until now, "Michigan football" and "NCAA violations" were two phrases that could never be conceived of as appearing in the same sentence (unless "Ohio State" appeared between them). The program's spotless compliance record was always a part of its mystique, and the fact that this aspect of it has been irreversibly tarnished is significant.

Now, I agree that this was more of a breakdown in communication than an ethical lapse, but it was a breakdown that nonetheless had consequences. Even though these minor violations fall far short of deception or malicious intent (except for Herron, who was never instructed by anyone to lie and was summarily fired when his lies were uncovered), being thorough and dilligent about compliance from the get-go to ensure that these kinds of issues do not arise is further along the scale of moral propriety than the way things were handled. It's true that similar issues might have even been uncovered in the Carr, Moeller, and Schembechler regimes had it occured to anyone back then to do some digging, but that doesn't excuse the current staff.

Having said all of that, to hell with the Free Press. Rosenberg and Snyder deliberately exaggerated minor details for the sake of a juicy story that painted an unflattering picture of a coach that they didn't like. If the ethics of anyone should be questioned, it's Rosenberg and Snyder.

Njia

May 25th, 2010 at 1:54 PM ^

Did you not follow the whole process from August through today? Practically as soon as the allegations were leveled against the program, the University - OUR University - set about uncovering the truth, warts and all. The AD and the Admin have bent over backwards to make this as transparent a process as possible, even inviting the NCAA to participate in its internal investigation. They weren't required to do that.

The UM showed its meddle today, and has throughout this investigation. A lesser institution would have told the NCAA that it would look into the allegations in August, issued some "sanctimonious" response about "misinterpretation" of rules, and moved on. UM chose a different tack, one that risked serious punishment, and a loss of prestige, but demonstrated why we are deservedly the "Leaders and Best." 

WichitanWolverine

May 25th, 2010 at 1:55 PM ^

You can sit on your ivory tower and talk about how we are so much better than everyone else in the country because we follow the rules even though nobody else does (pure speculation), but this obviously isn't the case.

I'd guess we were still one of the cleanest run (nationally relevant) programs when this hit the fan but the bottom line is the Detroit Media put us over a barrel and fucked us.  I think it's naive to think that Bo/Lloyd/everyone else never bent the rules at all (intentionally or accidentally).

M-Wolverine

May 25th, 2010 at 5:14 PM ^

Normally I'm in agreement with you.  And I agree, I think Brian's choice of words wasn't great.  I'm afraid there's a large segment of the base that DOES want to win more than be honorable, and I think it feeds into that.  It doesn't seem like there are less and less who believe what Bo preached.

But while I don't like it, I don't really think (if what the University believes to be the case is true, and I have no reason to doubt them) that it really reaches the point of shame.  To me, the hits we're copping to and taking, seems more like a category problem with the NCAA than serious violations.  The fact that there's "secondary", and "major", but nothing in-between. To me, these are kinda "intermediary" violations.  Just a step over secondary.  Of all the stuff, the thing I like least is the one that potentially does the least damage.  The Probation.  I don't like the stigma.  And wish we had done better.  But contrary to they way it's being reported on every radio station et al., there's a GIANT leap from what the NCAA accused us of, and what our response was. If the NCAA accepts this (and yes, I still hold open the possibility of IF), I'll be fairly satisfied on how it all played out.

I don't want us to lose the right way to do things that Bo and Lloyd promoted and believed in.  But I also acknowledge that secondary stuff even happened then, and there's a reality to the NCAA mess that even they acknowledged, if more privately than they hammered the other side.  There was no need to point out the stupidity of some NCAA rules...everyone can see that.  In a world of more lawless college athletics, they saw the real need to hammer home the importance of doing things the right way.

Morality is how you act when no one else is watching.  What others are doing, or being competitive, or any of the other reasons to "do it like everyone else does" holds no water with me.  Or the Michigan Football I know.  But basically what amounts to finding your own errors (since the ones the Freep "pointed out" were in error), and taking care of it, still upholds that ideal to me.  If it happens again, it'll look like CYA rather than what it is now...an obtuse rule, not understood by people at more than one level, and no communication on how to find it out.  Because the fact of the matter is, if we had done nothing and dragged our feet, if that's who we really are, we'd still have a basketball program.  Because we did and uncovered far more than the NCAA did to stick it to us.  We wouldn't have nearly the hole to dig out of.  But we did the right thing, even if others were rewarded for dragging their feet.  Because that's the right way to do things.

mtzlblk

May 25th, 2010 at 9:20 PM ^

The NCAA didn't accuse us of anything, the Free Press did. We jointly investigated to conclude what was publicized today.

The Free Press story was prompted by a leaked memo that was written in regards to a process that was already underway to deal with the issues at hand in the appropriate manner.

The University was already on top of this. The University and the football program is, was and has been operating with integrity and transparency and STILL retains every bit of the prestige that it has always had.

Please, please, please stop acting as if the M program has entered some territory or era where it is diminished in character and slipping with regard to integrity.

The M football team is as it always was, a fine example of how to run a program with honor and integrity. Their reaction to and managment of this entire situation is evidence of that.

I have been an M fan since the moment I was born to two alums. I grew up going to games, I went there, my brother and sister went there. I have always held the integrity of the program in very high esteem and nothing has changed that.

It is nice to imagine that in some sepia-toned world that M football has never committed even the most tiny infraction ever and that the program has always been run and managed to perfection, but it simply is not the case.

Be happy we run a tight ship and are considered by any reasonable fan of college football to be a clean program. Be happy we have not digressed to the point were we would hire a Lane Kiffin just to bring in/sustain our winning ways. Be happy we don't recruit negatively. Be happy we have a coach that recruits kids of character and is invested in developing them both as players and as men. Be happy that in every way, shape and form we retain our position as a clean program and have dealt with a minor set of administrative issues in the most positive and forthright manner possible. Be happy we have a new AD that definitely understands this and will be a guardian of that reputation. Be happy that they have made it clear that they support the coach at M no matter what the local press wants to try and dredge up.

You guys are looking at the giant, white, snowy, pristine mountain peak that is the M football program and lamenting the fact that some reporters peed next to a tree on the other side and now it is all spoiled for you b/c isn't perfect anymore. It never was.

I have to say, M is still the same program to everyone in the world, except for those that for some reason need to see it diminished by the current situation. Those being homer fans of other programs who will latch onto anything anti-UM, regardless of substance, and those M fans who live in some fantasy world where once everything M was perfect and pure and now is irrevocably stained or marred by the investigation.

M-Wolverine

May 27th, 2010 at 11:21 AM ^

Because that's what the board says it was.  But I know sometimes the posts don't pop up in exactly the right place.  I say this, because it seems you didn't really read my post in it's totality.

The NCAA said they were going to investigate us after the article came out (and do we have any real evidence of a "leaked memo"?  Just curious if we can back it up), and we were on top of it. I said that's the way to do things, even if it hurts us, and that's what we did.

I never said the program was going the way of lawlessness, and really, Rich Rod has done nothing to make me believe that he is a turn in that direction. He may not be the speaker I would like, and the wins are not what HE wants, but his discipline and such hasn't brought any questions to my mind. And I think Brandon obviously believes in what makes Michigan great, and has the balls to enforce it.

It might be you mistook my lament of a perceived shift in the Michigan fan base, where I think there is a growing segment who want an "even playing field", and our program to act like any other major program, so they can win more, and more easily.  And I personally would rather go 9-3 and know we're doing everything to the best of our abilities (which I believe we are), than go 12-0 and know we're pushing every rule to the Kiffin-esque ends. I think there's a group, whether they be too young to remember Bo, or too fair weather to really believe in anything Michigan stands for other than the winning that would prefer the opposite.  And my worry is they are growing. And I don't want to be Tom Osborne at Nebraska, that got so tired of losing the big game, he sold the program's soul.

The point of my OP was that I don't think THESE things we're responding to move us into that category.  I think we handled it right, and what we acknowledged we did isn't right, but not a big deal either.  (As opposed to the original list of allegations, which WERE a lot worse).  So, if you got from that the idea that I think Michigan has never made a mistake before, or that I thought the program had given up on it's values...that wasn't my intent.

jamiemac

May 25th, 2010 at 1:38 PM ^

I think eventually the Freep will do a sidebar on the exagerrated claim and print in on page 20. Of their Tempo section.

And, no, you're arent the only one who thinks our reputation of sanctimony is ridiculous. Baseball in the early 1990s, Hoops later in the decade. And, frankly given how nebulous, archaic and expanse the NCAA rulebook is, I am surprised when anyone can claim we've never had a violation. Often its just because nobody has investigated you.

I think this is a good day for the program, not crushing. One BIG step closer to the end of the line on this stupid issue.

OHbornUMfan

May 25th, 2010 at 8:15 PM ^

a middle school girls' softball coach whom I respect greatly has his players practice throwing by holding knotted towels and going through the throwing motion.  As a drill for early in the year, this has the advantage of not wasting time chasing bad throws and missed catches.

 

On a more serious note, I think it's wonderful that there is no throwing in of the towel.  Imagine the headlines if RR had answered that question differently.

blueheron

May 25th, 2010 at 1:40 PM ^

"... another tiny arrow in the quiver of the traditionalist faction that seems to regard Rodriguez as an unscrupulous redneck setting torch to everything its storied program holds dear..."

Priceless.

Njia

May 25th, 2010 at 2:30 PM ^

Each of the UM Football program's clearing of cobwebs have occurred during coaching changes. By hiring Fritz Crisler, the program cleared away the barnacles after decades of Fielding Yost, (hallowed be his name). When Schembechler was hired, the last vestiges of Fritz were exposed to daylight. He was hired by Don Canham, of course, in only his second year on the job as AD.

When we hired RichRod, it seemed as though there were a few folks still raging against the dying of the light. Finally, we have a competent AD who is helping the football program by showing the codgers how to cross over to the other side. 

Wolverine In Exile

May 25th, 2010 at 1:54 PM ^

I'm not awestruck that we finally succombed to an instance where the intensive NCAA rule book finally caught us... frankly, the sanctimonious crap was starting to wear on me. Michigan lost its athletic virginity well before Rich Rod was a glimmer in the coaching tree eye with the before mentioned baseball and hoops messes, not to mention Bo's kicking coke heads off the team in the early 80's (or Fielding Yost running up scores on opponents like they were rented ginger kids). And as I read the U and RR's responses, frankly I think I'd try and do the same thing RR was trying to do with QC's as S&C  part-timers, especially if he thought he ran it by both Bill Martin and Judy Van Horn.

We still have a sterling reputation, in my opinion, only enhanced by this issue where we went above and beyond the investigative norm, provided an open and honest accounting of our actions, and then properly administered justice against ourselves. This is not USC, or Barry Switzer's Oklahoma, or any Texas school in the early 1980's trying to shove things under rugs and paying witnesses to move to Costa Rica. This is Michigan getting caught in trying to push a program to modern levels of player committment, getting caught operating on the hairy edge, and backing ourselves down.

markusr2007

May 25th, 2010 at 2:03 PM ^

the issue remains unresolved until August when UM meets with the NCAA infractions committee. It's good to get this all out in the open today, but UM fans wil have 2 full months of bitter speculation from both Michigan and the national media, rivals and haters to look forward to.

I hate to be Eeyor here (again), but I foresee the NCAA infractions committee utlizing this upcoming August meeting with Michigan as a once-in-a-millenia, grand-standing opportunity to demonstrate their power.  The NCAA will want to serve a health reminder to all college football teams- both giant and lilliputian in scale -  just who it is who wields the gavel in college football.  The NCAA response may go something like this:

"Not even the University of Michigan with it's previously pristine record can just self-impose and hope to evade punishment! And let this be a lesson to all of you also!"....yadayada...

It's still not over.

Compliance Guy

May 25th, 2010 at 2:20 PM ^

There's a reason the USC case has already taken twice as long as usual to publish the final report. USC is the one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to prove that the Committee on Infractions is still the law, especially since USC is the school the COI has been accused of protecting for all these years.

The COI might well be exhausted and not up for the same type of fight they normally are, especially since it may well be the last hearing for the current chair of the committee.

mtzlblk

May 25th, 2010 at 2:33 PM ^

would you take a program that has cooperated fully and been completely transparent and open in dealing with what turn out to be very insignificant infractions and make an example of them?

It would completely erode the legitimacy of the NCAA as an agency of enforcement and make their rulings seems arbitrary and therefore meaningless.

It is not a once in a milllenia opportunity, there are several other current cases that would provide much better fodder for making a statement. USC is just one of them....

jamiemac

May 25th, 2010 at 2:43 PM ^

That too was allegedly a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take down a school with a pristine record that defines a certain sport and take their self sanctions and say not good enough.

they didnt. no reason to predict, like you are, that this will be any different.

unless you're trying to keep the issue alive for page hits

bronxblue

May 25th, 2010 at 3:16 PM ^

Um, if the NCAA really wanted to flex its muscles, why not take down USC?  On the football field, they have won more national championships in the modern era, have had more Heisman winners, play in a bigger market, and certainly have garnered more press in past years than UM.  Theirs former players date reality stars Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton.  They have been one of the most dominant teams over the past decade, and an NFL factory to boot. 

There you have various players being paid, numerous recruiting infractions, and a general sense in the program that the rules didn't apply to them.  Plus, the basketball team was just slapped with sanctions for playing <b>its</b> players.  At UM, you have a school that admitted to practicing 65 more hours than allowed over 2 years, plus a couple of coaches being where they should have been.  The basketball team was found guilty (and rightfully punished) for paying its players 10-15 years ago.  I'm not trying to mitigate what UM did, but USC would be a far bigger target (and a far easier case to prove) than some lack of institutional control at UM.

Ziff72

May 25th, 2010 at 2:04 PM ^

The 1 point I would like to make is the impossibility of doing the right thing in this situation.

If RR takes full responsibilty and accepts all the blame, the media paint RR as a bad guy and the average Joe accepts this as fact despite the fact he is just doing what leaders do and accept blame.

If RR lays out the facts that other people fucked him over he looks like a cry baby complainer.

 

 

Compliance Guy

May 25th, 2010 at 2:16 PM ^

The second to last paragraph about complacency explains probably 90% of the major violations the NCAA processes. Coaches and administrators haven't quite grasped that the NCAA is going to drag athletic departments kicking and screaming into the 21st century where you need to monitor and document what you're doing, be transparent about more of your activities, and be accountable for your mistakes, not just your willful bad acts.

As far as why I think Michigan might lost a countable coach, think of it like this. Michigan went over the required practice hours, so they reduced required practice hours. Michigan went over countable coaches, so it makes sense to require them to reduce countable coaches. Reducing the number of QC staff is like reducing voluntary practice hours in the summer.