Swayze Howell Sheen

May 25th, 2010 at 7:38 AM ^

This is great news for the program and in particular for Coach RR. DB and the athletic department stood up for Coach in a HUGE way. Perhaps the beginning of a new chapter for RR in AA? 



May 25th, 2010 at 8:25 AM ^

This is a terrible day for the program, because the publicity hurts the program nationwide, as it has already hurt recruiting.  And the administration did what it had to do with RR, as long as they determined it wasn't a deliberate mistake by him.  This changes nothing, this year is about wins and losses-if he doesn't win he will be gone..  We will get past this for sure, and a winning season, as Brian has said often, will cure this. But your response to this seems rather blind IME.  I think the violations were serious but relatively minor, and that our response and self-imposed sanctions were correct.  But a good day?  Not really.


May 25th, 2010 at 9:30 AM ^

I am sure RR and DB are relieved to have gone public with the self-imposed sanctions.  Not a great day, but it is necessary surgery to get the bleeding stopped and the healing started.  It puts the violations in perspective and shows that the AD and school stand by the coach and that has to help put some recruits at ease.


May 25th, 2010 at 8:30 AM ^

While not a "great" day for the program, compared to what some feared might happen, this is a fairly light punishment.  I don't think this will particularly harm us in recruiting if we start winning this yest. IMHO, more recruits are skittish to come here because of the fact that they aren't sure the same coach is going to be here all 4 years(a fair concern to be sure).  I would be willing to bet they dwarf the number of recruits concerned because "ZOMG MAJOR VIOLATIONS!!!'.


May 25th, 2010 at 8:48 AM ^

completely homerish opinion of "great day."  While it may not be a "terrible day" as I categorized it either, it at least is a sobering one.  And there is a possibility that the NCAA won't accept the self-imposed sanctions since because of a stupid technicality they consider us "repeat offenders" due to the Martin thing.


May 25th, 2010 at 9:14 AM ^

But you are forgetting this is "self imposed penalties". There is still the slippery slope that the NCAA may feel M was to easy on itself, and with them sitting on their high horses, may impose even stronger penalties.

The process of asking the university to reply with sanctions they feel fit the crime is BS. In this case many so called experts felt scholarships would be lost. Since M did not impose this on themselves, the NCAA leaves themselves the option of saying you don't really understand what you have done wrong, so we need to punish you even more.


May 25th, 2010 at 9:18 AM ^

The ones that write occasional columns for national sports media? The ones that write for local papers?

Or the one that HEADED THE COMMITTEE for 9 years, that Michigan hired. Scholarship reductions only make sense if any of our issues would have been likely to lead to signing players improperly, using inelligible players, etcetera. It makes little sense to take away scholarships when the accusations had zero to do with players or recruiting, at all. THAT would show we didn't know what we'd done wrong.


May 25th, 2010 at 9:12 AM ^

"I think the violations were serious but relatively minor..."

I think you got that half right.  This was the equivalent of getting a ticket for driving 62 mph in a 55 mph zone.  Now, it still bothers me that RichRod's clumsiness (as an administrator and all that) is probably part of the picture, but I think he'll be fine.  I have high hopes that Brandon will be able to help him in that area.


May 25th, 2010 at 9:39 AM ^

Even more stupid: because our QC staff were present at the extra 20 minutes of stretching, we went over. If they hadn't been, it would have been voluntary, and thus no violation.

Yes - the joke is on us. Ha ha Rosenberg. Very funny. Many thanks to you. The University should review your student records and revoke your degree.

This sucks, but glad to be moving toward closure.

Double Nickel BG

May 25th, 2010 at 10:08 AM ^

people see it as a good day since, for the most part, all of the violations are being atoned for. From this point forward, until the NCAA ruling comes out, we can focus on football.

This kind of fills a void, where recruits prior to today could be told that Michigan was going to have a postseason ban or something that would tangibly affect recruits. Now that people can see what's being done, theres not that huge "What if" hanging over the program.

Frank Drebin

May 25th, 2010 at 9:46 AM ^

They weren't found guilty of major violations, they admitted that they had committed major violations. They agreed with the findings of 4 of the 5 major violations that were laid out by the NCAA. The newspaper isn't that far off base. Just because they seem like minor violations, only secondary violations are not considered "major".


May 25th, 2010 at 10:42 AM ^

This is (allegedly) a newspaper, which means that, with the exception of opinion pieces, (i.e. editorials and columns) they are supposed to print facts, (not that such a limitation ever stopped this particular publication before).

In February, the NCAA made the accusations, and yesterday, UM admitted some wrongdoing. These are not the same as having been found "guilty".

"Close" only counts in hand grenades and horse shoes.

Section 1

May 25th, 2010 at 8:08 PM ^

How was the Free Press wrong? 

This was a Free Press allegation:
"Players say: They are routinely expected to spend two to three times that amount in workout sessions. Off-season work is mandatory. And if athletes don’t do all the required strength and conditioning, they must come back to finish or are punished with more work."
No such allegation was made by the NCAA.  Michigan admitted to no such violation.  Period.  The Free Press' allegation was wrong.  Or the players were wrong.  No matter what, the Free Press was wrong to give those players, whose allegations were found lacking, anonymity.
Another Free Press allegation:
Players say: Rodriguez’s quality-control staffers (who work for the coaches) frequently watch the scrimmages. Players say they believe attendance is noted and performances are evaluated.
That allegation was substantially refuted.  To the extent that any 7-on-7's were observed, they were found to be sporadic, an error only in clear definition of "quality control" and "coaching" roles.
Another Free Press allegation:
Players say: They typically spent at least nine hours on football activities on Sundays after games last fall and often exceeded the 20-hour weekly limit.
That allegation was substantially destroyed by the NCAA investigation, and is not supported by Michigan's response.  The over-limit activities substantially boiled down to obscure definitions of stretching and warmup as part of allowable hours.
Moreover, there were the implied allegations in the Freep reporting that the rules were put in place by the NCAA for player protection.  And that player protection, player well-being was somehow sacrifced.
All of that was wrong.


May 25th, 2010 at 7:44 AM ^

Brandon reiterated last night that Rodriguez's job is safe, according to an article at annarbor.com (see below). Note also that the two of them will address the media via teleconference at 11 am today.

Despite a provision in Rodriguez’s contract that allows Michigan to fire him for committing a major violation, Brandon said there are no plans for that to happen now or in the future.

“We’ve been very public and very open over the fact that we do not believe, based on the circumstances that are before us, that it would be appropriate to have it impact the employment status of our coach,” Brandon said. “We’ve made it real clear that he’s going to be our coach in the fall. We made it real clear that these problems, although unfortunate, don’t rise to the level of triggering termination.”

Brandon, who’ll address the media along with Rodriguez via teleconference today, called Monday a “day of relief,” though Michigan’s ordeal is not yet over.


May 25th, 2010 at 7:45 AM ^

acknowledges full fault, without making it sound worse than it is. It protects Rodriguez by stating that yes, maybe he should have asked for some of this stuff, but he never actually knew he was supposed to be getting it in the first place.

I think they'll take that.


May 25th, 2010 at 8:08 AM ^

Adam Rittenberg at his ESPN blog made a similar point about Labadie and Draper in his thoughts on U-M's response and then added an important observation (indicated with added italics):

Michigan definitely spreads the blame around in its response. The compliance office takes a beating, as do Scott Draper, the school's assistant athletic director for football, and Brad Labadie, the school's director of football operations. I think it's significant that several of the people reprimanded don't have firm ties to Rodriguez and were at Michigan during the previous coaching regime.


May 25th, 2010 at 9:27 AM ^

I hope someone with some common sense asks at the presser how can they repeatedly ignore inquiries about compliance? I would like to hear Draper and Labadie explain that one personally, but doubt we will ever hear them speak on this matter.


May 25th, 2010 at 9:27 AM ^

Michigan will issue letters of reprimand to seven people it deems responsible for the violations: Mike Barwis, Scott Draper, Brad Labadie, Joe Parker, Rich Rodriguez, Judy Van Horn and Ann Vollano.
The school states that the violations regarding countable coaches and countable hours for players stemmed from multiple factors: inattention by the coaching staff (led by Rodriguez), poor communication between compliance (led by Van Horn) and the strength and conditioning staff (led by Barwis) and the inability of athletic administrators (namely Draper) to inform compliance about the duties of quality control staff.
Translation: Everyone is at fault, and the violations could have been prevented if people had done their jobs better. But aside from Herron, who lost his job, no individual takes the fall. At least not yet.
In his separate response, Rodriguez admits to some wrongdoing but also addresses the obvious confusion regarding quality control coaches and what they can and cannot do. "There seems to be some ambiguity and confusion about what constitutes coaching activity under NCAA legislation that can be conducted only by countable coaches." The NCAA is trying to get a handle on this issue and might make an example out of Rodriguez/Michigan, but it would seem a little hypocritical to do so. If there wasn't some degree of confusion (i.e. loopholes), you wouldn't see coaching staffs become as big as they are.
You can take this of one of two ways- A. They're spreading the blame so no one person really takes the fall for it or B. The rule is confusing enough that no one really understood it, from the coaches who are supposed to know what they are allowed or not allowed to do, to the staff that's supposed to tell them what's ok or not. I lean towards B. It sounds like obtuse rules, and there is no "villain" in it. But to say Rich was just an innocent victim isn't really correct either. He got a reprimand too. But there's a lot more to read. And of course, to see how the NCAA reacts. Because we can go "yaayyyyy, we didn't really do anything wrong." And if the NCAA doesn't agree (they DID issue all those violations), we have a big fight on our hands. That we don't need right now. But fingers crossed that they say "that's good", and we can move on.


May 25th, 2010 at 10:25 AM ^

In a new Rittenberg post titled What They're Saying about U-M's Response, this sentence was interesting for what was missing from it:

Brandon also did interviews with select news outlets Monday night, including The Detroit News and annarbor.com.

His summary of the messages he got from U-M's responses seems spot on to me:

Here's the message I get from Brandon in all this: What happened was unfortunate, and casts a negative light on Michigan. Many people screwed up, so pinning this all on Rodriguez is unfair. In fact, the potential for these problems was there before he arrived. And let's be real honest: this isn't paying players or academic fraud we're talking about. The media grossly exaggerated much of this stuff. We respect the NCAA's investigation, but to penalize us further would be excessive and somewhat hypocritical, given the vagueness of rules around quality control coaches, etc. If you expect me to fire Rodriguez based on these violations, keep waiting. Now if he goes 5-7 again ...

Here's the message I get from Rodriguez: I made some mistakes here, and these violations took place on my watch, which is disappointing. But I'm not the only one who screwed up, as there were communication and monitoring breakdowns elsewhere. I'm not going to downplay the violations, but they aren't capital crimes, as the media might want you to believe. This process was brutal, but it's nearing an end. I'm not going anywhere yet, so let me coach my football team. I know I need to win this season, so let's get on with it.


May 25th, 2010 at 10:29 AM ^

Those who are going the the extremes (less here than other outlets), wanting to say "IT'S ALL RICH ROD'S FAULT", or "RICH ROD DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG...IT WAS EVERYONE ELSE"...are both just, well, silly.  A number of people made mistakes, most minor.  And when compounded, they became something...I don't know...medium?  Even that seem an overstatement.  But those who think Rich didn't do anything wrong - Rich disagrees with you. And those who think Rich should be thrown under the bus - well, the University disagrees with you.

Swayze Howell Sheen

May 25th, 2010 at 8:01 AM ^

How about this quote from the U of M report (page 2):
While the University takes the violations very seriously, the actual violations are a far cry from the initial claims in the media.
or even better, this one (bottom of page 1):
... the University is satisfied that the initial media reports were greatly exaggerated if not flatly incorrect.
One main goal of the report achieved: put to rest the ridiculous freep article and shoddy reporting by MR once and for all.


May 25th, 2010 at 8:37 AM ^

I am so glad to have Brandon out front on this.  I've never had any doubt about his selection as AD, but this whole issue really re-affirms how much confidence I have that he'll both represent the school well and make sound decisions as AD.

Section 1

May 25th, 2010 at 10:57 AM ^

I knew that Brandon was thoroughly competent; with a truly superb resume for AD.  I knew that Bradnon loved the University and understood it as well or better than anybody.  That was all for the good.

But I also knew that Brandon, as a p.r.-conscious leader of a large, p.r.-intensive company,  understood that battles with the press are usually losers for large public and corporate insititutions.  And I expected -- feared, really -- that Brandon would go way out of his way to avoid conflict with the Free Press.  I expected -- really was convinced -- that influence from Mary Sue Coleman would cause the University to pull back from any counterattack against the Free Press.

And so I am delighted that those expectations were wrong.  Personally, this is my Brandon moment.  (I remained unconvinced even after his first couple of press conferences.)  This is a huge, gigantic step for him, to back up his program against the Free Press.  This is a kick-ass report.  I am thrilled, and especially thrilled at what it says about David Brandon.