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Posted on Tue, Feb 23, 2010 : 8:46 p.m.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon: 'Rich Rodriguez is our football coach'

By Dave Birkett

Rich Rodriguez’s job as Michigan football coach is safe for now.

Incoming Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said Tuesday at a press conference to announce allegations of NCAA wrongdoing that Rodriguez will return for his third season as coach.

“Rich Rodriguez is our football coach,” Brandon said. “And he’ll be our football coach next year. There’s nothing that I see in what has come out from the notice of allegations or our internal investigation that leads me to believe there should be any change in the status of our football coach.”


Rich Rodriguez answers questions Tuesday at the press briefing. (Photo: Angela J. Cesere |

In a letter to Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman, the NCAA accused Rodriguez of failing “to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program” as one of five potentially major violations.

Other allegations include quality-control assistants improperly monitoring offseason workouts and exceeding NCAA mandates on in- and out-of-season practice time.

Brandon said the violations stem from “internal confusion” over certain NCAA rules, not a wanton disregard for authority.

“What I have to do as the leader of the program is make sure we get the proper interpretations and follow the rules the way they’re supposed to be interpreted, and that it’s communicated among the whole staff,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve already begun that process, and I know there won’t be any issues in regards to that in the future.”

Rodriguez has been a polarizing figure as coach since he left West Virginia following the 2007 season.

Michigan is 8-16 under his command and coming off a last-place finish in the Big Ten. Last year, the Wolverines started 4-0 but lost seven of their final eight games with the specter of an NCAA investigation hanging overhead.

That cloud will continue to hover into this fall for what could be a make-or-break season.

Michigan has 90 days to respond to the allegations and is scheduled to appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions Aug. 13-14. Typically, punishment is handed out six to eight weeks later.

The Wolverines open the 2010 season Sept. 4 against UConn.

Michigan could self-impose sanctions, including a loss of practice time, that might adversely impact its performance on the field.

Rodriguez, whose presence is requested at the NCAA hearing, said another side effect already has been felt. Michigan’s compliance department has reached out to the NCAA in recent weeks to determine how coaches can assist players seeking extra help within NCAA guidelines.

“These guys have questions and these guys want to know what the rules are and what they can and cannot do, and how we can help them in the future,” Rodriguez said. “We’re actually looking into that daily and talking with our compliance office in conjunction with the NCAA.”

Former Wolverine Brandon Graham said he didn't experience any of the alleged violations during his time at Michigan and that the NCAA report shouldn't sour anyone's view on Rodriguez.

"Coach Rod’s a good coach, and people are just trying to get him in trouble to me," Graham said.

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Sat, Feb 27, 2010 : 1:32 a.m.

earlb11 - what possible good does it do Michigan near term or long term to hang on to a lame duck coach? Answer: it does NO good! David Brandon made the decision to retain RR for 2010 because he believes he is a good coach for Michigan. Period! Last I heard, Michigan is still Jim Harbaugh's dream job. You don't think he would jump at the opportunity if it was presented to him? If Brandon was going to fire RR because of practice gate, it would've already happened. Poor on the field performance in 2010 is the one and only potential cause for firing. Based on the facts, this is the only reasonable conclusion. If you can't understand that then you are beyond help.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 6:40 p.m.

How many wins would WE have without the extra practice time?

Man in the Mirror

Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 4:59 p.m.

Regardless of what or who bought this investigation to UM, it was found that the football program violated NCAA rules. We don't know who said what past or present unless you were there. Positive changes will be made and the program may become better for it. So you may want to thank those "former disgruntled" players, otherwise the wrongdoing would have continued.........what goes in the washer comes out in the dryer.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 11:29 a.m.

Mr. Pizza man you will quickly learn that you will need to change coaches as you did with the ingredients of your pizzas. A bad recipe is a bad recipe!!! He was a poor selection from the beginning and doing nothing but leaving a sour taste in everyone's mouth. In fact this whole thing makes one want to puke.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 11:14 a.m.

I suspect that if he hadn't arrogantly fired the entire staff his second day on the job, someone on that experienced staff would have prevented him from "misinterpretating" the CARA reporting requirements. And the RR fanboys can whine all they want about M being singled out, but there is a very easy way to avoid that: Follow the rules. If you run a clean program, disgruntled players can complain all they want and it won't stick. The sooner this guy is run out of town, the sooner M can get back to winning with integrity.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 8:44 a.m.

azwolverine, I made that statement tongue-in-cheek. I hope U-M succeeds but so far the Rich Rodriguez experiement isn't going so well. I think he is a coach without a moral compass who does whatever is expedient and then hopes he doesn't get caught. Not the kind of leader that the "Leaders and Best" should have, in my opinion.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 8:32 a.m.

tulsa, I like it. The punishment couldn't be worse than that. By the way, the best case scenario for UM now under RR is to win a title and be recognized among the great cheaters like Oklahoma under Switzer and Miami under Johnson. The only problem with that scenario is that RR has only sniffed a title once in 17 years, and then he blew it. Win or lose, I'm sure Bo is proud of what RR is doing at Michigan.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 8:32 a.m.

Even if Brandon wants him gone he won't do it now. If he did, I would seriously question him as AD. Firing him now does not benefit the team. If this was something a little more serious I could see him getting axed but firing him now makes you have to put in an interim anyways cause you aren't gonna find a quality coach right now. I'm sure he will on the hotseat this year though. But that much is pretty obvious I think.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 8:27 a.m.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon: 'Rich Rodriguez is our football coach' Maybe the NCAA will look at that as U-M dishing out self-imposed punishment.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 6:18 a.m.

It's not 5 possible MAJOR 4 possible with 1 you can't argue (grad assistant lying/covering-up to investigators) and why doesn't the article talk about the difference between MAJOR and secondary (which will be U of M's defense--not that they didn't do them). don't pin this on the Free Press...U of M did it. If it is so minor and it shouldn't result in penalties--argue that. But don't try cover it up with GPA claims and vehement denials of any wrong doing to spin the press. U of M's football program is better than that (that WVU, FSU, SMU, and Miami stuff)... Every U of M fan/grad should be embarrassed that the NCAA found that program committed MAJOR violations.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 4:34 a.m.

It said it wasnt concluded. All the players who were interviewed were former players. Seems obvious Freep is always bias and always against RR. the article title is jumping to conclusions with UM BREAKS 5 NCAA RULES. But actually its 5 possible NCAA rules broken. If they did break a rule but not the others, then Freep is completely wrong. NCAA should investigate every school like what Tressel said. If UM did it then every team in the nation did it, the case is thou that the former players didn't complain because they couldn't keep up wit a system their new coach had brought. Even teams in non-BCS conferences probably does it too. This investigation is a waste of time and better not screw over the team and coach's focus on next year.


Tue, Feb 23, 2010 : 11 p.m.

Apparently the Freep article was true.


Tue, Feb 23, 2010 : 9:44 p.m.

Nice to see BG standing up for RR even thou he's LC's recruit. Its kinda obvious that the reports from FORMER PLAYERs means something. why don't they ask players who are on the team before jumping to conclusions or accusing. Whatever happens thou ( I think this is just a waste of time and ppl r out to get RR fired) hopefully it doesn't get in the way of next season. I personally dont think it will but who knows. GO BLUE!!!!!