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Posted on Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 10:58 a.m.

Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez emotional at press conference

By Dave Birkett

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez delivered an emotion-filled denial at his press conference Monday to allegations he violated rules by requiring players to practice more than the NCAA allows.

"I guess I’m here to tell you that whatever you’ve heard or want to believe, the truth of the matter is this coaching staff cares very deeply about the young men in our program, always have, always will," Rodriguez said, teary-eyed and taking time to gather his thoughts. "Care very deeply about this institution. We know the rules. We go by the rules, and all we’re trying to do every day is make our great fans ... make them proud. And we will continue to do that."

Rodriguez said he gathered every senior at his house Sunday for "a very positive meeting" but didn't talk much about the allegations.

Michigan has opened an internal investigation into reports players were required to practice more than the NCAA-allotted 20 hours per week last season and eight hours a week in the offseason. Players can exceed the time limits as long as they do so by their own choosing.

Athletic department spokesperson Bruce Madej said the university has reached out to the Big Ten and NCAA.

Rodriguez also defended his long-time strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis and his practices Saturday.

“Mike truly cares about every one of the young men and women that he has worked with and to imply otherwise couldn’t be further from the truth," Rodriguez said. "There’s nobody that has a greater passion in helping young men and their careers than Mike Barwis and his staff. He has always complied with the rules, as has all our staff."



Wed, Sep 2, 2009 : 3:21 p.m.

Always remember Michigan Football Players "We Believe in You" as a Team and you play for the name on the front of your Jersey - not on the back.


Tue, Sep 1, 2009 : 5:05 p.m.

Spoken like a true nut lover. I think you are dealing with a few boys who thought they could play college football but found out they were not up to the game - welcome to college football.


Tue, Sep 1, 2009 : 12:22 p.m.

bo wouldnt have let the reporters anywhere near stokes or hawthorne. they probably wouldnt even have been allowed at press day in this day and age of online reporting. those that think rrod is guilty will do so passionately, those that support rrod will do so fervently. but the infighting of um fans is disgusting to see. support your team 100% or find a new one that tickles whatever philosophical fancy you have....


Tue, Sep 1, 2009 : 8:13 a.m.

This is why most coach's refuse to let their players get involved with the news media. RR has been pretty open with this rule and Coach Carr was not. In the future any contact made with the team must go through the coaching staff. Looks to me like Rosenberg? was able to take a non story and use it to destroy RR. If these allegations are unfounded the freep must terminate this scumbag reporter. I can understand why the state people hate us and that fine, but if your going to break a story like this WHY were only a couple of freshmen interviewed? Why not address some of the starting seniors on this team? Or maybe they were contacted and there was no story to be told from them. I wish we were playing State this week and not Western so when the score ends up 56-0 the freep will say, well MIchigan beat up a MAC school this week.


Tue, Sep 1, 2009 : 6:36 a.m.

It is amazing how U of M fans choose only to believe what they want to believe and now turn the blame on the reporters as if RR could do no wrong. He is not the class act that U of M has had in the past and they are now getting just what they hired. He talks like he never saw a classroom beyond 8th grade. What he may need to realize is that some of his players are here for more than football and that they actually are intelligent and want to pursue an education that leads to a good job, knowing that they might not all be headed for the NFL. This coach is not a class act but yet it seems that a lot of his players are. It is inconceivable that he received no unfavorable comments from parents/players as stated in his press conference. This university is not a place where bullying can be sustained. I do believe that his time is limited in the U of M arena.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 7:53 p.m.

I asked this same question on an earlier post, but does anyone know where this story started? Did some players approach the Freep, or did the Freep approach the players looking to dig up some dirt? I can't imagine a group of players going to the paper to air their laundry, so I'm guessing it was the other way around. If that's the case, why did they single out Michigan when, as one poster wrote, an MSU player said the same type thing? If Michigan is going to be investigated for this, it sounds like other schools, including MSU, need to be investigated as well. I'm not saying it's right to work kids beyond the allotted time, if that is indeed the case, but it does seem vindictive to me on the part of the Freep if they just singled out RR yet let the other quotes from an MSU player go off without so much as a second thought.

boyz n da pahokee

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 6:57 p.m.

This is like the third or fourth dramatic emotional pause in the last year and a half. I'd rather see a strong-worded, even angry response to these preposterous allegations.

Hans Masing

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 3:10 p.m.

What's the saying? "To be a football coach, you have to be brilliant enough to win but stupid enough to think its important" I would imagine that it is a very difficult position that ANY coach of a large program is in, trying to balance out winning with the rules. I hope that Michigan finds out the truth, whatever that is, and then moves on accordingly.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 2:09 p.m.

Oh yah, I haven't done it, but, I bet if you search for press on younger players at other schools (assuming they are allowed to talk), you find simular statements. Which team will be next to get zapped?


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 2:05 p.m.

One thing that bothers me is some of the comments made by a couple of the younger players when they were interviewed earlier this year. I am sure they didnt realize the gravity of what they were saying at the time, but, those statements are troubling (read the original article). RR and company obviously aren't as good as Carr and Bo when it comes to isolating the players from the media and it has come back to bite them.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 1:41 p.m.

the crying on tv was just the "please feel sorry for me thing" people here are getting fed up with him. 3-9 wow! nice job RR


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 1:41 p.m.

I think the reporters covering or breaking this possible story (i'm completely unconvinced) should be ashamed of themselves. My belief is that the players interviewed are exaggerating and do not really know the rules. For example, many of the sessions do not count in the 8 and 20 hour figures. I think the media jumped all over Rich Rod from the moment he came to town amid the contract buyout and haven't let up. This will be a major distraction that I hope the team can overcome.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 1:34 p.m.

can we all agree that this happens at every university? can we also agree that these kids exaggerate facts? I have 3 teenagers up here in michigan and all 3 are known to stretch the truth of how hard their classes are, how demanding the coaches are....thi shouldnt be an issue at um or msu otherwise put every major team on probation cause it happens everywhere. I did like rr taking the few pauses to get those tear ducts to well up....tho i think he should have done the oklahoma state coach bit instead


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 1:18 p.m.

Kids (and there's no other way to say it, 'cause these are kids) will always look for an easy way out if it's available to them. I train a range of athletes from 12 to 50; push the younger bracket a little, and you find out who squeals (both literally and figuratively.) Two problems with this whole controversy: 1) Just how much of it was encouraged or caused by the press? 2) Just how much of it is the result of young people wanting to find an easy way out? Performance expectations are self fulfilling: set them low, and that's what you get. Set them high....and this is the downside. "Those who remain will be champions!" The rest can whine to the press, and will apparently always find an audience.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 1:07 p.m.

Why doesn't someone do an "expose" on this quote that MSU deleted from their website yesterday? It is from a freshman QB named (I think) Andrew Maxwell: "Aug. 16, 2009......A typical day consists of showing up for meetings as early as 7:30 a.m. and being dismissed after our final meeting at 9:30 p.m. In those 14 hours, we have meetings, practice, lunch, more meetings, film sessions, dinner and meetings........... Now, it's time to get some rest before the Monday 6:15 a.m. wake-up call. Go Green!" This works out to SEVENTY HOURS A WEEK AT MSU. So why is UM being the subject of this hatchet job when any reporter looking for this kind of story who did his due diligence would have read this on MSU's website and could easily do the math for himself. I want an investigation into MSU immediately.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 1:05 p.m.

It's no secret that almost all varsity athletes today (not just football) practice much harder, year-round compared to 20 years ago. In football, Michigan is no different than any other top program in asking a lot of their players. Excellence comes at a price. If some of these kids are satisfied with a 3-9 season and/or don't want to put in the required time, they're more than welcome to leave. Bo had a lot of turnover when he took over because he demanded A LOT more from his players than the previous coach had. And I fully support RR for doing the same. As for the Detroit Free Press article, it appears to be extremely poor journalism at best. The writer should lose his job over the partial, vindictive manner in which he "researched" and wrote the article.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 12:48 p.m.

So, meeting Sunday to make sure every player knows exactly what to say to the investigators. Got it.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 12:43 p.m.

Bo wouldn't have cried, but I'll bet they would have had to bleep out half of what he said if this had been done to him by a punk like Rosenberg.

Alan Goldsmith

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 12:25 p.m.

I'm thinking Bo wouldn't have cried on national televsion.

Tex Treeder

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 12:23 p.m.

Why don't we all just finally agree that this is a professional football league and skip the requirement that football players are also students?


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 12:20 p.m.

It seems to me that when RR was hired, the school, fans, alumni, etc.... all wanted that no-nonsense, I'll-ouwork-you attitude that Bo brought to the Big House to come back. Some have chosen to leave. That may be disappointing, but that's okay. If you watched the preseason preview shows that the Big 10 Network did from each campus, you saw a lot of tag football and running through low to no contact drills - - - - except at UofM. A lot of hitting at UofM! The best clip was when the ballcarrier's helmet flew 5 feet in the air as a result of a jarring tackle inside a circle of players. No one was more embarrassed than RR with last year's record, and no one in the conference is working harder to improve. What was it that Bo used to say, "Those who remain will be champions"?