Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez: 'Everything's going to be OK'
MIDLAND - Michigan won’t learn the full extent of its punishment for violating NCAA rules for several months, but coach Rich Rodriguez said Monday he’s ready to put the protracted process behind him.
“I wish we could have got it done earlier,” Rodriguez said during an appearance at the Michigan sports editor’s meeting. “Get all this stuff behind us so the only conversation with the old ball coach is, ‘OK, who is your quarterback going to be?’ ‘Why’d you run this coverage?’ ‘What kind of scheme are you going to run on defense?’ Or, ‘What kind of opponent scares you,’ or something like that. So it could be more football-related.”
Michigan filed its official response to NCAA allegations of wrongdoing on Monday and will announce a handful of self-imposed sanctions at 7 a.m. Tuesday.
Rodriguez, the university and since-fired graduate assistant Alex Herron were issued separate notices of allegations in February outlining five potentially major violations. Rodriguez was accused of failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance within his program; Herron of lying to NCAA investigators; the university of failing to monitor the football program; and the program of exceeding NCAA limits on staff size and practice time.
Rodriguez said both he and the university filed 60- or 70-page responses that detail how and why some of the violations occurred and “hopefully will answer a lot of people’s questions.”
“Everything was very thorough,” he said. “And it’s not something that any coach ever wants to go through, trust me on that.”
Rodriguez talked with reporters for nearly an hour Monday, sharing stories about his family, addressing team personnel and admitting the NCAA investigation, which began on the eve of last year’s 5-7 season, was a topic on the recruiting trail.
"It’s not been easy because I think you have to explain yourself more,” he said.
Still, Rodriguez said he was optimistic about Michigan's 2010 season, especially with the investigation coming to an end.
“We’ve got to address everything head on and then let everybody - at least assure everybody that cares about our program, that cares about the University of Michigan, that everything’s going to be fine,” Rodriguez said.
“It’s easy to be all-in when you’re assured that everything is going to be OK. And I’m trying to tell everybody that everything’s going to be OK. I just got to show it. I just got to show it."
Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.