August 29th, 2009 at 9:03 PM ^

I just saw that too. This is not good, even if it is "just" exceeding practice time. Bad news after bad news.

Also the claim that "numerous players" told the FreePress the story anonymously could create a rift in the locker room between players.


August 30th, 2009 at 12:36 AM ^

as long as none of the coaching staff were present at the work outs and/or pushing them along by threatening the loss of their scholly by not participating, everything is kosher. at BG we joked about the "voluntarilly manditory" work outs we had in the offseason. i got bitched up one side and down another when i missed one, but there is nothing the staff can do (aside from "running" individuals who miss workouts) to those who do not participate.
the bottom line is, as players, you know you have to put the work in in the off season if you want to be worth a damn as a team. from the sounds of the story, it's pissin' moaning from guys that were punished in some way for not putting in their fair share of work to help improve the team.
most likly this is someone that's disgruntled and blowing smoke that doesn't completely understand NCAA rules in this matter and found a reporter that might have been bored and looking for a story that would sell some papers. michigan football rules violations on a headline would do just that, even if the NCAA finds there was no wrong doing.


August 29th, 2009 at 9:06 PM ^

Which let's be realistic I'm sure that several players that left are on that list of "oh we ran too much" *Cough* Boren *Cough cough*

And like I said in the CIL if we get major violations from this and USC gets nothing the system is obviously flawed.


August 30th, 2009 at 12:16 AM ^

Folks: I don't mean to be rude, because we've all got the same rooting interest here, but... Most comments on this story absolutely radiate homer-dom. Whether or not one likes Rosenberg or the Freep is one thing. But this story is a a HUGE deal. Even if every fact in the story turns out to be false, the damage is already done -- in terms of PR, in terms of how this reflects on the team's morale, etc. But the larger problem is this: It's extremely unlikely that most of this stuff is false. An article like this one isn't written in a vacuum, by some rogue columnist with a grudge. A story this big will have gone through several layers of editors, lawyers, etc., all of of them endlessly vetting and nitpicking every interview and transcript. The potential consequences are too huge for everyone involved. The Freep, whether you like it or not, wouldn't just let a writer chuck something like this against the wall and hopes it sticks. They can't afford to be totally discredited, either. If they're making such allegations so definitively that's probably because they're onto something. And, by the way, Rosenberg doesn't seem to be a RR fan, but I've seen no evidence that he's out to get the program. He's a grad, for crissake. Just because he's a critic doesn't mean he has no credibility. So stop being homers and start thinking: Wait, might this actually be true? Sad but true: This is bad, very bad. As in major violations. And even if the story turns out to be only half true, it's a disaster.

The King of Belch

August 30th, 2009 at 9:25 AM ^

The timing is deadly. I don't think there is any coincidence that this comes out now. One week before the season starts--and Rodriguez will be answering to Old Guard powers still in the AD as well as the media and probably Bill Martin. To have to spend the next week addressing this is going to test this man and his staff like nothing else.

With nothing more than an "ear to the ground," I have come to the conclusions that there is a schism at UM between academics who see sports as nothing more than a necessary evil and coaches who try to put a winning product on the field; there is a schism in the athletic department between the remnants of Bo/Mo/Lo and new people who see the changing field of athletics in terms of an arms race and more dedication to putting winning products out there; a schism between elitist snobbery and reality; and, of course, a wide rift between New UM (read: football) and the media that may be fueled by the secretive nature of past regimes or dominant alpha-dog regimes who at times had adverse relationships with the media.

I also believe that a lot of the seeming dislike for Rodriguez is the result of a media and some in the AD who believe Lloyd Carr has been treated unfairly with regard to his tenure and his legacy. I have felt there has been a backlash against the fans who seemed to feel positive about Lloyd finally hanging it up and who have welcomed a coach who embraces (IMO) the type of atmosphere, on the field, that many would criticize as being worthy of the SEC.

The hypocrisy of this situation, from a media standpoint, is maddening. NCAA football is a cash-cow industry that directly employs, and rather exhorbitantly, many, MANY people; and many of them turn up on radio shows, blogs, newspapers, and TV shows to wage some sort of moral war with this cash cow that is nothing more than disingenuous self puffery when they question or criticize what it takes to win and build winning programs. But as we see, not too many of them are covering Yale Vs Harvard games, and not too many people are clamoring for glamourous SAT Bowls between Vanderbilt and Northwestern.

Now, rules are rules, and if Rodriguez and his guys broke 'em, they in trouble and deservedly so. Rodriguez also has HAD to have known that he wouldn't be able to clip his nosehairs without someone reporting on his technique, or doing a front-page story because Rita bitched that he didn't clean the clippings out of the bathroom sink.

As this staff's story keeps unfolding, 20/20 hindsight becomes easier. A Les Miles or Greg Schiano "transitional" hire may have been what was needed (especially because Lloyd had exactly ZERO assistants capable of taking over and doing well), rather than such a culture shock that seems to have ignited all kinds of brush fires in Ann Arbor. Martin ignored a search committee that twice recommended Miles; he then went out and got His Man. Miles may have ruffled Lloyd's feathers, but the Prodigal Son returning home certainly could have thwarted what has turned into a daily circus and a feeding frenzy of negative press.


August 30th, 2009 at 8:26 AM ^

Shit is the only thing I can think of. I stopped reading the Freep because it's apparently not edited and they have no standards of journalism at all. There is NO objectivity or quality control.
I seriously doubt there was more than one semi-competent editor that got near this story and I'm sure the idea of a lawyer reviewing every article for slander/libelous content is absolutely laughable with the content of the average article coming out of the Freep.


August 30th, 2009 at 9:30 AM ^

This may be way overblown, and something that all of the major programs could be criticized for.

But don't think that the Freep just put this in the paper without vetting it. This is the paper that nailed ex-Mayor Kwame K. They would have to know the consequences of getting it wrong, particularly given the timing (on their website the Saturday night before the first game, so it can be picked up everywhere for Sunday).

This is Page One on the Sports Internet today. And it ain't moving off that page any time soon. It's the last thing that the program needed, and I think if even 5% is accurate, it's really hard to recover from.

A 3-9 season is one thing. NCAA violations are something else.

UM better come out with guns blazing; if they turtle and hide behind a "no comment pending investigation," watch out.

I'm hoping, but it's not easy to be hopeful...



August 30th, 2009 at 10:25 AM ^

Um, this year the Freep won the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. It singlehandedly investigated the Kilpatrick scandal. Kilpatrick, like a certain Ms. Palin, tried to make the same argument you're now making. Don't like what you're hearing? Blame the press.

Eck Sentrik

August 30th, 2009 at 9:13 AM ^

An article like this one isn't written in a vacuum, by some rogue columnist with a grudge. A story this big will have gone through several layers of editors, lawyers, etc., all of of them endlessly vetting and nitpicking every interview and transcript. The potential consequences are too huge for everyone involved.

Dan Rather and I couldnt agree more.

- Mary Mapes


August 30th, 2009 at 10:32 AM ^

You're taking a one in a thousand example of a botched investigation. Also you're totally dismissing the likelihood that the Free article may well be true, or largely true. The Freep does not have a reputation for blowing big investigative stories. It just won a Pulitzer for reporting.

The timing of the story probably isn't "suspicious"; it's because players assembled for practice only this month.

And the article clearly states that it interviewed both past and current players; it also notes that other current players, without giving interviews, acknowledged that this stuff is going on. And the freshmen, Stokes et al, flatly stated what's going on. (They just didn't know it's illegal.) The Freep isn't just making this shit up out of thin air.


August 29th, 2009 at 9:08 PM ^

The free press reporting it huh...with Snyder part of the "investigation" I bet.

I'll believe this one when I see it.

if those "players" were satisfied with 3-9, then they should have left the program at the end of last year.

James Burrill Angell

August 29th, 2009 at 9:08 PM ^

Indeed, more bad news. Snyder is a Michigan alum who even goes to games when he's not working. I don't think he's the type out there looking to dump the program the way some of the guys in the AA News were. Really scares me that our own players are reporting on the program. This strikes me as particularly bad.


August 29th, 2009 at 9:11 PM ^

"That player was one of six current or former players who gave lengthy, detailed and nearly identical descriptions of the program to the Free Press. "

What do you put the over/under on how many were jaded players who are not playing for Michigan anymore.. I'll say 3.5


August 29th, 2009 at 9:12 PM ^

Nothing will come of this, but it's still bad news. If kids are willing to come forward, it's irresponsible to ask the Freep not to report on it.


August 30th, 2009 at 12:24 AM ^

I was under the impression that we had points to reward users for good posts and punish users for idiocy, spam, etc. Don't neg someone just because you disagree with them, neg them for posts that are complete crap, like encouraging people to boo at football games.


August 30th, 2009 at 12:32 AM ^

practice. Practice! Practice! Not the game. We're talkin about practice...

Seriously, I hope this isn't substantially true enough to be a major violation (in the letter of the law or in spirit). Like most, I'm not a "college football practice time" expert, so I'll just let the facts come out for now.


August 29th, 2009 at 9:15 PM ^

This is most likely a case of the scorned ex-lover.(former players and players that are currently on the team but not "players") This could be blown waaaay out of proportion. And why are they telling the press this? Any player who rats out the program for something like this is not "All In".

Damn kids these days, video games have softened them up. MEMO: You might have to work hard to be more than 8-4 every year.

If RR and staff are wrong then I hope the truth and justice comes out, but this just sounds like another petty thing to knit-pick the program. Change is hard sometimes.


August 29th, 2009 at 9:15 PM ^

It's bad, bad news if true. But you have to ask: why would Rodriguez never, ever do this at West Virginia and all of a sudden start blatantly violating a really obvious rule at Michigan?


August 29th, 2009 at 9:45 PM ^

Do you really think Rodriguez all of a sudden changed the way he runs the program when he got to Michigan? Of course he didn't. He's doing exactly what he's always done, and what I'm sure a large number of programs in the country do. These "voluntary workout" rules are a joke.

And the reason why you haven't heard about it until now is because the local media at WVU doesn't have such an obvious agenda against the University like the Free Press does with Michigan. One would have to be a fool not to have noticed it by now.


August 29th, 2009 at 10:15 PM ^

...abuse of elective workouts is rife throughout college sports. My experience was one inglorious year running cross country, but if there is pressure on non-revenue sports that no one ever watches, I have to assume that it happens even more in football and basketball. For us, it wasn't like they threw in extra practices out of the field house... you'd just get a phone call from a captain telling you what the "involuntary" schedule was for that week and if you didn't show up it was known that that information was going to make its way up the ladder, and if you were a walk-on (me) you could lose your chance at a scholarship.

But you never would talk about such things, both because of the potential repercussions and that for a lot of athletes your team is your group of friends - you really don't spend a lot of time with other people on campus. What worries me about this article is that my fear that if people are talking, it's because of a lack of camaraderie or hostility towards the coaches. I sure as shit hope that isn't the case - it's a lot easier for me as a fan to keep thinking that the Freep is pulling gotcha BS in the preseason just to sell advertising.


August 29th, 2009 at 10:14 PM ^

Do you seriously get the impression that's what I think he did?

No, obviously. We're talking about a guy about whom a major criticism was that he was inflexibly bringing his system in come hell or high water, no matter what the personnel. He also, as you may have noticed, never got in trouble with the NCAA. There are other ways to find out about violations besides nosy reporters, you know.

Now we're supposed to believe this highly inflexible coach that's too set in his Not Michigan ways came in with a whole brand new way of doing business that he never used before. Something smells. How come this didn't come up last season, for one?


August 29th, 2009 at 11:33 PM ^

and you know what? Freep had better watch themselves. Look what happened to the last local paper that tried to be clever and "expose" Michigan's athletic program "for what it really is" hehehehe, Michigan fans - 1 Ann Arbor News - 0; for all eternity.

blue note

August 29th, 2009 at 9:16 PM ^

Well there is Stokes and Hawthorne describing the time commitment of their offseason workouts to the media... but that gets into the voluntary versus involuntary gray area.

Obviously the big problem is the in season stuff, the claims about film/practicing for 9 hours on Sundays... that absurd, that absolutely better not have been the case.