Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Free Press strikes again

I have no doubt that most of this is true. And to it, I say, "so what"? They practice too much? This is not news, its been going on for years in every major college sport, and quite a few of the non-major ones. To think that this is shocking, unique, or somehow makes Rich Rod an outlaw coach is silly.

Could their be penalties for Michigan? Perhaps, but I would be surprised if the NCAA took any action. While if the Free Press's account of hours is true it would constitute technical violations, the NCAA has looked past more blatant violations from other schools. Recently Alabama and Florida State were found to have committed violations for improper benefits and academic fraud, respectively, and were force to forfeit past games, but not given a bowl ban or lost scholarships. The NCAA has a history of not punishing the big guys too much, like the old Jerry Tarkanian joke about Kentucky committing a violation so Eastern Kentucky goes on probation.

So what does worry me? The article implied that players weren't allowed to go to class because of practice, but it didn't have anything to back it up. If this were the case I would be troubled. If players were prevented from taking challenging courses, I would be bothered.

But what worries me the most about this is that there are writers , or editors at the Free Press who either have an agenda against Rich Rod, or feel that writing articles about how wrong he is for Michigan is the best way to sell papers. The companion article about how MSU plays by the rules is the dead give away. The article on Michigan appears to have taken some time, and a significant amount of work to compile. They appear to have spent maybe 15 minutes on the MSU article, getting a throw away quote off a leading question ("Does Dantonio cheat?) just to appear fair and balanced. The practice schedule for the Spartans is no different than it is for Michigan.

If, as some have suggested, there are still some in the administration or athletic department that don't like Rich Rod and would have preferred someone that represented less of a change, these continual negative stories, however true or untrue they might be, could be used to run him out of town if he is not wildly successful this year or next.