Dave Brandon mgoblog Ohio State Rich Rodriguez
David Brandon Shows His Worth
I know yesterday I made a point of saying that I'd leave the whole NCAA investigation topic alone unless something else major was announced, but I just can't let this thing die without addressing two more related topics:
1) I must admit, if anyone was on the fence about what kind of an administrator and leader David Brandon is, this most recent incident (which he inherited) clearly demonstrates that not only can he handle tough situations with class, but he's so deliberate and confident in the way he conducts business.
You can clearly see based on recent events, what makes Brandon such a great leader. He was very successful at Dominoes, and he's bringing that same recipe for success to Michigan.
You could argue that I'm jumping the gun a little bit on judging Brandon, and I'm doing so in such glowing terms. I don't mean to say that Bill Martin could not have conducted himself with the same professionalism. Martin, over his 10 years as AD, proved he was more than capable to conduct the business of the department. But Brandon brings that certain air of confidence and conviction. When he says that he disagrees with the NCAA's finding that Rodriguez did not create an environment of compliance, (whatever that means) I truly believe that Brandon, as an outsider who inherited this mess is as best qualified as anyone to provide unbiased input and ideas.
2) These sanctions are by and away fair...maybe even too fair. Now, of course these are Michigan's self-imposed sanctions. I fully expect them to be honored by the NCAA. I don't think further sanctions against Michigan will be handed down.
Notice I said "against Michigan".
2 years of probation is harsh, especially for Michigan who's never been sanctioned by the NCAA...ever. But before we go all "Michigan Men" here and bemoan the loss of the holiness of Michigan's streak of no NCAA sanctions, lets just put this into perspective.
The total sum of the infractions is 65 hours of extra practice time over 2 years. That's it. This whole sum of the infractions that have been handed down against Michigan. That's 37.5 minutes of extra practice time a week. According to reports, 53 of those 65 hours were stretching time.
It's not like we're USC or tOSU and we're being found guilty of paying players or providing illegal benefits from boosters. Not even close. We're not recruiting wrongly, we're not giving players passing grades in fluff classes.
We're talking about 65 hours of extra practice time over 2 years.
Give me a goddamn break.
I am more pissed that this situation has even garnered as much attention as it has. When you really put it into perspective, Michigan practiced longer than they should have, but did it result in a sudden rush of victories or championships? Of course not. So you could argue that the extended practice time, as unintentional as it was, did nothing to impact the team positively in any way.
Like we've said so many times before, EVERY program in the country could be found guilty of these infractions. ALL OF THEM!
Now there's a whole 'nother side of this situation that we're not going to get into, and that's the department personnel named in the report yesterday who have been reprimanded (but not fired) for their actions, or lack thereof, during this time. And there's also the CARA form situation as well. These topics are way to introverted and political for us to to dive into with any sense of judgment. If this is why you are here, I apologize. If that's your particular brand of vodka, please visit our friends at mgoblog. They've got you covered every which way from Tuesday on that front.
For those of you out there who think I am putting too much blame on the Free Press for all of this, here's why:
Regardless of how Rosenberg got his information...whether it was a leak in the department, current or former players, it is up to him and the editorial staff at the newspaper to do some fact checking before an earth-shattering article like this gets published. Every major sports news outlet ran with the Freep story, and treated it like gospel.
The Freep had claimed that Michigan, and more specifically Rodriguez had knowingly and blatantly gone over the time allowed for team activities during the 2008 season and off-season by as much as double, or at least 8-10 hours a week. The Freep claimed there was a complete loss of control by the staff and the department, and Rodriguez was actively finding ways to break the rules.
No named sources were used. The Free Press ran this story on hearsay and biased opinion. Which isn't really against any rules, but they should have at the very least said that, and not claimed these opinions as fact.
For that, they are guilty of both exaggerating the facts, and in some instances, being just flat out wrong.
But the article did two things well:
1) It raised the awareness of missing CARA forms in the compliance office, and magically made them appear.
2) It made clear that there is a faction of the UM alumni, and athletic department staff that is not happy with Rodriguez and is out to get him fired as soon as humanly possible.
Either way, all of this nonsense will be turned way down if and when two things happen:
1) USC and Pete Carroll get taken out to lunch by the NCAA and the BCS.
2) Michigan beats UConn on September 4th.
Distractions and winning are all that will make this go away. The Michael Rosenberg's of the world will disappear if Michigan just starts winning football games.
This Freep article was published a week before the 2009 season. The Monday presser prior to the season was dominated by questions about CARA forms and players not liking Rodriguez and Rodriguez getting very emotional in front of cameras.
Then, that Saturday, Michigan beat Western Michigan 31-7.
The following Monday presser completely lacked any questions or references to the Freep article. Winning one game, against a MAC school no less, healed the wound ripped open just 7 days prior.
Sports writers are such a fickle bunch.
And for that reason, this blog is dedicated to getting us back to football again. Needless to say this is a big topic worth weighing in on, but it's also one big fat distraction. We can't wait to start talking about the QB race, the much improved offensive line, ways the defense can have a better year...all of that good ole' football talk that we love to do so much.
So until then...Go Blue!
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