“Michigan players should WELCOME 8-10 hour Sundays of film study and weight lifting. After 3-9, need to get better, not whine.” So Tweeted collegiate sports reformer TheRealSkipBayless earlier today, the above thoughtful response coming on the heels of the University Of Michigan football program facing charges of NCAA violations. 2nd year coach Rich Rodriguez has been accused of violating guidelines regulating off-season workouts, in-season demands on players and mandatory summer activities, a charge the wildly unpopular former West Virginia educator vehemently denied earlier today. And by “vehemently”, I mean he was almost reduced to tears (for the second time in recent memory). From the Detroit News’ Angelique S. Changelis :
Rodriguez opened his regular game-week news conference Monday by addressing the allegations first presented in a Detroit Free Press article Sunday. Several former players, who spoke anonymously, said the Wolverines routinely violated the NCAA-mandated 20-hour practice rule.
Rodriguez defended strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis in his early remarks Monday.
“He has always complied with the rules, as has our entire staff,” Rodriguez said. “We know the rules and comply with the rules.”
Rodriguez became visibly emotional, grabbed both sides of the lectern, and looked down before speaking again.
“The thing that bothers me the most is the perception that we didn’t care for the student’s’ welfare,” Rodriguez said. “That is disheartening. To say that is misleading. … We complied by the rules.”
Newsday’s Campus Confidential blog quotes Rodriguez as saying of his accusers, “it was misleading. Treatments, study hall, other aspects don’t count…the players don’t] know the rules. They don’t know what counts and what doesn’t,” and indeed, it is difficult to keep track of arcane NCAA edicts while also maintaining a shrine to Lloyd Carr in one’s dorm room. But as Jon Heyman already put it so well, “if Rich Rodriguez cheated to go 3-9 , I nominate him for worst coach in college football history.”