Well the perception out there that Rich Rod and the rest of the Michigan Wolverine staff didn’t care about their players may be disheartening, but it also now may be true. Apparently the accusations about breaking NCAA rules were not so inaccurate, or misleading.
The whole crying charade by Rich Rod at the beginning of the 2009 season was, even at the time, a sad attempt to convince parents and the media that Rodriguez was legit. It was a miserable attempt at proving that he keeps records of what his players and coaches are doing at all times. It was a poignant attempt at convincing himself that he was a “straight” coach.
According to ESPN.com, Rodriguez “failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program.” He also neglected to track what his staff and players were doing or where they were during the season and offseason. The report also sites that the athletic department failed to make sure its football program was complying with NCAA rules and regulations.
With these allegations, Michigan has 90 days to respond and will have an NCAA hearing about these infractions in August.
This all came to fruition after a report from the Detroit Free Press that said Rich Rod and the Michigan football program exceeded NCAA limits regarding practices and workouts in the two years of his tenure. The information came from anonymous players on the team.
These reports were the reason for his embarrassing attempt at sweeping this story under the rug. He tearfully defended his coaching styles, his coaching staff, and that he has followed the rules. He even went as far as to blame these reports as slander, stating they were made to “tear up” his rebuilding efforts of college footballs most prominent program.
Now, he says the staff misinterpreted NCAA rules. Really Rich Rod is that it?
You know damn well that you were bending the rules, even when you were tearing up; hoping those fake tears would cover your ass.
That whole fiasco made you look like an idiot; and now your self pride won’t allow you to admit you knew the rules, and you turned your back while they were broken. Haven’t you learned anything from beating around the bush in sports? Has it worked for any member involved with the steroid rumors? How about USC and their program (both basketball and football)?
Why would your players come out and tell reporters that they were spending double or triple the amount of time on required workouts (NCAA rules allow players to spend eight hours a week on mandatory workouts) per week, if it wasn’t true? How do you “misinterpret” eight hours a week on mandatory workouts? That rule is pretty simple to remember.
What about the audit that discovered that you failed to file forms tracking how much time players spent on football during your first season and that next offseason? How did you forget about that one? Did your dog eat the forms?
It is a sad thing that Michigan is going through. They brought in Rich Rod, who was expected to bring an elite type offense in the spread and a fiery defense to reclaim Michigan’s role at the top of the Big Ten. He has an 8-16 overall record in two tiresome and disappointing seasons; and although it does take about four years to turn a football program around, if convicted of these accusations, Rich Rod can be fired (a clause in his contract states he can be fired over NCAA, Big Ten, or the school determines he has committed a major violation or rules) which would ultimately set the Wolverines back even farther than they were before. New athletic director David Brandon stated that “Rich Rodriquez is our football coach, and he will be our football coach next year.”
If the rest of the Big Ten and its fans already didn’t think Rich Rod was an arrogant, selfless, egotistical lunatic, I would bet my money they do now. If they already didn’t have their questions about how “legit” his recruiting and coaching styles are, I would bet they do now. If they already didn’t hate Michigan for whatever reason, I would bet they do now.
Things like this make me truly thankful for Kirk Ferentz and the rest of the Iowa coaching staff. They turn underrated recruits into All-Big Ten players, and they do it the right way. Sure they’ve had their share of drunken nights, and taxi beatings, but there has never been a report of Ferentz doing it the wrong way.
Rich Rod might remain the coach for now, but if the sanctions keep adding up I don’t see that as an option. If Rich Rod continues to think he is larger than the system, I don’t see that as an option. If he continues to flat out cheat, I don’t see that as an option.