What To Expect Tomorrow

Submitted by Brian on May 24th, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon has made it clear that today is the day Michigan will send a hundred or so practice hours onto the beaches of Normandy, where they will be cut down by the relentless pillbox gunners of the NCAA. We'll find out what the results were tomorrow. This does not count as Godwinning myself because I am attempting to make a D-Day reference and not angry enough at the infractions committee to compare them to Nazis. Promise.

Anyway: there will be other sacrifices as well. I've been unable to figure out exactly what those will be, but the word is "an eye for an eye." Since we are talking about practice, in the words of the Great Iverson, this will mean giving back the excess hours two for one and possibly putting some restrictions on quality control assistants or giving up the use of a coach for some period of time.

Back in February when the university announced the Notice of Allegations, message board folk scoured the NCAA archives for similar infractions and came up with two recent examples at San Diego State and Florida International; this blog then attempted to figure out what tomorrow would look like. Both gave up a bunch of practice hours over three years and imposed some additional coaching restrictions. San Diego State then took six total years of scholarship reductions. The Bylaw Blog's proprietor did not think that was something Michigan would see done to them:

Based on the difference between these two cases [SDSU and M], I would say reduced scholarships are still on the table, but are most likely to be self-imposed. Michigan might give up scholarships if they believe scholarships are worth less than practice and they can reduce the practice penalties somewhat by giving up something else.

IE: San Diego State probably had a chronically under-supplied roster then and the scholarship penalties were giving away things they didn't need. Michigan won't want to follow that path, though I've been pushing the idea that Michigan might take one this year because they won't be able to get up to 85 scholarship players anyway. On the other hand, the practice penalties won't be severe. Michigan's total hour overages come to 66. If they give back two for one (132 total) and they're allowed to spread that over three years Michigan will have to give up 44 practice hours this year. That's not a whole lot, especially if some of them take the form of conditioning sessions that go from mandatory to "voluntary," which seems like a reasonable thing to do since the practice overages were conditioning sessions.

Potential Complicating Factors

There are two things in Michigan's naughty file that do not have clear precedents. One is the "Failure to monitor" accusation leveled at Rodriguez. (The separate failure to monitor accusation against the university was something SDSU and FIU got hit with, so the penalties they took include that.) The NCAA took a poke at WVU to see if they were sitting on any records of malfeasance as part of their new effort to tag coaches with stronger consequences—see also the proposal to track coach-specific APRs—but the chance of that turning up anything other than a chagrin-inducing lack of records at WVU is slim. Still, it is possible the NCAA could levy a sanction against RR. Since this is a new initiative what that might be is unknown.

The second is exactly how bad the Quality Control staffer excesses were.  It is one thing if they were helping out with stretching; entirely another if they were basically operating 7-on-7 drills supposed to be voluntary. That has not been made clear.

Once On The Beach

Once that's announced Michigan is basically done. In both of the similar cases above, the Committee on Infractions didn't impose any additional punishments except short probationary periods of two (the minimum) and three years. Michigan has those precedents to work off of and has hired the former head of the COI to prepare the response. The announced sanctions will be accepted by the COI basically as-is in August, and then it will start to recede into the past.

I'm actually looking forward to the word coming down tomorrow, as the distant possibility the NCAA sets fire to everything should be removed. This is especially relevant for recruits, as Michigan should be able to point to the self-imposed sanctions and declare the ability of the program to compete will not be compromised. After tomorrow, we can start talking about the important thing: wins and losses.



May 25th, 2010 at 6:16 AM ^

...the general public being obsessed with Michigan ;)

It really was inevitable with the "winning the right way" and "Michigan men" dogma.  When a sanction eventually comes down, we'll have to suffer through the nya-nya's and pride go(eth) before the fall's.

It's all up to Mr. Brandon!  I must admit, I feel a lot better than if Martin was still AD...

Space Coyote

May 24th, 2010 at 11:58 AM ^

They sure have changed sinse I was a kid.


That being said, I'm looking forward to tomorrow being done with so we can all move on.  There are enough uncertainties for recruits in the whole process as is, and Michigan, unfortanetly, also faces the uncertainty of sanctions and a possible coaching change (not saying I think it will happen or should, just saying it's being told to many recruits from other places that that is a possibility at Michigan).  This is at least a step forward, and it will be nice to at least step through the fog and creep through the smog like snoop doggy [who?] doggy [what?] doggy [dogg]


May 24th, 2010 at 12:05 PM ^

Should we be worried about possibly being tagged as a repeat offender considering we were still technically under probation for ed martin basketball fiasco?

Wolverine In Exile

May 24th, 2010 at 12:20 PM ^

If the NCAA wants to make an example out of us, the repeat offender card is wild card #1 and the personal penalties against Rodriguez would be wild card #2.

I personally don't think this is going to turn out to much beside the NCAA accepting our self-imposed penalties and maybe some additional double secret probation time (as per Brian's suggestion in the main column). The publicity from this has probably scared the bejeebus out of the rest of the college football world so that most programs probably went and did a double take on their record keeping and clairification of definitions regarding countable hours. If you go from the perspective of preventative penalties, this probably accomplished what the NCAA was worried about in these type cases more than any punitive penalties they would levy against UM beyonf the self-imposed ones. One thing in our favor is that we're pretty atonement driven when we levy penalties against ourselves-- NCAA may take the perspective of Michigan is historically a college that has kept a tight rein on their AthDept and the APR numbers are good.

I really think the NCAA's time/focus/legal gravitas is being saved for the USC case.


May 24th, 2010 at 12:13 PM ^

I really can't wait until this is behind us.  I think that more than the decision coming down tomorrow, I am dreading the Worldwide leader's coverage of this.  Can't wait to hear how this "puts RR squarely on the hot seat!!"  Also looking forward to a possible reference to how "Michigan's troubles continue to get worse and worse under coach RR."  And, if we are lucky, there may even be a reference to our "falling from glory."

I recommend avoiding pretty much all forms of non-MGoJournalism for the next few days because it will be infuriating to see how the media make a mountain of this miniscule mole hill.


May 24th, 2010 at 12:15 PM ^

buckle up fellas, it's time to take it like a man (again)

it's times like these that I hearken back to the wisdom of Dalton:  "Pain don't hurt"


May 24th, 2010 at 12:24 PM ^

trims back practice time, tells us to dump a grad assistant or two, with no probation, and then moves on to USC to deal with truly major violations with truly major penalties. Unfortunately, we don't live in a rational universe. Since the NCAA knows that the practice time violations are virtually universal among D1A programs, they're going to be awfully tempted to make an example of us just to show that they're not as impotent as they really are. I will be amazed if our penalties don't match or exceed whatever the NCAA imposes on USC, assuming they do anything at all to them.


May 24th, 2010 at 12:30 PM ^

with the victory cigars at the ready. Rosenberg et al are going to give themselves shoulder injuries patting themselves on the back.


May 24th, 2010 at 12:44 PM ^

once the statements are released.

I wonder whether compliance departments at other football programs around the nation will be taking inventory of their own countable hour processes and making pertinent changes?

Probably not. 

Hey, Dancing with the Stars is on!!!!


May 24th, 2010 at 1:46 PM ^

I think it was Doc Saturday who said that the only message other programs will take from this controversy is that dying local papers are not above selling you out for sales, so keep an eye on them.  That sounds about right here.  Other national programs will make sure that the local beat writers are not given free access to younger players, will more closely monitor what is being written, and perhaps make it clear that if you turn on the program like this, you are cut off.


May 24th, 2010 at 1:37 PM ^

Here's some of the sanctions they are considering:

1.  No Fresca or Mountain Dew at the training table.
2.  Limit of only 3 players that can wear dreadlocks
3.  Marching band prohibited from playing any Broadway show tunes
4.  Must fly a banner over stadium saying "OSU is our Daddy"
5.  Defense can only use 10 players on 3rd down...shouldn't make a difference.
6.  RRod has to wear a sweater vest at all home games.
I can live with any of them except #4.



May 24th, 2010 at 2:17 PM ^

Brian doesn't see Alex Herron as a major problem. To my mind, he is the one coach (graduate assistant) who was caught being somewhere he shouldn't have been. And he lied about it. I suppose the lying is on him, but the University has to take responsibility for his presence at those drills. There's an easy way to do that -- he's been fired, so just don't replace him for a couple of years.

As I understand it, the quality-control people were allowed to be where they were, but they allegedly acted as coaches when they shouldn't have. So that's a different problem, a subjective grey area much harder for either side to document. Brian seems in the right ballpark -- losing a coach being the worst-case penalty.


May 24th, 2010 at 2:37 PM ^

for it?  My guess is Brandon offering more to defuse the situation and minimize the discussion in August.  Practice time ratio 2.5:1 and lose 2 schollys next yr and 1 the following, lose 2 grad assistants, and RR not participating in 1 or 2 practices.  I remember reading that RR hired his own attorney to respond to the ncaa b/c promoting the "atmosphere of noncompliance" is directed at him. 


May 24th, 2010 at 2:50 PM ^

... is the outcome I am afraid will come to pass.  Why do I have this fear?  Here's why...  Q: Why the hell is SYSTEMATICALLY giving out more scholarships than you can sustain (Nick Saban) something that apparently does not concern the NCAA one iota?  A: Because there is nothing in this world that makes less sense than the NCAA, not even the Spartan Times (er, Free Press).  To be quite honest, despite its own faults, I think the Big Ten conference is a much better organization than the NCAA and I'm glad that's the one Michigan is in.  Great TV set up, great academics, great athletic competition...maybe not the very best in each category, but overall combination is far ahead, IMHO.


May 24th, 2010 at 4:20 PM ^

Aw c'mon, nothing captures the excitement and energy of college football like a rousing rendition of "Hello, Dolly" by the MMB in the Big House.


May 24th, 2010 at 4:32 PM ^

To paraphrase Braveheart, this ought to be Dave Brandon's statement to the NCAA:

Lower your flags and march straight back to Indianapolis, stopping at every home you pass by to beg forgiveness for a hundred years of theft, ignorance, and incompetence. Do that and your association shall live. Do it not, and every one of you will get sued today.


May 24th, 2010 at 5:00 PM ^

• Graduate assistant coach Alex Herron provided “false and misleading information” to NCAA enforcement staff on whether he monitored summer workouts he was not allowed to attend.

Regardless of whether he's been fired or not, the NCAA drops the hammer when they find out they've been lied to.  Dez Bryant was suspended for 9 games for lying about something that wasn't even an NCAA violation.

• The athletic department “failed to adequately monitor its football program to assure” NCAA compliance.

I'd be fairly surprised if they didn't emphasize the repeat offender angle with the above charge.  This seems dangerously close to the dreaded lack of institutional control.


May 24th, 2010 at 8:45 PM ^

One more day for the media to run on about this and then it's over...time to move on.  When this is diffused the freep boys are going to be hard pressed for something to talk about.  They have to have burned a lot of bridges to the program and hopefully will be accorded the outcast status they deserve.

On to the winning!