Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Self flogging

And the heavens opened and the NCAA looked down upon Michigan and said, "Michigan you have sinned." And Michigan looked back and shrugged.

So after all of the Free Press allegations and chatter and nonsense for the last year, Michigan finally had a chance to put all of it to bed when they sent 168 pages of a response to the NCAA concerning the rules violations. The takeaway: Michigan is going to take their beating for exactly what they did; nothing more, nothing less. The grand total of their self-imposed sanctions include:
  • Limiting quality control staff in meetings
  • Reducing mandatory practice hours by 130 hours over the next two years
  • Public reprimand (BOOM REPRIMANDED)
  • Firing Alex Herron who has been fired for months now
  • Probation, two years
And.... that's it. Michigan didn't cheat when it comes to recruiting so they're not limiting coaches in recruiting. They didn't play with any ineligible players so they're not losing any scholarships. A TV and postseason ban are obviously out of the question. The point is, Michigan looked at what they did wrong, looked at what the NCAA wanted, and imposed sanctions directly in response to their malfeasances; there will be no symbolic penalties here.

Whether or not the NCAA will respond with something more severe is yet to be seen, but as Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Big Ten blogger points out, the blame has been spread around here:

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.

Because of the way Michigan structured it's response, it's basically saying that this was a comedy of errors rather than anything malicious or intentional. This is the crux of Michigan's leniency on itself. They even go so far as to mention that no player's welfare or health was put into question etc. etc. Michigan is making its case and passive aggressively striking back at the NCAA. I think they're hitting the right notes and shouldn't incur any more or any more substantial penalties when the NCAA passes down its final judgment.

The thing that's most interesting is reading through Rodriguez's response to the NCAA (I didn't read through the University's because I presume it's basically what you'd expect). Rodriguez's statement basically tears apart the NCAA rules and makes a pretty solid case for him not being responsible for the stuff that went on here (he wasn't):

The bylaw does not impose strict liability upon a head coach for all violations that occur in his program. The rationale for the bylaw states: [A] violation of the proposed bylaw will occur only in major infractions cases, similar to institutional control allegations, or in very serious secondary cases. This proposal does not imply that every violation by a staff member or student-athlete involved in the head coach’s program will be considered a lack of control on the party of the head coach.

Who wants to talk about the quarterback competition?


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