To say that Rich Rodriguez has had a bumpy two-year start to his tenure as the football coach at the University of Michigan would put you in the Hall of Fame of Understatements.
Rodriguez has done nothing but lose football games on the gridiron, and now he’s losing traction as an upstanding coach.
The NCAA has spoken after a five-month investigation into U-M’s football program, and the results aren’t pretty.
Here it is, in a nutshell.
The NCAA alleges that Rodriguez “failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program,” and that the athletic department “failed to adequately monitor” the team.
Note the use of the word “failed” twice; that’s become the new “F” word in Ann Arbor when it comes to football.
The school that couldn’t even beat Toledo at home, the one that’s gone 8-16 the past two seasons, the one that sloppily handled its coaching search following the announced retirement of Lloyd Carr, that school is now on the hook for some NCAA violations that it will need to address this spring and summer.
Hail to the Victims Valiant.
Rodriguez, heading into his third year as coach, still has stench on him. There’s a lot of sheister about him. Remember his clumsy parting from West Virginia? Remember the allegations of document shredding at WVU before the school could get its mitts on pertinent papers?
Remember the scuttlebutt over the amount and lengths of practices last summer? Remember the defection of players who were disgusted by the Rodriguez Doctrine?
Then there are the losses. Oh, those losses. The Big House is now the Fun House for opposing teams. Schools who could only win in Ann Arbor in their wildest dreams have been doing it for real for two years now. In the past, if Toledo had come knocking, you’d have directed them to Pioneer High School across the street.
“I believe you’re at the wrong field,” you’d say to the Rockets.
Granted, the violations that the NCAA alleges, the list of which you can read here, aren’t necessarily in the major category of transgressions. But they’re not of the parking ticket variety, either.
Perhaps most troubling is the one citing a graduate assistant who allegedly provided willfully false information to the NCAA.
Rodriguez said Tuesday that his football program misinterpreted rules and made mistakes.
Welcome to Michigan, new Athletic Director David Brandon!
“This is a tough day for Michigan,” the new AD said in the wake of the news, which was announced Tuesday. And he doesn’t mean the state; I know some folks in East Lansing who probably can’t wipe the grins off their faces today.
“It’s on me,” Rodriguez said.
It’s all on RichRod now—the losing, the investigations, the allegations, the incredibly shrinking violet that once was U-M football.
They used to play football at Michigan, win a lot, and do it cleanly. Now they lose, and do it with odors.
This isn’t your father’s Michigan football program. It’s the Godfather’s, now.