Though the NCAA is not saying what it has found or why it is looking at Michigan’s football program, it has announced that it intends to investigate the university in an official capacity.
This comes on the heels of accusations over the summer that Rodriguez extends practices too long and has people associated with the program report to him about which players showed up to non-mandatory workouts etc. My first thought at the time was basically: Ohhhh, poor widdle Lloyd Carr recruits can’t handle a meany-weeny-fo-feeny coach and some extra practice? Poor babies! To be fair, I still feel the same way.
What did the NCAA do to Bear Bryant when he took his Texas A&M squad to the middle of nowhere and nearly killed them? Nothing. That was just The Bear trying to toughen his boys up. Some one even wrote a book about it, and ESPN made a damn movie about it. Bryant didn’t have anyone from the Detroit Free Press after his job and trying to report on a series of potential violations.
The most interesting part of this story is this: “Among other implications, coach Rich Rodriguez’s contract calls for his termination if he’s found to be responsible for major violations of NCAA rules.”
In other words, if the NCAA finds anything and Rich-Rod’s lawyer doesn’t do his job, then it will be open season on Michigan’s job. I hear that used to be a pretty nice gig to have as a collegiate coach.
If something DOES come of this investigation (which is scheduled to end by New Year’s Eve at the moment), it’ll be the story of the year in college football. Michigan will have run its staid, reliable, non-Barwisized coach out of town for the new guy and the spread offense and will have gotten a dirty coach and probably NCAA sanctions to go with it. Awesome, you guys.
Basically, they’ll have pulled a Nebraska-Plus. The Huskers did the exact same thing to Frank Solich and haven’t been the same since. In fact, it’s likely they’ll never be a dominant national power again. Michigan ran Carr out of town and took a huge f*cking chance on Rich Rodriguez. If the Rodriguez hire ends in disaster, that may be the last we’ve heard from the Wolverines for a long time. It might be like what happened to Indiana’s basketball program.
Top-level coaches will be hesitant to jump at that job once they know the press will be all over their ass and they’ll have to deal with NCAA sanctions for the first couple of seasons. Plus the school will have to hire a guy who’s actually clean, and who the hell wins when they’re actually clean? Even Pete Carroll thinks that’s silly.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. At the moment, the NCAA has only issued a cryptic “notice of inquiry” to the university and said little else. So while the sharks circle and Michigan ends up in the Gator Bowl, we know that at least Michigan’s players are getting plenty of practice time in.