Mailbag: Denard As Troy Smith, Hoke Tatgate Hypothetical

Submitted by Brian on April 15th, 2011 at 12:13 PM


It's no Nuge but it's something. Also: Daily.

So it seems a lot of people, including you, I believe, have resisted the "Denard Robinson 2011 = Michael Vick 2010" path to blind hope for the upcoming football season. I'm as hopeful as anyone else because duh, but I'm also aware that Robinson is probably too small and inaccurate at this point in his development for this to be a realistic possibility.

But what about Troy Smith? I believe that kid was around Robinson's size, but probably a little slower and had an arm that was probably a bit more accurate but not quite as strong. Do you agree that Smith (against anyone other than Michigan, against which he was a planet-devouring demigod regardless of the season you want to talk about) is a realistic/optimistic benchmark we can have in mind when projecting Robinson in 2011?

This isn't to say Robinson will be as good as Smith, only that their skill sets are comparable, as are the coaching philosophies under which they operated, and that getting some mixed bag of 2005 and 2006 Troy Smith out of the QB position would be a positive.


Troy Smith's career does give some hope that a hopeless n00b of a quarterback can develop into a lethal gunslinger. When Justin Zwick was injured midway through 2004 he was pressed into the lineup as redshirt sophomore and was somewhere between Sheridan and Forcier until he played Michigan. You don't need to be told he was insane against M: 18 rushes for 145 yards, 13 of 23 passing for 241 yards, three total touchdowns, no turnovers.

Without that game his numbers were turrible: 3.0 YPC, 6.6 YPA, 56% completion percentage. With it—and as much as we hate to admit it, that happened—his redshirt sophomore numbers were about on par with Tate Forcier as a freshman except with fewer turnovers. With the exception of TD-INT ratio, Denard was actually well ahead of him as a true sophomore, averaging almost nine yards per attempt and running for a billion yards at 6.6 yards a pop.

So if he can improve as much as Smith we're in business. The next year he blew up, completing 63% of his passes for 9.3 yards an attempt with 16 TDs and 4 INTs. He also rushed for around 600 yards on 12 carries a game.

Problem? Yes:

  • Smith was handing off and throwing to Santonio Holmes (first round pick), Ted Ginn (first round pick), Antonio Pittman (fourth round pick), and Anthony Gonzalez (first round pick). You can see Stonum and Roundtree getting drafted but probably not until late; Smith had a ton more talent at his disposal than Robinson will.
  • Smith had the same coaches for the duration of his career.
  • Smith's improvement was standard deviations above the mean, so while it's an optimistic benchmark for Denard it's not one it's reasonable to expect he'll reach.
  • Smith's running ability may have opened up some passing lanes for him but nowhere near as many as Robinson's did. If you're going to de-emphasize Robinson's legs that should make it tougher to pass and easier to run.

If Smith provides an optimistic benchmark for Robinson he also provides one for Michigan's coaches: as Smith developed Ohio State's offense gradually morphed into a passing spread reminiscent of Purdue at its absolute apex. This is generally out of character for Tressel—he only brings out the spread option for Pryor in times of great need—but as Smith developed he earned enough trust from his coaches for them to play to his strengths.

Have a question for you, Sir. This is all hypothetical but I was wondering what would you think at the end of it all?

April 2011 - Coach Hoke receives email concerning Player X selling comp tickets (nevermind everyone does it, it is still illegal), Coach Hoke emails back, says he'll check into it. Now...what does Coach Hoke do? What do you hope he does? Go to Compliance? Or handle it internally?

So, he decides to handle it internally
April 2011 - Coach Hoke asks player, player denies selling tickets.
April 2011 - Send email to parents of Player X reminding them that selling comp tickets is illegal.
April 2011 - Has meeting with team reminding that comp tickets can't be sold.
June 2011 - Sends email to person who sent first email verifying that Player X did indeed sell tickets (so, he doesn't get tickets for upcoming season)
Dec 2011 - Michigan Compliance Office gets documentation that Player X did indeed sell tickets.
Dec 2011 - Player X confesses to selling tickets...Michigan self-reports and recommends 5 games for the following season (since that is the normal recommended punishment for this type of violation and the fact that the player didn't come forward).
Dec 2011 - Coach Hoke signs document that no other information was available (giving him the benefit of the doubt, since he gets several hundred emails a day and the fact that he's gone through an entire football season)
Jan 2011 - Michigan Compliance office finds emails related to ticket incident while searching for something else.
Feb 2011 - Michigan Compliance Office interviews Coach Hoke and self-reports information. Recommends 2 games hoping that Player X's suspension is reduced.
March 2011 - Player X's suspension is upheld, Coach Hoke changes his suspension to match Player X.

So, what should Michigan do with Coach Hoke? What do you want to happen to Coach Hoke if he got caught up in something he thought that he could handle internally?

I know it is all hypothetical in nature though Player X could be anyone and I imagine this event could easily come to pass, but everyday coaches make decisions, some good and some bad...but I would be interested in hearing what you would want to happen if this particular event were to go down that way.

Really enjoy your site even though I'm an Ohio State we don't quite have anything like it.

I'm not sure if that exact scenario rises to the level of a firing—which I'm guessing is the aim of the email—but that part at the top where you get a credible email from someone known to you about guys getting illegal benefits and do not immediately notify compliance is a huge deal. Maybe this is just me speaking as a Michigan fan who has lived through the great annoyance arising from a lack of communication with compliance, but I don't think so. Your compliance department is still "internal." It's not the NCAA. It's essentially on your side unless it really shouldn't be, and they need to know exactly these kinds of things. You can handle a bar fight internally. You cannot handle extra benefits internally.

There are also some key differences between the above scenario and what appears to have transpired at OSU. The hypothesized investigation-type substance where Hoke asks the player about selling tickets and gets a "no" is not sufficient in OSU's case—the original email broke lawyerly confidence to reveal a federal investigation had turned this up. The lawyer is a former OSU walk-on who has defended OSU players in court; he followed up his concern with a second credible email. That's a situation in which you can't just say "did you do this?" and be satisfied with the answer. Though we're not 100% sure on the details yet it seems like the information relayed should have been easy to confirm and only wasn't because there was strong motive not to.

I agree the form Tressel signed a few months later is one of those things that runs across your desk and you sign it because it's boilerplate. But once the investigation is underway, not telling the U or NCAA about some funny emails you responded to and even forwarded to Terrelle Pryor's sketchy "mentor" is far less plausibly innocent.

In the end, Ohio State got to and won a BCS bowl because of Tressel's actions that kept five ineligible players on the field; the alternative was likely indefinite suspensions until the investigation was completed. It looks like a breathtakingly cynical act, and it's not just Michigan fans saying this. What's described above can plausibly be described as "mistake"—and that is what separates it from Tressel's deliberate cover-up.


I got into a conversation with one of my close friends from Michigan about something you wrote in a blog post two days ago:  "There's no reason any women's basketball coach not at UConn or Tennessee should be making more than 100k. What's going to happen? Are the empty seats going to stop coming?"

My friend had forwarded it to me because he thought your comment was hilarious.  It ended up leading into a much more detailed discussion on coaching salaries.  Have you by chance seen the athletic department salaries?  It is very interesting. 

Three things stand out:

1. dominated by the football staff (though not surprising)

2. the sheer number of women's sport coaches (regardless of gender) who make over $100,000 (softball, soccer, etc.)

*3. how many comparable sports where the women's coach makes significantly more than the men's coach.  for example, consider tennis (women's coach: $115k.   men's coach: $94K),  soccer (women's: $152K.  men's: $72.5K), track (women's: $122K.  men's: $82K), gymnastics (women's: $156K.  men's: $91K), and cross country (women's: $103K.  men's: $75K).    Any thoughts as to the reason for the discrepancies?  As far as I know, TItle 9 does not regulate coaching salaries.  Is it explainable by length of service?  Or perhaps that the men's coaches are making more through other avenues (i.e., camps, sponsorships, etc.)? 

BBA '01, Lifelong Michigan Fan

A number of the discrepancies are obvious: the women's soccer coach used to run the national team; the men's coach used to run Michigan's club team. Carol Hutchins has established Michigan as a softball superpower. She's the equivalent of women's basketball coaches at UConn and Tennessee. The women's track coach is in his 27th year while the men's coach is in his second; the cross-country coaches are in year 19 and 1, respectively.

While I don't get why there's such a gap in the gymnastics salaries—women's gymnastics is consistently very good but the men won the national title last year—most of those are easily explainable by seniority or other obvious factors. My main thing is that all these salaries grate when the NCAA claims poverty prevents them from doing more for the guys who bring in the money by risking what now seems to be quite a lot. The only environment in which a gymnastics program drawing 1500 people per meet can afford to pay their head coach 100 dollars for every head in the stands is one in which administrators are like "good God, what do we do with all this money?"


your next UV title most definitely needs to come from this site:

I put in mgoblog and got this sample tweet:

MGoPost: TomVH: An Interview with the board can't get any head explodes.

I am very sorry, board, but does not lie. Not that it's making a huge leap in suggesting that about a sports message board.



April 15th, 2011 at 12:26 PM ^

"So, what should Michigan do with Coach Hoke? What do you want to happen to Coach Hoke if he got caught up in something he thought that he could handle internally?"


^ I'm absolutely positive the fanbase would blame it on Rich Rodriguez for bringing in a questionable recruit and claim none of Carr or Hoke's guys would ever even consider such a thing.

Sgt. Wolverine

April 15th, 2011 at 12:32 PM ^

I tried That Can Be My Next Tweet with MGoBlog and got:

"Just in the quotes Bacari Alexander's retweeting today. There is a conversation without saying!"

For me?

"Argh.  This is just like they'd split it w/ proxies.  It wasn't a goal today.  There is going haywire."


April 15th, 2011 at 12:42 PM ^

I may be wrong but I think the discrepancy in women and men coaching salaries comes from a title nine issue; the total payment for men's coaches must equal or be close to equal to the total of women's teams coaches.  So since football takes up a huge chunk in the male coaching department they make up for it in the women's sports and have lower salaries in those same sports for men.  Again, I could be wrong, but this is my understanding of why women's coaches are getting paid more.


April 15th, 2011 at 12:51 PM ^

4. Does Title IX require that equal dollars be spent on men's and women's sports?

  • No. The only provision that requires that the same dollars be spent (proportional to participation) is “scholarships”. Otherwise, female athletes must receive equal “treatment” and “benefits”. 

via [link]


April 15th, 2011 at 1:03 PM ^

There are three basic parts of Title IX as it applies to athletics:

  • Participation: requires that women be provided an equitable opportunity to participate in sports as men (not necessarily the identical sports but an equal opportunity to play).
  • Scholarships: requires that female athletes receive athletic scholarship dollars proportional to their participation (e.g., if there are 100 male athletes/100 female athletes and a $200,000 scholarship budget, then the budget must be split $100,000 to men/$100,000 to women)
  • Other Benefits: requires equal treatment in the provision of (1) equipment and supplies, (2) scheduling of games and practice times, (3) travel and daily allowance, (4) access to tutoring, (5) coaching, (6) locker rooms, (7) practice and competitive facilities, (8) medical and training facilities and services, (9) publicity and promotions, (10) recruitment of student athletes, and (11) support services.

Coaching is considered a benefit to student athletes so they must equal out.



April 15th, 2011 at 1:10 PM ^

I'm not expert so you may be right.  I coach college lacrosse and if one of our male coaches get a raise, it is a big deal because they have to figure out how to put that into a coaches salary for a women's team.  Im not the AD but, it could also be an institutional thing at our college rather than a title 9 issue.


April 15th, 2011 at 2:20 PM ^

I believe the rule has to be that there is "equity" in coaching numbers/quality. Otherwise, every single school with a big name football/basketball program would be paying the women's tennis coaches in straight gold bullion.

I think what they're saying is that you can't have sixteen men's golf coaches and one graduate assistant handling women's golf. And as a qualifier, I'm not an attorney but my schooling involves reading hours and hours of legislative code (which obviously, Title IX is), so I feel like this is something I would pick up on if it related to salaries.


April 15th, 2011 at 12:53 PM ^

On the Hoke-as-Tressel scenario, I think the degree and scope of the violations should definitely play into it. It was 5 players, not one, and it was for hundreds or thousands of dollars of tattoos, not reselling tickets (less than $100, unless it's for big games).

It comes off as making a false-equivalency to make OSU seem innocent/less guilty. If it was one instance, for those circumstances, then sure, he might have a case to keep his job. But it overlooks key details like repeatedly emailing Pryor's agent-guy. If he honestly forgot about it all, then it could slide. But the evidence seems to point that there was a cover-up, and that's inexcusable.


April 15th, 2011 at 1:15 PM ^

If he honestly forgot about it all, then it could slide. But the evidence seems to point that there was a cover-up, and that's inexcusable.

I don't even think you can let it slide if Tressel "honestly forgot". He's the head man at a $100 million football program which puts major demands on your management skills. If we're exploring the possibility of non-devious motives for Tressel's actions then you still reach the conclusion that Tressel didn't:

1. Address a serious compliance issue expeditiously knowing that little details tend to escape him over time and this could ultimately slip through the cracks.


2. Didn't recognize the issue to be as serious as it was and didn't address it appropriately.

Both exhibit serious lack of managerial judgement that if you were a CEO reviewing this person's performance, should give you pause. However, I don't think anyone really believes that Jim Tressel is that incompetent a manager. If you look at his past record in these areas, Tressel has always adopted a "hear no evil, see no evil" approach to these matters and then hides behind the plausible deniability shield, which works pretty well as long as you don't leave a paper trail to the contrary...which with Tatgate was not the case.


April 15th, 2011 at 12:54 PM ^

Denard is way more Vick than T.Smith. He's a running back that you hike the ball straight into his hands and let him go. It's a handoff that every one knows is coming and still can't defend it. Like the old Sportscenter line: "You can't stop him you can only hope to contain."

Brian hit the nail on the head. Troy had a steady coaching staff, a steady system, was more of a passer, in a run heavy offense, surrounded by more offensive talent. Probably a bigger, slower OL in front of Troy than Denard.

I think you see Denard make a small step forward, not the large step forward a Soph-Junior normally makes, only because of the coaching/system change. Then if you're lucky enough that he sticks around for the following season, he'll be an All-American, a Heisman favorite, and on a good, winning football team.


April 15th, 2011 at 12:55 PM ^

Brian wrote: Though we're not 100% sure on the details yet it seems like the information relayed should have been easy to confirm and only wasn't because there was strong motive not to. 


I'm not so sure that it would be easy to confirm.  The fact that the players' improper acts were tied to a federal investigation may have made it much harder to learn anything.  I'm sure the man who was the subject of the investigation was warned by his attorney not to broadcast any information about his suspect activities (and yes I realize the irony that his attorney likely did this but also shared that information himself).  Further, it seems that the FBI didn't talk to OSU until late in 2010. 

Everyone Murders

April 15th, 2011 at 12:59 PM ^

On the Tattoo-gate e-mail and answer, our leader (and legend, for that matter) says

  • "I agree the form Tressel signed a few months later is one of those things that runs across your desk and you sign it because it's boilerplate."

Just because a form has boilerplate and is a standard form does not mean you sign it without taking a moment to give measured consideration to it.  And expending reasonable diligence.*  For those of us familiar with audits (especially for publically traded companies), the expectation is that you take those facially perfunctory tasks very seriously.  I think the audit inquiry scenario is directly analogous to JT's signing the "standard form" representation as to no violations.

I think the rest of the analysis here is spot-on, but I would not give JT a pass for signing a form making false representations on the basis of it containing boilerplate and otherwise being a "standard form".

*To me, the suggestion of players getting improper benefits is something that should not fall off your radar screen without some resolution.  I'm not suggesting that receiving this sort of form demands a Warren Commission.  But given OSU's already spotty compliance record, you'd think they would be obligated to do more than pencil-whip the form.


April 15th, 2011 at 1:14 PM ^

I agree with what you said about boilerplate forms, however, I don't think that Tressel ever said that the situation fell off his radar.  He suggested that he was waiting for the situation surrounding the investigation to change to one that would make it appropriate to deal with the NCAA violations.  It's easy  to be cynical about that, and and that cynicism may even well-founded,  but I think it's worth remembering that OSU self-reported the tattoo violations after they heard about it from the FBI. 

Everyone Murders

April 15th, 2011 at 2:05 PM ^

On that theme, I'm not trying to overly demonize (hah!) Tressel for signing the form. 

But there's a huge distinction between OSU self-reporting and Tressel's actions in signing the "no violations" form when he knew full-well that there was strong evidence of serious violations.  OSU as the larger institution appears to have done the right things once this situation reached levels outside of the Athletic Dept.  [Insert E. Gordon Gee joke about 'JT firing him' here.]  In fact, if I recall this correctly it was their Office of Counsel (i.e., their lawyas) who divulged the Tressel e-mails.  Based on what I've heard, OSU addressed this in a reasonable way.

But if Tressel is supposedly waiting for some development in the FBI investigation, it's hard to see how he signs the form.  You would think he'd at least reach out to his AD or Office of Counsel if he wasn't trying to cover something up.  And when you consider the chicanery that went on with the bowl game, news conference, and surrounding revealations, it's really hard to give Tressel a pass for signing the form.  I think that the Athletic Dept. and Tressel in particular have been very weasely about the form, and it would be good to see them own up to their mis-steps rather than spewing b.s.

Of course, I might be a bit biased.


April 15th, 2011 at 3:10 PM ^

1. In April Tressel knew the players were ineligible from the first e-mail
2. He certainly knew with the second
3. In December Tatgate is exposed and punishment determined - he says nothing
4. In January OSU investigates something unrelated and finds Tressel lied
5. He then lies about why he lied (not concerned about confidentiality, given he forwarded e-mails to mentor).  Incredibly, he says he didn't know who to go to.

Tressel is a Liar, period.  Forget what OSU did or didn't do.  And passing on the compliance forms as boilerplate is nonsense.  CEOs sign off on financial statements every quarter, saying, essentially, everything's accurate to the best of our ability.  A lot of work and a lot of money is spent to enable the CEO to say that.  Same with the compliance actions at a major university. 

Signing off on either when you know it to be incorrect, is grounds for immediately dismissal.  The CEO would go to jail.  Tressel is Liar who should be removed immediately.  There's nothing "aw shucks, I made a mistake" about this.


April 15th, 2011 at 4:01 PM ^

1 & 2 - I don't think we can say that he knew that the players were ineligible when he received the emails.  He had reason to suspect, certainly...To use an absurd example, Brady Hoke would not know that Denard Robinson was guilty of illegally shipping killer whales into the country just because I asserted that in an email to Coach Hoke.*

3 - Tressel did not bring the emails to anyone's attention at the time but he did try to make sure that the players would serve at least some kind of suspension.  He was successful, in fact, and it looks like all of them will miss five games.

4 - Again, when did he know that the players had in fact committed the improper acts?  Hearing it from the FBI is much more convincing to me than hearing it from an attorney who was (apparently) breaking an ethical rule (attorney-client privilege) by virtue of his communications with Tressel. 

5 - Alerting one person, a person he absolutely trusted would have Pryor's interests in mind, doesn't mean that he wasn't concerned with confidentiality generally.  Tressel himself didn't seem to think so.  Remember that he was willing to answer the question of whether he'd forwarded the emails to anyone at his press conference.  It was Gene Smith who cut him off as he was saying, "uh-huh."


*I in no way mean to suggest that Denard Robinson is in tied to the illegal shipping of killer whales.  I'm sure he has the utmost respect for marine mammals. 


April 15th, 2011 at 4:34 PM ^

Yikes.  You've taken the Devil's Advocate role to hellish (pun intended) extremes.  Somehwere Lucifer and Saban are applauding.

1&2: except Tressel's own "alibi" states that he believed the e-mails, but didn't want to interfere with the confidentiality of the investigation.  In fact he believed the e-mails to such a degree that he read a non-existent confidentiality plea into their context (mild plea for this in the 2nd e-mail).  Have you read the e-mails?  There's no doubt he believed this was 100% true.  If there were, he probably would have lied and said he wasn't sure if it was true or not.  That was the easiest and most obvious out in all of this.

3: this is laughable, really... the FBI investigation unearthed his violating players, not Tressel.  They were going to get punishment of some type, and he participated in the discussions like any coach would.  So what?  Saying that's the same as "he did try to make sure that the players would serve at least some kind of suspension" is absurd.

4: see 1&2, and read those e-mails.  And listen to his alibi.

5: Hypothetical: You keep your mouth shut because you're concerned about obstructing a federal investigation (which is a ridiculous lie, but let's assume it's true).  You are concerned enough that you don't even tell your AD or employer.  You then turn and tell some Joe Jock Sniffer who hangs out with TP, and who could then tell anyone and everyone in the world about the thing your so concerned about keeping secret for the sake of God & Country.  This is preposterous.  And you are the first and last person on this earth who could possibly believe the Tressel uh-huh followed by G.S. interrupt is evidence of anything other than more cover-up.  Smith jumped in front of the microphone b/c the entire alibi they just spent an hour giving would be blown to pieces by admitting you forwarded the e-mails to TP's mentorBecause that means you really didn't give a crap about confidentiality.  Every reporter the in the room would have literally said, wait a minute, what about all that bullshit you said just a moment ago?  And this is eventually what happened when that story broke later.  Again, more lies. 

He's a Liar and must be fired.  OSU would be smart to broom Smith and Gee with him.


April 15th, 2011 at 4:41 PM ^

1 & 2 - He undoubtedly thought that there was a federal investigation and considered it a serious matter.  That is not the same as knowing that his players did anything wrong.  Am I just mis-remembering that he never said that he knew his players did something wrong?  I don't rule that out.  My blood sugar level is crashing a little. 

3 - Not every coach would have made them promise to come back to serve the five game suspension if they were going to play in the bowl.  I know that this version of events is easy to laugh at, but it is how things shook out.  A lot of coaches would have let the guys play in the bowl and not cared whether they ever served their suspensions. 

4 - Our disagreement has returned to Nos. 1-2.

5 - Pryor's mentor may be a dodgy guy - I have no idea - but he does seem like a guy who would never bring anything to light that could hurt Pryor.  Being a dodgy person and being able to keep a specific secret are not mutually exclusive. 

This is preposterous.  And you are the first and last person on this earth who could possibly believe the Tressel uh-huh followed by G.S. interrupt is evidence of anything other than more cover-up.  Smith jumped in front of the microphone b/c the entire alibi they just spent an hour giving would be blown to pieces by admitting you forwarded the e-mails to TP's mentor. 

Tressel isn't stupid.  He likely wouldn't blow his own alibi.  The most accurate interpretation of the events that we witnessed, I think, is that he didn't think of himself as having an alibi, at least not in the sense of having a b.s. "story."   Also, I think that OSU told the NCAA that Tressel forwarded the email to Pryor's mentor.  Smith more-or-less kept it from the press but, again, not the NCAA (or so I understand). 


April 15th, 2011 at 6:05 PM ^

and it still doesn't make sense.  I don't think you're making any arguments

1&2&4: read the e-mails and everything is illuminated
3: yes, I am laughing
5: mentor is not a risk, but A.D/President are?  Not sensical in this solar system.  

But the spring game's tmw, and I could care less about this fool.  On Monday we can join eveyone else in arguing who the QB should be (I've got Denard until '13).  

Everyone Murders

April 15th, 2011 at 1:57 PM ^

OSU itself gets credit for not covering this up, knowing full well that they'd likely get slapped worse for Tressel's cover-up than the violation itself.

Tressel, on the other hand, has seemingly tried to take the easy way out at every turn.  And in doing so, has only made matters worse.

Everyone Murders

April 15th, 2011 at 4:46 PM ^

From what I recall, the violation was discovered outside of the University - that's what prompted the ex-walk-on now Columbus lawy to e-mail JT as a heads-up.

To clarify, my point is that OSU discovered that Tressel had e-mails in his system that contradicted his public statements and representations to the NCAA that the Toys-For-Tatts® situation was unknown to him until bowl preparation season.  And when OSU found the info, they confronted the situation rather than trying to bury it. 


April 15th, 2011 at 4:52 PM ^

The selling awards, I believe, was discovered by outsiders.  That doesn't mean the school (outside of Tressel), knew anything about it until then.  Keep in mind, a lot of this stuff happened in Cleveland.  Schools don't have PIs roaming the state looking for wrong doing.  They almost always get allerted of such things by "outsiders".

That being said, the Tressel cover-up stuff was unearthed in-house.

Like some others have said, I don't think the university did anything wrong.  They handled it like most other schools would have (maybe not USC or Auburn).  Investigate, report, investigate some more, report anything else.  Consult with one of the couple of firms that come up with recommended penalties.  Submit findings and penalties to the NCAA... wait for NCAA to come back with their thoughts.

Tressel, on the other hand...


April 15th, 2011 at 1:18 PM ^

I think the idea that the original emailer is putting forth is that, maybe there is a scenario where Tressel isn't a willilingly covering up. Maybe he just made a series of several dumb mistakes with a difficult and sticky situation. I'm not gonna say he was ignoring the form and it's contents, but maybe he thought it was one thing and maybe didn't realize it contained a clause stating that he had no prior knowledge? But either way (as a lawyer), it's dumb to sign things without reading them. Then yes, later on being asked point blank if you know...whatever.

It was dumb, it was wrong, but it wasn't a scheme and a cover-up.


April 15th, 2011 at 1:23 PM ^

That's my impression too.  The whole thing seems more bungled than anything else.   The fact that OSU self-reported both the players' violations and Tressel's, along with Tressel's willingness at his press conference to say that he'd forwarded the emails, along with Tressel's efforts to make sure that the players were punished, stand in contrast with the image of a program (see USC) that was trying to pull a fast one. 


April 15th, 2011 at 9:43 PM ^

is in the list of things that happened prior to this season. If it were just Tatgate, then sure, maybe it was just a coach making a bad decision, and then making another bad decision, and then not knowing which bad decision to make next.

But there are previous incidents that certainly seem like Tressel swept them under the rug, and other alleged incidents that seem similar. It doesn't appear to be the asylum that USC ran, but it also appears less likely to me that Tressel just messed up on this (cynical note: except by getting caught).


April 15th, 2011 at 1:04 PM ^

I had no idea cross country coaches could make that much.  I'm sure there are a few techniques that help with long distance running but I think race day strategy is pretty easy.  Start running when they say go and get to end before everyone else.


April 15th, 2011 at 1:11 PM ^

Well, the training is where the money is made, for sure. But the race day stragety is a little more involved than that. It can sometimes be that certain runners are pacers or rabbits. Sometimes you assign a runner to go out hard and tire out a few of their runners that are supposed to keep up with him, etc. But it still isnt' too involved, and there certianly isn't as much, in game changes, adjustments, etc.


April 15th, 2011 at 2:09 PM ^

The ratio of time spent training to time spent racing is, I don't know, 100:1 or so, or at least on that order of magnitude.  The head xc coach is working through mileage amounts, buildup, progression, and tapering; workouts; recovery; nutrition; and many, many other things.  Being in a position to run fast on the day of a race is much, much more involved than just showing up and saying "go."

I suspect you didn't necessarily assume all that, so I don't want to put words in your mouth here.  But I do want to stand up for the complexity and involved-ness of running as a 24/7/365 pursuit, and the validity of paying someone to coach same.

(I have no involvement with UM running and have no personal dog in this fight - I'm just a mid-level recreational runner (50-60 miles/week, so about half what people on the UM team likely do) who isn't very fast, but who definitely realizes how involved this can be.)


April 15th, 2011 at 3:40 PM ^

See to me, those numbers for HCs don't seem that high.  You figure a first-year HC in XC at a major D1 school is going to be one of the better coaches out there for that sport, and paying $75k or whatever is about what a starting professor in most fields would receive (maybe a little less, but close enough).  Tenured professors in "grant-generating" departments like medicine and engineering probably make as much as most long-term HCs as well.  I do think the football assistant salaries are ginormous, but that is true across the BCS.  I never thought the NCAA was hypocritical for saying athletes shouldn't be paid because of the strain it would put on AD budgets; I thought it was hypocritical because you have football assistants making NFL-type money.


April 15th, 2011 at 1:12 PM ^

That attendance figure of 1,465 for Michigan women's gymnastics (from the chart) seems off. That can't be the average attendance for 2010. In fact, it seems to be just the attendance figure for a single meet--the January 20 meet against MSU, which coincidentally has that same attendance figure. According to the figures given at, the women's team had an average attendance of 2,811 at its five meets in 2010. The five meets in 2011 had an average of 2,762. In addition, the women hosted an NCAA regional this year, which attracted 2,809 fans.

It should be noted that the women's meets are held at Crisler, while the men's are held at Cliff Keen Arena, which has a capacity of 1,800. The five men's meets this year averaged only 624. I don't know what they charge at Cliff Keen, but I'm guessing it's less than a ticket at Crisler.

My point in all of this is that Michigan women's gymnastics is generating considerably more revenue than the men's team.