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Posted on Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 11:15 a.m.

A Michigan football parent speaks out against alleged rules violations

By Dave Birkett

I spoke with Craig Roh's dad, Fred, last week, before allegations that Michigan had violated NCAA rules concerning practice time were made public. He said then that one reason Craig picked Michigan is because of the relationship he built with no-nonsense strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis, someone he felt would help him be great.

Earlier this week, Fred Roh reached back out to to say he hasn't seen any sign of players being forced to work out beyond what the NCAA allows, a theme central to the allegations against Michigan.

Here's his e-mail in its entirety:

"I am the dad of a first year Freshman football player at Michigan and had the pleasure of experiencing first-hand the recruiting process, the first summer with the UM program and his first Fall camp. I feel obligated to share with readers concrete evidence of the integrity and compliance of the Rich Rod program and staff. I do not wish to speak for others but rather describe one family’s actual experience with the Michigan program. My son had thirty-five scholarship offers and chose UM because it is one of the few schools in the country that has great football AND academics. With a 4.2 GPA, he could have gone to UCLA, Cal, Stanford, USC … all great academic schools. He chose Michigan because he thought it had the best of both and because of the coaching staff.

He also selected UM because of the intensity and straight talk of the coaching staff. The first person he met was Mike Barwis. After spending an hour with Barwis, my son turned to me and said, 'He will get every ounce of potential out of me and make me the best I can be. That's what I want.' When he met Rich Rod, he was further impressed with his openness and vision. My son came here BECAUSE of the work ethic that was to be required of him. He WANTS to be pushed to the limits, not coddled and pampered. (Believe it or not there are still young people in our country who want this!)

He was recruited by one of the assistant coaches. I am here to say that the recruiter complied with every letter of the rules throughout the entire recruitment process, even the ones that seem senseless (and there are a bunch). He would not even give me a ride to lunch or pick up a $5 lunch tab because it was against the rules. He informed us of the recruiting rules over and over again. As I watched 35 schools recruit my son, I would put Michigan right there at the top of the integrity scale when it came to recruiting (as I would many other schools).

Let's talk about my son’s first summer. Again, his recruiter made it abundantly clear what we had to pay for and what the school was allowed to pay for, what our responsibilities were and what the school's were. I was tired of hearing about all the rules. It was like dealing with the IRS. There was NO push to report to school early, in fact we were told that if my son wanted to report to summer school early, it was on our dime and totally voluntary. His summer was very balanced. He VOLUNTARILY asked to watch tape as much as he could. Nobody pushed him to do it or even suggested it. He wanted to spend more time on football than what was available to him.

Lastly, I know for a fact that my son missed workouts in the summer and even missed parts of at least three practices at Fall camp so that he could attend class. He was excused with absolutely no repercussions by the coaching staff.

I am assuming that players who choose to come to UM under Rich Rod are coming here BECAUSE it’s hard. They want to become the best. They want to be pushed. They want great academics and great football environment. I have heard critics say they want to protect the “rights” of the players so that they can have a balanced life at Michigan. My son did not come to Michigan to have a balanced life. He came to excel and achieve in all areas of college life. He has been at Michigan now since June and it has exceeded his expectations. He has told me numerous times, 'Dad, I don’t want to offend you, but I’m not homesick at all.' Some critics think they are doing these kids a favor by easing up the workload and, in reality, they are undermining the very reason the kids chose UM! A concerned football parent.



Sat, Sep 5, 2009 : 11:43 a.m.

What would you expect a parent to say?He's got to protect his kid and he's a little to new to the program to be throwing darts.BLUE BRAINS even though you will grab this and run it really doesn't mean all that much.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 7:31 p.m.

Point taken. GO BLUE!!!!!!!!


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 5:51 p.m.

@tomhagan: You refer to Nazis to make your point? Folks. We have now achieved Goodwin's law. The thread has officially jumped the shark.

The Truth

Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 5:22 p.m.

Wow. Dad, instead of protesting so much you lose credibility, why don't you just admit that you and your son made a terrible mistake by choosing to go with Rich Rod and UM. I am sorry for your family that UM's 3 wins last season are now forever tainted by the cheating. I hope for your sake next season's UM coach has much higher standards. Btw, does anyone remember that Gary Moeller got fired for having one too many beers one night, while Rich Rod has been given free pass after free pass? The Truth


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 5:21 p.m.

"My son did not come to Michigan to have a balanced life. He came to excel and achieve in all areas of college life" I LOVE IT! "Some critics think they are doing these kids a favor by easing up the workload and, in reality, they are undermining the very reason the kids chose UM!" You're obviously not Democrat...:O)


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 4:41 p.m.

Great article, we need more of the parents to show their support. Tomhagan, Good post. I agree.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 4:08 p.m.

People like "ritadweller" desperately throw out red-herrings to try and cloud issues that really are not cloud-able. Its the same technique that the Nazi's used in Germany: Attempt to discredit an entity by throwing whatever garbage that they can and see what sticks. This worked in pre WWII Germany, which was going through desperate economic times...but it wont work now with Michigan football because UM fans and alumni are united in their support for Rich Rodriguez. BTW, The University of Michigan is doing a very smart thing in hiring the best law firm, to do this investigation. They are confident that they have done no wrong, and they have it all documented with Compliance. Once their report is released, the Freep will be done... and not have a leg to stand on. At that point, the Freep and Rosenberg/Snyder will have to either a) apologize and print a retraction b) face possible legal ramifications from UM for printing a biased and unsubstantiated "story" designed to muck rack and point fingers in the same blurry fashion that "ritadweller" is trying to do. Already, the Freep is starting to back-track on their firm-stance... and print stories which will give them an out, such as "everyone does it says NCAA report"... well that is not good enough: The Freep/Rosen-snyder are Going Down, when this is all said and done.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 3:28 p.m.

Wow, very impressive evidence in favor of the coaching staff. It is beginning to sound like there were a few bad apples who were the exception and not the rule.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 3:10 p.m.

ritawedaliar Where did you hear RR was going bankrupt? The last I heard he was being sued for non-performance on a real estate noe....The man who started all this is sitting in jail for running a Ponzi scheme.....RR and 3 other coaches are victims of this scheme


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 2:56 p.m.

Go BLUE! I'm sick of everyone(rich haters) trying to find excuses for michigan football. It was a bad year, a transformation was taking place and there was some players that did join the "team" and did buy in, Therefore alot of mistakes and errors that cause them not to ununite and not preform. Not to mention the d-cordinator we had, thats the only thing Rich has done I dont agree with, but greg will be great and help get us back to where we need to be. This year is going to be different you'll see and football will be back "all in for michigan". Prediction time championship soon. Rich is very good and just needed a championship school to recruit the star athelets and to win championships. Here we come NCAA that trophy is ours. Thanks to craig's father for helping set this straight. Go BLUE!


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 2:44 p.m.

Great story... top notch Dad GO BLUE!!


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 2:44 p.m.

Nice story, and I'm happy you printed Mr. Roh's email in it's entirety. It is sad, though that this comes on the Friday, before a game, before the holiday, and when many readers may miss it.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 2:43 p.m.

boulder crap? your a state fan...why do you care? I assure you nobody here cares about your comments GO BLUE!!


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 2:33 p.m.

What about the head coach going bankrupt? How is that going to reflect on the storied tradition of the winningest program in history? You can dismiss all the drama yopu want, but there is a serious storm brewing and it will make Katrina look a spring shower.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 1:41 p.m.

Lloyd Carr helped create the hoopla around the hiring of the next Michigan football coach. He should have waited until after the Last BCS game to announce his retirement.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 1:28 p.m.

I wonder if a single MSU parent would ever express anything close to this letter, unless of course, that parent was Bob Marley, then I'm sure they would love the MSU experience.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 1:27 p.m.

Sour grapes for Loyd's players, thats all. This will all be long forgotten if UM goes to a bowl game this year. If not, it starts to look like a nail in RR's coffin. He seems to leave a wake of ill repute behind him all the time. Poor judgment or poor character - I don't know which. But all will be forgiven if he becomes a winner.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 12:52 p.m.

There have been malcontents in the Michigan football program that I have been aware of and/or known since at least Bo came to town. It's not for everyone and frankly the program does not support those who swim against the tide---you either become part of the team or you take your whiney act someplace else. I could sight examples like Mallett but there have been more; don't make it sound like it's under RR only. So what if they have "Torture Tuesdays"? Every school has something like that, heck, at A@ Pioneer high the swim team has "Hill Week" tee shirts with the flames of hell showing around the coach, Mr. Hill's picture. It's all part of the hard work and discipline necessary to become a great student-athlete. It's all part of the "job" which should have a caveat that states "whiners and prima donnas need not apply". I am personally SICK of the witch hunt on RR. Get over it and move on to something important.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 12:45 p.m.

Kudos to Mr. Roh. This one story does not end the inquiry, any more that Rosenberg's unsubstantiated hit piece confirms there were violation. What it does prove, beyond question, is that there is another side to the story, a side that Rosenberg chose to ignore completely. I am amazed that the Freep would print such an unbalanced report. But I am also amazed that RR and the University gave the story so much creedence. I would have like to have seen RR or Martin issue a statement (not a press conference) dismissing the Freep article as unfounded innuendo, assuring all that there will be an investigation that will demonstrate that RR runs a clean program. WHY did this story get so huge? WHY do we keep fueling the fire? WHY don't I, uh, get back to my day job...

Dan Meisler

Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 12:39 p.m.

Is anyone disturbed by this statement: "My son did not come to Michigan to have a balanced life."?


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 12:33 p.m.

Athletes work very, very hard even at the High School level. They have an opportunity to learn discipline, to commit to something, teamwork, pride and a sense of accomplishment among other learning opportunities. It's physicallly, emotionally and mentally draining for these kids. Some of them can't make it because they are not willing or able to work hard enought. There were a few on the UM team who wanted to be treated special, as Prima Donnas and when the found this wouldn't work there they left or complained or both. What's really a shame is that these selfish little boys are making life difficult for the players and staff who remain. As Bo said "those who stay will be champions". Keep in mind this is off the field, in the classroom, in life as well as on the field. I want to see the football program become successful once again, but it appears that some insiders and some malcontents are hell bent on sabotaging the current coach and his staff. There is a group of former players who are very involved in the alumni programs, who are ardent supporters of UM football that have been fact finding and gathering information....should the need to strike back come into play, the current athletic administration at Michigan will be in a world of hurt for the nasty things THEY are doing to RR and the program. Stick around and watch! BTW---thanks to Mr. Roh. And LOL to the person who asked Lloyd Carr to step and and support the far he hasn't done a darn thing to help, has he?


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 12:27 p.m.

The parents of Michael Schofield, Je'ron Stokes, and Obi Ezeh have all said very similar things. Also, all of them sent messages to the Freep, which chose to ignore all of them, unlike the Detroit News. So call it "stupid conspiracy talk" if you want, but Rosenberg has stated publicly that it is his goal to get Rodriguez fired. One wonders why on earth the Freep allowed a writer with an avowed agenda to take the lead on this "story."


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 12:16 p.m.

Wow. As a State fan this puts a huge dent on the Free Press' allegations and seriously raises integrity questions for the journalist(s) behind the allegations. Mr. Roh here essentially explains every single accusation with (what I think are) very sound explanations. In fact, he is the first to address the so called "repercussions" for skipping a practice - which are none. We'll see what the investigation finds but I'd say at this point the benefit of the doubt is now with Michigan. Go State!


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 11:55 a.m.

If they were doing their job why didn't they talk to the staff?


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 11:41 a.m.

while this is sweet and stills proves nothing, just like the allegers have proved nothing......can the writers at ann please find something else to write about as this whole episode is just ridiculous....... and lloyd wont say anything more than he already has said because he has made it clear that its richrod's team and richrod has yet to embrace or seek out lloyd.... thats another change in michigan...


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 11:39 a.m.

I think most of you are completely missing the point on the allegations. It is NOT that they are working long hours in "mandatory voluntaries". It is that they were punished for failing to attend these workouts. And it will not help RR that these were called "torture Tuesdays". And stop the stupid conspiracy talk; these reporters were just doing their job. The days of reporters overlooking stories because Bo asked them to are long gone.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 11:33 a.m.

It's one parent people.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 11:30 a.m.

I look forward to seeing Craig Roh play for the Wolverines. He made the right decision to come to Ann Arbor.

Mumbambu, Esq.

Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 11:25 a.m.

This makes me smile!


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 11:23 a.m.

I love it! Go Blue! classes don't start till Tuesday the 8th. Unless it was summer school. If so, that's cool! Parents need to stay more involved!


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 11:22 a.m.

Dave, did you forward this to Mr. Rosenberg? Has anyone asked mr. rosenberg why he didn't interview anyone from the coaching staff before the Freep went and published that story? I think any honorable journalist would at least give someone the opportunity to speak about the matter. heck, eve Steve Wilson does that, albeit rudely.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 11:21 a.m.

Hey Rosenberg! Hey Snyder! This all but confirms that your story is erroneous and a FARCE! Rosenberg, you need to cover Ballet, you are nothing but a PANZIE! We at Michigan, don't need your B.S. nor your presence at the Big House! Go cover the Entertainment world where most of the journalists are rumor and inuendo writers! You know nothing of College Football and all you did was cost U of M additional costs for this needless and pointless investigation. You are just adding to the Michigan Tax Payer's bill. You should be forced to pay for the investigation that will turn-up as a waste of everyone's time...You're a Bum...Rosenberg!


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 11:20 a.m.

Now, if we can get more parents to stand up, and what about Lloyd? Step up and support this program and these kids! If there are several players/parents who echo these sentiments, it will be virtually impossible for the NCAA(or the University) to find violations. They will only have the word a few disgruntled players when it's all said and done, and that's not enough. So keep on punching Freep et. al., you will only serve to undermind yourself, and make our team stronger! Actually, thank you in advance for intensifying the focus of this football team.

Remedios Montalbo Young

Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 10:52 a.m.

Great to hear from a football parent who believes in the integrity of the U of MI.