You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 7:45 p.m.

NCAA investigating Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez's time at West Virginia

By Dave Birkett


Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez is at the center of an NCAA probe of the West Virginia football program, ESPN reported Tuesday. (Photo: Lon Horwedel |

Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez is the subject of a new NCAA investigation into his time at West Virginia, but athletic director Dave Brandon said Tuesday it won't affect his status as coach.

"There is nothing new that would cause me to change my position," Brandon said in a statement. "Rich will coach our team this fall."

Brandon said Rodriguez would return for his third season as Michigan coach in February when the university released a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA detailing five potentially major violations by the Wolverines football program.

The West Virginia probe, first reported by ESPN, centers around Rodriguez's time as Mountaineers coach, a position he held from 2001-07.

West Virginia assistant athletics director for communications Mike Fragale said Tuesday the university is cooperating with an NCAA inquiry, but declined to say when it started or whether it was related to Rodriguez’s tenure at the university.

“The NCAA has met with individuals involved with the West Virginia University football program to identify any potential rules violations,” Fragale said. “The university has fully cooperated with the NCAA during this process. West Virginia University and its department of intercollegiate athletics is committed to operating its athletic program in conformance with the legislation and policy of the NCAA and the Big East Conference.”

Michigan director of football media relations Dave Ablauf interrupted a question about the West Virginia investigation when a reporter attempted to question Rodriguez at a press conference Tuesday.

"We're going to pass on that," Ablauf said. "We're moving on to the next question."

The university said in a statement earlier this spring that Rodriguez is "unable to comment on the ongoing NCAA process until it has been completed."

Rodriguez said Tuesday he’s focused only on football this spring.

“It’s just focusing on what we came here to do,” Rodriguez said. “I think our players and our staff have really done a good job of staying focused on the things that we need to do to take this program where we want to take it. If I ask that of our staff and ask that of our players I’ve certainly got to do that myself.”

Michigan has until May 24 to respond to its allegations and is due in front of the NCAA Committee on Infractions Aug. 13-14 in Seattle. The program could face probation, a loss of practice time and other penalties if it's found guilty of violating NCAA rules.

Brandon referred comments on the West Virginia investigation to the NCAA.

"There is no new NCAA investigation involving the University of Michigan," he said in a statement. "Any question regarding an NCAA query should be directed to the NCAA."

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.



Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 9:40 p.m.

I'm so tired of R.R. and all his baggage, will it please go away.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:33 p.m.

Theo's attorneys are preparing a 'Quit Claim Deed' as were talking for you to sign, just so happens we need a house to host some more of our barbeque's as we have 112,000 faithful every Saturday, getting tough on space... 10 wins easy as pie, but 12-13 that's tough. I see iowa and wisconsin, maybe beating us, and don't know the bowl foe yet, probably texas or bama, tough win, but feasible.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 3:15 p.m.

If Terry and mgobluegold really believe 10-13 wins will happen, I am more than willing to put a HUGE wager on it. I will bet my house it won't happen. Put up or shut up. Talk is cheap. RR will be gone after the 2010 season and the long nightmare will be over


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:32 a.m.

Still, the documents were not RR's to destroy. They belonged to the university, and therefore, the state of WV. I feel a better way of dealing with the documents would have been to turn them over to the AD at WVU at the time. This would have seemed a safe way to deal with all info. Instead, information was destroyed. Who knows what was removed but RR and his assistants. In any event, information about students was not passed on to the new coach. The way it was handled smells of "Enron". Perhaps it was RR that was being childish instead of WVU. An "I'll show them" attitude. WVU apparently decided it wasn't worth the effort. Probably felt they were rid of something they didn't want to keep around. They just wanted the money owed to them (quite a considerable amount it turns out). And that WAS worth going after. As to the information being replaceable - money that is stolen from a bank can be replaced also, but stealing it doesn't make it right. The fact that other coaches do the same thing is the type of argument that brings to mind the saying of "If everyone else jumps off a bridge....". You know the rest. Perhaps RR is of moral fiber, but he sure places himself at peril from the media and others with the path he takes. Time will tell.


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 8:56 p.m.

Read the earlier facts in January; wvu - files were removed from Rich Rodriguez office containing personal & confidential information. Law - It's common practice for departing executives to shred/or remove documents that they believe were confidential and/or documents...considered secret... Press - Shredding allegations moot, until someone from wvu puts a signature on them. Fact - wvu can not just move on and get on with their life, without trying to get even with Rodriguez for dumping them for a better school.


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 7:54 p.m.

For those alleging this is merely a witch hunt or nothing to see here, look back at the shredding incident and what HIS story was about WHAT was being shredded.

Blueman Rick

Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 7:19 p.m.

RR. A man of unimpeachable character.


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 5:34 p.m.

It's amazing how much attention a meaningless article about Rich Rodriguez can create.

Terry Star21

Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 4:24 p.m.

Thoses stories from wvu are not factual, if you look at first reports of these issues they are completely different than what's coming up now - go figure? Somebody at wvu changing to cover rear end, gets caught, goes to jail, RichRod completely innocent, goes on to win BCS in 3rd year. Theo212, good to see you back... we have picked up some new faithful, followers since Spring Practice began, writing some good stuff... everyone new - Theo212 is the Master of this UM FB topic board, best supporter of our king, and master barbeque cigar extraodinaire. Theo's Spring Barbeque - add 20 more steaks on the barbeque for our new friends.


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 2:50 p.m.

Mr. Vielmetti, The latest I could find on any result of WVU's investigation into the shredding from the WV newspapers was July, 2008. The story states that RR didn't deny that he was shredding documents, but as best I could tell, they felt it wasn't that big of a deal due to more important task of replacing their football staff. The story stated, also, that the documents that were missing were the property of the state, and that was where any legal action should start. In light of the $4 million dollars owed WVU, I guess a few shredded personnel files might not be that important. I can't see Mr. Stewart raising a stink about them as he's not that type of person, particularly since the story made note that RR had never called him to congratulate him on his new position as head coach of WVU. Might sound like sour grapes to heap more criticism on RR, although I'm sure Mr. Stewart was happy with RR's departure. After all, we was now leader of the Mountaineers.


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 1:30 p.m.

@ mgobluegold. You are most certainly right about the naysayer posters here, and their information - could make a great fictional novel. I have tried very hard as some of you know, to get our faithful to not respond to these idiots with not one iota of football knowledge. Remember the little brat that tried to intimidate everyone in 4th grade... and every time he got a response, he came back, and back..? That is the naysayers here, still in 4th grade, their gonna keep coming back, because their in fourth grade, their team is in jail, there team has nothing to look forward to - so they go after college football's best team - ignore them. Anyway, I liked a lot of the commenters the last few days and their optimism. Yes, 10-2 wasn't that far away last year, I think we will at least get there - iowa and wisconsin give us trouble.


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 12:19 p.m.

WVTROLL! Hillarious! 2.5 million... love it!


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 11:58 a.m.

One more then I'm done for a while Quote Out of curiousity, what is the going rate the Devil is paying for souls? /Quote $2.5 million per year!


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 11:56 a.m.

Birkett, I just have to ask if you are able to read, or even look at the Freep. There have been non-stop arguments regarding the MSU situation. And how is it hypocrisy? A large group of the players either were booted or transferred. Was Kevin Grady booted off UM after DUI arrests and convictions? And I do I even have to ask... isn't Dantonio's situation a little different? He didn't tell these young men to go start a fight. He did the best with the mess he was handed. Much like Florida and Oregon's head coaches. Now on the other hand, RR's issues are alll self created. Practice and control of practice is the Head Coaches responsibility. Control of other coaches is the Head Coaches responsiblity. And really... your post resembles that of a 5 year old getting in trouble. "But so and so did something too..."


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 11:53 a.m.

Quote Hypocrisy a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess. /Quote Much like the fates Pacman Jones and a few others experienced at WVU?


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 11:40 a.m.

Out of curiousity, what is the going rate the Devil is paying for souls? It appears many of the posters made money in the past two years...


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 11:03 a.m.

I may never be able to stop laughing.


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 10:45 a.m.

Point to ponder: Everyone must remember that RR is innocent until proven guilt. But to review a little bit.... It was reported in the WV newspapers that RR left because he was unhappy that WVU wouldn't allow him to do some of the things he wanted because it was against the rules. Does UM allow those things and pay for them later? Time will tell on this one. It was reported in the WV newspapers that RR instructed one of those he managed to shred documents of some sort. He stated these were personal documents, I believe. Why not just take them with him? If they weren't personal, I think whenever one is in the employment of a company, the work they do for that company belongs to that company. Why shred anything, regardless of what they were? The real estate charges (which aren't charges but more along the lines of facts that need to be dealt with) probably shouldn't have come to the point they now stand. Bankruptcy might have been a better path, unless you think you won't get called out on something. The contract dispute upon his departure was an embarrassment to both schools. The ruling was that he was to pay WVU for his contract remainder. I believe he skipped on that and UM got stuck with the bill. Did he, in the least, ever publicly thank UM? WVU has no reason to avoid reporting anything to the NCAA. Truthfulness is always the best policy. The allegations for lack of documentation was addressed at WVU and corrected, so he should have known the rules. He was denied extra coaches at WVU because it was against the rules. Sounds like at UM, he just didn't ask so he wasn't denied. Again, time will tell, but I think RR admitted that there were infractions, so it's really an inquiry into whethere he knew the rules or not. I don't believe the rules changed in the two years he was at UM from those at WVU. The truth will come out. If he is found innocent, UM only has it's worst two season to attribute to RR, regardless of lack of depth, new schemes or whatever. Some of the other stuff has been proven already. If he is found guilty of the NCAA infractions, and UM pays the price, I feel sorry for UM as they'll pay after RR is gone, and he sneaks away once again. The WV commenters say there is a silver lining for UM in either outcome, as some of them might still be a little more aware of this guy's reputation than those up there being blinded by his rhetoric. They say if he is innocent, you get to keep your coach and your wins over the past two seasons. If guilty, you won't have to vacate that many wins. Good luck on this one, UM.


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 10:01 a.m.

Despite all the gripes about conspiracy theories, poor put upon RR, people are prone to rushing to judgement or lets wait until all the information is in before we crucify RR - it remains that the man is untrustworthy, duplicitous and not worthy of being the U of M football coach. If all the allegations heaped upon RR had been applied to a player, they'd be long gone. As the saying goes, "Where there's smoke, there's fire" and the amount of smoke thats been attached to RR, you can hardly see him.

Terry Star21

Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 9:57 a.m.

Michigan Football does stand for more than wins and the coach, student/athletes and University are putting all the controversy aside and moving forward. We are trying hard to remove that target from the back of Coach RichRod's shirt - but everyday someone paints another one on him. I agree with coachcookie here, 10 wins is an unreasonable amount of victories to try for - come on people what's wrong with you.... 11 or even the full 13 wins is more reasonable. UM FB - 11-12 wins in 2010...... Michigan - stands tall, 'champions for staying'


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 8:55 a.m.

This guy is such an embarrassment to the University, its fans, and the program. Dreamers, there is no way this team wins 10 games in 2010. We may have some pathetic seasons behind his dismissal and I am okay with that. Michigan Football stands for more than wins; there is a winning tradition, a commitment to doing things the right way, and an obligation to honor the University on and off the field. When has Rich Rod ever done any of those things in his very short and very pathetic tenure? He has got to go!!

Edward R. Murrow's ghost

Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 8:19 a.m.

I'm shocked, SHOCKED, to find out that RichRod might have cheated while at WVU. Bring Back Lloyd!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 8:16 a.m.

The timing of these stories is the most suspicious to me. Just a hypothetical question, does this story come out at this time if the Spring Game were next weekend? One of two things will happen, either Rich Rodriguez is exonerated or Michigan has what they need to distance themselves from Rich Rodriguez. There is a clause in Rich Rodriguez's contract stating the UM doesn't pay him if he is let go due to NCAA violations, so the money isn't an issue. If the NCAA doesn't find anything at WVU then this bodes well for Rich Rodriguez and UM come August. If the NCAA does find violations at WVU then Michigan has everything they would need to distance themselves from Rich Rodriguez and let him go next year. In the end, this whole investigation reeks of conspiracy. If the NCAA doesn't find anything at WVU then nobody can argue that this was a witch hunt all along.


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 8:07 a.m.

What is it that causes such worship of a football coach? I wonder, if he was a union teacher at a local middle school if he would get this much support, or if their would be calls for his head on a stick, to SAVE the tax payers a whopping 70k/year? I can find no other such support for any other government employee. But a football coach, with the worst record in memory, gets canonized?

Elaine F. Owsley

Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 7:07 a.m.

U of M paid how much for this problem coach?


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 6:51 a.m.

The WV AD refused to let rr hire the additional quality control personnel that U of M allowed. That is the crux of the problem. These clowns were coaching during supposed unsupervised practice sessions. rr also tried to let the players sell text books similar to what got Alabama on probation. He was hell bent on doing whatever he wanted and that was the reason for the contentious relationship with the WVU AD. Now rr claims he misubderstood the rules. That is the reason for the visit to WVU. rr will have to have another press cryfrence and hope the NCAA buys it. NOT!!!!


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 6:13 a.m.

So much for transparency.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 10:02 p.m.

Regarding this article about the NCAA investigation, just read the freep articles about Doran Grant, a Michigan recruit whom has made 6 trips to UM, games, practice, etc. He comments that he is making other trips to lsu, notre dame, msu, and osu - hemmm... wonder what they will talk to him about? Yes, this year will show Coach Rodriguez greatness, not only winning big and winning often, but reeling in the big recruits. Go Blue.

Just Blue

Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:46 p.m.

Here we go again with more slime brought on the Blue by the worst coach hire in recent history. And the fans payed $2.5 million for this low life who shreds documents, breaks rules, recruits bad characters, scams business deals and loses games in bunches. Just the sort of coach I want associated with my University.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:30 p.m.

MiamiBlue: I think you're right that nothing will happen to WVU if the NCAA concludes there were violations under RRod. And that's not a good thing for RRod or UM fans. WVU likely knows it faces no sanctions, so it has no incentive to cover anything up. Quite the contrary. RRod left on bad terms and angered many WVU administrators. They'll probably hang RRod out to dry. Then UM administrators will have to contend with the perception (at a minimum) that their head football coach is a perenial cheater. How will that sit with the alums? It certainly will be another distraction for the 2010 season.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:29 p.m.

It's good to see that Coach Rodriguez is going about his winning ways and not whining like some posters here. He will be able to put the controversy aside, as all champions do. Oh, he'll be 10-2 (losses to Iowa, Wisconsin) with a Jan.1 bowl game this year for sure, and the baby whiners will fade, and maybe we'll all just read constructive articles here - wouldn't that be a first.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:17 p.m.

Terry 21 said "Yea - RichRod and UM Football will keep practicing, keep wining games, and go about the business at hand." Keep winning? Wow,if the past two seasons are your idea of winning,I hate to see what losing is in your book. RR will coach this year, and in 2011 a new coach will be at UM. The excuses RR will use are already there. New defense, freshman QB, inexperienced defense, new punter, distractions from the investigation, new AD, it goes on and on.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:10 p.m.

2 Words to sum up RRod hire at UM: Unmitigated Disaster. also: Martin's Folly. Talk about a scummy guy. Wow. When is enough enough? RRod is nothing more than a glorified Offensive Coordinator who is way over his head as a major college HC. Unmitigated disaster.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 8:52 p.m.

If you think that the charges by the NCAA about "just practice" are no big deal, then ask San Diego State U what their punishment was for the same thing.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 8:44 p.m.

Way to go WEST ARBOR. You are the embarrassment of the BIG TEN.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 8:18 p.m.

I think way down the road Mr. Rodriguez is going to be remembered as one of the greatest coaches of all time. And not just for all the wins, bowls, and NC's - but for putting aside all the controversy and negative press - and win! The best coaches can do this, as Rodriguez will.

Terry Star21

Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 7:52 p.m.

azwolverine....... ohhhhhhhhh, yes. Rodriguez is our coach, it's no sin, our king will win so many games, your head will spin. He'll win so many NCAA Championships, records will fall, theo and the boy's will have to enlarge Schembelcher hall. a ten plus win season will be the norm, the Big Ten defenses won't leave their dorm. RichRod - he's.. those that stay and will become champions.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 7:48 p.m.

Getting away from the typical and expected nonsensical ramblings of OSU and MSU fans, ESPN even said that if WVU was found guilty of violating practice time, that nothing would happen to them since Coach Rodriguez is no longer there. This is not about WVU, this is related (though the NCAA won't say it) to the present investigation of Coach Rod at Michigan. They (NCAA) are just trolling for anything, that will stick. Even if it means going to Coach Rod's ex job. The investigations of USC will continue, even though Pete Carroll is no longer there also. When the NCAA finally finishes their investigation, and comes up with its results, punishments, or whatever in October, one would hope that this nonsense will end. Doubtful though! Simply because despite what others will say, there are certainly factions of people out there who for one reason or another want to GET Coach Rod, and GET him be it going after him in his his present or former job. Quite frankly, I don't know how Coach Rod can even do his job with all these distractions! It is almost like death from a thousand cuts! And before the righteous ones jump in and start criticizing coach Rodriguez, I ask you only this one simple question. Would you be able to put up and function in your job if you were under the constant barrage of scrutiny that this man has gone under? Let's GO BLUE!!!


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 7:13 p.m.

terry starr, I hate to tell you this, but the "keep winning games" that you wrote about ended when RR took over (unless by "keep winning" you mean an average of 4 games per year). That said, at some point (which for me was a long time ago), you've got to see that this guy is an embarrassment to the UM program. And, after all of this, the best he will ever do is 9-10 wins and no NCs or victories over OSU. Is it all really worth it for that level of 'excellence?'


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 6:56 p.m.

The playes should have known when they were getting too much practice.They should wear watches and tell the coaches when they are practicing too much.They should know the rules.The coaches can lose track of time teaching.Or they should have a bell to tell them when practice is over.They had one in my grade school and nobody spent too long.From what I hear they weren't counting food eating time,digestion, rest,cutting off toenails or watching porn films.

Terry Star21

Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 6:46 p.m.

Anyone that knows anything about college football and NCAA investigations (whoops that eliminates half the commenter bashers here) knows, that this is just procedure. Any coach in an investigation (UM - 5 football weebies) must be investigated in any past programs that he/she has coached - not entirely sure there is a statutation law (time limit) in NCAA. This will be investigated, take a lot of time, make a lot of press, give fodder to a bunch of loser's for bashing and OOOOHHHHHH Yea - RichRod and UM Football will keep practicing, keep wining games, and go about the business at hand. Spring Game - 3 days, 17 hrs., 15 mins., 30 sec. away...... NCAA - will go away, comeback again, o way.n


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 6:36 p.m.

Name one other school faced with a slap on the wrist penatly that has received THIS much media attention. QUICK, someone phone TMZ!


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 6:18 p.m.

Give me a break. This is completely rediculious. Practice..are we talkin about Practice!! Rick never had a chance from jump street.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 5:25 p.m.

Ooh man, my ribs are killing me. Holy cow im feeling light headed. I haven't had a laugh that hard in years. Thank you Rich Rodriguez for putting the Joy back into my life!

John of Saline

Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 4:49 p.m.

I'm guessing WVU will be VERY happy to help.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 4:14 p.m.

Gomer Pyle said it best "Surprize -Surprize- Surprize


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 4:10 p.m.

81wolverine, Yeah.. there's nothing to it. Just wrong place, wrong time for RR. Misunderstood guy. Really should be put up for Sainthood. Sorta like, I steal from a bank... bury the loot in my back yard. Cops also dig up the back yard of the previous house I lived in, just to make sure I didn't bury loot there before I moved. Of course... if I'm the tenant in that former house... I don't want the cops tearing up my house looking for stuff... no matter how clean I am now.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 4:07 p.m.

Looks like there is this thread that gets pulled and it starts unravelling. The questions appears to be will it stop and be minor or will the whole thing come apart. Does this also imply there may be more probes into the purging of student athletes records at West VA just before RR left?? Let us hope these issues can get addressed before the season starts.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 3:27 p.m.

There's really nothing here to indicate this is anything more than the NCAA doing its due diligence by going to Rodriguez's former school to see if he did the same thing he's accused of doing in the current investigation at Michigan. There's no allegations or accusations by the usual "unnamed sources" of any specific violations. So, please, let's not get carried away with more hype and "sky is falling" talk without actual facts.