Jihad The Second, Bits And Pieces

Submitted by Brian on August 31st, 2009 at 7:29 PM

xbox-kid-michigan

Via Spartan Tailgate, naturally.

I still have a zillion tabs open and can't get to all of them in any sort of depth so a quick tour will have to suffice.

Chengelis articles. A couple of former player quotes:

"As much as I want to say (Rodriguez) is the only one (to surpass the 20-hour rule) and to say he's the worst, I can't," said one former player, who asked to remain anonymous. "I'm sure that happens at every school. It is what it is."

This guy doesn't appear to be all-in, eh? Another one:

"Every team does that, more or less," another former Michigan player said. "Everyone knows voluntary workouts you don't have to be there, but you have to be there. A lot of guys don't even know about the rule, but everybody signed the sheets (indicating you kept to the 20-hour rule). It was never a big deal. Those sheets were signed, and that's the only paper trail there is."

If that's true and compliance has lists of their spot checks, this tempest will quickly suck itself into a teapot. All that's left is anonymous mudslinging from former players (and non-anonymous statements from Clemons), some of which have been directly refuted.

Also, long snapper Sean Griffin disputes the reports about quality control staff checking up on voluntary workouts:

He said he frequently worked with the special teams during the offseason and that an allegation in the report that Rodriguez's staff broke rules by monitoring offseason scrimmages was not true, as far as he could tell.

"When I was helping with the specialists, there was never a coach, a graduate assistant, or a quality control coach there," he said. "I wasn't sitting there writing everything down and reporting to a coach. I worked out with a few of the new guys.

Epistolary bit. Email sent to Deadspin about this post, containing this snippet:

In fact, the coach apparently admitted to one violation during the presser, saying that they send strength coaches into the weight room during offseason lifting "so they don't drop a weight on their foot." (Caring!) Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's against the rules.

http://mgoblog.com/content/jihad-second-they-dont-know-rules

non-countable time:
m. *Voluntary individual workouts,* provided these workouts are not required or supervised by coaching staff members, except that such activities may be monitored for safety purposes or conducted by the institution's strength and conditioning personnel who have department wide duties.

I know that would have taken 30 seconds of research, so I understand why you didn't have time.

Smart Football devoted a ton of time and space to the thing; as always with Smart Football it's worth a read. He pulls out a couple recent teams that were dinged for exceeding practice limits:

In 2003, limits on facility use and practice time were almost completely ignored at SDSU, and, as a result, the program was placed on two-years of probation. More recently, SDSU exceeded the time allotted by the NCAA by about 15-minutes, and therefore voluntarily curtailed its practice time by an hour, broken up in 12-minute chunks over a week.

More drastic was Ball State. The NCAA investigated Ball State, though the scope went beyond just football and into a variety of sports. The NCAA found that BSU’s softball team had “repeatedly exceeded daily and weekly practice hour limitations, failed to give student-athletes a required day off each week from athletically related activities, and conducted individual skill instruction sessions in violation of NCAA rules.” That was not all, however. The NCAA also found that BSU had allowed [27 grand in book fraud, which led to scholarship reductions].

…But it is still early: these are just reports; we have nothing definite yet. And even if some players were working out on a Sunday, that alone doesn’t seem like it would equal a “major violation.” The questions are how widespread this was and how much of it flowed from the coaches — did they encourage it?

Whole thing, read it, etc.

The calling thing. The article in question quoted an anonymous player saying that members of the quality control or strength staff called players who weren't at voluntary workouts. Violation? I don't know. It's not specifically called out in the NCAA rules I reviewed. And it shows up in this article about Colorado (irony!) and Colorado State:


"They call it nonmandatory, but it's mandatory, really," CSU wide receiver Rashaun Greer said of conditioning coaches who keep tabs on attendance. "They will call (no-shows) or text, 'What's going on?' "

CU strength-and-conditioning coach Jeff Pittman and his staff are keeping tabs on upward of 100 Buffs this summer. Pittman said participation is pretty much across the board, in every class.

This was just chucked out in an article that alleged no violations and has been sitting, unremarked upon, on the Denver Post's website for over a month. It appears, then, that a chunk of the allegations in the article are not violations. Either that or Colorado and Colorado State are supremely dumb.

Also, yes, I suppose I'm required by law to note that Toney Clemons transferred to play under Dan "This Is Division 1 Football!!!" Hawkins and there I've done it.

Agh. No time (no time) to fisk Ray Ratto's epically dumb column on the thing but I will highlight this bit:

it's the argument that Michigan is doing what all the other collegiate scofflaws are doing that strikes us here, first of all because it's such a little boy's argument. "Hey, everyone does it?" That's the one you drop when you get caught toilet-papering someone's house.

Ironic of a sportswriter to go there but whatever. I will explain: "everyone does it" is not an attempt to excuse Michigan for misdeeds—because again we are talking about football players playing football. It's a way of evaluating the truth behind the implication that this is a Big Huge Deal that is Ed Martin For Football; if the NCAA average time spent is 45 hours a week, then it is totally plausible Michigan is asking that much out of its players without tripping over NCAA boundaries. Because everyone is.

Etc.: In the diaries, an anonymous journalist says "I just don't understand how an educated reporter could look at that and not even attempt to figure out the breakdown of "required" and "voluntary" activities." Genuinely Sarcastic has a comprehensive take. Rittenberg has one too. And Jon Chait murders the Free Press' editors.

Comments

FilliamHMuffman94

August 31st, 2009 at 7:37 PM ^

Any headline on a newspaper page that includes the headline "Lions: There's a Reason to Smile!" should be immediately disregarded with extreme prejudice. Ah little brother, the consistency and vigor of your inferiority complex is oddly comforting in these trying times...

Heinous Wagner

August 31st, 2009 at 7:40 PM ^

1. I was going to attempt a song parody of "Dirty Laundry" to fit Rosenberg and Snyder. But the original holds up. I could only add the line, "Get that freshman over here, we need dirty laundry."

2. The two interviews I have heard where the reporters were interviewed by other mainstream media figures (the Channel 7 guy and Matt Shepard on the radio) are embarrassing examples of buttocks-slathering tripe. How can anyone take seriously an interview that begins with a blanket denial that the two reporters are "good guys and friends of the show" and people who could never, ever, or even ever, have any agenda?

ssuarez

August 31st, 2009 at 7:44 PM ^

Here is a quote from Carson butler who isn't exactly Rich Rod's biggest fan

FROM ESPN:

Detroit Lions rookie Carson Butler, who played at Michigan, said he didn't think players had to do a lot more work for Rodriguez last year when compared with previous seasons under Lloyd Carr.

"It was just a different structure," Butler said.

Butler said it didn't seem as if the players were forced to spend excessive time training and practicing.

"I don't know all of the exact rules, but I don't remember anything that seemed like it was too much," Butler said. "If the weight room was open, you went. If there was a run, you went. It's just what you do to be a better football player."

me

August 31st, 2009 at 7:46 PM ^

Carson Butler says nothing is different. This is shocking. I guess Rosenberg didn't think to call one of the most obvious people.

Detroit Lions rookie Carson Butler, who played at Michigan, said he didn't think players had to do a lot more work for Rodriguez last year when compared with previous seasons under Lloyd Carr.

"It was just a different structure," Butler said.

Butler said it didn't seem as if the players were forced to spend excessive time training and practicing.

"I don't know all of the exact rules, but I don't remember anything that seemed like it was too much," Butler said. "If the weight room was open, you went. If there was a run, you went. It's just what you do to be a better football player."

EDIt: Doh double post of Suarez

Enjoy Life

August 31st, 2009 at 7:50 PM ^

If you have been following the Rick Pitino case you know the answer as to "I just don't understand how an educated reporter could look at that and not even attempt to figure out the breakdown of "required" and "voluntary" activities."

Pitino admitted to having consensual sex with Karen Cunagin Sypher. Pitino went to the authorities when Sypher tried to blackmail him. Sypher is now charged with extortion and lying to the FBI.

And yet, the media continue to write and show video clips of statements from Sypher that are almost absolutely lies AND NEVER MENTION THAT THEY ARE PROBABLY LIES!!!

That is why Pitino was so upset and had his press conference. Why the media somehow feels they must disseminate this stuff is beyond me. But, if they do, they should at least have the decency and integrity to also label it for what it is.

This, like the Freep article, is sadly where we have come to: shock journalism -- regardless of who gets hurt.

Chuck Harbaugh

August 31st, 2009 at 7:51 PM ^

Ball State has time violations. Was this during Hoke's reign? Wasn't Hoke Lloyd's suggestion, if they didn't go in house? GS and some commenters here have called for Lloyd to speak out. I have no idea if a credible connection could be drawn between any of this. I know Rosenberg could tie it all to the utter malevolence of RichRod.

FgoWolve

August 31st, 2009 at 8:22 PM ^

John Chait really hits it right down the plate. He addresses the problem that columnists with all their opinions and broadcast biases should not be investigative reporters. That is an old journalism rule I was taught all the way back in high school that I feel has been disturbingly blurred in the field of journalism the past couple years.

I was a sports writer and editor for the Michigan Daily a few years back. I covered the basketball program during Daniel Horton's legal issues and suspension in 2005. I ended up writing a "pro-Daniel" column, and my colleague wrote what one might call the "anti-Daniel" column. (I would link but the Michigan Daily archives are down right now.) As soon as we both made our points, our editors decided we were not allowed to write news related stories concerning Daniel Horton, i.e. his court dates and appearances. Despite the fact that we both felt we could put our biases aside when it came to print, our editors didn't even want to risk the appearance of bias. A third colleague of ours covered the rest of the Daniel Horton saga in the news, and I was very proud of our coverage.

Now, why this formerly important journalism axiom is no longer followed at the Freep, well that's anyone's guess. Good to see that there are still journalists like John Chait out there.

Callahan

August 31st, 2009 at 10:43 PM ^

Probably because the student newspaper didn't invest a ton of man hours while bleeding profits to the point that it can't deliver papers but three days a week... not-so-coincidentally the three days when the major advertising fliers are inserted. In other words, they went with it, they've received a shit ton of interest and clicks.

As one of the more popular jokes on this website goes:

1) "Investigate" piece
2) Collect quotes from potential sources
3) ?????????????????
4) Profit.

Yinka Double Dare

August 31st, 2009 at 8:00 PM ^

I'm not surprised, but still disappointed, that Deadspin actually let Dash Bennett write that post. He's a supreme Michigan State homer without even a shred of objectivity on this -- it's not surprising he got it wrong and totally buys every allegation without even acknowledging that the article may be, just maybe, written by a columnist with a grudge or agenda, because he probably doesn't care. He's just happy to make Michigan look as bad as possible whenever possible.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

August 31st, 2009 at 8:34 PM ^

Interesting blurb from the Ratto article:

But Rodriguez, who has always been the trapezoidal peg in the triangular hole at Michigan,

You know, if you think about it (there's an epidemic of not doing that going on however), that would fit pretty well.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

August 31st, 2009 at 8:56 PM ^

I quoted the beginning, middle, and end of the metaphor - ADD-like, Ratto moves on to something else right away. I figure it was a throwaway thing where he took two weirder shapes than "square" and "round" to try and make the point that RR fits just that badly at Michigan, and goofed badly.

mth822

August 31st, 2009 at 8:55 PM ^

What's the forecast on Michigan Football as of today??? Well, the 'shot across the brow' of Michigans Football vessel has been taken. As I watched the news today, the interviews and season felt like it came a week early. In some ways, this may serve advantageous to the mindset of the warriors involved in this up and coming football game. It should be a better, more focused week of game prep. It's a must win game. Will Michigan lose games this year? Could Michigan possibly lose to Western Michigan? Could Michigan win it's first 4? Yes, to all. Don't be surprised if this game is close and don't be surprised if its a blowout. I mean that for both squads. It's essential that the Wolverines take a rational, methodical approach on both offense and defense. The idea that emotion can be harnessed, or the idea of playing off of it has kind of left the building. At this point, it's just for the love of the game. At this point, for the players, coaches and fans of Michigan Football, you will win and lose quietly.

Bronco648

August 31st, 2009 at 10:12 PM ^

Brian: "...if the NCAA average time spent is 45 hours a week, then it is totally plausible Michigan is asking that much out of its players without tripping over NCAA boundaries. Because everyone is."

Shouldn't it read like this:
"...if the NCAA average time spent is 45 hours a week, then it is totally plausible Michigan is asking that much out of its players without tripping over NCAA boundaries. Not because everyone is but because no NCAA boundaries are being crossed."

Brodie

August 31st, 2009 at 10:29 PM ^

Dash is such a Sparty troll. Leitch must be rolling over in his Armani suits thinking that his fuckup buddy turned his hard work into shit by letting a bunch of other fuck up's write for him.

Seth

August 31st, 2009 at 11:38 PM ^

While some players have chosen to hide behind anonymity, Toney Clemons put his name out there. He stated his reasons: he believes he's helping some of his old teammates.

This man is at least being honest. He's a young man who seems to be acting out of loyalty to his friends still in the program. And though Rosenberg is portraying this otherwise (it's a USA Today article for those of you on a Freep boycott), read his quote: there isn't any violation there.

"Oh, yeah," Clemons said. "I'll always be honest. My mom and my dad raised me to be a stand-up guy. If they call me and I have to tell them my schedule, I'll tell them what I went through. I will definitely tell the truth."

I know we're all upset here that Michigan and RR have been made a punching bag for something that every football program does. Scream all you want about the disgrace to journalism that this article represents, and the schadenfreude of our enemies who haven't been this giddy since MGoBlog went pink with kittens. But until he lies, or says something that unfairly denigrates his former program, back off of Clemons.

That includes the "I don't want to be associated..." comment that has raised ire on this and other Michigan blogs. He plays for Colorado; he's right not to act like he's still a part of the program, except that I, for one, am proud that he once chose to be a member of it.

Orion

September 1st, 2009 at 2:58 AM ^

Seriously. This "helping his teammates out" line is a bunch of BS. He's bitter about what went down after Carr retired. He obviously doesn't like Rodriguez and is talking to try and get back at him. Period.

To top it all off, it's obvious he has no idea about the actual NCAA rules, as Brian has already talked about. So he was at Schembechler Hall until late, wow big deal.

If he really wanted to help his teammates he would simply shut up.

pjmasi

September 1st, 2009 at 8:16 AM ^

So he should stop wasting his time talking to the media and play football for Colorado.

Funny, ask anyone who watches ESPN "Who is Toney Clemons?" and your answer is going to be "the guy in the Michigan violations story." Way to disassociate yourself with the program pal.

Jayme in MN

September 1st, 2009 at 1:13 AM ^

Aside - My daughter goes to a small, Liberal Arts college in St. Paul and the Choir/Voice/Orchestra/Piano lessons, rehearsals, performances, etc. commitment is more than 20 hours/week (She's a Chem major with Bio and Music Minors.)

That being said, I have not, to date, been a RR fan to be honest. However, today, it all changed. He's my guy now and I'll defend him forever as I think he's being unfairly railroaded by a bunch of BS by a bunch of biased reporters and editors who are trying to sell newspapers.

The King of Belch

September 1st, 2009 at 7:42 AM ^

I loved Chait's line about his secret source (for something) beig the clandestine publication known as The Detroit News. Same with Brian. Somehow, he got hold of the UBER secret "NCAA Rule Book."

How do you do it, Brian? Woodward and Bernstein have nothing on you.

Procumbo

September 1st, 2009 at 8:10 AM ^

Where do these sports writers even get the idea that they're supposed to be muckrakers? I want my local sports writer to be a fan, not a malcontent bent on bringing down the program.

Procumbo

September 1st, 2009 at 1:31 PM ^

Oh I agree that muckraking can be honorable and even necessary in contexts like political reporting. It's just not what I want in my sports coverage, unless something so nasty is going on that they have a genuine responsibility to uncover it. That doesn't seem like what's going on here. It seems more like these guys are desperate to throw dirt at Michigan any way they can.