Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Free Press GPA report

In a story that's sure to be blown painfully out of proportion, Detroit Free Press is reporting (link is no followed) that Rich Rodriguez, who has long since claimed that the current team has the highest GPA of any Michigan team in the last 25 years, has now backed off of the claim. An official statement by Rodriguez is posted on MGoBlue:

I have mentioned publicly several times that the football team last year achieved the highest average GPA ever, and I'd like to set the record straight on that statement. Last fall, in order to boost academic performance, I asked the Academic Success Program for the highest-ever team GPA and challenged the players to beat it. The ASP doesn't track team GPAs, so they provided me with an estimate based on their experience dealing with individual performance. They did not make it clear that the number was just an estimate and not an exact calculation. We apologize if this has caused any confusion.

That said, I want to re-emphasize how proud I am of the academic performance of our team members. We have implemented several activities aimed at motivating each player to succeed in the classroom as well as on the field. A number of them have achieved their "personal-best" GPAs, and I believe that each of them will continue to strive for excellence.

This prompted a story from--who else?--the Free Press' Michael Rosenberg, the man behind the Michigan NCAA allegations and various other anti-Rodriguez articles. In the article, it claims that the Free Press "The Free Press filed Freedom of Information Act requests last month for specific information related to the team’s combined grade point average.", to which I can only ask: Why?

For anyone still in doubt about the Free Press' continued witch hunt against Rodriguez, look no further than completely unprompted searches to discredit and disprove Rodriguez's statements and attempts to advance the Michigan program. This, however, should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the Free Press allegations--unprompted interviews with players, looking for information against Rodriguez.

Complete speculation, but this, to me, seems to me like the Free Press is feeling the heat from the lack of news on the NCAA violation allegations. Not that I'm particularly privy to how these investigations go, but it's my assumption that, without having heard anything leak about NCAA violations, there probably haven't been any serious ones uncovered. The Free Press dedicated a lot of manpower and placed, essentially, the reputation of two of their reporters (which were backed up by their editors) on this story. If it comes back to be completely false or simply incorrect, as most have argued, the Free Press is going to look very, very bad. This digging is bothersome and reeks of desperation. Rodriguez has handled it correctly, even if his claims were overzealous to begin with. This is another non-story that the Free Press will likely try to expand. Ugh.


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