Dorsey Qualification Status: With Scare Quotes

Submitted by Brian on June 10th, 2010 at 6:19 PM

Ace from the Wolverine Blog has some gory details up about Demar Dorsey's transcripts and how they turned into his current GPA. I won't get into the exact numbers if only because I have the strong sense that doing that is a one of the few things you can actually do on a sports blog that could actually get you sued, but suffice it to say the reparations job done by LifeSkills is beyond the realm of the plausible.

I can confirm from a couple independent sources the broad outline of what Ace describes: Dorsey's application remains incomplete. As of the beginning of his senior year his path to qualification was so grim that making it automatically raises red flags about the validity of the new grades. Not that anyone was caught cheating, just that the alternative curriculum must necessarily have been less than rigorous, and the amount of improvement raises eyebrows when it's accomplished in a potentially unsupervised environment outside of a traditional high school. The facts in the post are, to my knowledge, accurate.

The decision not to admit him had nothing to do with tinfoil hat theories and everything to do with the fact that he shouldn't have been offered in the first place. In the parlance of an earlier post

There are two ways to be qualified. One is to be qualified. The other is to be Michael Oher or Derrick Rose, in which case you are "qualified" via a string of correspondence classes and/or a sketchy test score. Michigan takes qualified guys, but when scare quotes get involved Michigan tends to go the other way. Ask new Bearcat Adrian Witty. Is Dorsey qualified or "qualified"? We don't know until he enrolls somewhere, whether it's Michigan or Florida State or a JUCO. Available evidence suggests the latter, in which case it's better if Michigan doesn't enroll him.

…Dorsey is "qualified." Michigan basically can't take him in good faith because they can't expect he will be able to keep up with the work.

Admissions is not the problem here. They are just doing what they have always been doing, except now they're dealing with some kids that previous Michigan coaches would not have tried to recruit. I did imply that in the UV and maybe by not fully rewriting a couple of sentences in the alliterative Dorsey post, which originally took a much more OUTRAGED position before I edited it, and that was incorrect. The problem here lies in more Michigan-Rodriguez culture clash stuff that would be a minor annoyance if the team had, you know, won any games.

Provost note. Ace spends a section of his post debunking the idea that Rodriguez got a sign-off on offering Dorsey from the "provost" mentioned. I think there's been a miscommunication due to an awkward sentence. The original paragraph:

This situation is the Draper/Labadie/compliance dysfunction all over again, with miscommunication between Rodriguez—who went to bat for Dorsey with a provost before signing day and got a signoff on him—and admissions replacing the lack of communication between the football administration and compliance. It's a different sclerotic artery, but the root cause is the same.

This has been taken to imply that Rodriguez had gotten some sort of sign off from admissions; unfortunately I was trying to express the opposite. When Rodriguez was clearing Dorsey with part of the university—something that did indeed happen, though it might not have been a "provost"—it was about his checkered past and not his checkered transcript. It was the failure of both parties not to explore the kid's academic background sufficiently, or of Rodriguez not to understand that Michigan is not West Virginia in these matters*, that left Dorsey and Michigan in the position they are today, where Michigan looks stupid coming and going and Dorsey's left to find a new home in the middle of June. That is essentially identical to the CARA form fiasco.

Everything in that post remains accurate except for the aforementioned shot at admissions, which basically had no choice when it came to their decision. Michigan should not have offered Dorsey, what happened to him was unfair, and it's another symptom of an athletic department that needs to operationalize some processes stat.

But who do we blame? As per usual, many people can take the hit. Rodriguez is one. Without knowledge of what he's been told is kosher and what he's been told is not—and how strenuously—how much is a guy working from assumptions built up after ten years at Clemson and WVU and how much is pure stubbornness from a guy who should know better isn't clear. If there is someone on the staff who is supposed to be in contact with admissions and know which guys are borderline and which are no way—and I honestly don't know if there is one—then it falls on that person. If there isn't then there should be, and I expect that there will be.

Even if it is all Rodriguez's fault, I don't think this is a major issue if Dorsey isn't a critically needed recruit who created a media circus. He's just another Quinton Woods, albeit one that Michigan should have known better than to take.

*(No moral superiority implied.)



June 10th, 2010 at 6:33 PM ^

I haven't posted one way or the other on this since we know so little in terms of facts.  I was tending to side with the University, since I know a little about the place and trust their judgement with nothing else to go on.  This seems to vindicate that opinion.

Better safe than sorry in this case.  Though we want badly to win, we have a reputation that is tarnished enough, what with the Freep BS and all.

Edit: I don't really blame RR here either.  He had the benefit of meeting the kid I presume, or at least some solid information from those that had, and no doubt felt that Dorsey had a good chance of hacking it at Michigan.  He is still fairly new to our beloved U and a certain amount of "feeling out" the admissions folks will let him know where the line is in the future.  Bottom line though, the worst case scenario of Dorsey coming in and then bombing out of school would just tank us further in both APR and public perception.

Blue in Seattle

June 10th, 2010 at 6:53 PM ^

What I will add is that Brian's post above is why I keep coming here for information AND analysis.  Most of the media world is not interested in the story, only the headline.

What I respect about MGoBlog is not that the posting community waits until all the facts are in, but that most experienced posters clearly state what they know, what they don't know, and what they are guessing at to fill in a conclusion (which can then be updated with, "hey I found the missing piece and my guess was correct", or "hey guess what, now that we have the final piece, the conclusion is really this"

As to RR, the big difference is that the internet exists, and like I said above, most of the media is deciding to just become a headline for an RSS Reader rather than a story.

RR has never given any indication that he would reject the Michigan culture.  Unfortunately because each learning experience is magnified under a microscope and delivered at the speed of light, they all seem like massive failures.

When Bo started at Michigan there were maybe 2 or 3 games on TV per season, and other than that you had to listen to a radio and then read two or three articles on Sunday about the game.

Add on to that our memory of him being infallible, and I'm not sure anyone could live up to that comparison.

At the end of the day, this was just one potential player on a nearly 100 person roster who did not have all the capabilities to enter Michigan.  RR took a gamble, but then again that's one thing I like about him.

Pushing the envelope.

Feat of Clay

June 11th, 2010 at 11:15 AM ^

Boy, I don't mean to be a jackass here, but I wish I saw more of those "experienced posters" in the last few days.  I felt really disheartened by the comments from readers who absolutely rushed to judgment.  Very few people had any idea what really went on with Dorsey, but I saw a bunch of comments declaring that this happened and that happened and he was defeinitely qualified and he deserves admissions, and OUA screwed up and blah blah blah.  And it looks like a lot of the stuff they were basing that on was pure fiction.  Some of the people who suggested otherwise got negged.

I think this is one of the best boards out there in terms of sharp, clever readership.  I love this place.  But this episode was not one of our better showcases, IMO.  Our keenness to have a great safety, and our love for the program, made a lot of us go off the rails.

Onward and upward.


June 11th, 2010 at 12:37 AM ^

it really doesnt matter if he shouldnt have been offered or not, why the hell would it take until now for this to be resolved, if he should not have been offered in the first place why wouldnt this have been resolved within weeks or dare i say.......days. if this was a mistake from the get-go and it was adressed quickly we wouldve all been pissed but it would have looked alot "less bad". letting this linger for 4 months and all blow up at this late stage in the game did unnecceasry harm to the kid and possibly horrific damage to our ability to recruit.


June 10th, 2010 at 6:42 PM ^


  • Dorsey should not have been admitted. 
  • The scholarship offer was a mistake. 
  • There need to be established protocols for the interaction between the Athletics Department and the Admissions Department in the case of academically marginal recruits. 
  • NCAA qualification minimums do not necessarily equal minimum University of Michigan admissions standards. 

I'm not interested in a reprise of Derrick Rose at Michigan.  The risk to the program isn't worth the benefit of his speed and skill on the field.

Dorsey has severable available options, all of which will be funded by someone else:

  • Accept a grant in aid from another four year college or university
  • Accept a grant in aid from a JUCO
  • Attend a prep school for a year of post-secondary education

Let's turn our focus to the student-athletes who were admitted and will be competing for Michigan in September and beyond.


June 10th, 2010 at 6:52 PM ^

Rodriguez screwed up here, but I don't see any evidence that he did anything unethical. This particular case should hurt the program only to the extent that we could have given Dorsey's spot to another recruit, but even that is only a one-year loss as we will have one more scholarship to give in 2011. Brandon still needs to ensure that everyone is on the same page.


June 11th, 2010 at 12:44 AM ^

I'm not naive enough to believe this is the first time admissions and (fill in the blank head coach) didn't see eye to eye....

what's troubling is the perception that RR is "on an island" with the University.  i.e. RR and UM = round peg and square hole.

I'll continue to proselytize for RR but he's been amidst a maelstom of less-than-optimal results...


June 11th, 2010 at 9:23 AM ^

How has Memphis' program been hurt?  They're going to be a top-15, top-10 team this year: Pastner's class of 2010 is one of the top-5 in the country, and he has another top-100 kid coming in 2011.  Memphis' basketball program post-Rose is stronger than Michigan's program has been since the Fab-5.  If Dorsey ends up starring at another BCS conference school, Michigan is imposing a competitive disadvantage on itself for little (if any) benefit.  


More importantly, I bet that RR is  gone by February if he wins 9 or 10 games this season. 

Zone Read Left

June 10th, 2010 at 7:07 PM ^

and then had to go to a prep school for a year before he was admitted to UM? I disaree with Brian that this is a "Michigan - Rich Rodriguez culture clash". These academically questionable players were ocassionally recruited under Carr, just as they are ocassionally recruited under RR. The main difference is that the media coverage of these hs kids is much more intense then it was even 5 years ago.


June 11th, 2010 at 6:26 AM ^

Considering this comes on the heels of Feagin, Witty, Turner, Hill, potentially Kinard, Tony Drake in a way, etc. . . . I'm beginning to think Rodriguez might have more of an issue with these questionable offers than Carr.  Not that Carr didn't throw out offers to kids with issues . . . but this is a group of 6-7 kids over only a couple classes.


June 11th, 2010 at 9:50 AM ^

I agree - Up until this point I was unwaveringly in the "all in for RichRod" camp. But Michigan is not West Virginia, never was and never will be.   Some of what has happened was not RichRod's fault, but as more and more issues come to the forefront, I am starting to have some concerns. Just saying...

J. Lichty

June 11th, 2010 at 10:57 AM ^

Feagin - sold fake drugs to a drug dealer - was academically qualified;

Turner - was academically qualified - problem was that he did not pass the Ohio Graduate Test the first time - no clearlinghouse or admissions issues.  He eventually matriculated late in the summer.

Hill - [edit - who was a Carr recruit IIRC] left the program for reasons other than academics before school started.  Do you mean Witherspoon?

Drake - never signed a LOI, RR backed off him and he signed with Colorado State where it is unknown if he is qualified.  This is the anti-Dorsey situation.

Indeed, of the examples you cite, only Kinnard may be comparable to Dorsey.

03 Blue 07

June 10th, 2010 at 7:08 PM ^

I'm still upset with the way this was handled. I still don't have a clear idea of what RR knew and when, and what admissions knew and when. If those numbers re GPA/ACT are correct, then it's on RR; never should've offered. If someone in admissions, but not the provost (what's the provost's roll? obviously major; I just am uninformed on that individual's responsibilities) said to RR "if he qualifies with NCAA, he's in," and then they reneged/changed their mind, then it's on them. And I can definitely understand the argument "well, they didn't have the complete picture when/if they gave this go-ahead." if that's the case, then either they should've requested that information, or RR should've gotten it to them. Either way, it still is a shitty situation, and reflects poorly on the organizational structure/interdependence and communication of the various departments. And therefore, to me, the University.

The FannMan

June 10th, 2010 at 7:17 PM ^

I was going to co-sign your post, but I don't really think that the whole University looks bad over the non-admission of one kid.  The football program/athletic deparment does, but not the whole school.  Small quibble.

I do agree that the lack of communication or whatever resulted in a Keyston Cops routine where Dorsey felt that what he was doing would result in an admission which, apparently, was never possible give the approach he was taking.  How this was not communicated to Dorsey is beyond me. 

How is it that no one sat RR down and told him the parameters for recruiting?  How is it that he didn't ask?  How is that the lines of communication got so blurred? 

03 Blue 07

June 10th, 2010 at 7:20 PM ^

Is it possible that for much of his life and through the first couple years of high school, Demar hadn't really put forth much effort and hadn't gotten a lot of tutelage/learning, etc., and that it is possible that the intense, focused help he got at LifeSkills from Oct-June led to him being able to make that jump in his ACT? If he possesses a decent amount of natural intelligence and had never applied himself before, I can see it as plausible for him to see that 12 to 18 jump after intense studying, one-on-one help, practice tests, etc., especially if he hadn't ever really tried much/cared much before, and hadn't really had much assistance from teachers/tutors, etc. Just food for thought. And I'd think a 12-to-18 jump WOULD be indicative that he's gotta be busting his ass, and therefore, the jump in grades could be somewhat explained. I know, I know- it also seems more likely that Lifeskills was/is some sort of less rigorous curriculum. But that can't explain the jump in the ACT, assuming he took it (and didn't do a D. Rose).


June 11th, 2010 at 6:36 AM ^

From what his father said, it sounds like Demar did work hard to bring his scores up. Unfortunately, it appears the University does not recognize the Lifeskills grades as being accredited or something.

Unfortunately, Rich and staff were either unaware that Demar have left Boyd Anderson and moved to Lifeskills (none of us were aware of the move either), or unaware that such a move would jeapordize his admissions process.

Either way it shows the need to constant communciation during and after the recruiting process between the recruit, the coaching staff and admissions. I mean Demar didn't even apply according to Ace's contact. How is it that once a recruit signs an LOI, someone isn't assigned to guide the recruit through the admissions process?


June 10th, 2010 at 7:37 PM ^

... so we should be very careful not to place the fault for this fiasco definitively on anyone. But, c'mon, it should be standard operating procedure that before you give out any LOI's you get a preapproval from all the parties who will need to give final approval. That includes Admissions. RR, the Football Program, the Athletic Department and Admissions all should know this. How could a LOI be issued and get signed and returned, particularly with such a high profile recruit who has a checkered background and questionable grades, without all the i's dotted and t's crossed? Something smells here. I am just not sure I know where the smell is coming from.


June 10th, 2010 at 7:58 PM ^

LOI's are given out the Spring of senior year. DD only had one semester to complete. It is highly likely he also already took the ACT at least once. Throwing out that verbal offers are given to and verbal commitments are made by HS juniors is a red herring.


June 10th, 2010 at 8:34 PM ^

I said preapproval, based on the information known at the time. Brian's post suggests that there is no way Dorsey ever would have been approved and never should have been offered. If that is true, there must have been a break down somewhere because he was, in fact, offered. Someone screwed up. Maybe it was Dorsey himself. Or maybe it was RR or Football or the Athletic Department. Or maybe it was Admissions. But this should not have gone down this way.


June 10th, 2010 at 7:40 PM ^

But a significant part of this is either on Dorsey or Rich Rod.

Admissions doesn't know jack about an athlete until they actually fill out and submit an application.  The football liason knows generalities about the player, but until they get the official scores and HS transcripts they are in no position to make any call on a athlete.  This also holds true if the athlete is underachieving.  Admissions can say definitively what needs to happen, or in this case, if they had for sure known, they would have told Athletics no.

So, if DD didn't submit his application fully, this is his fault.  if Rich Rod didn't push him to do so for an evaluation, then this is mostly Rich Rod's fault.  Either way, it looks like Dorsey would have never been admitted with suspicious jumps in both ACT and grades.


June 10th, 2010 at 8:03 PM ^

I don't find the jump in his ACT score suspicious at all.  With a little prepping anyone can crank up their score, especially when you start out so low.

I also don't find it crazy that he boosted his score GPA that much.  A lot of private schools and prep schools boost people's grades and if someone wants to learn and gets individual attention they will no doubt do pretty well in high school.  That's regardless of how well they have done to date.

I just worry about the community here now passing judgement on him and saying he didn't deserve to be admitted.  It looks like this kid turned his life around and if stays the course I'm sure he could get a degree at Michigan.

It frustrates me every time a kid is penalized for turning in good grades/scores after having bad ones before.  Both my parents are special education teachers and I've seen them turn countless kids around after identifying they had special needs and giving them the attention they need.  Many of those kids were accepted to college and it would be terrible if universities looked at improvement of the academic career of a student as suspicious.

The University has every  right to raise a red flag for quick improvement or whatever but I for one am giving this kid the benefit of the doubt.


June 10th, 2010 at 8:22 PM ^

I'm not passing judgment on him.  Yes, if you're working with a low ACT with coaching you can easily raise it, and yes, with individualized attention and focus many people can raise their GPAs as well.


All these things together, especially late in his senior year, and with a transfer from a conventional high school to an alternative high school, and then add correspondance classes to it... that obviously raised too many red flags for Michigan.

Sextus Empiricus

June 10th, 2010 at 7:58 PM ^

this takes this further than it probably should be taken at this point.  Asking for more is not productive.  Hopefully there are some lessons learned and not too many doors closed by this incident.

I strongly feel Michigan should pursue the best possible talent available, but clearly not regardless of academics.  This is especially true given the immediate need to improve APR.  Was this offer a sign of desperation?  It appears so.  I hope the CBs on the team can dispel that sign if true.

If DD couldn't be successful in A2, then this is the right decision.  Demar can prove that wrong with his character and choices going forward.  I wish him that path.


June 10th, 2010 at 8:11 PM ^

The Wolverine blog's story is completely false as there have been several sources that have went on record, including Dorsey that he did not have a huge jump in grades, ie. 6 A's or whatever his senior year.  In fact, his junior year he reported a 2.8 gpa ( and a goal of raising it to a 2.9.  Moreover, the University of Florida did NOT ever pull his scholarship.  In fact, they even tried to sign him right before NLOI day.  The ONLY reasons that Dorsey did not get in are because the Freep made a huge thing about prior charges (NOT convictions as he was acquitted in one case and in the other the charges were dismissed) and because RR doesn't have any support from the school.  If RR had a 8-4 record last year or if the Freep didn't have someone feed them info about Dorsey's past, then there would be no story at all.


June 11th, 2010 at 10:01 AM ^

Because I was so charmed by your fabulous message, I went to your link and found someone oddly (and innapropriately in my opinion) quoting Shakespeare's Henry V. I assumed that you didn't know how to link directly to your quote and it was further down the page. Unfortunately, there were no comments from you anywhere on the page. There were several very funny comments by me, however. So, that was a positive.

On the previous page to the one you linked, I found a comment by you (!) in which you said this;

"There are a milliion different reasons why [Dorsey was denied admittance] and one of those might be that we screwed up."

So, I offer you CONGRATULATIONS on your statement that there are a 'million reasons' Dorsey  was denied admittance and maybe the one Suavdaddy  suggested was not correct (although you allowed it may be.) In the future, we may assume betting against Suavdaddy is probably a good idea but also that randomly suggesting there are a million reasons for something does not entitle you claim all of those million reasons were your idea afterwards.

Section 1

June 10th, 2010 at 8:40 PM ^

Some things we can agree about Dorsey:

1.  He is a kid to whom we all wish succes.  I would be ecstatic, if someday we found Demar Dorsey on an All-American list, playing for Arkansas, WVU, Mississppi State, South Florida, whatever.  As a junior.  With an NFL job and an agent waiting for him, to make his family financially secure.

2.  His "Michigan" encounter was interesting, and it is over.  Done.  Water under the bridge.

3.  Nobody at Michigan did anything wrong with the Dorsey recruitment, with respect to any NCAA rules.  The NCAA would say "fine," if Dorsey were admitted to the Michigan class of 2014, right now.

4.  Brian Cook says something wise:  "Rodriguez [needs] to understand that Michigan is not West Virginia in these matters..."  Lesson learned. 

5.  I do wish I could remember who posted this:  That Cullen Christian was nearly unanimously a higher-rated CB recruit than Demar Dorsey.  It would be nice to see both of them as 2014 Kodak All-Americans.  Another +1 for whoever that was.  Good luck, Demar.  Let's rock, Cullen.

6.  Any further Dorsey discussion needs to end this way:  "{Sigh.}  There's nothing more to be said.  The University cannot discuss it.  Rich Rodriguez cannot discuss it.  Admissions, Brandon, President Coleman; none of them can discuss this.  By law, nobody can cite any numbers, grades, test results, whatever, to defend Rich Rodriuguez from any press attacks, so flail away if you must but it is going nowhere."


June 10th, 2010 at 8:48 PM ^

Wow, what a saga! Very interesting stuff. This scenario sure sounds plausible to me, though it's just a bad situation all around for all involved.

I will be so happy when we get back to winning games and don't have to deal withone of these types of stories about every other month.

Here's to forethcoming official news on Big Ten expansion pushing this to the back of our collective conscience.


June 10th, 2010 at 9:11 PM ^


They are just doing what they have always been doing, except now they're dealing with some kids that previous Michigan coaches would not have tried to recruit.


marques slocum, anthony carter, jeremy gallon, eugene germany, mario manningham, etc etc all say hi

los barcos

June 10th, 2010 at 9:30 PM ^

this and the whole lloyd carr / morgan trent many people are out for blood before they hear the whole story.  can we all finally c.t.f.d (calm the fuck down)?