Sometimes, a college program honestly breaks a rule. They offer a recruit money. They look the other way when a players gets arrested. Whatever. Those rules are hard-fast and can not be broken without consequence. But there are some rules, such as making a team practice longer than the NCAA allows, which can be argued, is a slightly lesser infraction. It is widely suggested that most, it not all successful FBS program bend this rule. When a team bends or breaks one of the lesser rules, usually it goes unreported. And why is this? Because, if it is a high profile program, like Michigan, you're successful enough to not have anyone really care about the smaller rules. And that's one of the luxuries of having a successful program. How else do you think Sir Teflon (Jim Tressel) has been able to stay squeaky clean with guys like Troy Smith taking money from boosters, and Maurice Clarett breaking just about every rule the NCAA has?
It all boils down to success. If you win, your enemies leave you alone. If you're the head coach at Michigan and hand the alumni their first losing season in 40+ years...watch out.
This is why the voracity of the claim made by Michael Rosenberg in his article holds very little water. It's been pretty well documented that Rosenberg is not a fan of Rich Rodriguez. And that's fine. Not everyone has to love him. But it just seems so convenient that a guy with such contempt is handed a group of current and former players who are so willing to just throw the program under the bus, a week before the opening game of Rodriguez's 2nd season.
If Rodriguez goes 7-5 or even 6-6 in his first year, do you think this article gets published?
Look, its as simple as this. Rosenberg has an ax to grind. That much we know. Rosenberg also doesn't really understand the whole concept of what a countable hour of of actual team time is. He also needs a little help with his fact-checking...in that he didn't do any of it.
One of the first things you do as a reporter, if you're going to publish something as explosive as this...is you make some phone calls to former WVU players to see if Rodriguez/Barwis might have done something similar in Morgantown just a couple seasons ago. It's called a "trend"...it can help you suggest a pattern. You also find out what kind of off-season conditioning and in-season practice schedules are like for similar schools.
And I never even went to reporting school!
Did Rosenberg make some phone calls or check his facts against similar programs? He didn't report any. What does that tell you?
It's a good thing he didn't put this quote from Chad Henne in his article citing the NCAA's 20-hour time limit for in-season team activities...
"Twenty hours is a very, very small portion of what you do, especially if you’re a quarterback at a high-profile school," Henne said. "Twenty hours isn't enough for you. You have to be in there by yourself, studying film, no coaches around, and doing it on your own. That's where the leadership comes in and that's where, if you want to get better and play better, you have to do it on your own."About the players who came forward...
"I really think whoever's saying it really doesn't want to be there," Henne said. "If they're saying that then they're not really worried about the team, they're not worried about what they’re going to do during their season and they’re kind of just giving themselves up. That's just negative talk right there. So whoever it is just really doesn’t care about the team, I would say. If they're complaining about that, then they don’t want to be the best they can be and that’s their own fault."Exactly.
I feel that I need to see names from Rosenberg of the players with whom he spoke with. Something about "anonymous sources" that just gives away all of his credibility.
Of course, this is just purely the stance of MBN. I do other things for a living. So I do not pretend to know everything about Michigan football and how the program is run. But I do know crap when I smell it, and this article is nothing more.
This will only remain a story for as long as bloggers and/or the mainstream media talk about. In 5 days, we start playing football. That's usually about the time all this off-season crap goes away.
For a complete recap of everything related to this issue from a guy who does this for a living...look no further than mgoblog. Brian is a talented guy...and he's on his game about this topic. The folks over at mgoblog also edited the useful sound bites from today's Monday presser...
Here's the full video of the presser courtesy of BTN posted by Sean at Michigan Sports Center...
And finally, Dave over at Maize-n-Brew has posted one of the best takes on this whole disaster that I've read so far.
This is all I have to say about this issue. It is game week. We have a HUGE game against Western Michigan at 3:30 on Saturday...and you better believe that I want nothing more than to get back to the business of being a great football program. I believe that Rodriguez, his staff and these players are fully capable to winning football games, and doing it the right way.
So with that...on with the season!