NCAA Presser Highlights

Submitted by Brian on May 25th, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Tim's best effort at a transcript of the press conference. All answers are paraphrases.

Brandon: Relief comes from the fact that it's all out there. Made the notice of allegations public within 24 hours of receiving it—same story here. Lot of pages, lots of detail, documents speak for themselves—what happened, why, how they plan to deal with it.

Who's to blame for the situation?

Brandon: I take full responsibility for issues across the athletic department. Sloppy handling of information. Failures in checks and balances as well as through the chain of command. No single person to blame.

Probation is expected. Do you anticipate that? What would probation mean to the program?

Brandon: We have identified probation as a self-imposed sanction. 2 years is appropriate. No additional sanction, but a significant amount of reporting to the NCAA over the duration. Puts the program under the microscope.

Will there be any other discipline against the individuals other than a letter of discipline?

Brandon: One guy [Herron] was terminated for lack of integrity in the process. Everyone else will receive a reprimand in the file. They didn't perform duties to the appropriate level, causing the violations.

Should the NCAA define exactly what S&C and QC should do?

Brandon: When the smoke clears, a bunch of topics need to be discussed. Can improve job descriptions in NCAA rule. We misunderstood between compliance and NCAA re: interpretation of those rules. We can work with them to tighten up those definitions - what is and isn't permissible. Not a criticism of the rules, but we can see where we interpreted it wrong and make the improvements.

How do you avoid this becoming a distraction again?

Rodriguez: Players and staff stayed focused through the investigation last year, which started mid-season. This ongoing case shouldn't affect players at all. They're excited about the upcoming season, and it's a relief to get it over with. Shouldn't distract.

Recommending as a punishment that they lose more practice time. What if the NCAA says it's not good enough? What if NCAA says recruiting or postseason restrictions? Would that surprise or upset?

Brandon: More thorough review will indicate that the sanctions include a little more. Terminated the individual who had the integrity problem, reprimanding those involved, removing QC staff, and prohibiting QC from sitting on coaching meetings, etc., for a year. We believe based on the advice and precedents, we've matched up the consequences with the content of the violations. NCAA has the ultimate authority, and we'll speak in front of them in August.

NCAA says Rich fostered an atmosphere of non-compliance. Why do you disagree?

Brandon: Strongly disagree. Internal investigation showed that's not the case. Compliance group says this is one of the most open coaching staffs. They had the ability to access whatever they wanted. Rich and crew made no effort to hide anything from the compliance staff. Rich understands following the rules, and has a history of doing so.

Provision in Rich's contract that says he could be terminated. Why hasn't he been fired?

Brandon: COULD be cause for termination. I don't think the violations that occurred are significant enough. Said in February that he wouldn't be fired, and the investigation didn't change their mind on it. We don't believe termination is appropriate under these circumstances.

The NCAA looks to take each violation on its merit, and respond accordingly. The people we've retained said that's right to do.

What if NCAA says scholarship or recruiting violations?

Brandon: every case with Reductions in scholarships or coaches, or postseason bans, has stemmed from serious lack of institutional control or a competitive advantage. The NCAA can disagree if they want, and we'll have our day in front of them.

What were the precedents? [Ed.: Jesus. "Can you do my research for me?"]

Brandon: You can piece it together from various other cases.

How much has this investigation cost?

Brandon: I have no clue. It's not relevant. Did what we had to do to protect our interests and employees.

Is the M image tarnished?

Brandon: There's nothing good about any of this stuff. It's unfortunate. Our history and tradition is out there for the world to see. We'll let our integrity continue to stand as it has. We made mistakes, but we're being transparent, accountable, and doing something about it.

Who was responsible for crafting the response?

Rodriguez: My counsel and the University worked very closely. I was obligated to give an individual response. We'll continue to work closely, correcting the issues that we need to correct. We'll get together to prepare for the meeting with the infractions committee. Everyone that was interviewed has been forthright and accommodating.

Do you now have a chance to focus on football?

Rodriguez: This is not the only thing I've been working on. Issues within the program and my response have been time-consuming. Moving on from this (knowing what the investigation entails). It's important to be transparent, and this shows that.

What did you want to get across in your response?

Rodriguez: No one main point. Wanted to present the details from the investigation. We go in front of the committee, and have to explain what happened, the response lays the groundwork for that. There will be more questions we have to answer. My response details what I needed to explain, where communication broke down, and where we can improve.

No evidence of disregarding student-athlete welfare?

Brandon: Super important. There was innuendo about that we were mistreating players—to the level of abuse—which wasn't true. None of that was the case, and there was nothing in the practice time issue that endangered welfare of student athletes.

Rodriguez: That was the most important issue for me. We've always looked out for student athletes, and will continue to do so. The investigation made clear that the student athletes never felt endangered - and never will. Rodriguez enjoys developing student-athletes.

How is extra hours not interpreted as a competitive advantage?

Brandon: Not counting stretching as warmup is a violation. It's still a significant leap of logic to call that a competitive advantage. The amount of time that went over could not be perceived as a competitive advantage.

Was it a new coach issue?

Brandon: We had a whole new coaching staff, with a whole new routine. Most of the people in administration have been around for a long time. There was a combination of many factors. We will never have lower-end chain of command people having discussions about things, without reporting it up the chain of command. We're going to handle any issues at the senior levels.

What was it like to have the school defend the charge against you?

Rodriguez: there have been mistakes made at various times by various people, and I've had to answer for it. Talking about an atmosphere of non-compliance is a serious allegation, and my response and the school's response indicate we don't think that's the case.



May 25th, 2010 at 12:59 PM ^

Because I am stupid, I read the comments under the Detroit News article just now, and the unwillingness of people to read and understand the specifics of this very frustrating.

Most people read the article, cry something like "cheaters never prosper" and then say the coach should be fired and the university burned to the ground.

I know, I know, it's my own stupid fault for reading the comments, but yeah.

Thanks Brian for posting non-reactionary, informative articles, that reference, you know, facts.   


May 25th, 2010 at 2:47 PM ^

South of Toledo I'm sure.  Like the earlier comment of USC and their violations, they have enough to change their name from trojans to violaters......And without getting into the mindset of ......."if we're going down, we're taking them with us"    It really just shows the difference of standards in Michigan compared to others.


May 25th, 2010 at 1:00 PM ^

I'd ask the same question, much like the previous one which asked why dont you think he fostered such and such an atmosphere

It gives the AD a chance to further spell out their stance on the issue.

Brandon gave great answers there, a great soundbite in support of our coach.  So, who cares who asked the question or cry about it being asked.

lexus larry

May 25th, 2010 at 1:08 PM ^

it's a question a tool would ask.  It's been clear since February, when Brandon was on his tour de radio interview, that Rich Rodriguez was going to stay.  And the 74 page response to the NCAA doesn't say Rodriguez was fired as part of the response to the lame allegations, etc.

True enough that Brandon, given the opp to reiterate his (and the department/university) position on the issue, does so.  DB knows how to manage the question, manage the response, give him all the credit due for that.


May 25th, 2010 at 1:18 PM ^

Whatever. We'll disagree.

As a former journalist, I would have asked the question just to get his response, on the record, after formally annoucning the self sanctions. Just because the answer wont change, doesnt make it responsible to use a quote from months ago. Today's presser was in the here and now. Its a valid question.....and given that their are plenty of tools bags with hot air on the radio who constantly bring this specter up, I like that it was asked and answered as emphatically as it was.


May 25th, 2010 at 1:13 PM ^

Brandon wasn't even the AD and you gotta appreciate his "buck stops here" mantra.  Much more admirable than Barnacle Bill.  

In other news, Reggie Bush and OJ Mayo got paid... and the NCAA appears to be looking the other way.  

Oh well, I guess that's why we’re the leaders and best.  Manning up for practice violations.


May 25th, 2010 at 1:24 PM ^

But why doesn't Tim just record the press conferences he has access to and give us a verbatim report? Unless the paraphrase is for concerns of length (which I doubt, given a lot of the lengthy content published here), is it so hard to purchase a recorder?


May 25th, 2010 at 1:41 PM ^

why RR hasn't been fired, that would have been pure dickish lust for a meaty soundbite that you use when you're asking for a raise from your bosses at or wherever. The original question doesn't strike me as out of line.

That doesn't mean that whoever asked the question isn't a tool, though.


May 25th, 2010 at 3:09 PM ^

I think Mr. Brandon is saying that, after careful research, The University determined that the problem was not with their core product. 


May 25th, 2010 at 3:59 PM ^

I love the way this guy responds to the booby trap questions and "leap of logic" questions.  He reminds me of a more diplomatic Lloyd when dealing with some of those media people.


May 25th, 2010 at 9:31 PM ^

One thing I want to point out here; we did strike gold with the hiring of D. Brandon as AD. The more I learn about him and the more I see him handling the difficult situations, the more I like him.