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Posted on Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 10:43 p.m.

Opinion: Rich Rodriguez receiving raw deal from Michigan as process drags on

By Pete Bigelow


The process to evaluate Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez isn't over yet.

Lon Horwedel |

Right now, Rich Rodriguez is getting a raw deal from the University of Michigan.

Forget about the football for a minute.

Michigan’s football coach - yes, the school still employed one as of Tuesday night - has been left hanging for far too long. An answer is long past due at this point.

On Tuesday, Rodriguez met with athletic director Dave Brandon for several hours in the afternoon. No answer came forth, no puff of white smoke rose above Schembechler Hall.

At this point, what’s Brandon waiting for?

He said after the Ohio State game he’d deliver his evaluation of the program following the Gator Bowl. It’s been three days. It can’t be that, at this late juncture, Michigan’s athletic director is unsure of his direction.

Michigan is looking awfully small right now. No matter which way this goes, Rodriguez has been damaged.

If he’s going to be fired, the wait has undermined his ability to find a new job elsewhere. If he’s interested in the Pitt job, his window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

It’s ultimately Brandon’s job to protect Michigan’s future and not Rodriguez’s, but at the same time, there’s no reason to needlessly kick a man when he’s down and almost out.

If Rodriguez is gone, it’s needlessly dragged out an agonizing process for coaches and their families.

But if Rodriguez is staying put, this gets far more complicated.

Recruits have been lost from the 2011 class. Maybe Rodriguez can pull off some sort of miraculous eleventh-hour salvage job, but if he’s been returning all along, why put him in that position in the first place?

But this isn’t just about the 2011 class. It’s about his ability to walk into a recruit’s home for the next three years and say with a straight face that he’ll still be coaching at Michigan.

It’s about his ability to tell prospective assistant coaches that they’re signing on for more than a one-year stint. It’s about his ability to sell stability.

Even if Brandon delivers a contract extension out of this quagmire, Rodriguez’s ability to make such promises to future Wolverines, both players and coaches, has been compromised.

Brandon had six weeks since the end of the regular season to formulate his plan. Instead of executing it, this process has been reminiscent of the way Les Miles was treated by Michigan in 2007, left twisting in the wind while Bill Martin holed up on his sailboat.

It’s reminiscent, except now it’s the coach already employed who has been left in a lurch waiting for an answer. Maybe Brandon has some master plan. Maybe Jim Harbaugh, contrary to published reports, is actually preparing to arrive in Ann Arbor. But the end game, right now, is irrelevant. This isn't about who may or may not coach Michigan.

This is about treating people right.

Maybe others are noticing how this has turned messy. Maybe that’s what Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh referred to Tuesday when, speaking about his brother, he said, “I think the Michigan thing is done now. I don’t think he’s going to have anything to do with that.”

He doesn’t want “anything to do with that.”

Ouch. Sounds like he’s afraid of getting cooties just by lingering too long in the vicinity of the Michigan job.

As a certified master marketing genius, Brandon should know this never-ending process is hurting the Michigan brand. Rich Rodriguez has been on hold for six weeks.

He deserves the courtesy of an answer.

And Michigan needs a coach, not another soap opera.

Pete Bigelow covers the Michigan football team for He can be reached at (734) 623-2551, via e-mail at and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.



Thu, Jan 6, 2011 : 9:44 a.m.

@cash Thanks for the link to the New York Times story. I was indeed very much on point.


Thu, Jan 6, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

I thought Dave Brandon would deliver his verdict to UM Nation in 30 minutes or less or else next years tickets would be free.


Thu, Jan 6, 2011 : 12:45 a.m.

@cash Thanks for the link to the New York Times story. I was indeed very much on point.


Thu, Jan 6, 2011 : 12:36 a.m.

I think your column was well written. I sometimes wonder if this is not more about how Brandon might appear than taking care of business for the athletic department. Your final comments possibly agree. "As a certified master marketing genius, Brandon should know this never-ending process is hurting the Michigan brand. Rich Rodriguez has been on hold for six weeks. He deserves the courtesy of an answer. And Michigan needs a coach, not another soap opera." Finally the Mr Brandon made the decision.

joe golder

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:31 p.m.

I would like to see the next guy do it in three years. At least he will have a few parts to work with.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 6:02 p.m.

Mr Rodriguez will be alright.

Matt Cooper

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 5:40 p.m.

joe golder: Have you not read a newspaper in the last three years or did you just forget that Rich Rodriguez was here three years before Brandon got here?

Matt Cooper

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 5:38 p.m.

Joe golder: "DB has desroyed this football team not RR." Have you not read a newspaper in the last three years, or did you just forget that Rich Rodriguez was here ruining this program 2 years before Brandon ever got here?


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 4:15 p.m.

Interesting take on this controversial issue. I tend to agree.

joe golder

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

OOPS!! I Meant to say interim


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:37 p.m.

Rodriguez made 2.5 million each year and will get a 2.5 million severance package. Don't talk to me about unfair.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:32 p.m.

@tater (and others) while the sentiments of the writer are correct - who cares? everyone who gets fired gets screwed one way or the other. in business, layoffs happen and people sweat it out, wondering what will happen next - and they dont have a $2.5 mil buyout. People go to work every day wondering if they will get a pink slip... it sucks and RR saw this first hand... he left West Virginia in a mess - feel sorry for that school. so i will not shed a tear for coach RR if this situation was mishandled (it was) simply because college football is now a BUSINESS more than ever and in business, its just about business to quote Hyman Roth - "this is the business we have chosen" will this hurt the program? how can it get any worse? the next coaching decision will decide the fate of the program so they need to get it right

joe golder

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.

I think the way db has micro managed this team all year telling the world a head coaching position will be available for a Michigan man has destroyed the program. I hope the next search will be for a new ad. Coach carr are you ready to get back in the game and intern. DB has desroyed this football team not RR. I have listened to the UM boo hooers for two years now. All the negativity has taken a huge toll on the UM football fan base. Good luck coach and staff where ever you end up.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:02 p.m.

If I was a coach looking for a job I wouldn't come here knowing that if I didn't satisfy the fanbase (fit?, Mich man?) I could be treated the same way that RR was treated. Who needs that?


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 11:49 a.m.

Ghost, I know you have been missing LS and couldn't wait to hear another LS comment/theory.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 11:24 a.m.

Even Fred Jackson, the only Michigan guy of the bunch? I hope not.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 11:07 a.m.

WXYZ just confirmed RR has been fired and his entire staff...News Conference at 12:30pm

Matt Cooper

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 11:03 a.m.

I wgree with most posters here, but I also do feel that RR is getting the short end of the deal. If DB has any intention of keeping him, he should just come out and make an announcement. Same if he is going to terminate him. He needs to get it done. What's to be gained from dragging this whole process out for 6 weeks? Letting RR grovel? Leaving the players, coaches and their families out in the cold? Giving more recruits time to say they don't want any part of the soap opera that is Michigan football right now? Blame the media all you want, but the bottom line is that for Brandon to drag this on any longer speaks not of RR's ability or job performance, but more to Brandon's inability to have a clear direction, and to make a clear decision about the direction of the football program. Let's get on with it, Brandon! Pick your coach and let's move on.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 11 a.m.

Pete Bigalow: Have you ever terminated an employee? If you have you would not be so cavalier about the process. Rich Rodriguez knows his job status. Dave Brandon does not owe the public explanation until the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed. But, then again, I suppose he could do it by phone conference and give us all the access code.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:58 a.m.

Both sides are at fault. You can say that RR is too wimpy to stand up for himself and his asst coaches by telling Brandon he has to do it by a certain date or else. As for Brandon, I don't agree with what he is doing which is weird at this point but the worst thing Brandon and UM did was not in getting rid of RR without paying him the buyout clause due to a NCAA violation(s) provision in the contract that voids the buyout clause. Therefore, Brandon and UM fumbled the ball at the one yard line


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:56 a.m.

I see a no-name reporter with no information to share is making stuff up. Brandon said he would do the review after the bowl game. He's doing a review after the bowl game. Quit crying about it.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:56 a.m.

wpm, i think the sticky wicket in the buy-out clause might be those pesky ncaa violations. i think other coaches may get that those may be deal breakers. i hope JH winds up coming for no other reason than seeing joe golder in his speedo on main & stadium, lol. oh, and aaps, you should have waited til now to mention that extra $75,000 for the new super, probably wouldn't have even been noticed, lol.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:55 a.m.

Pete, you are 100% correct. What many of you fail to realize is that when you fire someone, there is NEVER a reason to rob them of their dignity. At this point, fired or not fired, that is exactly what is happening. So many of you are so quick to tear Rich Rod down both as a coach and as a person. I would wager that 100% of you (or darn near it) have never even met the man. And you probably also don't know squat about his coaching. Understand that I agree he should be dismissed, because while I think he's a great coach, he's just not had success here in the time frame that we arrogant, selfish, entitled Michigan fans want. There is no question that David Brandon is botching this process as we speak. Even if we end up with everyone's dreamboat Jim Harbaugh, the humiliating of Coach Rodriguez is unacceptable and unforgivable.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:50 a.m.

Don't confuse the *decision* with the *announcement of the decision.* It is entirely possible that DB has already made his decision AND already informed RR, but just hasn't made the announcement, for whatever reason (severance pkg, new coach announcement, team notification, etc.).


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:45 a.m.

This is more about the media than it is about UM. Note that the media repeats this pattern of events over and over and over..... 1. One media outlet reports a rumor. 2. Other media outlets report that the first media outlet is reporting a rumor. 3. Then they switch to "according to published reports....." 4. Then they switch to "it is being widely reported that...." 5. The widely reported rumor then becomes a fact. This is typical media frenzy behavior. There is nothing to see here. Move along.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:42 a.m.

The 2.5 mil buy out should take some of the sting out of Rich Rod's "raw deal".


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:41 a.m.

Is RR getting a raw deal? I don't think so, but Lon H does. That's his opinion. But seriously folks, coaches are hired to win games, championships, bowl games, so that the 106,000 seats will be filled for every home game. Winning coaches have talented players (as does RR) and some idea of offensive, defensive, and special teams strategies (as does RR). No mystery beyond that - the coach has to motivate his players to use their talents to the fullest, and execute the strategies as if they were Received Wisdom from On High. RR's abilities to motivate are questionable - think of Tate Forcier sitting on the sidelines with a towel over his head. He was a winner at WVU because he had good talent and an offensive plan that was new and unfamiliar to the opposition. By the time he came to Michigan, the defensive coaches in the Big 10 had figured out how to counteract it. One final critique. In every sport where there is a half-time break for the coach to meet with his team, the better coaches make adjustments based on what they saw in the first half, and their teams do better vs. the day's opposition in the second half than they did in the first. Look at the record, and you'll see that RR was consistently outcoached for the past three seasons.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:29 a.m.

LS Geez, LS is right. Holy cow, it's all the media's fault. If they didn't report the violations that the University agreed with, in writing, at a hearting, with lawyers present, it wouldn't have happened. Heck, those media guys put it out for everyone to see. Just think, if no one reported it, Michigan beats Toledo, sweeps MSU and OSU in the Big (imaginary) Ten and instead of losing badly to the SEC MSU by the worst score in Michigan football history, RR could be sitting on his third NC game in three years. LS could be on to something here. Stalin did it. Changed history by how it was presented. Changes images, rewrote how things happened, and removed those who disagreed. No media, independent or otherwise, no one to tell the truth. Here's the problem with that LS. Reality, and isn't it a crimp in your world. Defense will emerge without effort and special teams will COACH themselves. The other teams will give up after the coin toss and you will be the new AD at Michigan. None of that has happened so far and I'm guessing it's not, no matter how hard Larry, Moe, and Curley (tater, theo, and ls) wishes it so. OH, I have to go. The real world is calling, hope to see you there someday.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:20 a.m.

wpm, Wow! well said. You should be writing articles here!


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:19 a.m.

Getting fired twice from the same job in two consecutive days couldn't have happened to a better guy.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:18 a.m.

For anyone who thinks this fiasco is NOT hurting the Michigan brand, just look all over the internet at sports sites and see what is being written about Michigan football right now. HINT: It ain't positive. Further, if you think potential coaches or recruits aren't reading this too, you're living in a dream world. Pete: I agree completely. The way Michigan has left Rodriguez and the whole program "up in the air" for the last month speaks poorly of how we treat our own. If Brandon's ultimate intention is to fire RR, I don't understand why he didn't do it yesterday (or in November for that matter). It looks more likely now (hard to believe as it is) that Rodriguez may remain the coach for next year. Perhaps Brandon will come out with some brilliant move at the last minute, but I'm seriously doubting that with every passing hour this fiasco continues. Harbaugh was the best guy for the job, but we should have pursued him much earlier. His brother's comments are very telling and further supports the damage this whole process is doing to Michigan's reputation. Let's all hold tight and see what happens today. Hopefully, it's something positive for a change.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:11 a.m.

Pete - GREAT article. Spot on. A "Michigan Man" doesn't do things this way. DB may not be in over his head... but it sure appears that way. The perception is that his delay tactics have been employed because he's feeling his way through this process. Headline: "Pizzaman Learning on the Job" UM DOES look petty and small right now... Take a look at Florida. 4 days and done. Spot on - RR is damaged goods right now. Stay = no credibility (see Wade Phillips) Goes = Chance at redemption and a fresh start. It would be best for all parties at this point for him to go elsewhere and start fresh. DB should be man enough to pull that trigger for him. If he's nickel and dimeing this guy over 2.5 - what kind of a message does that send to the NEXT guy... "hey here is your buy-out clause... but don't worry about it, because if you don't create magic, we're not going to pay it to you anyway - we're going to try and force you to resign..." Cheap. Which is the bad rap we have when it comes to compensating coaches anyway... Way to cement it. I think JH backfired on DB and he's realizing his Plan B & C stink. If he delivers Hoke - he'll have people screaming in the streets. If he pony's up 2.5 for RR's buy out - then pays the LM 1.5 buy out - THEN signs a big LM deal... Then next fall LM fails to call a timeout, or has the wrong personnel on the field - every one says, "We gave up RR for THIS?!?!?"... It becomes and all or nothing proposition for DB. Yuck! And this whole thing has come about because of a timetable that benefits no-one EXCEPT saving 1.5... Small change in the grand scheme of the business that is college football. If you're going to make a business decision and wait to save some $$$ - you darn well better have THE guy - YOUR guy. Lined up and eager to sign on the dotted line. Which he doesn't seem to have at this point. Further more - the drawn out timeline just has the press salivating for info... which they apparently shook loose from HIS athletic dept. Yet another sad day - and continued dark time for Michigan Football... Ugh! I'm embarrassed.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:10 a.m.

For those who defend Brandon by saying he always SAID he'd announce after the season ended, and then he always said he'd announce after the bowl game.....and he is following "a process".... do recruits care about that? How did what Brandon "always said" help recruiting?? If anyone thinks Brandon's "process" is helping recruiting over the past few months, raise their hands. None of the assistant coaches hands will come up. They are left out of all processes and recruiting has been stalled for months. Guys like Fred are left with their hands tied. It's going to hurt for years to come no matter who coaches next year.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:06 a.m.

Mr. Bigelow, lay down the violin. Your article is speculative, your "wrath" on behalf of Coach Rodriguez may well be unwanted by him or at least misplaced, in terms of projecting your thoughts, feelings and emotions on his situation (which, being "his" situation, only he and perhaps his wife can know). I have no doubt that Coach Rodriguez has undergone a great deal of stress during his three years as head coach of the Wolverines, some by circumstance, much by the media hounds, and the greater balance by his own doing (his lack of success in creating a viable, well executing team of players who can compete in the Big Ten). Personally, my opinion is that this coaching regime should not continue. It is surrounded by failure and the aura of negativity. It's not just the win-loss record, it is the abysmal failure of the defense, kickers and until Martavious Odoms returned, the special teams. It is an offense that seems brilliant and unstoppable against division-down opponents, but stutters and stops when confronted by a Big Ten defense (or any real defense). It is about lack of mental toughness, it is about a lack of execution and preparedness; it is about collapse and defeat, not only on the scoreboard but in the culture of the program as it currently exists. Many commentators have said that Michigan is unrecognizable on the field. That's not a matter of the spread offense. It's a comment on the fact that the structure of the Michigan football program has been taken down to its foundations without a comparably strong architecture to replace it. Mr. Rodriguez will have millions to assuage his disappointment, until he secures his next position. I'm sure he will be successful elsewhere, as he was before he came to Ann Arbor. But this is in every way a failed and even botched experiment. The rebuilding of this program will take years; it won't be fun for any of us for quite a long time. I am sorry for all concerned. We had hoped for a much different outcome.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:05 a.m.

It is now 10:00am on the 5th. Still no word. I was in favor of letting RR go but know I beleive this long wait borders on abuse. Mr. Brandon, if it takes this long to make a discion maybe you should to back to the pizza business and let RR have his last year.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:04 a.m.

How many more times can we hear about the poor, victimized coach and their supporters tears? I am so glad that he will be gone today. Good riddance. Enjoy Pitt.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:01 a.m.

Did you ever stop to think that RRod is holding up this process? RRod owes $500K to West Virginia due in full before the end of this month. RRod has mentioned to people close to him that he knew that he was going to be terminated as early as Dec. 21st yet DB decided to wait until the buyout was reduced to $2.5M on Jan. 1st. RRod could be trying to negotiate a better exit severance. Attorneys likely were involved and this will be resolved today. Perhaps DB should have forgone the 'evaluation results' part of the meeting (which took some time) since the inevitable conclusion was termination anyway and the attorneys could have had time to resolve yesterday. But it didn't happen in that manner. DB does need to understand that leaks do happen and the entire sports world was watching and should have planned a little better, but to call this a 'raw deal' is unfounded.

Ron Granger

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10 a.m.

I don't see the delay as significant. I have zero sympathy for Rich Rod. At this level, you either perform or you don't. Clearly, he did not. His poor performance has earned him millions. He has disgraced the Michigan programs with the NCAA sanctions and poor performance. I'm not sure I have ever heard a coach blame his players in so many big post game interviews for not executing. Rich Rod: YOU did not execute. Try taking the blame once in a while. It was reasonable to wait until the Gator bowl outcome to make a decision, though my decision was made long ago. I *hope* UM is playing hardball and trying to get him to resign. It isn't like Rich Rod will have a lot of job offers after this fiasco. Again, take some responsibility. Major Kudos to for reporting this story factually yesterday, and not jumping on the "he's fired" bandwagon based on non-sources.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10 a.m.

The only people twisting in the wind are the ones that expect DB to do something that THEY want him to do, rather than listen to him as he does EXACTLY what he said he was going to do from square one! Cudo's to Brandon for not allowing media and fan pressure to inturrupt his process. This will all be handled by the end of the week, just as the Director has indicated all along.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:53 a.m.

EightySeven - well said. Anyone who has a clue about how business relations, hiring and firing, exit reviews, etc, knows that there is a process that should be followed. Especially with a coach with a track record like RR who hasn't exited smoothly in the past.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:50 a.m.

M football is toast. The damage has been done. Whether DB had multiple plans of action or not, he dropped the ball in terms of handling the media and the public perception that resulted. PR is obviously very important for an institution that is under a constant microscope like UM. Notice on a national level the perceptions of this program beyond just the on-field performances. You can say its the fault of over-jealous reporting, but good leaders and public figures usually find a way shape public perception. There is not much DB can do now to repair the brand... Unless he gets Harbaugh...


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:46 a.m.

For the past few years, we have been watching the Big 10 fall into a joke of a conference. For the most part noncompetitive. Now we are watching one of their teams self-destruct. In case you haven't noticed, Michigan's football program is a joke. Pretty soon they will be playing teams like Hillsdale and Albion. Hopefully they can win some of those games.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:45 a.m.

The appointment process at the UM has always been s-l-o-w. People here do not make hiring (or firing) decisions without thorough review, discussion, and more discussion. I doubt the sports world is as concerned about Michigan football as much as we fans are - so I don't think our reputation is being ruined. No matter what comes out of this situation, we fans will need to focus our loyalty on the young men who come here to learn and play football. This team is going to need our support, no matter who the coach turns out to be.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:43 a.m.

How about we give Granholm tenure? SEIU would love that.

John Bretzloff

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:43 a.m.

The only ones "receiving a raw deal" is the public and followers of the program by being forced to hear and read all of the media's fabricated "news". Brandon has never said this evaluation was to decide whether or not to FIRE RR...obviously with such mixed results some reflection is necessary and a game plan to improve. The media has made this all about "will RR be fired? Will Brandon keep him?" Nothing for the pinhead media types to write about until Brandon makes a public statement so they continually write their garbage no one should give a second thought to....right Channel 2? Right ESPN? Right 97.1? Morons!

J. Dean

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:43 a.m.

I just want this whole thing over with. Bring in another coach-like I said elsewhere, I don't even care whether or not it's a "Michigan man," just bring in a coach who can WIN.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:43 a.m.

This is KARMA (what goes around comes around). Rich Rod left West Virginia hanging in the wind three years ago when he desrted his players without the courtesy of telling them of his decision before calling his potential recruit Terrell Pryor. He sent in his resignation letter to the Athletic Director via a student assistant. Then he lied when he said he was told WV would not enforce the buyout provision in his contract. John Beilen left WV with class, he could go back and would be welcomed. Rich Rod can't even go see his parents in WV. Class and No Class. He is getting exactly what he dished out. No tears for this miserable whiner -- please.

Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:31 a.m.

I think the local media, both Ann Arbor and Detroit, look really bad in all of this. Instead of verifying a story, they have created one. Unfortunaletly, this has been the case since RR first showed up. A year or so ago, the Freep article about the excessive practive times turned out to be a fabrication and was blown out of context. It brought the NCAA in, and essentially forced them to make some sort of sanctions. The list of other charges, such as 'no family values' has been shown, over time, to be equally false. As I have said many times before, It is not RR that is the problem, but the SOLUTION to the problem. Al lof this kills recruiting, and previous 'red herrings' have hurt recruint. At some point, we should be asking what the media's agenda really is here. Does it take all this to lift MSU to an equal spot in the state?


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:24 a.m.

It is time for U of M to move forward and begin to rebuild the football program which has been devastated since Rodriguez arrived. The PR that has been generated for the past several weeks if not months is detrimental to the university as a whole, not just the football program. Brandon should have terminated Rodriguez months ago for cause. Rodriguez has failed to lead and based on the adverse publicity is no longer capable of providing leadership for the team. If Brandon is unable to make the decision, then I must agree with those who are now calling for him to be fired as well. I hope that Rodriguez leaves without a large payout. He has disgraced U of M and does not deserve to be paid for poor performance.

obama from kenya

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:19 a.m.

This IS damaging to the image of UofM athletics. For those of you that keep touting the 40+ years of greatness I of the footbll program, I submit that today's youth (tomorrow's recruits) have no recollection or knowledge of who Bo was or the great things he did. This is the age of Facebook and what's popular NOW. This does hurt not only Michigan, but the Big Ten given that it is a war to compete for recruits that probably want to play in warm climates with scantily clad co-eds. This is today's reality and something all fans in the Big Ten must deal with.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:18 a.m.

Just maybe DB is playing hardball w/RR. I believe RR did violate his contract w/ the NCAA violations. If this is the case by all means the UM very well may cause to recoup some of the parting settlement or maybe get out from uder it. RR did leave WVU in a very bizaar way and maybe DB is trying make sure some of the same mistakes are not repeated. Just let this process play out first and in time the story will be told.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:12 a.m.

I think was smart for not reporting anything definitive yesterday, but a commentary from Pete at this time does not help matters. And it is well known that Pete always leans towards RR's side, which really is somewhat biased. The media has made this a circus, and then people reacting to all of the media reports adds to the mayhem. Their rush to be the first to break a story and scoop their competitiors is a real problem sometimes. I for one will wait for all of the details to come out after the official announcement(s) is made. There are far too many details and things that all of us do not know yet to make a real judgement or assessment. One thing for sure is that contract that Martin gave to RR is amazingly bad, especially with a $ 4 million buyout in favor of RR. I would be interested in knowing how many universities gave contracts like that. Les Miles has a buyout, but he would have to pay to leave. RR had to pay to leave WVU, and we were foolish enough to help him, plus we gave him a buyout in his favor. Brilliant.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:06 a.m.

Michigan has always enjoyed the reputation as a "class" institution, whether in the academic or athletic realms. Unfortunately, the way this football coaching debacle is being handled is anything but classy. Like Rich Rod or not, he is being unfairly dangled by Bill Brandon before the public like a sacrificial animal. This poorly managed predicament is going to have long term ramifications for the Michigan program, possibly scaring away worthy prospective players and/or coaches. Not the way "Michigan Men" should take care of business!


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:06 a.m.

Agree 100% but would you expect anything less from the University of Michigan athletic department? Of course not!

marlon glenn

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:04 a.m.

I could not agree more. This is pure mess. I am tired of hearing what a "genius" Brandon is. And how much "confidence" people have in him. Confidence based on what? Domino's pizza? All their commercials are about how the pizza stinks. I think it so wrong how they have treated RR. Granted, he did not fit here. Got it. But you still do not have to keep dumping on him and his family. You reap what you sow. Michigan is not as great as they think they are. This will leave a stain and may even run away future coaching prospects. Shameful.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:04 a.m.

Pete Johnson...Touche..Love it!!! Sounds like a PLAN...


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:01 a.m.

Wow. What a horrible article! You have no idea what is going on, just like the rest of us! For all we know, he could HAVE the answer, and Dave Brandon is just waiting to release it to the press. If anything, Michigan fans are getting the raw deal, not Rich Rod.

I love Michigan Football

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:01 a.m.

I'm not sure why everyone is blaming David Brandon for this whole mess. Fox channel 2 was the one that started the whole thing? I don't remember seeing a press conference with David Brandon saying anything but what he has said in the past. "I will evaluate the process after the season is over". He has done what he said he is going to do. I blame the media for buying into the hype of what others say and reporting it before it is confirmed, and that is what is making the University of Michigan look like a circus right now not David Brandon.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9 a.m.

Superbuck - M vs. Cooper = 10-2-1 O vs. RR = 3 - 0 Oh how quick you buckeye faithful forget the ownage in the late 80's and through the 90's. RR = Cooper.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:59 a.m.

I agree with your article somewhat. I agree with your suggestion that Rich is not getting the best treatment. Certainly not the kind of treatment one would think to expect from Michigan. But the media is the one creating the soap opera - not Brandon.

Pete Johnson

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:57 a.m.

OK here is the real deal. The reason why it is taking DB so long is that he is negotiating Jim H. and Brady H. "Jim you come to UM and get this program back on the map. Hire Brady Hoke as Defensive coordinator and in 5 or so years Brady Hoke takes over as head coach, Jimmy gets to go to the NFL and everyone is happy. HOME RUN BABY....GO BLUE!


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:57 a.m.

Now I understand why it took Dominos 30 years to come up with a new sauce recipe.

Doug Dubin

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:57 a.m.

Pete, fantastic column and clearly labeled as an "opinion" piece. I suppose there are some people out there, sadly trolling the blogosphere day in and day out, who just don't understand. Please keep up the great work!


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:56 a.m.

Has RichRod lawyered up? Has he threatened a lawsuit? What could RichRod possibly be saying that would warrant anything else but "Thank you for your 3 years of coaching, but this isn't working. I am very sorry this didn't workout. You are terminated" Did anyone see anything worth another year of RichRod football on January 1st? What could RichRod possibly change to improve the team? I didn't see a bit of change from Novembers loss to OSU and the loss to Miss St. Did you?


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:55 a.m.

beginning to wonder which side the "leaks" came from. i'm sure i can think of someone who is enjoying DB being in the hot seat.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:55 a.m.

>> For those who keep screaming "this hurts the Michigan brand", It absolutely does. How is this helping recruiting? How are potential players viewing all of this and what impact may it have on deciding what school to attend? It definitely hurts the brand. Very unpolished, unprofessional and downright funny.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:48 a.m.

Yhe Mich program has turned into such a pile of crap that the Big 10 is looking silly. Harbaugh isn't interested in Mich and if you hire Hoke your right back where you started rom 3 years ago. When you get rid of RR then Denard will leave and I also feel Tate will transfer or flunk out. With the thousands of arm chair coaches that I see posting here all the time you should be able to find a new coach in the alley somewhere between Ann Arbor and Detroit for $350.00 a week plus food. Or have you thought about the coach at Appalacian State? I don't care what you say thats funny right there. GO BUCKS


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:46 a.m.

JGS, "All speculation"....EXACTLY! Gossip runs rampant where indecisiveness prevails. That's human nature. Had God had trouble deciding about the great flood, people would have been taking bets on whether or not Noah should build an ark. Odds would probably be on "no". Ever work in an environment with mamby-pamby administrators? The workplace becomes a rumor mill. And the more admins try to squash the rumors, the more rumors circulate. It started back in November after OSU game. No decision. The regular season had ended. Another game over a month later was going to help make the decision? No, it would allow the admins to try to get a new coach. So much for that plan. It seems Dave Brandon has spent a lot of time rearranging chairs on the Titanic when he should have been steering it away from the iceberg.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:44 a.m.

Let's cut to the quick! Tom and Dave can pool their resources and buy the 49'ers. JH can be reassigned to Michigan; RR can be reassigned to SanFran. Recruits can be promised an NFL contract after their tour of duty at Michigan is successfully completed.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:43 a.m.

How do we know that RichRod hasn't had his feelers out? He is no dummy.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:42 a.m.

i think dave has handled this all wrong. it is not a business it is a sport. others fire the coach in the middle of the season. others fire them after the last game. he waited to long. lost respect and some players. this does not help rich rod if he stays. still not giving him support. michigan never has welcomed him with open arms. if he is listening to rich rod and rich rod give back a good case. this is what a evaluation means both ways to and from. i say what the heck is the diff loosing season with old coach or new coach with a new system. lou holtz said he is a good coach. give him time to put his system in place. forget the first year. carr left him with nothing. so he really has only had two years. you paid him for four let him have four. change staff is a must.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:39 a.m.

the devil is in the details. i think that ncaa violations angle may have some merit, imho.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:32 a.m.

I think RR is going to be your coach for a couple more years, simply because Brandon has tried to find a new coach and no one is interested in Mich.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:31 a.m.

Thanks Cash, I understand what an opinion segment is. However, the media in general has created this circus out of nothing. All - Please answer me this, When did the University of Michigan announce that they were going to have a decision completed on Tuesday, January 4, 2011? THEY DIDN'T! The University and DB have long stated that this situation will be evaluated after the season. Why do we all speculate on this topic? Whether it's RR getting an alleged raw deal, or Ms. Coleman not liking JH, to Brady Hoke wanting the M Job, it's ALL SPECULATION! So someone please drop me some FACTS and cite your source please. I will give one prop though. They NEVER reported that RR was fired. Why? Because "officially" he hasn't been fired yet. Lastly, Pete, I respect your opinion and you're entitled to it. However, I do not agree with you on the "raw" deal. None of us know the process because we're not involved.

The Ben

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:30 a.m.

Regardless of whether Brandon is doing what's best... part of me is enjoying the fact that he is doing things on his own terms and ignoring all of the self-righteous media and message board junkies. That would be my evil side, of course.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:27 a.m.

While the UM PR machine could have been more prepared, I also understand that it probably isn't easy to handle the internal investigations with regard to the RR's behavior, excuses, and attempts in passing the buck to anyone that will listen. Also, athletic director Dave Brandon, is not the final word as to what happens to RR. I'm sure a recommendation has been submitted, but it takes time to review.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:25 a.m.

For those who keep screaming "this hurts the Michigan brand", you really need to learn a little about marketing. If you believe 6 or even 8 weeks versus 40 plus years of history can destroy the Michigan brand you have no clue. Did Red Berenson getting arrested "destroy the Michigan brand"? How about the Gary Moeller fiasco? Did Bill Frieder leaving destroy the Michigan brand? Tom Goss was hired as AD and the brand survives. How about the Ed Martin scandal? Michigan will be just fine. It is bigger than Rich Rodriguez and David Brandon. There is also this false idea that RR "deserves" to look for another job. I wonder if Mr Bigelow thought he were possibly going to get fired, if he would maybe set up some interviews just in case. RR is free to do that. I would say the Pitt situation shows why an AD should TAKE THEIR TIME with this, and make sure things are done right. Pitt made quick decisions, and look where they are. They are looking for their third coach in a month.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:20 a.m.

"My point was that until either Dave Brandon or Rich Rodriguez steps up to the podium and tells us what Rich Rodriguez's job status is, we will not know for certain the true story. Until that time, the sources might as well be the janitor." My point is your speculating on who the source couldn't be.Unless you know the source it could be David Brandon himself. In any event I am comfortable the sources are more reliable than a "janitor". The man who broke the story would not risk his reputation on a "janitor".


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:20 a.m.

This article is reflective of an immature journalist with no real world business experience. My sources, well placed and solid, have stated that RR and UM are haggling over settlement language. UM believes RR is law suit happy and is making sure that once the agreement is done there is no back lash and a silence clause is included in the language. When the dust clears Pete will reflect on his article and hopefully grow as a journalist and "opinion" writer.

Stephen Landes

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:19 a.m.

Pete Bigelow. You obviously have no clue about how a real business operates nor about what it means to treat your people properly. It is obvious you want this done on YOUR schedule for the benefit of whom exactly? This is a decision all the coaches and players at Michigan now and those who are prospectives are looking at. They need to see that Coach Rodriguez is getting the right opportunity to present his plan for the balance of his contract and to have that plan taken seriously. When coaches and players know they are working in a sane, measured, reasonable, and professional atmosphere they will feel better about their own positions and be able to respect the AD's decisions -- this one and future decisions. I'm pretty sure Mr. Brandon isn't going to be swayed by the needs of the media, comments by fans or donors, or by the decisions being made by this year's crop of 17 year olds. He is giving Coach Rodriguez the opportunity demonstrate his plan for the next three years and have it given real consideration. He will make his decision in time for everyone to make their own decisions in a professional and calm manner. You just have to learn that this won't be a decision driven by the usual media circus.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:17 a.m.

What a bunch of bull. Next thing you know it will be reported that Tate Forcier has been retained as a tutor for any academically struggling player - and it will be spread all over the media.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:12 a.m.

"Rocky the Squirrel wrote".... actually my name is Craig Lounbury. I'm one of those people in here who uses their real name and lets the chips fall where they may. I'm in the phone book too. In the future please muster the courtesy to recognize that. There are actually less letters to type, and you can copy and paste it if your inclined.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:06 a.m.

Where's the clowns? I can't hear the organ and what happened to all the animals? It feels like a circus so why don't they put RR in the big cannon already and shoot him to Pittsburg? I know this is media driven but unfortunately accuracy in reporting is no longer in vogue. Just throw it out there, stir the pot, and presto change-o you have a self sustaining media event.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 8:01 a.m.

Forget the WV buyout issue. Are you telling me Mich didn't know about it? Of course they did. They told RR up front they would help, but RR had to fight it hard. It is that simple. RR fought, couldn't disclose, and the masses assume he is screwing UM. It was agreed to up front. Puhleeze. Joke is a Hoke. Is he a Meeeeeshigan man??? Just some yahoo assistant under Carr.

Pete Johnson

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 7:59 a.m.

This is not as easy as you make it sound, DB has done everything he said he would do. When they get back(counts as day 1 travel day) he will evaluate with RR and give him the opportunity to defend his poor performance. At the same time he has to be getting prepared for the possible replacement, we all know that JH is the front runner, and he also has a time frame in which he will talk to anyone because of his bowl game. So to say 3 days is way too much is crazy talk. The only statement you have correct is DB has to do what is right for MICHIGAN. We have to land the very best coach possible and yes that takes negotiation and patience something our media does not have. I was all for RR but after all the failures, and I will not make up the big list(and it was not just the defense) now its time to replace him. Being hung out to dry? I kinda think it is the reverse, he came in here and broke darn near every record on the negative side in Michigan history(again don't think I need to list them all) and we send him out with 2.5 Mil.? Ya..... I feel real sorry for him. DB will get this badly damaged fixed and floating again in the right direction. Do not judge before this very fluid process is over. GO BLUE!

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 7:47 a.m.

ERMG@ "Sorry, Pete, but this is nonsense..... you don't have the first idea of what these discussions have been about... you have no basis to pass judgment.... The only people to whom this has been "unfair" is the media who, apparently, cannot wait for the process to play itself out and report facts. Instead they report every rumor heard from the janitors who work in Schembechler Hall." Pot meet the kettle. ERMG, you chastise the author for his "speculation" then proceed to speculate on the nature of media sources.

J. Dean

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 7:44 a.m.

If the article's author is implying that Brandon should have quickly said "You're fired" to Rodriguez yesterday, then he is correct. Nobody at ALL benefits from dragging this decision out.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 7:41 a.m.

Boo frikkity hoo. RR gets paid well enough to have the stress of "hanging". Seriously what real worries does he have? Food on the table, roof over the heads, kids have winter coats? Honelstly. Maybe its time for a new AD, enough mamby pamby.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 7:32 a.m.

Of the Three Stooges (BM, RR, DB)I do believe Brandon might be the biggest stooge of all. I can't remember the last time an AD anywhere has left so many hanging out to dry, for so long. I agree with's unfair to those directly (and indirectly) involved and it seems to me that the process DB has chosen is starting to smell really bad. I hope we do wind up with an outstanding coach but regardless, this has not been handled well at all and in the end, we'll listen to DB explain it all away I suppose.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 7:32 a.m.

"You can't blame Rodriguez for everything" Baloney. As head coach he is RESPONSIBLE for everything. You can decide for yourself about the "blame" thing. The man is paid a mountain of money and hasn't delivered.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 7:31 a.m.

JGS, This is an opinion piece, not a news piece. It is identified as such. (see the first word in the heading) Almost every media outlet gives opinion...and the good ones identify it as such. So, in this case, Pete has a right to his opinion and obviously his employer has allowed him to publish it. If you disagree that op-eds should be published, fine. If you disagree with his opinion, fine. But to say he is creating the news is untrue. He has formed an opinion and is publishing it as such.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 7:30 a.m.

I've always wondered about that $4 million dollar buyout, and who is really responsible for the payments. Is RR to repay UM, or was that just a generous padding of RR's contract? Could there possibly be discussions about the difference of $4 million and $2.5 million and how that is to be resolved? Do we have another court decision awaiting and that might be what is really holding up the announcements? Like to hear someone chime in for an explanation.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 7:22 a.m.

@aarox - I couldn't agree with you more regarding the reporting rather than creating of the news. Furthermore, I find it strangely laughable that the same people ( who have bashed Rich Rodriguez for 3 years, are now changing their tune and supporting him due to "mistreatment." Let me reiterate what aarox first said, " and other media outlets, your job is to REPORT the news, not create it."


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 7:10 a.m.

The Michigan situation has been mishandled on so many levels and for so long it has really hurt the brand. Let's begin with the history of this comedy or errors. In 2008 LSU played for the national title and had privately worked a deal with Les Miles, but someone could not keep her mouth shut for another 48 hours and Miles said forget it. The administration then panicked under pressure and rushed the Rich Rod decision. Fast forward to now, It has been clear for a long time that Rich Rod was not the guy to get the job done, and it appears that Brandon has no plan! Nothing. I don't blame a top notch coach for not wanting to become involved with all the drama and unprofessional behavior of this administration. We had Les Miles in 2008 but this administration just could not keep her mouth shut for another 48 hours. Now the swirl and churn of this unfortunate drama has been building for three years. Three years to prepare for this highly probably moment and no plan. Nothing! Let us give credit where credit is due.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 7:01 a.m.

Whether you like Brandon's time line or not...he has done exactly what he said he would do. Evaluate at the end of the season(Saturday) and a decision the "back half of the week"..It's only Wed, no one really knows what is going on except the people involved, patience!!

Chase Ingersoll

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 6:50 a.m.

The Trustees meeting with Brandon is scheduled for Thursday at the Michigan Stadium. There will not be any announcement from Brandon/University until after that meeting. That is the protocol for a corporate action of this nature. Harbaugh is a moving target and has or probably has offers from (Dolphins-Ross, 49'ers, Broncos) and probably a couple of other NFL teams. His brother (Ravens) is advising him to take an NFL job because you don't have the recruiting grind or babysitting of college students. If you want to know where he will actually to Jim's wife and kids. The Rodriguez and other coaches kids out in Dexter High have known for the last month that they are going to be gone. Harbaughs kids at least know if they are staying in Palo Alto. My bet is that if the wife and kids like life in Palo, he takes the 49's job.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 6:49 a.m.

Pete, didn't jim harbough say 3 years ago that he didn't want anything to do with the michigan job,so john isn't saying anything new.

I love Michigan Football

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 6:49 a.m.

They are evaluating the process. period. It is easy math people. David Brandon wants him to fire his whole defensive staff and Rich is being stubborn and won't do it. He will get rid of Gerg, but not his cronies from West Virginia. It has nothing to do with Rich Rodriguez's feelings and what you people are turning it out to be. He has pulled this crying and blame game for so long you people actually feel sorry for this guy. amazing. He is trying to save his buddies and in turn is getting himself canned in the end. Rumor is is that Brandon is trying to get a meeting set up with Harbaugh later today, if it doesn't happen oh well. Hoke is the safety net, I'm not completely sold on it, but anything is better than what we have been faced with the past 3 years.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 6:48 a.m. One of over 1000 stories about this mess, but really insightful.

Let me be Frank

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 6:43 a.m.

Things just haven't been the same since they removed the yellow halo from the stadium.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 6:30 a.m.

My crystal ball shows that RR will be let go today, Brandon is waiting for LSU to finish their bowl game, it'll be Les Miles.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 6:30 a.m.

I agree, Coach Rodriguez is getting the short end of the stick. There is no need for Michigan to do this. It is not all his offense the defense stinks. He needs to fire the Defense Coordinator because that s whose job should be taken. You can't blame Rodriguez for everything. As I have said before you have guys sitting up in the booths talkingon the phone ones on the field, are they that stupid? Somebody is not paying attention. Good Luck to Coach Rodriguez, if it were me, I would take the Pittsburg job and say good bye.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 6:24 a.m.

Pete: Female perspective (if allowed LOL) I completely agree. If you worked for Apple and everyone there had heard for the past 3 months that you would be fired, the industry media announced it over and over, your replacements were bandied about over and over again, and you really wanted your job, what kind of boss would let that happen? Would you run a company like this? Brandon is in charge, right? College football is a big business. And right now UM's program seems to be a poorly managed business. They are losing prospective workers (players) and probably some customers (fans) along the way. If a worker isn't successful, give them an evaluation with goals. If they fail in the goals given, fire them. And move on. For me, the lack of firm decisive action by Dave Brandon is a bigger black eye on UM than RichRod's performance. Just my opinion.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 5:41 a.m.

The program and the fans are getting the raw deal. RR is paid 2.5 mil. Every fan will want to have a raw deal as long as they are paid 2.5 mil. lol! Maybe RR makes some issues about a smooth firing that is causing this delay from the articles at ESPN. Get RR out cleanly, get JH to say something and if no, then get the next candidate and let's move on to another era of UM football.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 3:30 a.m.

Greg 87' How did you become a 'former alumnus'? Did you ungraduate and return your diploma?

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 1:27 a.m.

Brandon has about a week to get this done properly. Until then, I have no idea whether he's botching this process. I am not part of the athletic administration at Michigan.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 1:08 a.m.

Everyone can agree or disagree on whether RichRod deserves to be treated better. But the one thing everyone is overlooking in his article (probably becuase you're all so wrapped up in your RichRod hatred) is that Pete is spot on about this "process" killing the brand. Many of you argue that its the media thats cuasing it... while that may be true its also reality, and it appears that DB is either 1) too arrogant to feel he has to manage it or 2) has no clue. Yes, if the media just shut up and let the process work itself out then he wouldnt have to manage the brand, but welcome to the 1990s, err 2011 folks! DB will learn soon enough, we should hope, that running two companies and the PR that comes with that is nothing compared to the position he is in now.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 1:07 a.m.

I've lost a lot of respect for Brandon. He's bungled this up completely. The of his "system" of evaluating coaches at the end of the season is as much folly as RR's love his spread "system." Both are too rigid to be effective. Sometime situations dictate disregarding plans and acting quickly. Brandon's "business approach" obviously didn't work here. Why would Harbaugh or any other decent coach want to work for an AD who treats his coaches like this? Brandon has ruined HIS brand.

Larry Weisenthal

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 1:03 a.m.

I sure hope that Brandon knows what he's doing. Right now, the way that he has handled the whole Rodriguez situation, from the Ohio State game to the present, real time, is looking almost as harmful to Michigan's reputation as anything which Rodriguez did to the football team. The only thing that made sense was a done deal to hire Harbaugh, but giving Harbaugh the chance to finish his season. If it turns out that Harbaugh was simply wishful thinking, then Rodriguez should have been sacked immediately after the OSU game, and a replacement immediately hired. The Assistant Coaches could have done as good a job in the Gator Bowl game as RR did. There could have been 5 weeks of recruiting. Absent a rabbit out of the hat, this is looking like chaos. I really hope that Brandon knows what he's doing.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:55 a.m.

Pete: I think RR has sufficiently disgraced the university that we should not care what happens to his personal image. Tough world when you get 10 million dollars and embarrass your employer. But you are right on when you indicate that other people will now completely look at this university and potentially run the other way. What person in their right mind would come to a place that treats its people like this? It's an absolute mess. I am an ashamed alumnus. But the big question that you are missing is: 'Where is Mary Sue Coleman in this'? She ultimately is responsible, and should be much more aware of what is going to the image of the highest profile job at the school--even bigger than hers, the CEO of hospital, or the AD. She essentially has washed her hands of it, and I think that is just plain wrong. RR created his own situation by his incompetence and poor performance for years. But DB and MSC have irreparably damaged the brand they are supposed to protect, by their actions or inactions.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:55 a.m.

Pay the man his $2.5 million to leave and stop the bleeding already. I feel little sympathy for Rodriguez. Maybe he loses out on the Pitt job because of this, but he'll come out of this an even richer millionaire and I'm sure a one-year hiatus as an ESPN commentator/analyst wouldn't be the worst thing for know they would offer it to him. There would be plenty of teams salivating for him at the end of next season, just look at how they drool over Jon Gruden around this time every year.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:49 a.m.

As a former alumnus it seems to be that we could never find the ubiquitous coach at Michigan;Bo was a great motivator but went brain dead in the last two minutes of critical games and never won a National Championship. Gary Moeller seemed to be destine for stardom and urinated in a public parking lot. Lloyd Carr had an impressive record but had trouble winning the last two games of the season.(Oh, Charles Woodson and the rest of the team shared a National Championship in spite of him). The settled for Rich Rod with a shakey career and got away from the Michigan "Brand",that would be Big Ten Football..They better have someone big on the line or the "Brand" is surely in trouble Greg 87'

S Michael

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:37 a.m.

This debacle started 3 years ago, when RR left WVU with a messy divorce and continues with UM faultering in their divorce from RR. Wow, what a joke from such a "storied program" (what a joke; "storied program"!!!)

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:32 a.m.

I can think of 2.5 million reasons he is not getting a raw deal. Pete Bigelow is not getting a raw deal, either. He is just unable to get the story. The fans, however, have received a raw deal for the last 37 games. Brandon knows what he has to do.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:20 a.m.

Fun to watch the newsies squirm as their speculations are disproved, and attempt to look outraged because DB isn't honoring their divine right to be in the loop. Also fun to listen to "armchair CEOs"(nice term!). So many folks in so far over their heads. Let's all be quiet and watch what happens. If we don't like the outcome, we can return our degrees and let our season tickets lapse. We all have UM degrees and lots of Victors' Club points, right?

3 And Out

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:14 a.m.

Good point PC. I caught that too. Care to respond Pete? doubt it...btw a man will not delete my posts Pete.

George Houchens

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:13 a.m.

I agree with this article. Knowing that this would get a big play in the media, Brandon should have acted more decisively. You don't amputate slowly. The big loser here has been the Michigan Football program. It's reputation for treatment of coaches now ranks below that of the Detroit Pistons.

Rob Pollard

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:12 a.m.

Ghost, while you are partly right on Friedgen (I don't think he should have been fired), notice they didn't fire him 4 days after his bowl game. Once they decided to go in another direction, they let him know a week or two ahead of time. Now, if he wanted to coach somewhere else, he was free to interview with all the new coaches. Regarding Wanny, you are completely wrong. It was completely his decision not to coach in the bowl game.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:12 a.m.

Pete Bigelow is fabricating a story and changing quotes to fit his article which is the garbage journalism. Pete quotes John Harbaugh in his article as follows: "Maybe others are noticing how this has turned messy. Maybe thats what Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh referred to Tuesday when, speaking about his brother, he said, I think the Michigan thing is done now. I dont think hes going to have anything to do with that. He doesnt want anything to do with that. Ouch. Sounds like hes afraid of getting cooties just by lingering too long in the vicinity of the Michigan job. Oh really? This is what John Harbaugh ACTUALLY said: I dont know what hes going to do, John said. I think the Michigan thing is done now. I dont think hes interested in doing that, which is hard for him because he loves Michigan. But it says a lot about Stanford and well just see what happens. Big difference between "I don't think he's interested in doing that which is hard for him because he loves Michigan" and "He doesn't want anything to do with that" and is afraid of getting cooties at Michigan. What a shoddy piece of journalism. I cannot believe that an editor of a newspaper would let someone INTENTIONALLY misqoute someone like that.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:10 a.m.

I'm one of the fans that just wanted to see Rich fall flat on his face when he left my Alma Mater, WVU. The article has a good point. Just get on with it already, fire him and get a replacement. If you are waiting for all the stars to align, you aren't doing anyone justice, just letting this program emit a foul odor that if stinking up Ann Arbor and college football as we wait. I want nothing more than Rich Rod to get canned, but enough is enough, just do it.

3 And Out

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:07 a.m.

Pete, you are crazy. RR is not getting any such thing. If anything he gave Michigan a "raw deal". He gets to walk with 2.5 million dollars for tearing down Michigan football. Please get off RR-aid. Please...enough is enough...go put a Josh Groban CD on or something to sooth your nerves.

Alan Benard

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:07 a.m.

Pete, if you took out my comment that it is preposterous to cry a river for overpaid meatheads to teach childrens' games to other meatheads, then you are an oversensitive twit.

David Briegel

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 12:06 a.m.

RichRod knows which closets the skeletons are hiding and where the bodies are buried! That will cost U of M some dough.

Alan Benard

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : midnight

Wah, wah wah. I'm crying a river for a millionaire public official in a bankrupt state who teaches adolescents football. WTF.

Rob Pollard

Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

This is a great column. Fairness comes down to making a decision and not letting a guy, and his family, twist in the wind. All the data is in. DB has the power and could fire RR in 5 minutes. I have no idea why he's delaying, but ultimately it is up to DB, not RR. If he wanted to work through contract termination issues, do that before the bowl game The media (specifically Fox 2 and the Freep) have been atrocious. However, DB needs to recognize Twitter/Facebook/ESPN crawl is the world we live in. He is damaging the brand of his football program and making it seem less attractive to other coaches. Do you think other premier coaches (which, in theory, is who we are after) want to come to an organization that twice in four years clearly doesn't have its act together and treats its coaches and candidates poorly? Firing people, while part of life, is not a game. Doing it expeditiously is the sign of decent organization. If it were such a great idea to do it this way, how come literally no other program does it? That's b/c it dumb, on many, many levels. Make a decision and act on it. This should have been done, one way or the other weeks ago.

David Briegel

Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:45 p.m.

News Flash = New Story = News - Fact There are numerous attorneys who are making a lot of money today, tonight, tomorrow and....... If there were ANY reporters left, there would be info, hints or leaks from all the clerks running the fax machines! It will cost a lot of money to fix Martin's screw up!!


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:39 p.m.

If Rich Rodriguez is getting a raw deal it is from the media and not the University of Michigan / Dave Brandon. Irresponsible journalism, in my day we called it "yellow journalism", is responsible for the "situation" concerning the review process.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:35 p.m.

Pete Brandon owes RichRod an answer why? As far as I know, RichRod has a contract w/3 years left on it. If he hadn't completely bungled his role as head coach, there would be no need for an "answer". RichRod created this situation, how it plays out from here, well, frankly, he doesn't get much say in it. RichRod needs to pull on his big boy pants for the first time since he's been an Michigan and deal with this situation like a man. Do his job until it's no longer his.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:35 p.m.

Pete I think you are speculating on this without knowing what is going on. Nobody knows the facts here or what is going on between Brandon and Rodriguez. Some folks have speculated that during today's meeting some issues came up that need more consideration, thus the delay. I think RR knows what is going to happen. I think this was handled badly by the AD. Back when Brandon said he would wait until after the bowl game maybe he could have qualified that a little: "win and stay, or loose and bye bye." Its detrimental to the program to have all this confusion. It is affecting recruiting with players not knowing what system will be in place.

peg dash fab

Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:33 p.m.

The record books marred by the Rodriguez stain can never be erased. Worst Michigan football coach ever. Pete Bigelow seems to be more concerned about Rodriguez' future than about Michigan's. Not me. Take your time, AD. Choose wisely.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:29 p.m.

I wonder in what world Pete thinks he is living in? When a person is FIRED, they do not do it on the person being fired's time table. If I fire an employee, I do it when it is convenient for ME. If the employee wants to seek another job, he is free to do so. BUT, until that time, he can wait until I decide when he can go. Rich Rod is owed NOTHING. Dave Brandon is doing what is best for the University of Michigan in the LONG RUN. I suppose when the Ann Arbor News shut down, the company that owned it, said they would do it based on a media timetable as opposed to what is best for the business.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:28 p.m.

Michigan should be embarrased going back to when they hired Rich Rod from West Virginia. It was obvious from the players leaving when he started what type of character he had. Then in the bowl game the playes give up after the first half. And yet a decision can't be made that he should go. If RR stays Michigan will sink to the level or lower than Indiana in the big ten. A sad day for a once prestegious school!


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:24 p.m.

If Brandon does not hire Harbaugh this is a complete screw up.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:22 p.m.

Brandon has butchered this years recruiting class. If he brings back RR he'll be butchering next years as well. This has been a train wreck ever since the Ohio State game. So much for Brandon bringing stability to the athletic department. This is a joke.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:18 p.m.

maybe i should wait to make my donation to the victors club until we have a new coach. this is rediculous.give harbaugh the dough.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.

I have a hunch that Brandon called Richrod in there today, threatened he'd fire him if RR didn't fire Greg Robinson, and then gave RR one day to think about it and to give the bad bad news to Greg Robinson. Yes, I think the generally (unanalyzed) media opinion that David Brandon knows what he is in fact fallacy. He doesn't. He's as clueless as RR. If not...why let it get to this level...and why, dear God, let the "You Raise Me Up" song be played a football banquet? Ever. Tomorrow, RR comes out at the team meeting to sorrowfully inform his team that they are going to lose their dear, dear Defensive Coordinator, and that's it. RR and Brandon just shut up and are coy as if nothing happened and it was all just "rampant speculation" that RR was ever close to being fired "so soon" and the Harbaugh thing was "all just talk in the media". "RR is a Michigan Man, you see." Just a hunch.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:15 p.m.

I think Rich Rod has done a great job and hope he is offered a 5 year contract. The players all love him, even the onew who transferred to Ohio State or quit or will quit this year. I don't think Harbaugh should be hired. He would bring integrity and honor as well as winning football back to Michigan. We wouldn't want that. OSU Fan!!

The Ben

Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:14 p.m.

"The entire UM sports info department should be fired. The PR debacle here is one that could have mostly been avoided, and they and Brandon should have planned this better, given that the same bad PR happened 3 years ago! Unbelievable." I think all of the calls to fire people are getting a little obnoxious. "Fire RichRod!" "Fire David Brandon!" "Fire everyone!" No one should take joy in calling for someone to be fired. Sheesh. You say it as if losing a few football games or not having the coach that you want is causing you personal pain and suffering. There are way too many armchair "CEO" quarterbacks on here, and it gets a little tiring.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:10 p.m.

Peter, give me a break, this shmo of a coach tore down our tradition and you want me to feel sorry for a millionaire who sucked at his job in AA? What about us hard working fans who pay to see them play and buy all the apparel, etc., huh? What about us? I will agree with you that DB needs to get it done already, but I could care less about RR and all his money!!!!

Mumbambu, Esq.

Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:05 p.m.

Gjdodger. Where? Where is ESPN saying that? That is the most ridiculous thing I've heard all day.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:05 p.m.

aarox, I have to disagree with you. I think it perfectly acceptable for staff to put forth an opinion. And, the heading is clearly marked as such.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:04 p.m.

Pete -- how do you know it's DB who's dragging it out at this point?


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:03 p.m.

This clearly is labeled as an opinion piece. I think these are valid points that are raised.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:01 p.m.

Rich Rod is a nice guy, but, he hasn't fit in at Michigan. His defense has been porous. Bring home Mr. Les Miles and be done with it. He has the Michigan out in his contract and very significant Head Coaching experience. A man with a 711 winning percentage at LSU in the SEC is just what we need. Leave Brady in San Diego! GO BLUE!


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11 p.m.

ESPN says Brandon is trying to get Rodriguez to resign and threatening to invoke the termination clause in his contract over the NCAA sanctions. If true, I like an AD who plays hardball. I don't feel one smidgen of sympathy for RichRod. He blustered his way into a job that he had no inkling how to do.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11 p.m.

The entire UM sports info department should be fired. The PR debacle here is one that could have mostly been avoided, and they and Brandon should have planned this better, given that the same bad PR happened 3 years ago! Unbelievable.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 10:57 p.m.

This shouldn't be about the media. Sorry to disagree, but I think your job is to report the news, not create it. We look to you to tell us what happened, not what should happen. In the words of the greatest ever... and that's the way it is.