Michigan fans: You must choose.

Submitted by Section 1 on November 4th, 2010 at 6:12 PM

To All Michigan fans; to all students, alumni, staff, etc.

You must choose.

You have to choose between one of two, irreconcilable versions of our football program and our institution.

One version was voiced explicitly today by Athletic Director David Brandon.  He labeled the fall-2009 newspaper reporting by the Detroit Free Press as "false and misleading."  His statement to that effect follows the previous statement on behalf of the University that was contained in the institution's Response to the Notice of Allegations, that the Free Press' early reporting was "wildly exaggerated if not flatly incorrect."

Those are the official words, spoken on behalf of the University.

On the other hand, there is Michigan alum Drew Sharp, sports columnist for the Detroit Free Press.  He now actively defends the reporting with which he had little original involvement.  Sharp states today in the online Freep.com:  "The final verdict validates the basis of a thoroughly detailed Free Press investigation in August 2009 in which former and current player charged the coaching staff with routinely violating."

It is of course possible for Michigan fans to have differing points of view about many things; about coaches and players, about games, or plays, or opponents, about recollections of history, and about any vision for the future of our intercollegiate athletics.

But you cannot resolve what Drew Sharp says, with what our University says.  You must choose.  All Michigan fans must choose.

Go Blue!


Mitch Cumstein

November 4th, 2010 at 6:18 PM ^

It really was a perfect plan though.  Make some outrageous claims about practice time so that the school would get investigated knowing that all schools have faults.  Then when the verdict comes back guilty, regardless of how erroneous the original report was, pretend like you had involvement and the investigation by the paper was perfect.  What a D-Bag.

I do really wish though that they had found nothing and this plan, as corrupt as it was, wouldn't have worked.


November 4th, 2010 at 11:19 PM ^

Of 73 posts who went with choice 2? Was the goal of the poll to find there's one contrary guy in every group? If so, success. But all the time spent preaching to the choir might be better spent with the people who still take the Freep seriously. You're probably not getting much bang for your buck here.


November 4th, 2010 at 6:21 PM ^

How about this, the opening paragraph from today's Detroit News article:
The Michigan football team and coach Rich Rodriguez committed major violations of NCAA rules governing practice hours and limits on the number of coaches, but the breaches were not nearly as serious as alleged in early, largely unattributed media reports and they caused no substantial harm to student athletes, the NCAA said Thursday.


I think you know where I put my chips.

Crime Reporter

November 4th, 2010 at 6:22 PM ^

Is this choice like the one in Indiana Jones where he has to pick the Holy Grail from an elaborate selection of chalices, and, should he choose unwisely, he quickly melts into a pile of bone ash right before our eyes?

If so, no thanks. I'm not good at those games.


November 4th, 2010 at 6:29 PM ^

How 'bout we *not* move on?  Think about all the time and energy we spent defending the equivalent of a speeding ticket.  (Yes, we broke rules and got punished appropriately.  Yes.  I get it.)  Think about the harm this may have caused in recruiting.

I'm not suggesting that we devote a ton of cycles/energy to the issue, but I think the Freep should get a big noogy (or the punishment of your choice) out of this.  Details of implementation, admittedly, might be hard to define.


November 4th, 2010 at 6:43 PM ^

Think about all of the extra negative recruiting and attention our school has received now and in the future all thanks to Rosenberg deliberately lying and misleading to make the story more sensational.

This has hurt recruiting classes and will continue to for a while.  This has taken our coach's attention off of the team and weekly preparations.  All the while, Rosenberg "can't remember" roughly how many of his anonymous sources were still on the team and he "guesses" it was probably not professional for him to say he wanted Rod fired on the radio a few months before he wrote this crap.


November 4th, 2010 at 7:19 PM ^

The investigation took place during the offseason and ended months ago.  Since August, the only thing we've been waiting for is the NCAA's response to our appeal.  So no, I don't believe that it has had any real effect on our on-field performance, either in 2009 or 2010.   It may have affected recruiting to some degree.  That's as far as it goes.


November 4th, 2010 at 7:48 PM ^

I think a sh*t storm of BS media attention would add enough stress to negatively effect his day to day concentration and performance.  He is human.  Also, wasn't there an article about he had been prepped on how to talk to the NCAA?  Interviewed by the NCAA.  Spend time defending himself etc.  You honestly do not think that most people would have a lack of concentration or ability to reach day to day potential when there is this kind of bad press constantly in his face: "Rodriguez win at all costs"


November 4th, 2010 at 9:20 PM ^

I never mentioned the record or used it as an excuse for it.  It is not like we would be 12-0.  Do you honestly think that the media storm and his defense of it hasn't had any effect on him or his concentration?  Or even some of the players...like players that Rosenberg asked misleading questions to and then took out of context?

The damage to recruiting and our reputation is bad enough.


November 4th, 2010 at 9:59 PM ^

you're saying here. This has most certainly been a big fucking deal.
<br>And no, this affecting the record hasn't been mentioned yet. Except by you. Again. For like the 1,000th time in the last 3 days. You are reaching and The Emperor can feel your hate. Don't turn to the Dark Side


November 4th, 2010 at 10:56 PM ^

The Freep article ran one week before the season opener in 2009. The University's investigation began immediately, and the NCAA was involved from the outset because the University called them.  The investigation occurred during last season, including taking players off the practice field to be interviewed. (Listen to the press conference on mgoblue.com front page.)  How do you think the NCAA came up with the Notice of Inquiry in October 2009?  They were interviewing all the way through December 2009, and came up with the charges in February of this year.  The written response to the notice of allegations occurred during Spring ball too.  Rodriguez had to hire a lawyer to defend the allegations directed toward him and help them prepare the response.  Then he went to Seattle in August for the hearing before the Infractions Committee.

This is not a distraction to a head coach? Get serious.


November 4th, 2010 at 6:45 PM ^

I'm not suggesting that we should forgive the Freep.  I'm still not going to read them.  But I don't see the point in ranting about this over and over.  For a guy who hates the Freep, Section 1 somehow always seems to know what they've written. 


November 5th, 2010 at 1:46 AM ^

At this point we're beyond beating a dead horse.  The horse is now dead and being consumed by zombies.

We've moved past saturation.  At this point, if you're a Michigan fan and don't know which side is correct, I'm not going to worry about it.  Call it elitist, but if they don't feel like taking 20 minutes to educate themselves on a team they supposedly care about, I don't see why I should waste my time.

Lastly, you realize that the Freep still subscribes to the "any publicity is good publicity!" mantra right?  Drew Sharp is still employed because while he writes dumb articles, he successfully drives pageviews.  Hurr Durr Practicegame Validated! will generate much more traffic than "Michigan football players volunteer at Mott" every time.


November 4th, 2010 at 7:03 PM ^

You seem to be over looking the fact that most sports fans in the nation (even in our own state) know very few facts about this.  Far less than the average frequent reader on MGoBlog.  What they do typically know, are things like 'Rosenberg is a great journalist for uncovering multiple major violations at Michigan.'


November 4th, 2010 at 7:53 PM ^

No offense, but you are sorely mistaken.  Get out and talk to average sports fans.  People have a very basic understanding of what went down.  I have heard people say the most ridiculous things about this case, most people know very little facts.

Cowherd wasn't defending Rosenberg.  He was reviewing the news of the UM decision and praising Rosenberg.  Cowherd has never even tackled the question of Rosenberg's lies, much as the same with the MSM.  The closest the MSM has gotten to doing so is saying it happens eveywhere - not actually addressing that Rosenberg lied.  Most casual college football fans don't even realize that there is a controversery about the Freep report.  Most college football fans in this state do not visit MGoBlog or etc.

Section 1

November 4th, 2010 at 7:21 PM ^

It's really shocking.  And sort of dispiriting.  I talk regularly to fellow alums in Chicago, in New York, in California.  I talk to a lot of older alums who are genuine, long-time supporters of the program.  And people who, of course, regularly if somewhat casually read the Free Press.  I also talk to a lot of alums from other Big Ten schools

They really wonder how Rich Rodriguez has lasted this long.  They have little understanding of what the NCAA alleged -- it is so freaking arcane that it takes enourmous effort just to try to explain it.  And they have no idea about any malfeasance on the part of the Free Press.

It finally dawned on me today -- how disastrously bad all this may have been with regard to certain recruits.  It dawned on me when Coach Rodriguez mentioned, somewhat out of the blue, in answer to a question that wasn't really about recruiting.

If our own fans who are not the cognoscenti of MGoBlog can be this negative about our program, what about kids and their parents from Florida, Alabama, Texas and California?  What must they be thinking, when making the most important decision of their young lives so far, and maybe the second-most important decision of a lifetime:  Where to go to college?

It is frightening, to think of the ripples of the damage caused by Michael Rosenberg.


November 4th, 2010 at 7:59 PM ^


I talked to a coworker today who thought I was BSing when I corrected him that the Freep was not correct about RR practicing players twice as much as other schools severely damaging the kids.

I had a different coworker today tell me that I had been wrong and that the Freep was vindicated today by the NCAA ruling.  That Rosenberg was dead on accurate and I owe him an apology.

I talked to another person (probably 7 months ago) that thought that paying players was part of the allegations.

It blows my mind how most people do not research anything themselves.

True Blue in CO

November 4th, 2010 at 6:36 PM ^

Since every story has at least 3 versions, party A's story, party B's story, and the truth, we will never truly know. At least this chapter is behind us. Hopefully we are going to be a more compliant program and let the FREEP focus its time in East Lansing. Michigan football can now concentrate on playing better football, finding new defensive coaches, and recruiting the next generation of Big Ten champions. Let's start moving forward. Go Blue!

Section 1

November 4th, 2010 at 6:55 PM ^

I know that there are lots of good, decent Michigan fans -- former players, former coaches, alumni, donors, etc. -- all of whom have earnest good wishes that the program succeeds and does well.  There may be disagreements about the future of the program and whether the current coaching staff is the right fit.

That's all okay.  And everybody is unified in wanting what's best for Michigan.

But with this -- a concocted front-page Sunday-paper story, for the blood-sucking benefit of the Free Press, at the direct cost to the University and the football program -- there is no possible way to say that you are "for Michigan" and that you can also tolerate what the Free Press has done.

Honest to God; it makes me want all the more for Rich Rodriguez to have massive success, (for many reasons, obviously) but in large part to be able to take Michigan's eventual success and shove it down the throats of Sharp and Rosenberg.  It is amazing to me that that isn't the considered view of about 116% of the Michigan fanbase.


November 4th, 2010 at 7:01 PM ^

It would be great to see Michigan sue the freep and cause them to fold, but when an NCAA investigation is officially over and the penalty is tolerable, it is best to let sleeping dogs lie.  I just hope Rosenberg is in a position someday where he is begging a UM alum for a job.

Bando Calrissian

November 4th, 2010 at 7:05 PM ^

If this is over, does it mean Section 1 doesn't need to post dissertations about the Freep using language normally reserved for references to rogue nations anymore?

I choose whatever option makes that happen.