Monday, August 31, 2009

One last note (hopefully) on the Michigan story

I've had a few concerns about Rich Rodriguez since the time he was hired, but his supposed blatant disregard for NCAA rules was never on that list (and still isn't). And if you can't figure out why I feel that way -- and why I support him even more now than I did a month ago -- you obviously didn't watch his emotional press conference on Monday:

You can rightfully criticize a few things about the guy's coaching, but I simply refuse to believe that the man in that video has no regard for his players' well-being or academic success and runs the football equivalent of a boot camp.

I know I'm biased, and that will always affect my view to a certain extent. But if there's anyone who would be biased in the opposite direction -- anyone who would just love to bury RichRod in a pile of allegations and ruin his career forever -- it would be his old friends at West Virginia. What do they have to say on the matter?
West Virginia university's compliance office began reviewing its own records immediately after a weekend Detroit Free Press story alleged that former Mountaineers football coach Rich Rodriguez broke NCAA rules at Michigan.

"There were no student-athlete complaints during the time (Rodriguez) was here."

Former players who agreed to speak to the Daily Mail anonymously after learning of the allegations first raised Saturday night said they knew of nothing similar happening at WVU during at their time with the team.

Wait ... what? West Virginia is defending Rich Rodriguez? That's like an ex-wife defending her former spouse even though she's still bitter about the divorce settlement and the fact that he left her for a 21-year-old model.

If there were any concerns among the Michigan fan base regarding RichRod's compliance record, they should be gone now.

The one positive about all the media attention has been that nearly everyone of importance has come out publicly in defense of Rodriguez and the Michigan staff -- current players, former players, players' parents, the school's compliance office, West Virginia, etc. The Free Press story is losing steam by the minute as more and more information comes out, and I'm confident now that its lifespan will be similar to that of the "Greg Paulus to Michigan" storyline that plagued ESPN for a solid week before disappearing.

At some point in the near future, UM will issue a statement saying that its internal review revealed no major NCAA rules violations, the NCAA will do nothing and the whole story will be quickly forgotten (after a few more follow-ups by ESPN, of course). And once these things happen, all that will matter will be the results on the field.

It's four days until kickoff at Michigan Stadium, and I'm ready for some football.

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