An Interview With Compliance Guy

Submitted by Brian on February 24th, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Bylaw Blog is the "Unofficial Blog of NCAA Compliance," which just goes to show that you can find anything on the internet. Its author is an anonymous employee in the compliance department of a Division I school who pegged Michigan's findings in a totally speculative post that some people got upset about but turned out to be accurate. He goes by Compliance Guy. I flagged him down and asked him a number of questions about where we are now and what's likely to happen in the future.

1. What is the process that Michigan has gone through to reach this point? I might be a little bit fuzzy on the details, but this is what I think has gone on so far:
- Article.
- Notice of Inquiry
- Michigan internal investigation undertaken with assistance/cooperation from NCAA.
- Michigan files report with NCAA
- NCAA responds with Notice of Allegations.
Is this an accurate picture of how the process works?

Flop the notice of inquiry and Michigan's investigation starting and you have the basic order. Michigan would have started the investigation the moment the story broke. At a certain point, either because of what Michigan was telling the NCAA or what the NCAA was hearing from somewhere else, the enforcement staff got involved and issued the Notice of Inquiry.

2. Past this point there are a couple more steps. Michigan will respond. They may or may not issue self-imposed sanctions. And then they'll go in front of the committee. How often do accusations of major violations get degraded to secondary violations in practice? Is the NCAA-issued NOA going to closely resemble the final findings at the committee or is it likely to get walked back? If so, how much?

A major violation case, once it gets to this point, rarely is argued back down to a secondary infraction. To get to a Notice of Allegations, especially in this case, the enforcement staff and Committee on Infractions would have worked very closely to decide if there were major violations, ultimately the COI's decision.

Individual major violations are sometimes downgraded to secondary violations during the response and hearing. In the Kelvin Sampson case at IU, one of the original five major violations--that Sampson and assistant coach Jeff Meyer gave Derek Elston a backpack and t-shirt and recruited him during a camp--was found to be only a secondary violation. Of course, the COI can add too, like the failure to monitor charge that came after the committee hearing.

The final report is going to look very similar. The most likely charge to be downgraded is actually the excessive practice, since it was never grossly beyond the limits like originally alleged by the ex-players. But the lack of documentation at the time makes it difficult for Michigan to prove that the violations were "isolated or inadvertent" and did not result in a "significant competitive advantage."

3. The five accusations:

1) Michigan quality control staffers "monitored and conducted skill development activities," assisted with "warm up and flexibility," watched film with players, and occasionally attended coaching meetings.
2) Similar in nature in points a) and b). c) consists of disciplinary measures after missing class in summer. d) consists of varying but relatively small amounts of excessive mandatory activity.
3) A graduate assistant lied during the process.
4) Rich Rodriguez "failure to monitor."
5) Athletic department "failure to monitor."

Are my characterizations of all these charges correct? If so, how serious are each of them?

#2 is, very generally, excessive practice. Michigan allowed excessive practice in one of three ways:

1) Did not count stretching and warm-up, thus requiring too much CARA (countable athletically related activity);

2) Disciplined players for missing class over the summer, when no required physical activity is permitted for any reason; and

3) Allowing excessive voluntary activity during the summer.

The third type is likely the most bewildering to fans. The NCAA tightly regulates even voluntary activity during the summer in football. The large team peer pressure and culture of discipline in football can cause it to get out of hand, so the NCAA limits how long you can work out with strength coaches in the summer, even voluntarily and sets periods of time where strength coaches cannot work out with football student-athletes at all.

The most serious charge is the failure to monitor charge for the university. It does allow for a wider variety of penalties. The "failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance" charge for Rodriguez means his continued employment at Michigan might change things. The ethical conduct charge is serious, but only really affects Herron. The other two violations are normally secondary in isolated incidents, but went on long enough to be considered major. Of the two, exceeding the coaching limits by a significant amount (11 is the limit with a total of five extra) is more serious.

There's also a sixth violation floating around, as an element of other violations but should be considered almost like a separate violation: the failure to submit practice logs for over a year and a half. Why that happened is going to be one of the COI's burning questions and the lack of the logs makes raising a defense to the charges that much more difficult.

4. On your blog you've recently documented a gradual broadening of "major violations" from serious dolla-dolla-bill ya'll type charges to considerably less severe violations, using the recent Arizona basketball issues as an example. Would these charges have gotten the same amount of scrutiny five, ten, fifteen years ago?

15 years ago, we wouldn't have the 24-hour news cycle that caused the violations to come to light in the first place. In addition, neither the NCAA nor Michigan would have had the resources to devote to discovering just how serious the violations were. Even now, we only know that limits were exceeded "some weeks."

But with larger compliance offices, bigger NCAA staffs, and a Committee on Infractions getting sick of the idea that secondary infractions don't matter, there is increased scrutiny. 15 years ago Michigan might have just reported a vague secondary violation and negotiated how much to reduce the practice time by. Now, just the fact that neither Michigan nor the NCAA has been able to completely quantify how big the violation was is not helping Michigan.

5. During the press conference new Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon downplayed a number of the charges, particularly the hours exceeded. Those were declared a misunderstanding about how stretching and other prep time was classified. It sounded like he was preparing a defense. If the NCAA and Michigan worked together on this, how could they be unfamiliar with this point of view? What is the probability that arguments like "it was a misunderstanding" will have any effect?

Brandon is preparing a defense, but at this point reducing the penalty is the more likely goal rather than winning an acquittal. Secondary violations need to meet two requirements: isolated or inadvertent AND did not produce a significant competitive advantage. Convince the NCAA of both and you have a secondary violation. Convince them of one, and you still have a major violation, but a lesser one.

Trouble is that the NCAA looks at what coaches and administrators "should" have known rather than what they did know. If the NCAA changes a rule, issues an interpretation, or releases an Educational Column (non-binding, technical discussions of the rules), a compliance officer is virtually presumed to have read it. And if the coaches were never educated about the rule, not only does it not save them, but it also becomes an element of bigger institutional charges like failure to monitor and lack of institutional control.

6. Michigan's handling of the situation has been fairly controversial on the internet because Michigan fans, rightly or wrongly, feel that the university's relative openness was detrimental in the Ed Martin case. Michigan has apparently been as accommodating as possible with the NCAA. Is inviting NCAA investigators in asking for trouble or a way to mitigate any potential sanctions? If you were in Michigan's position, what would you have done?

That's a tricky question because as a public institution, Michigan can only be so secretive. A great deal of the investigation can be open to the public via open records laws and the Freedom of Information Act. Look at the fervor caused by one informational meeting with the trustees that Michigan attempted to keep quiet.

What is the measure against which Michigan's openness is being judged? I'm sure most fans are pointing at USC and how the Reggie Bush investigation took five years and it seems like USC is in front of the COI almost out of the blue. But USC is a private institution, and doesn't have to worry about bitter rivals, wronged alumni, and nosy reporters demanding every scrap of paper. Michigan probably hasn't made public anything that wouldn't be made public before.

Looking back to the Ed Martin scandal, Michigan's willingness to cooperate was likely a key consideration in getting the second year of postseason ban overturned on appeal. Cooperating with the NCAA is wrongly portrayed as "going above and beyond vs. defending yourself." It's an obligation of being a member of the NCAA.

Michigan fans like to talk about the integrity and class in the program. If that means anything, it means acknowledging your mistakes, taking your medicine, and working to improve. It doesn't mean being difficult just because it seems USC is.

I think Michigan's handling of the case has been a model of how to deal with a major infractions case so far. And the result will likely be fairer penalties and a case that is disposed of quickly rather than casting a shadow on the program for a number of years.

7. Would one GA lying to the NCAA seriously hurt the university as a whole, assuming that he is then fired?

It's highly unlikely. A single, isolated unethical conduct violation generally hits the person who committed it rather than the institution. The primary tool the COI uses for this is the show-cause penalty, which states that any institution who hires the person must appear before the committee and "show cause" why they should not be punished the same way the previous school was.

As a counterexample, Dave Bliss' unethical conduct, in instructing players and coaches to lie in the Baylor case, is much more serious on an institutional level. When high level administrators (ADs, presidents, etc.), head coaches, or people who should know better (compliance staff) commit unethical conduct, it speaks to institutional control.

8. Is there any possibility Michigan escapes a major infraction at this point? What do you think Michigan's penalties will be? If you think some of the accusations are walked back, what would they be in that case?

It's almost a certainty that come October or November, Michigan will be back on probation. The Committee on Infractions generally doesn't start flimsy cases. Look again at USC. Since the original Yahoo! Sports report about Reggie Bush, the COI could have sent a Notice of Allegations as a fishing expedition. But given the fact that they were dealing with a major football program, they couldn't afford to have the case blow up in their face. So they continued investigating, interview, asking for documentation, and working with USC to develop the case until they had a slam dunk.

I'm also confident the same five charges in the Notice of Allegations will be in the final report. Like I said earlier, the excessive practice is the most likely candidate to be reduced, but Michigan lacks the best tool for doing so: detailed logging of practice time during that period. Consistent and timely logs, though mistaken, would have been the best evidence that the violations were all an honest mistake.

I expect a lengthy list of penalties, but none of which are too severe. Despite Michigan's status as a repeat violator due to the Ed Martin case, the death penalty is clearly not in the cards. [Editor's note: I think this is meant to be reassuring.] Neither are more severe penalties like a postseason or TV ban. In fact, Michigan doesn't even need to vacate wins (unless it self-imposes) because these violations do not affect eligibility. I think you'll see a list like this:

  • A reduction in countable coaches (one coach will have to be reassigned to a noncoaching position);
  • A reduction in practice with a shorter spring season in 2011 and/or reduced hour limits;
  • Possibly recruiting restrictions, including limiting the number of coaches off-campus at any one time;
  • Possibly a reduction of around three scholarships for a year or two;
  • 3-4 years probation (longer due to repeat violator status)

Combined I think they are a setback (which they're intended to be), but they aren't program crushing penalties that will take years to crawl out from like the Ed Martin penalties were.

[Ed: Many thanks to Compliance Guy. Again: Bylaw Blog is his internet home.]



February 24th, 2010 at 3:23 PM ^

My interpretation is no, QC guys were not

Paragraph 2. a. in the allegations say something to the effect that QC guys are not equivalent department-wide strength and conditioning guys (department-wide training guys are allowed to monitor for safety, ect.)

This bit about QC guys being considered coaches when they advise athletes directly - even during normal practices within the rules - or attend coaches meetings seems pretty lame. It is my understanding that QC guys are supposed to a) watch practices and film, and b) advise what a player is doing wrong, and how a player can improve footwork or form or something.

If they cannot tell the players directly, or attend coaches meeting to give their input, how the bloody hell are they supposed to do part b) of their job?

How many Universities have just fired all thier QC guys, and hired them back as department-wide strength and conditioning staff?

MI Expat NY

February 24th, 2010 at 12:21 PM ^

Shouldn't everyone wait to hear exactly what the coaching activity actually alleged was before deciding if other schools do the same thing?

If they actually ran the practices, meaning, they paced the drills, coached technique, etc., you're probably right, not all schools are doing this.

If they wandered by and did a quick check in to see who was there, i'd say you're probably wrong, coaches get paid too much money to not know what their players are up to.

My guess is that the activity will lean towards the latter since the former is such a blatant disregard for NCAA regulations, that it would be hard to imagine RR not being fired already.


February 24th, 2010 at 12:32 PM ^

Yes, I am certain that most universities that are willing to PAY for summer classes are going make sure that their student-athletes are attending class and doing well. Doesn't make much sense for an athletic department to pay for all those classes if they cannot assure themselves that the student-athletes are actually going to take care of their business. NOT JUST FOOTBALL, I have heard of all sports punishing their athletes for poor performance during summer classes. Hell, if they don't pass some of them, they could end up ineligible for the upcoming season.

The 7 on 7 thing is interesting, b/c would you want your highly-prized athletes out running around and competing hard against one another without any supervision?! I WOULDN'T!!! The quality control are probably similar to coaches and they do know what is going on scheme-wise. Of course their presence is going to include some instruction. At most major universities, the student-athletes are being instructed ON EVERY SINGLE THING THEY DO...not just athletic related events.


February 24th, 2010 at 5:48 PM ^

-Have mandatory physical training as punishment during a time of the year that no mandatory training is allowed?--

The football coaches were making sure the players were going to class and making them run when they didn't and now UM is being punished for it.

Can you imagine the explosion if that happened to Bo.
Damn those family values.


February 24th, 2010 at 11:56 AM ^

Great info.

I certainly see how the lack of documentation hurts us in trying to make a case for reduced penalties, but can the COI really say that we had a "significant competitive advantage" with our 8-16 record during that time period?

Personally, I have no problem whatsoever vacating any or all of those 8 wins if it means some other potential penalty could go away or be lessened.


February 24th, 2010 at 12:31 PM ^

If it is decided that we had a "significant competitive advantage," that theoretically existed in all 24 games, didn't it? I say we erase all 24 games from the record, the 8 wins and the 16 losses, and RichRod's official coaching record at UM will begin this fall


February 24th, 2010 at 11:57 AM ^

No matter how we look at this, or whether or not every other program in the country does all of these ticky-tack things, this is very detrimental to our program. This is yet another season in which we are on ESPN during the offseason for negatives rather than positives (insert standard grumble grumble ESPN hates us, etc.).

If this all came on the heals of a couple of strong, controversy-free seasons, this would be a minor blip on the radar, but after the past two years at 8-16 and all of the RR scandal nonsense (again, insert standard grumble grumble the world hates us and RR), I am concerned that this can have very serious consequences for our recriuting and general perception.

I am not in the fire-RR camp, but I wonder what everyone thinks is the best REALISTIC way to start the process of digging us out of the mess that has become our football program.


February 24th, 2010 at 11:57 AM ^

(1) Brian, awesome work, and many thanks to Bylaw Blog. Good stuff. Except,
(2) Holy eff, this makes me sad. Save the "come on, perspective" cracks. I really was hoping that UM wouldn't get tagged with "major" violations, no matter how minor the penalty may be. Reading this, it feels all but assured.

Whatever, go blue.


February 24th, 2010 at 11:58 AM ^

Great reading. It's good to read opinion from someone who actually knows and understands what is going on.

What I don't get is why the NCAA needs to wait for a reporter with an agenda to key an investigation. Why not randomly investigate programs? Why can't they do their own due diligence? No paper in Ohio has any incentive to try and take down OSU.... so unless they're cutting checks to recruits, they're bulletproof?

If those are the penalties we're likely to get, USC had better get bitch slapped.

Compliance Guy

February 24th, 2010 at 1:13 PM ^

I wanted to pop back here and respond to this one.

There's a number of reasons why the NCAA isn't sitting around like cops with radar guns looking to bust people.

1) Institutional control is a bedrock principle of the NCAA. You are supposed to investigate yourself, you are supposed to report your own violations, and you are supposed to control your own athletic department. It's not the NCAA's philosophy that it's fine as long as you don't get caught.

2) The NCAA doesn't have the staff or the powers to randomly investigate programs based on zero information. It's a limited number of people in charge of making sure that 330+ Division I schools are policing themselves properly. But when they do get information, they follow through pretty consistently. Had the ex-players complained to just the NCAA and not the Free Press, there would have been an investigation just the same.

3) The NCAA has procedures for checking up on schools even when something doesn't go wrong. Every 10 years an athletic department goes through certification, an 18-month to two year long process where the NCAA reviews things like institutional control, academic integrity, and monitoring procedures. Conferences conduct external audits of athletic departments every couple of years. And internal audits of some aspect (recruiting, financial aid, practice regulations) are required every year.

4) You see what Elijah Fields did? Don't assume that you need a hostile reporter to get this stuff out in the open.

Huntington Wolverine

February 24th, 2010 at 12:06 PM ^

"A reduction in countable coaches (one coach will have to be reassigned to a noncoaching position);"

Anyone else think that our new "safeties" coach, Adam Braithwaite, could have been promoted internally in anticipation of this? Especially since there was so much confusion over what his actual coaching responsibilities were.

(this is not meant to be any sort of slight on his coaching abilities either)


February 24th, 2010 at 12:19 PM ^

I feel like that's not quite how it works. Say we have 10 coaches...just because we ass Adam and get to 11 doesn't mean they'll let us have 10. I think it's still dropping to nine according to the NCAA regulations (whatever the actual number is). Otherwise what's stopping schools from hiring every student off the street and then claiming that their "coaches" are sitting out? I really don't think it's based on a percentage of staff able to attnend, but rather a hard number (every school gets 100 coaches, you get 99).

I think all that makes sense...


February 24th, 2010 at 1:01 PM ^

This was an early thought of mine, particularly as the University had a solid grasp (I think) on the NCAA allegations, which included an allegation that Adam Braithwaite improperly coached players, as of February 11, 2010 when the Braithwaite hire was announced.

I don't think Braithwaite was "hired to take a fall" in the same sense as many on the interwebs (incorrectly) believed that Kiffin was hired to take a fall at USC. The reduction in staff may have been a consideration, however, as the possibility of such a reduction in the near future would almost certainly influence the hiring process for an open position.

Any outside candidate would have required adequate assurances that the position would not be terminated a few months later (in the form of a healthy liquidated damages clause). Hiring Braithwaite may have been a combination of securing a very good coach, who is intimately familiar with the program and is a proven commodity, who also understands that NCAA sanctions are imminent and could ultimately jeopardize the position. In other words, hiring Braithwaite allowed the program to secure a good positions coach who is already respected and trusted in the program in the event that particular sanction is not levied, and preserve the rest of the staff while losing only a supervisor of two defensive players if it is.


February 24th, 2010 at 12:16 PM ^

I hope I'm wrong about this, but if Michigan doesn't somehow negotiate these charges down to secondary violations, doesn't that mean Rich Rodriguez loses his job? I was under the impression that RR had a clause to that effect in his contract.


February 24th, 2010 at 12:16 PM ^

I thought the threshold for RR to be safe this season was 7 wins I think this bumps it up to 9 or 10. The combination of being fired for cause with major violations and Harbaugh floating out there puts Rodriguez in a real tough spot. And it better be a fast start too, split UCONN and ND, lose to MSU at home the same month that NCAA comes out with major violations and GERG might be at the helm while a "national coaching search" gets underway. I am still firmly in the RR camp but he needs a big season.


February 24th, 2010 at 12:38 PM ^

I am with David. It is unrealistic to expect a 10 win season out of ANY coach, even at Florida, USC or Texas. Coming off of 8-16, nobody is expecting 10 wins.

I don't think that the violations issue impacts the number of wins required for RR to keep his job. I believe that that number is 7. If RR is going to be fired because of the violations, he will be fired because of the violations, and not the win/loss record.

That said, I think that at the end of this season, RR is out. Not because Harbaugh is the next chosen one, or because RR is a bad fit, but simply because after another season of distractions relating to off-the-field incidents, a season that may find us somewhere around 5-7 or 6-6, and an increased level of discontent amongst older alum, he and the U may both realize that it is in everyone's best interests for there to be an amicable parting of ways.

Before anyone negs me, I am not hoping for this - I am hoping for that 10 win season (and I would be ecstatic with an 8 win season), but I am not hopeful that a team with this much youth can overcome the adversity that they will be facing. Here is hoping that I am proven to be completely wrong. Go Blue.


February 24th, 2010 at 7:38 PM ^

Not having to pay a buyout, plus major violations add in a mediocre season coming off two bad seasons, I think it is related. I think he needs to come out of this season with a program that is clearly on the right track. Remember there is 12 games now 9 wins is the new 8 wins, especially when the 12th game is basically an auto-win. Gary Moeller was essentially fired for embarrassing the university and consecutive 8 win seasons if RR can't even reach that level I don't see him escaping, no matter how realistic it is.


February 24th, 2010 at 12:42 PM ^

Say he wins 9 games but loses to ND, MSU and OSU and has major violations on his record. I think he keeps his job and I hope he does but it wouldn't shock me if he lost it. I think 9 is probably closer to the truth, if he only wins 8 and loses 2 of 3 to the rivals I think it's 50/50 at best.


February 24th, 2010 at 12:33 PM ^

In re-watching Brandon's comments on RR's status, they don't come out as strong as I first pereceived them to be. Like I said yesterday, unless Brandon was prepared to announce he was gone immediately, he had to say what he said. I think RR is lucky this took as long as it did to come out -- if it had come out in December and Brandon had been hired by then, I think he would have been gone. Brandon has no vested interest in the RR hiring. If the team does well this year and the sanctions aren't too bad, Brandon will stick with RR for fear of further disruption of the program. If not, he will note the overall decline of the program and bring in his own guy to resurrect the program.

P.S. Don't rule out the possibility that the NCAA will offer lesser penalties if RR is made a scapegoat.


February 24th, 2010 at 1:52 PM ^…

Look at the background of all these guys. They were all brought in by Rich. There were not holdovers. Guys who he hired, he was supposed to vouch for, and guys who were certainly loyal to him, not Michigan. You can debate at this point whether compliance people showed concern about their activities and were rebuffed, or didn't point it out stringently enough, but ultimately this falls at the feet of the Head Coach. What that all means in the long run? I don't know. There's too much that will be going down. But the whole meme that the Athletic Department is to blame and Rich is just an innocent bystander doesn't play anymore, because all the allegations, starting January 2008, start after Rich was hired, and with his enormous staff he brought in.

Adam Braithwaite
Who he is: Promoted to outside linebackers/safeties coach in February after spending the past two seasons as a staff assistant. The 31-year-old as a graduate assistant under Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia from 2005-06, and defensive coordinator at Hampden-Sydney College in 2007. He played defensive back at William & Mary.

Where he’s mentioned: In count one, the NCAA alleges that Michigan exceeded the number of permissible assistant coaches (nine) when six quality-control staff members, including Braithwaite, “engaged in on- and off-field coaching activities.”

Dan Hott
Dan Hott
Who he is: Defensive graduate assistant coach who joined Michigan after two stints as a GA at West Virginia. Hott worked under Rich Rodriguez at WVU in 2007, and as a student football coach and GA for the Mountaineers from 1995-2000. He also spent six seasons coaching defensive line at University of Findlay.

Where he’s mentioned: In count one, the NCAA alleges that Michigan exceeded the number of permissible assistant coaches (nine) when six quality-control staff members, including Hott, “engaged in on- and off-field coaching activities.”

Josh Ison
Josh Ison
Who he is: Worked as an assistant strength coach in 2008 and a staff intern/special teams quality control assistant in 2009. Before Michigan, he spent one year as a graduate assistant in the Health Works Rehabilitation and Fitness Center at West Virginia. Played linebacker at Fairmont State.

Where he’s mentioned: In count one, the NCAA alleges that Michigan exceeded the number of permissible assistant coaches (nine) when six quality-control staff members, including Ison, “engaged in on- and off-field coaching activities.”

Bob McClain

Who he is: Tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Tulsa. Spent 2008 as the special teams and offensive quality control coach at Michigan, and worked previously as offensive coordinator at Glenville State (2006-07) and as a graduate assistant at West Virginia (2000-05).
Where he’s mentioned: In count one, the NCAA alleges that Michigan exceeded the number of permissible assistant coaches (nine) when six quality-control staff members, including McClain, “engaged in on- and off-field coaching activities.”

Eric Smith
Eric Smith
Who he is: Offensive quality control assistant also worked as a graduate assistant under Rodriguez at West Virginia in 2007. The West Virginia native also served as an offensive assistant coach at West Virginia Tech (2006), Pikeville College (2005), Charleston (2004) and Glenville State (2003).

Where he’s mentioned: In count one, the NCAA alleges that Michigan exceeded the number of permissible assistant coaches (nine) when six quality-control staff members, including Smith, “engaged in on- and off-field coaching activities.”

Bryan Wright
Bryan Wright
Who he is: Listed as a staff intern, Wright is in charge of quality control for the offensive staff. He played running back at West Virginia under Rodriguez and worked as a strength and conditioning grad assistant for the Mountaineers under Michigan strength coach Mike Barwis.

Where he’s mentioned: In count one, the NCAA alleges that Michigan exceeded the number of permissible assistant coaches (nine) when six quality-control staff members, including Wright, “engaged in on- and off-field coaching activities.”

Alex Herron
Alex Herron
Who he is: A staff intern and offensive graduate assistant coach, Herron worked with the offensive line and scout-team defense at Michigan after spending one year as a graduate assistant at West Virginia. A four-year starter at center at South Florida, where he played under Michigan offensive line coach Greg Frey.

Where he’s mentioned: In count three, the NCAA suggests Herron “failed to deport himself in accordance with the generally recognized high standards of honesty and sportsmanship … for providing false and misleading information to the institution and enforcement staff” about whether he was present for off-season 7-on-7 drills.


February 24th, 2010 at 5:03 PM ^

Disagree strongly. The biggest issue has been the athletic department inability to interpret the rules and create a system to abide by them. As this very post says, "The most serious charge is the failure to monitor charge for the university."

Rich is not innocent in the investigation, but he is not the key culprit.


February 24th, 2010 at 9:17 PM ^

So, you're saying the biggest problem was that the University didn't keep the coaching staff and the QA guys brought in by Rich from breaking the rules? They share some responsibility- and it again comes down to what angle the NCAA takes on the compliance thing...was it brought to Rich et al's attention, and were they rebuffed, or made to not bring it up...or were they lax in their duties, and didn't follow up? Most likely a little of both. Rich has shown in interviews he bristles when questioned; and no doubt compliance should say "Mr. Martin, we brought this up...and it seems to be ignored...we're worried", and didn't.

But the people who are supposed to fill out those reports, the people who took part in impermissible activities, and the people who allegedly broke the rules are all Rich Rod hires, and colleagues. Yes, the University shouldn't let them run roughshod. No, I do not believe it was conscious cheating to gain sn advantage; more likely carelessness. But if these were solely systematic problems, they whole reach further back than the day Rich was hired.

No one should be hung for it (other than the guy who LIED...what was HE thinking???). But in this problem case, the idea that Rich is just a victim of circumstance (like what holds true in other "incidents"), or that there are all these other people to blame (like all the QA people Brian wanted fired because they hadn't filed the paperwork...but all turn out to be Rich's guys, not nameless department drones), just isn't quantifiably true anymore.

He is not solely to blame. And the acts may not have been his directly even. But they were by the people he brought to Michigan. And Martin obviously was so star-struck by his hire, that he dropped the ball following up on any of this. I don't get the sense that Brandon is the same way. He seems to believe his people and his department's actions reflect on him, too. So hopefully this is the ultimate low...and contrary to what some seem to want to say...and what Brian's interview seems to reveal...this is pretty fucking low. But we seem to be in better standing to move up from here.


February 25th, 2010 at 7:51 AM ^

In my view:

a) there is a lot of confusion as to what QC staffers do, and whether they can be present at voluntary 7 on 7 drills. We don't know what kind of "coaching" or advising they were doing at these practices, and for how many practices.

Who knows? Maybe the QCers ran the drills: in which case that is on Rich and staff. Maybe they answered some questions or pointed out a few things someone was doing wrong with their footwork: in which case how aware was Rich and staff and particularly the QC staffers aware what implies "coaching". Same with interpretation of the rules about who could be at the 7 on 7 drills in the first place.

b) apparently stretching activity counts as countable time. Rich and staff obviously interpreted the rule differently.

In both those cases, it is the University's compliance department who should have checked up occasionally on the activity, and clarified the rules with Rich and staff.

c) CARA forms: how the hell does the compliance department allow the crown jewel sport, with the most athletes to report on, go for a whole season without checking to see if they are routinely collecting CARA forms? Especially when the football staff is totally new to the processes of the University? Is that not gross negligence?

Yes, Rich was responsible for assurance that his staff knew the rules and reaching out in the opposite direction, but still the people in the compliance department are paid to make sure we are compliant, and when a new staff took over the most important program in the University of Michigan's Athletic Department, they clearly didn't do enough.