Feagin Dénouement Comment Count

Brian August 11th, 2009 at 1:44 PM


You know, I liked Justin Feagin. As a guy thousands of miles away from the man in question and limited to assembling things other people wrote about him, I had just more than zero to go on, but I liked him anyway. He played both ways at a tiny school and smiled big and innocent on signing day and said things that seemed different and bouncier than your average bouncy, meaningless quote from a guy on or around the greatest day of his life.

He said this about Terrelle Pryor's potential addition:

"What if he does go to Michigan? Shame on me if I sit back and think he's better than me. If he wants to play quarterback, we'll have to fight each other for the job. If I win the job, then I'll know I beat out the No. 1 quarterback in the nation."

And I wrote this:

this is one of the recruits in this class I'm baselessly excited about in defiance of recruiting rankings and reason. If you're so inclined you can see Feagin doing squats until two in the morning in his quotes. … Feagin sounds like the kind of guy who will thrive under the pressure of the Rodriguez regime and is clearly a high caliber athlete.

And this:

This is going to be a pretty stupid statement, but I like the kid's quotes a lot.

Apparently, the ability to give a good quote to a local preps reporter is not highly correlated with success on the field or off. Not giving a good quote to the police when you don't have to might be more valuable. This is noted for the future.

And so we re-evaluate after Feagin's sadly comical drug deal that wasn't and dismissal. User Big Boutros chips in an excellent diary that touches on the immediate "uh-oh" everyone felt:

I know what some of you are thinking. I thought it, too, albeit briefly, when the news first broke: An event like this would have never happened under Lloyd Carr's watch. And that's almost certainly true. Lloyd Carr was and is a uniquely gifted and genuine man whose priority has always been the peak mental and emotional acuity of the players under his watch, and I know I am not alone in expressing my gratitude for his immaculate representation of a university that likes to think of itself as superior to all others.

But this is not reality. An enraged Chitownblue, prompted by the idiotic diary that inaugurated the 200-words-or-more era, rounded up a dossier of 29 Michigan arrests of various sorts under Lloyd Carr. Lloyd recruited Kelly Baraka and Eugene Germany and Carson Butler and Chris Richards and Johnny Sears and Will Peterson and another, more internet famous felon chased from the team:

Even Lloyd, whom we would like to believe incapable of such an oversight, could only sit with folded hands as opposing fanbases across the country laughed at the dismissal of defensive tackle Larry Harrison, who was charged with four counts of sexual delinquency and suspected in 16 more. Harrison endangered fewer people than Feagin, certainly, but the fact remains that Rich Rodriguez does not stand alone among Michigan coaches who have seen a felonious embarrassment take place on his watch.

I'm not even sure Feagin endangered anyone. He admitted to getting into some trouble in high school, but the crime here—if he actually gets charged with one—is taking $600 from some burnout and promising to get him cocaine, then not getting him cocaine. The endangerment came when the burnout had his great arson idea. The offense clearly warrants dismissal, but as far as disgraceful acts committed by Michigan football players go it's somewhere between Germany running from the cops (and getting caught!) and Carson Butler's St. Patrick's Day Nerd Massacre*.

Meanwhile at Michigan State, a guy who put a Spartan hockey player in the hospital and was sentenced to six months in jail got an early release so he could make Michigan State's first practice. This is the way a sane person, in this case AnnArbor.com's Dave Birkett, reacts to the juxtaposition of these events:

…one coach took the proper actions with his troubled player and one coach took an unnecessary gamble for reasons I can’t explain. Sure, everyone deserves a second chance, but that second chance doesn’t have to be at the same school where you committed such a major offense.

So of course Michael Rosenberg's latest article is headlined "Win at all costs a poor formula for Rodriguez." This is because Rosenberg has completely lost his shit about Rodriguez, as detailed in this space before. Last summer Rosenberg threw together a pastiche of assumptions, omissions, and flatly incorrect statements and titled it "Embarrassing ordeal reveals ugly truths about U-M coach Rich Rodriguez"—the ordeal in this case being the lawsuit over Rodriguez's buyout—that permanently submarined his credibility about Rodriguez.

This one is no better. He cites Rodriguez's recruitment of Pat Lazear at West Virginia, who got ten days in jail and a suspended sentence for his role (driving) in an armed robbery (FWIW, the weapon was a BB gun), as evidence Rodriguez will take anyone not wearing an orange jumpsuit. He does not mention the Winston thing which hey pick out which quote here is about Lazear and which is about Winston…

Door #1:

"[Assistant Coach] and I have researched [Player's] entire situation over several months," [coach] said in a statement released by the school's athletic department. "We have talked to a number of people, and after a thorough review, I am reassured that [player] will be a successful student-athlete and a positive member of our university community. We are eager for him to join the [Mascot] family."

Door #2:

"[Player] has done everything that he's been asked to do from a judicial and a team standpoint. He has paid the penalty for his actions -- publicly, legally and athletically -- and he worked hard to maintain his academic eligibility while doing so. We regret the entire incident, however at this time it is important that we support [Player] socially, academically and athletically. He still has a lot of work to do."

…functionally identical except in Michael Rosenberg's eyes. Lazear, by the way, is entering his third year at West Virginia on the Academic Honor Roll. He has not been in further trouble.

And then there's this on Willie Bueno's statement that he didn't know of any trouble with Feagin:

Should Rodriguez have known about Feagin's transgressions? Well, Bueno said Monday that he didn't know. But frankly that raises questions about Bueno, and it shows the importance of relationships for college coaches. They have to really know the communities where they recruit, and they must be sure that coaches and administrators are informed and honest with them.

Christ. Rodriguez talks with Willie Bueno, who says Feagin is a good kid without issues because he apparently believes it, and it's up to Rodriguez to "be sure" that this guy isn't lying to his face. Feagin mentioned a couple of issues in high school that "nothing came of"; as a juvenile he wouldn't have a record unless something extremely serious went down. Nothing did, so even if Rodriguez checked up on that supposed record it would come up clean. Rosenberg suggests that Rodriguez should assume every coach is a liar and undertake investigations of everyone so that a bad apple doesn't arrive. This is obviously infeasible. Hell, Lloyd Carr made that mistake at least 29 times in his career.

To date Rodriguez has dealt with two DUIs (Grady and Stonum) and one coke-deal-that-wasn't in a year and a half. [UPDATE: There was also the Cissoko-yells-at-cop incident, a disorderly conduct.] Michigan doesn't even register on the Fulmer Cup scoreboard (2008, 2009—if Feagin gets charged with something Michigan will get points above their current one), and Rodriguez racked up fewer points in his last two years at WVU than Carr did over the same timespan at Michigan. The numbers say Rodriguez's recent behavior record is better than Lloyd freakin' Carr's, and the guy who just got out of jail and walked on to a Michigan State practice field say that there's one strict program in-state but it's not run by the guy who's an Upstanding Football Coach. But because Rodriguez doesn't stare at you really hard and talk the right way, he's running a renegade program. Right. Rosenberg's just another Drew Sharp now.

Meanwhile, Justin Feagin's transferring somewhere where he'll give a good quote and smile and maybe this time he'll come through on those. But probably not. It's tough to defy your surroundings.

*(The listed in approximate order: Baraka (weed), Sears (weed + performance in The Horror), Germany (possibly joking cell phone theft coupled from dumb running from police), Butler(assault), Chris Richards (assault, B&Eing his own dorm room), Peterson(assault + theft), Harrison.)


S.G. Rice

August 11th, 2009 at 2:16 PM ^

the book should be closed on this "incident".

But of course it won't be - Rod detractors will keep it handy for those times when mud-flinging is on the agenda.


August 11th, 2009 at 2:23 PM ^

Drew Sharp? He still has about 472 more ridiculous articles to write to be in that category. Plus, War As They Knew It has to subtract at least a few Sharp points.


August 11th, 2009 at 2:27 PM ^

I went to HS with Pat Lazear and he was a friend of a number of friends. He was always a stand up guy, and his crime was really really stupid but in no way violent or something a career criminal would do. He colluded with his friend, an employee of the smoothie king, to essentially fake an armed robbery.

I always respected RRs decision to offer him, he recognized that Lazear was not a deeply troubled kid and was incredibly talented and that he had an opportunity to pick up when his sock was low. It always struck me as plain good judgement to offer Lazear, in no way a sign of low standards.

FWIW im pretty sure the gun didnt even fire BBs, but plastic balls instead.


August 11th, 2009 at 4:01 PM ^

It looked like a real gun to the guy behind the counter that wasn't in on it. Further, rather than just being the get away driver, according to the guy that went in with the gun (bb or otherwise), Lazear (who already had a credit card fraud incident on his record) was the mastermind. Lazear says the other guy was the mastermind. Personally, I tend to believe that the All-American football player is more likely to persuade his buddies to do something this stupid as the ohter way around.

I also don't think this and the Winston case are functional equivalents. WInston was already at MSU (I also happen to think he should have been punished more severely by the MSU), while Lazear was merely a potential WVU recruit at the time he engaged in (pleaded guilty to) conspiracy to commit armed robbery.


August 11th, 2009 at 2:30 PM ^

Shonte Peoples has to have everyone beat with shooting at undercover police officers he thought were stealing his Jeep, right?


August 11th, 2009 at 2:35 PM ^

While one could suggest that many of the question are legitmate questions in the abstract, when taken with Rosenberg's anti-RR bent, it loses the air of legitimacy - especially with the original title.

And how is it not relevant that Rosenberg does not do the compare contrast with MSU with the timely and relevant thought...While maybe you do not compare it with osu troubles (and we all know no one wins when the may bad guys are not as bad as yours), but come on Rosenberg...how do you not mention it unless there is some sort of anti-RR agenda.


August 11th, 2009 at 8:06 PM ^

So when does the caning end? I don't agree with everyone on here that RR just needs to win and 'all this' will go away.

More likely, it will be 'RR is winning, so what shady undertakings is he involved in that allow this?'

Why do so many people in the media and his own fanbase have such an intense dislike for him that they can't be objective and are so willing to make snap judgements?

There is a lot of evidence in support of a program that is actually being enhanced in terms of character/integrity:
-everything Brian mentions in the article about Fullmer cup points and player discipline as compared to Carr
-highest team grade point average in how many years?
-rallying program and people around Mealer in a time of need
-turning non-productive players who may not get schollies extended into assistants so they can continue their education (thanks Rennaissance)
-not pulling Witty offer when he was injured and played little his senior year
-numerous quotes from players extolling the excellent family/team dynamic
-the lack of even the smallest hint of a negative comment from any of his previous players who are all unerring supporters of him and his character. Seriously, can anyone find anything from a former player (who didn't quit/get kicked off his team) that would indicate a lack of character? No, though surely it is not for lack of trying. If everything that is out there right now is the most that the legions of bitter WVU fans and administration can dig up on him, I think it is laughable that we are even having this discussion. If RR was that shady and underhanded, don't you think that that even a single WVU player would go on record to say as much? they haven't and with good reason.

People seem to suggest that RR is somehow responsible for everything players do before, during and after their tenure on his team. People seriously call him out for Pac Man and Chris Henry? They were players who had no problems prior to their recruitment, zero or very minor while playing for him and then became thugs in the NFL. If anything, this speaks positively of RR and his ability to run a tight ship while players are with him.

People are also all over this Lazear recruit and completely ignore the fact that he is now in his third year and apparently on the honor roll without any issues. Again, to me looking at the situation, this speaks well of RR and his ability to assess character and keep his players in line.

The last few years have made me realize that the stereotype of Michigan fans as whiny, petulant and spoiled is more than a little true, at least for many of them (not us, i am a true fan). Cruising your own message boards for typos and grammatical errors!? Seriously!?

Boo-ing your own team? Anyone that does that sucks and should simply stay home until the team is winning again and they can hop back on the bandwagon and be a 'winner'.

LP Blue

August 11th, 2009 at 2:47 PM ^

Ray Jackson former fullback (no not the basketball player) was convicted of credit card fraud in high school and Lloyd Carr still recruited him. Then while he was a student at Michigan he got caught stealing a computer from a fraternity with his cohort and model citizen Will Peterson in turn causing a full out brawl with the fraternity. Still Lloyd kept the backup FB on the team for the rest of the year.

There is one big difference between Lloyd Carr and RR. Lloyd Carr would have kept Feagin on the team!


August 11th, 2009 at 2:52 PM ^

On Rosenberg. And he probably is trying to be Drew -- apparently writing horsecrap is a way to foster hits . . .

As for Rodriguez v. Carr comparison, I think the main problem is that one of very first recruits had some baggage that could probably have been detected. It's one thing to take a guy knowing of a problem, and quite another to take a guy when he has a problem you might not want to know about.

This is no big deal. It's a minor distraction, and RR took the right action. I hope it does not fortell the future.


August 11th, 2009 at 2:52 PM ^

It's sad to see Rosenberg lose his fastball, but that's what happens when you work with Drew Sharp.

I never thought Carr ran a particularly clean program - sure, his kids never wound up on the front page like Miami or FSU, but every major college program (and even some minor ones) have to take chances on troubled kids because they are really good football players, and you need enough of those to compete. If anything, I think RR's regime is more transparent than Carr's, and that is why we are learning about these problems earlier.


August 11th, 2009 at 2:53 PM ^

I like how he doesn't even bring up the whole state thing with that guy and his reinstatement. It's really annoying how these guys try to make out Rich Rodriquez to be a bad guy. He goes out to Michigan functions all over the country, he has rallied the fans for this season, he has overseen the team having its highest GPA in 20 years, and they do alot of charity work. This guy is a great coach and has done alot of great things off the field.

Musket Rebellion

August 11th, 2009 at 3:00 PM ^

It must be hard being logical in an insane world. We all knew you liked Feagin a lot based off of some comments he made, so I'm sure it was hard to see him go. But, you do the crime, yadda yadda.

Hopefully he'll land on his feet at some FCS school and not fall in with the wrong crowd again.

P.S. Dantonio drinks fermented pee.

I've seen it.


August 11th, 2009 at 3:58 PM ^

Michael Rosenberg will detail the explosive story starting tomorrow: Rich Rodriguez's West Virginia birth certificate is fraudulent.

Yup, he was really born in Kenya.

And serves on a Kenyan Health Ministry Death Panel.


August 11th, 2009 at 3:15 PM ^

Thank you so much for putting out such a well written post about the article rather than the litany of curses I spewed when I made the mistake of reading it.


August 11th, 2009 at 3:20 PM ^

it's not that he brought the kid in. The fact that he immediately brought action tells me what I want to know about Rich Rod. If this was "win at all costs" like the MSM suggests, then Feagin would NOT have been kicked off the team.

West Texas Blue

August 11th, 2009 at 3:50 PM ^

You know, with the state of Michigan being down and the economy being in the crapper, perhaps the big time newspapers would try to be a little optimistic/rosy here and there? Can't remember the last time the Freep published anything positive. What a depressing newspaper to read...


August 11th, 2009 at 4:00 PM ^

Note the early morning Free Press headline was, "Win at all costs a poor formula for Rodriguez." changing later in the day to, "Hey Wolverines: What you don't know can hurt you."


August 11th, 2009 at 4:05 PM ^

by not publicizing much more widely the academic performance of last year's team. From a public relations standpoint, keeping it under wraps is criminally negligent. They're not doing RR any favors, that's for damn sure.


August 11th, 2009 at 4:23 PM ^

....reading Michael Sharp's, I mean Drew Rosenberg's articles in the past year or so was listening to Cowherd spew ridiculous inaccuracies today about this situation and the program as a whole. I had the pleasure today of being trapped in the chair at my barber (church street barbers btw is a great place) and having to listen to that clown. My instinct was to flail about in anger as I was getting my hair cut, but preserving my stellar appearance took precedence.


August 11th, 2009 at 7:15 PM ^

is your comment. Those are pretty much the only topics he feels comfortable discussing in his non-stop effort to prove to the sports world that he has zero credibility/integrity. I mean honestly, that dude is a travishamockery if I've ever seen one. In fact, I kinda feel dirty for having brought his name up. For that I apologize.


August 11th, 2009 at 4:50 PM ^

is conspiracy to distribute cocaine, which is something that can buy you a LOT of time in jail.

Granted, it is not a crime of violence and he was the middle man -- neither Pablo Escobar or the street dealer -- but it is a pretty serious crime.


August 11th, 2009 at 5:40 PM ^

I think there are a fair number of people around SE Michigan, both in the media, and people at the university who look down on Rodriguez because he comes from West Virginia. There is an unspoken belief that being from West Virginia makes one a hick, less cultured and less educated than someone from the midwest.
Yost got the same sort of grief when he first came here, Carr only escaped it because he had been here 15 years before he took over as head coach.
I think RR needs to take a few members of the mainstream media and befriend them, the same way Carr did. Right now he doesn't really have anybody in his corner, other than Brian and other bloggers, who are great, but probably don't reach a lot of people who aren't already Michigan fans.


August 11th, 2009 at 9:48 PM ^

Coach Carr was a scholar and understood Michigan Academia, but he was not a great coach. Carr did what he had to do under the circumstances. With Moeller's firing and all. He was such a good representative of the University. Incidentally, Coach Moeller would have had two or three NCs if he had remained UM's coach. I can't prove, I just know!

Coach Rich Rod is a good coach, and more importantly and a hungry innovator. Think about it, he created the Spread Option that is run by coaches around the nation. Les Miles and Urban Meyer run some variation of his creation. Michigan fans better chill and be patient. Sorry for the cliche, but good things come for those who wait.

Coach Bo Schembechler was rough around the edges, and at first he was not accepted by the alumni. Things change very quickly when you win a lot of games. That is why he is beloved.

The nuances of the spread offense are more complex than any thing that Michigan ran in their past offenses. Along with the strength and conditioning (Eeeeee Barwis!), Michigan is getting ready to be a very good football team! That is why these haters are kicking Coach Rod and Michigan while they are down. They know that once the giant awakes, let the whippings begin! Watch it come to pass!!


August 11th, 2009 at 10:01 PM ^

Depending on who you talk to some people fear Michigan going in a decade(s) long collapse. Michigan's enemies hope the they fall forever. There are the Herbstreits, and his buddies the Corsos who was on the OSU sideline when Woodson ran his punt return against to them in1997. There is Brent Musburger who hates Michigan. He constantly leaks out his feelings every time he talks about Michigan. I say to them eat Godzilla toejam.


August 12th, 2009 at 6:07 PM ^

It's Mitch Albom. Take a look at his recent articles - all of them, not just the UM ones, though they are pretty bad. It's like he took a look around the office, figured 'The only guys making bank around here are first-class douchenozzles who tease me with those mean Jimmy Olsen jokes. I'll show them! Unlike them, I have talent, so when I imitate them to make my millions, I'll caricature them even better than they do! I'm going to be somebody, dangit!' Let's check the scoreboard:
-Meaningless proto-memes as frames for articles? Check.
-Repetition, endless, mind-numbing repetition, of the same phrase for smarmy emotional effect? Check.
-A pronounced switch from fact-based, solid reportage to lazy, fact-free columny (I know it's supposed to be calumny, but if you combine the two, it works even better) wherein the writer veers from high-minded approval to righteous, solidly manufactured disdain? Check.

God, only my hatred of all things Mitch could force me to sit and post like this.