This weekend my wife and I went on a date. We saw Craig Ferguson perform his comedy routine at a local theater. If you have never stayed up past Letterman to watch his show - he is pretty funny. The live stand up routine differs from the TV show primarily with the use of the word FUCK, a lot. This made my wife uncomfortable, but I thought it was entertaining. One of the things he talked about was the chaos and irresponsibility inherent on the internet. He suggested that anyone posting on the net should ask themselves these simple rules
1) Does this need to be said ?
2) Does this need to be said by me ?
3) Does this need to be said by me now ?
I've been thinking for a while what to say about the chaos and coaching situation at Michigan - and have decided it was time to add my opinion to the steaming pile out there. So to answer Craig's three questions: Yes, likely not, and sure why not.
The first and most important thing to me on this subject is simply... I am a Michigan fan. I grew up in the state and have been a fan for as long as I can remember. I attended and graduated from the University. In the past, I have donated money to both the University and the athletic department. I run this blog with one of my best friends from Michigan for fun. I have brainwashed my kids into thinking this institution is great. For many years, I was a season ticket holder despite the fact there are 1,373 miles between my house and the Big House. None of this qualifies me for anything other than a personal opinion. In short, my college football loyalty sits with Michigan. The events and struggles over the last two seasons have not shaken that loyalty. It pains me greatly to watch the program struggle, but I have no doubt we will emerge from this dark period as a stronger program.
Rich Rodriguez is our football coach. As such, I support him. I still believe he is a capable football coach. Rich Rodriguez has been successful as a football coach in the past. As such, I am willing to give him more time to make it work here. I still believe he is a capable football coach. Rich Rodriguez is a human being. As such, I do not expect him to be perfect. I still believe he is a capable football coach.
For some reason, Rich Rodriguez is a lightning rod for controversy. His short time as our football coach has been nothing short of a ridiculous soap opera. Some of these controversies have been self inflicted (#1 jersey, Captains, piped in music) while others have been nothing more than a sickening character lynching. I am far from unbiased, but there is no doubt in my mind Rich Rodriguez is and has been the target of witch hunt designed to ensure his failure. Many of these attacks come from expected sources and are part of the fun of coaching a major college football program -- but others are criminally irresponsible.
The most blatant offender in the public lynching of Rich Rodrigez has been the Detroit Free Press. From now on, I will simply refer to this publication as the "FDFP" (Fucking Detroit Free Press). From day one of RR's tenure the writers and editors of the FDFP have demonstrated their anti-RR-bias. The constant drum beat from the FDFP has been comical, but now this bias has delivered NCAA investigators and ridiculous rules violations to the program. Enough is enough. The FDFP lied about the rules violation in an effort sell newspapers in a bad economy. The damage was unnecessary and reprehensible. If you are a subscriber to this publication, you should call and cancel your business. If your business advertises with this paper, you should eliminate that expense. If you link to or read the words created by this paper online, you should remove the URL from your bookmarks. This is not misplaced or redirected anger. The FDFP needs to be put out of business from the supporters of the institution they have damaged.
If I were the the Athletic Director at the University of Michigan, I would revoke all media privileges and access for any writer/reporter from the FDFP. This ban would be in effect until the paper terminates the employment of Michael Rosenberg and Mark Synder. I would also require Drew Sharp to publicly apologize to the family of incoming recruit Demar Dorsey. The irresponsible "journalism" and outright lies delivered by these idiots -- resulting in the chaos and subsequent NCAA investigation was nothing more than yelling fire in a crowded movie theater. These guys are not journalists, they are fiction authors, and should not qualify for access to coaches and players. If the FDFP were somehow transplanted to Columbus, State College, or Austin and tried to pull these shenanigans, the paper would quickly go out of business because the building would be burned down.
But Andy, what about the actual NCAA Violations committed by RR and staff ? There is no doubt specific rules were not followed by the current staff. Yes, an assistant lied. Michigan needs to stand up and fix these errors. The assistant needs to be fired. But that should be the end of it.
Say what you want about major or secondary violations, the binary nature of the NCAA rule book and the violation categories is a joke. If the NCAA ran the criminal justice system in America, a parking ticket would be a felony and punishable by death. Every football fan in the country knows it. Every football coach in the country knows if their program were investigated in the same manner, similar violations would erupt. Good football teams work hard. What happened in Ann Arbor was not "major violation" of anything. Holding up what our program is accused of in the face of a team beat down of engineering students, illegal payments by a booster to a player, widespread academic fraud, and a player receiving cash, a car and a condo is laughable. We practiced too long and hard and our coaches made sure our players were going to class. Yawn.
But Andy, Michigan has a higher standard. To this I say bullshit. There is not one standard for everyone else and a higher one for Michigan. There is ONE standard and we need to committed to follow that standard. This elitist mentality is not productive or sustainable. I don't care that this incident has stained our spotless program. The basketball team and Ed Martin did that long ago. These apparent NCAA violations committed are equivalent to a paper cut. Get over it.
But Rich Rodriguez is not a Michigan Man. At this point, the myth of a so called Michigan Man is the most self-serving and arrogant thing I have ever heard. No wonder the rest of the college football world hates us. Is there actually a nominating committee that sits somewhere and determines entry into the exclusive club ? Did Bo somehow make the grade from an Ohio State Man to Miami Man to Michigan Man? What about Fielding Yost ? Did he go to some special class before he left West Virginia that Rich Rodriguez failed to enroll ? Give me a break.
The myth of the Michigan Man is just that... a myth. Bo used it in 1989 to describe Steve Fisher in his anger over the resignation of Bill Frieder. I ask you this, is Steve Fisher the model Michigan Man ? What about Gary Moeller ? Rick Leach ? This myth needs to vanish because it is preventing us from moving forward. I love Bo, but he is dead. He is not coming back to coach the team or pick the next coach.
You are just a Rich Rod supporting robot. I want to be proud of my school. Period. At this point, yes I still believe that RR can still win football games for my school. I am frustrated with the lack of success so far, but I know the damage of firing a coach right now is far greater than staying the course and letting the system develop. I have read and watched enough to understand the issues and believe they are going to be improved. He was given a terrible hand and we expect him to win the World Series of Poker. If RR fails to win enough football games, rest assured, I won't support him. He just has not been given enough of a chance so far.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I have shared mine. The only thing I ask you is that you recognize the situation and give the program a chance to be successful. If he fails to win ball games, yes he needs to go. But now is not the time.