I’ve posted before on the potential NCAA violations committed by the Michigan football program, which initially were reported by the Detroit Free Press. Some nine months later, Michigan has now completed its “internal investigation” and admitted to certain violations. It concluded that there was a breakdown in communications and it fired one staffer and reprimanded seven other people involved in the football program, including Head Coach Rich Rodriguez. It also put itself on two years of probation (although not of the double-secret variety). The school clearly hopes that its self-administered punishment will cause the NCAA to refrain from imposing other tougher sanctions that further sully Michigan’s reputation.
It’s hard to believe it took nine months for Michigan to figure out that there was a breakdown in communications, but it doesn’t surprise me that Michigan didn’t ultimately hold Rich Rod accountable for the failings in his program. Michigan took a big risk in hiring Rodriguez rather than a “Michigan man,” and so far it has been an embarrassment and a disaster for one of the most storied, respected programs in college football. The team has been terrible, players have transferred and raised questions about Rodriguez, and scandals like the Free Press articles seem to be lurking around every corner.
Let’s hope Michigan has fixed those communications breakdowns and established appropriate supervision over its football program, because Rodriguez surely understands that if the Wolverines don’t win this season he is gone. Coaches whose jobs are hanging by a thread often are more attentive to wins than compliance.