Opinions re: faking injuries during games

Submitted by Captain Obvious on November 29th, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Ignoring all else (yes, I know it's hard), what does everyone think about how Harbaugh coached his players to fake injuries during the Oregon game to slow down Oregon's offense?  On another thread, I saw a (moderately upvoted) post suggesting that this was just another example of Harbaugh's coaching brilliance and a great tactical move.  I find it hard to believe that this opinion is widely held, but the points suggest otherwise...

Personally, I think it's pathetic and unethical.  I think it demonstrates a win-at-all-costs attitude that has no place in the NCAA.  I would be absolutely furious if our players were taught to do the same.

If you are in favor of this tactic - would you have applauded Dantonio if he had done this against us this year?  Or would you add it to the list of scummy tactics used by an unethical win-at-all-costs coach?



November 29th, 2010 at 4:15 PM ^

I agree with you that the tactic is unethical.  I don't like it, either, but there is a strong motivation to win at all costs, as long as you aren't getting caught.  And let's face it, the NCAA does a horrible job of policing.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:45 PM ^

I think this thread is the 'ol bait and switch.

If it's a thread about faking injuries, that's one thing.  But when the start of the thread is "Isn't faking injuries terrible?  You know who does that?  JIM HARBAUGH!!" it's not quite the same.  That is doubly true considering the general climate around here rivals that of South Carolina circa 1861.

For the record, I'm a big hater of faking injuries.  I play hockey, where you are measured against guys who lose teeth, get stitches, and still score the game winning goal in OT.    I'm convinced that RR deserves another year, and I'm no fan of Harbaugh after the crap he talked about UM back in 2007.

Even with all that, this thread is just mudslinging.

Captain Obvious

November 29th, 2010 at 5:07 PM ^

and I even named names to ensure that half the thread isn't about me "baiting and switching."

If you want me to be more direct, I will - Harbaugh supporters, are you comfortable with these tactics?  Defend the use of these tactics as something you would be OK with the head coach of Michigan using against opponents.

The reason I didn't phrase the OP that way is because then the thread is bound to turn into "OMG RR SUCKS 7 WINS HIM NOT UNDERSTAND RIVALRY" and "NUH UH RR SHOULD BE KEPT."  You have to take a middle position these days to keep your threads from being mindless clusterfucks.


November 29th, 2010 at 7:35 PM ^

...Let me play devils advocate for a bit:

there isn't anything illegal about this. And as importantly, even if you were to try and make it illegal, it would be a nightmare to enforce (prove a person isn't* really* cramping or has a stinger).

For all the poetics we like to go on about when it comes to sportsmanship and amateurism, lets be honest, the NCAA is about one thing and that is winning. The only reason we're even talking about RR and JH is because RR didn't get 9 or 10 wins. The win at all cost attitude exists because we, the fans, demand wins more than almost anything. Do you think that Bama fans care that about Saban abusing medical scholarships? I may be wrong on more than one point there, basic points are sec coach over recruiting. Brian mentions it from time to time.

It would be really hard to prove definitively that a player faking an injury from tm e to time would disrupt a smoking offense like Oregons to the extent that it would cost them the game. But you can bet that if it had allowed Stanford to win, there would be a large portion of the Stanford fan base that would be okay with it, despite the vilification of the outside world.

To reiterate: I'm not a fan of faking injuries. My two favorite sports, hockey and rugby, are renowned for the toughness of their players and the idea of faking injuries is anethema--just google bloodgate. I'm just curious to see this argument, discussion play out.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:16 PM ^

I have seen this a lot this season from a number of teams (and I can't really ever remember seeing much of it before).  While it is probably the smart thing to do, it is lame all the way around.  You can't make fun of Euro soccer players for rolling on the floor for five minutes only to be cured by "magic spray" if college football players are doing the exact same thing.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:41 PM ^

I do wish I had some of that "Magic Spray" if it actually worked.  Like when I stub my toe really hard after I've had too many beers because I'm trying to drown my why-can't-I-watch-Michigan-win-any-sport-I-follow-this-weekend misery...... (That kegerator while great in some aspects does have some flaws....like now I can drink way too much beer way too easily.)


November 29th, 2010 at 4:53 PM ^

Soccer is an otherwise interesting and enjoyable sport, made irrelevant (at least in my eyes) by the diving alone.  In a similar way, I'm getting a little tired of seeing hysterics by everyone on the field and the sideline any time a play touches near pass interference.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:19 PM ^

1. Anything Dantonio does is rotten. It is his nature. He could kiss a kitty, and I would take it as his pro-beastiality stance.

2. Teams should run more wind sprints. Faking injuries just prolongs the inevitable...losing. If you have to fake injuries to stay in a game, you have run out of good defensive schemes and have already lost.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:21 PM ^

Shouldn't the opinions on a topic be contained in the first thread started on that same topic?  Do we need to have a separate thread started for opinions?  I assume all posts in a thread are opinion unless prefaced with specific authority, thus making it a "fact" . . .

Captain Obvious

November 29th, 2010 at 4:29 PM ^

near the tail end of a 250+ post thread, with no discussion behind it and a surprisingly positive number next to the post.  So, I figure there are some people out there that endorse this tactic and want to see if it is a widely held viewpoint.

It's a well-titled topic, why don't you try not clicking on it?  Thanks in advance.


November 29th, 2010 at 5:30 PM ^

This isn't Harbaugh's top-secret strategy.  Every team that plays Oregon does it.  Is every other team in the Pac-10 "unethical," or is this simply a loophole that works to their advantage - kind of like the loophole where teams can avoid replay if they get a snap off fast enough?  (What could be more blatant cheating than denying the replay official a chance to determine whether a play was properly called or not?) 


November 29th, 2010 at 4:47 PM ^

I see it in the same vein as holding, running pick plays, clipping, committing interference to prevent a TD, deliberately fouling Shaquille O'Neal, and so forth.  All are "cheating."  In the 1996 OSU game, we violated the two-yard halo on every punt, knowing that OSU was averaging more than five yards per punt return, so the exchange was worth it.  That was "cheating," too.  (Eventually, so many teams broke that rule that the NCAA scrapped it altogether.) This one is just a newer tactic, so it seems more glaring.  As little bending-the-rule maneuvers go, it's pretty benign - it doesn't even affect the play, just the amount of waiting time in between.

What Bielema allegedly did (instruct his players to chop block to "send a message") is far more bothersome to me. 


November 29th, 2010 at 5:47 PM ^

"I see it in the same vein as holding, running pick plays, clipping, committing interference to prevent a TD, deliberately fouling Shaquille O'Neal, and so forth"

I don't really see intentional interference and the Hack A Shaq as cheating, because you are committing a foul with the full intention of being penalized for it. You are simply rationalizing that the penalty is less costly that the result sans the penalty. it's unintended consequences of the rules. 

Coaching your linemen to hold against the rules because "the refs won't call it that much" (an unfortunately common strategy from the NFL on down) is straight-up cheating.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:38 PM ^

Is a favored past-time of a way-too-large segment of our fan base. There is no doubt that if we change to Harbaugh, I will hear in the stands, on the radio, and everywhere else the same ill-informed, relentness criticism. Makes we wonder if any decent coach worth the money would even want to coach at Michigan and put up with all of the BS from the whiny part of our fan base..


November 29th, 2010 at 5:45 PM ^

I know what he was getting at - that our fans are somehow whinier than others.  And having interacted with a lot of different fans over the years, I'd say that if anything, our fans are tamer than most in their complaints. 

We have great fans.  Even in a horrible economy and after two miserable seasons, they still filled up the largest stadium in the country this year.  For the 36th time in 37 years, we led the nation in attendance.  A lot of coaches probably wish they had the fan support we give.


November 29th, 2010 at 6:56 PM ^

And one of those might be Jim Harbaugh himself. The attendance at their final home game, climaxing the most successful Stanford season in many decades, if not ever, was a paltry 38,000. That's mind-boggling. If anything says that Stanford is not a football school, that's it.

Just for comparison: for their final home game against Iowa in a miserable 3-9 campaign that saw their coach fired before the end of the season, Minnesota drew over 50,000.


November 29th, 2010 at 5:04 PM ^

Recieving injuries that need attention is one thing.

But when players fake injuries, they're not only disrespecting their opponent, but the hundreds of thousands of fans that are watching the game are put into a state of worry and panic, and neither the fans, nor the opposing team are deservant of that kind of cheating and undignified behaivior.


November 29th, 2010 at 5:44 PM ^

Cal employed a game strategy of multiple faked injuries that was so brazen a source felt the need to alert the media to it, and note that the staff was divided on the ethics of it. Stanford was credibly accused of one guy faking an injury midway through the game, after which the tactic stopped.

There's cheating, and there's cheating. There have been exactly zero accusations (credible or not) that Jim Harbaugh has coached Stanford players to intentionally injure opponents, countenanced willful rulebreaking on a regular basis, committed recruiting violations, turned a blind eye to criminal activity (he kicked two guys off the team for smoking dope at a campus party), advocated for the admission of "troubled" athletes, the list goes on (or doesn't).  

The Oregon game qualifies as a small bit of unsuccessful gamesmanship. Anyone who is going to say "SEE, JH IS A CHEATER AND WE CAN'T HAVE THAT!!!" is missing perspective.


November 29th, 2010 at 6:02 PM ^

If it was RR who was teaching his team to fake injuries to gain a competitive advantage, what would the instate media, especially the freep, have to say about it?

I think we all know the answer.


November 29th, 2010 at 6:51 PM ^

i noticed that too and then when he saw no one cared he popped right up.  also i remember a game last year against penn state i think where one of our defensive players was shaken up and then got up and jogged to the side line only to be motioned to lie down by one of the defensive coaches, i think gerg but not 100% sure.