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 Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 12:15 p.m.

Rich Rodriguez: Tate Forcier's future with Michigan football team 'undetermined'

By Pete Bigelow

Thumbnail image for TATE-FORCIER.jpg

Michigan sophomore quarterback Tate Forcier completed 54 of 84 passes for 597 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Tate Forcier’s future with the Michigan football team is unknown.

One day after Michigan officials announced their backup quarterback was ineligible for the Gator Bowl, coach Rich Rodriguez said Friday he didn’t know whether Forcier would return.

“His status with the school is as a student, first and foremost,” Rodriguez said. “That’s undetermined at this point.”

Rodriguez said he did not learn of Forcier’s academic status until Thursday. Forcier, a true sophomore, flew back to Detroit shortly thereafter Thursday night.

He appeared in eight games this season for the Wolverines, completing 54 of 84 passes for 597 yards, throwing four TDs and four interceptions. Last year, he started all 12 games as a true freshman.

True freshman Devin Gardner will serve as Denard Robinson’s backup in Saturday’s bowl game against Mississippi State (1:30 p.m., ESPN2).

Michigan intends to pursue a medical redshirt for Gardner, who played in three games early in the year but suffered through a lower-back injury over the second half of the season.

But if Gardner plays Saturday, he’d be ineligible to seek such a ruling from the NCAA. “Our plan is to have Denard play every snap on offense,” said Rodriguez, well aware that game action would end Gardner’s hopes of winning back a fourth year of eligibility.

Rodriguez said that Gardner’s injury was no longer a concern.

“He was banged up quite a bit the last half of the year,” Rodriguez said, “but he’s feeling as good as he’s felt in a long time. Hopefully Denard will stay healthy. If not, Devin is ready to go.”

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.



Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:41 p.m.

After seeing UM play today, the new coach is going to need Tate next year. Hang in there Tate, there are big things to come.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

Tate's off track something that happens to everyone at some point. I don't think this is something that cannot be fixed. I think the worse possible scenerio would be for Tate to quit that can become a habit. I believe between Tate's father and RR Tate can get back on track. I belive RR will be coaching next yr. for the Wolves and I think Tate's father will rein him in either way good luck to Mr Forcier.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 1:23 p.m.

Seems Tate and RR have always had a cantankerous relationship, perhaps there is more to this as someone suggested. And while Tate must take most of the blame, it just doesn't make sense that someone wouldn't be monitoring your Number 2 quarterback's academic eligibility knowing the player has been struggling academically, especially when you are finally getting to a bowl game. At least we all have lots of Big Ten football to enjoy today whoever you're rooting for!


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 12:59 p.m.

The Tate situation makes me think about JH's statements that caused such an uproar a few years ago. Is it possible that he was at least somewhat correct? When he was asked why he made the comments: "My motivation was positive," he said. "I see how it's done now at Stanford, and I see no reason to believe it can't be the same there. I have a great love for Michigan and what it's done for me. Bo Schembechler was like a second father. Michigan is a great school and always has been, and I don't see why they can't hold themselves to a higher standard. JH is a guy that seems to care about academics and athletics.

jacquelyn wright

Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 12:03 p.m.

In 2008 I interviewd Jim Carty on WLBY, then sportswriter for the now defunct Ann Arbor News. The interview concerned the investigative article the paper had published relating to academics and athletics. Apparently the athletic department paid no attention to the report. As I recall there is an entire building allocated for tutoring and assistance to athletes in all sports. How does a "star" performer slip through the crack without the complicity of the coaching staff? In my opinion it is time that the University of Michigan modify the email signature to, thereby eliminating any reference to education.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 11:25 a.m.

This was said earlier but needs to be repeated: I would suggest everyone read the Freep interview with Tate mentioned earlier. Then you will see that a lot of the speculation in these posts is baseless. What raised my eyebrows when I read the article at the time was his contention about just showing up for class is most of what it takes to pass. Well, despite the otherwise positive steps he showed in maturing this past year discuss in the article, it seems that he still has a ways to go academically. I hope he will turn it around as he seemed dedicated to making things work at Michigan.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 11:02 a.m.

More snakeoil from RR ginning up a medical redshirt and skirting the rules again! Thank God this ends on New Years Day and we can send Bobby Bowden Jr. down the road.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9:39 a.m.

It appears that Tate is a first string quarterback in terms of his own expectations. It also appears he has a strong affinity for Michigan. I believe he should transfer to a school where he can start every game. It would be a better fit for him. And, Michigan is not the be all, end all of college football. The last 3 years have proven Michigan is just like any other average NCAA program, and in fact, not quite as good as the average NCAA program.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9:37 a.m.

breadman "Tate! Move on to a team that will appreciate what you have done and get too a bowl game. You sure worked for it," Apparently Tate didn't work for it enough (in the classroom), thus the problem.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 7:36 a.m.

How does a head coach NOT know that his primary back up quarterback is potentially ineligible? Answer: He is NOT in control of this program. Solution: Get someone who will be in charge of this program and will KNOW what is happening.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 1:46 a.m.

The NCAA sucks. Tate had not been educated on grades yet and therefore should not be ruled ineligible until the first game next year. Funny how slanted the NCAA is. They ruled on Cam in a matter of days while the investigation was still going on. OSU can wait till next year for their cheaters. Clairet was never hung on OSU just like MSU never got banner removed after it came out the Martin had given money to Cleeves. Amazing how they pick and chose what to enforce.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 1:42 a.m.

Tates career went so bad so fast. Let's hope rod follows him to the exit sign.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 1:18 a.m.

Michigan football is a joke right now. It seems like its just a program on the verge of disaster. If RR burns gardners redshirt for one sticken game then RR is the worst coach on the planet and is ruining this kids chances to play in the next level. RR is completely selfish. Get rid of him regardless of what Harbaugh does. If michigan loses then ND will have a better record then us with a first yr coach. How ridiculous.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 1:05 a.m.

Tate should have manned up and made sure he was eligible, he is hurting his team and possibly a whole year of eligibility for Devin. That is selfish regardless of whether he is coming back next year or not!


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 12:43 a.m.

Tate! Move on to a team that will appreciate what you have done and get too a bowl game. You sure worked for it, I think after the fact of the Gater Bowl game should have been the time to punish. RR is still there where is his punishment? Two Wrongs, do not make ONE right! Keep that under your hat. You got screwed!!!!


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 12:24 a.m.

I believe at one time study sessions for the football players were mandatory and tutoring was readily available for those who needed it. Has that changed? If so, who changed it? RichRod? Bill Martin? At the same time I don't recall any recent past coaches who have had so many recruits rejected for admission to UMich for academic reasons that RichRod has had. Or perhaps past instances didn't become publicly known. Either way it reflects on the weakened leadership and administration in the football program (which really started, IMHO, at the desks of the athletic department administration and accelerated with the hiring of RR).


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 12:17 a.m.

Tate probably sold his Jersey on Ebay (:


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 8:18 p.m.

If Tate makes it back next year, then I really don't see a problem with Devin burning his Freshman year. You can redshirt as a sophomore, so just redshirt him next season. The effect is the same. However, that all depends on Tate. I like that kid and hope he gets his crap together.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 8:10 p.m.

maybe Tate got a new tattoo? by the way, how does getting a tattoo financially help your family out?


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 7:25 p.m.

I can't remember a major player on any of Carr's teams being ineligible to play. Not saying it hasn't happened, but still this is somewhat shocking for a team like Michigan. Normally, you'd have an idea if you were not doing well in a class way before grade time. If necessary, you'd drop the class.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 7:10 p.m.

Considering the way NCAA football related rulings have gone lately, D. Gardener could have played all season then stated he didn't know he couldn't medically redshift and he would be ok. Seriously, trying to pin blame on the coach for something clearly beyond his control is pathetic.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 6:10 p.m.

Pete- Hasn't the possibility of a redshirt been completely ended by the coach saying that Gardner is ready to play? How could they possibly suggest to the NCAA that he had a "season-ending injury?"


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 6:03 p.m.

I'm really so sorry about this situation. I hope Tate can turn things around.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 5:37 p.m.

The last final exam ended noon December 22.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 5:20 p.m.

One interesting thing here (Stephanie this is about football) There was a lot of criticism of the RR lovers directed at UM admissions when Demar Dorsey was not accepted. Other criticism was directed to RR about not knowing that there would be admission problems. Perhaps the admissions office knows what they are doing and should be given the benefit of the doubt when not accepting all these football studs with shaky academic records. Admissions job is to make sure that who gets accepted can finish the education within 5 years (or 4 years), and succeed. When they look the other way for athletics, it makes the admissions and the U look bad, and they are ultimately doing a disservice to the student. What do people think now? Too bad about Tate. My nephew by the way just finished his first year and had his grades by 12/23. They are posted online. I do not know why it took so long for these grades to be in.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 4:26 p.m.

Ben no kidding 30 of the past 40 comments do exactly that

The Ben

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 4:11 p.m.

*Insert creative way of turning this into a jab at RichRod here.*


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 4:09 p.m.

This was not a surprise to anyone. Tate had academic problems last year, which is why he missed summer voluntary workouts while taking enough classes to keep his eligibility. He didn't earn his wings back until the summer grades came in, so this was going to continue to be a problem until he figured it out. If he stays, he probably needs a redshirt year without team activities to focus on academics and maturity. I'm tired of hearing about "burning" Devin Gardner's redshirt year. Any year can be used to redshirt a player (Troy Woolfolk's senior year, for example). If they don't need him next year, they can redshirt him then, but that looks less likely now. In any case, they probably need to recruit a QB in this year's class. I see there's a 4 star QB in Stanford's verbal commitment list. Just sayin'.

Hawaiian Neal

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 3:55 p.m.

I am fairly sure he did know and tried to work with him, even personally. Why would you assume he didn't. If you had evere played at D1 you'd know that your grades are monitored by the athletic department. They will give you the benefit of the doubt as to your plan to correct you problem until it becomes a final grade. This is as it should be. RR should NOT have banned Tate from the trip until it became fact. I'm not sure why one would think different.

Hawaiian Neal

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 3:50 p.m.

Aloha, thanks for the explanation. I'm still confused as to "why that it came out now" or "how long it took" was important. I understand "that it came out" was important for the reasons listed, but it is what it is (unless people are saying it should have been delayed by the school until after the game. That's just not UM, how RR has run the program, or how his players think.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 3:47 p.m.

I wouldn't make fun of a third stringer on special teams but I'd love it if we had a first string special teams COACH.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 3:43 p.m.

I echo many of the statements - players eligibilty are supposed to be monitored at all times; and if there are issues they can be addressed quickly! RR did not know Tate was having issues? Its not like Tate is a 3rd string special teams player; he played major minutes this year! What else does RR not know about his program? From the day he got here to today, everything he has done has been wrong... and not his fault! Win or lose Saturday, this guy has got to go!

Hawaiian Neal

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 3:43 p.m.

Whoa! Can't let that one go BleedMazeNBlue! Are you freakin kidding me? "You basically have to try to not pass." at UM?????? You got to 'Try' just to get in. Most don't, so they go to State, where maybe that's the case. :)


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 3:40 p.m.

Hawaiian Neal, the timing of all of this doesn't matter at all if Denard doesn't get hurt and takes all the snaps in the bowl game. It matters to me only in that it hurts U-M's preparedness for the game if Forcier was getting most or all of the backup QB reps leading up to the Gator Bowl and if Gardner only was getting a few. The earlier it was known that Tate was ineligible the better off U-M would be because it would've provided Gardner more days of preparation in case he is forced into action. Hopefully, RR already knew of Forcier's shaky academic standing and has been giving Gardner lots of action in practice but I don't know that one way or the other.

Hawaiian Neal

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 3:37 p.m. 'u'

Hawaiian Neal

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 3:35 p.m.

Seriously, he's a 19 yo. I have a brother on Harvard's medical school staff and has a Nobel vote. He told me when we were both in college...."If you don't by the book or study and just go to class, you should be able to pass the class with a high 3.x. I was more like Tate....Yeah, that didn't work for me. :) Leave the kid alone, he's a great kid.

Hawaiian Neal

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 3:28 p.m.

Here's the link to the NCAA Div I manual that covers eligibility section 14.1.10. They will present whatever case and let the NCAA decide. What's wrong with that? Why should one even have an opinion outside of the established process. They didn't write the rules around our opinions.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 3:25 p.m.

"He has mishandled the Gardner situation from day one." 1. Devon did not want to redshirt. 2. A valuable lesson needed to be taught to this team. Tate lost his wings and had to earn them back. Now being ineligible goes to show just how this kids work ethic is. You basically have to try to not pass. "Do not, do not, play Gardner at all cost! Do not waste one year of eligibility for a couple of minutes of playing time this season!" 1. RR's job is to put the team in it's best position to win. If Denard gets hurt, by all means Devon will be playing. 2. It seems you would like to preserve a year of eligibility for Devon hoping he will stay at Michigan when RR is fired. That's pretty selfish. "I've thought all along that this was gaming the system. Tomorrow we'll know." 1. Agreed that they are playing the system. Just like every other program in the country. 2. Devon did get injured. Since it was before the 4th week, he is eligible to medical redshirt. It would only make sense to not play him for the rest of the year since we have Tate.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 3:22 p.m.

I would suggest everyone read the Freep interview with Tate mentioned earlier. Then you will see that a lot of the speculation in these posts is baseless. What raised my eyebrows when I read the article at the time was his contention about just showing up for class is most of what it takes to pass. Well, despite the otherwise positive steps he showed in maturing this past year discuss in the article, it seems that he still has a ways to go academically. I hope he will turn it around as he seemed dedicated to making things work at Michigan.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 3:19 p.m.

What a disappointment. After reading the lengthy interview with him in the Freep the other day I thought he had finally "gotten it" and had matured both as a student and athlete. Apparently I was mistaken. This program is in such disarray already that this latest setback looms even larger.

Hawaiian Neal

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 3:17 p.m.

Back to grading....why is how long UM goes into a semester or how much time they take grading exams even relivent or germane to your life? Are you thinking that RR just wanted to pay for a ticket to Fla for the kid and he's just trying to hide it? When your neighbor orders something by mail does it really make a difference what day it arrives to you? Do you think it's a conspiracy against your neighbor perpetrated by the Postmaster??? Whats your point? Have we really degenerated to this? Please people. You make me tired.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 3:02 p.m.

To Lorain, thanks for the clarification. Where I live, most colleges finish up the week before Christmas. Apparently, U-M goes a little longer than that and this might explain the timing of the ineligibility announcement. The U-M website says finals were from Dec 15-17 and Dec 20-22 (if I am interpreting the website correctly). In the end, Tate is responsible for his grades and not anyone else. Hopefully this didn't catch the coaching staff totally by surprise and Gardner has been getting a lot of reps all along. I hope that is the case, anyway. Hopefully this will be a non-issue if Denard doesn't get hurt.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 2:58 p.m.

I don't understand the issue everyone is having with the medical redshirt. You all seem to "know" how Devon Gardner was feeling. I happen to know his high school coach and he has told me that his injury was real. Could he possibly been able to play all year long since his injury? Probably. But he would not have been 100%. If he does not play, he would be able to have a medical redshirt within the rule.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 2:53 p.m.

Mentioning cheating is beyond premature and unfair to Forcier. In the Freep interview with him, he admits his academics were shaky and that the support staff recommended he take extra credits this semester, just in case he didn't come through on one of his classes. Sounds like Forcier and the academic staff were aware of the issue and taking steps to address it. Just didn't work out.

Hawaiian Neal

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 2:32 p.m.

Sounds like another FreeP witch hunt. Say he cheated on an exam, that's an academic expulsion at Michigan. It has absolutely nothing to do with the athletic department except cleaning out his locker. That's an academic dean issue. Michigan is a tier 1 school in academics. I suppose that it could have been a charecter flaw in a 19 yo, but why is that even a question of interest or relevant for you to post. Oh, maybe he's gay and someone found out and it distracted him from his studies? What the hell????

Hawaiian Neal

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 2:22 p.m.

You can sure tell who went to college here and who didn't! :) For the people with medical redshirt questions/opinions, you can find it in the NCAA Div I manual (444 pages). If you 'can' extend a players eligibility, it'd be stupid and thoughtless not to for the player. As far as final exam grading questions, are you kidding me? Never taken a college semster final, have you? I could imagine reading 80 5 page essay answers and grading the rest of 80 tests. It's not ALL about football!


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 2:18 p.m.

I wonder if their isn't much more to this story about Tate than meets the eye. I can think of one reason why his status with the school would be up in the air. Cheating. Is it possible that Tate cheated on some school work and it wasn't brought to the attention of the power's that be within the department until late in the semester. The department then would have had to investigate and that investigation could have then indicated he did in fact cheat, thus violating the school's code of conduct making his continuation at UofM a matter of the school's judical system. I have seen similar circumastances at other schools and it takes awhile for the entire process to run its course. A friend of mone was caught in a very similar sitation where we went to school and was deemed inelgible late in December much like Tate, but was reinstated upon appeal of the judiciary's finding that she cheated.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 2:12 p.m.

I don't see how Rodriguez can announce that Gardner is the primary backup tomorrow and still expect the NCAA to grant a medical red-shirt. He has been available for every game this season. That's not why the medical red-shirt rule exists. He has had the benefit of practice and it would be unfair to other schools to grant him an extra year. He has mishandled the Gardner situation from day one. As for Forcier, well, he dug his own grave. Grade are posted according to university rules. Athletes should not have any special grade preview privileges. Professors will grade on a curve, and must look over all final exams and papers before assigning any grades. They have a deadline, and it's already tight.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 2:10 p.m.

I know several students who go to UM and they had finals up until the 23rd,like one poster said. Depending on how many classes a prof teaches and how many students are in each class,my guess is it would take more than a couple of days to report out grades. So it is very feasible that grades were not known on Dec. 26 when the players left. My guess is that Tate was praying he passed his exams and it wouldn't be an issue.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 1:58 p.m.

If the real reason for eligibility are the grades, then Tater should get suspended. These things are the same in High School. Do not, do not, play Gardner at all cost! Do not waste one year of eligibility for a couple of minutes of playing time this season!

obama from kenya

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 1:56 p.m.

Does RR know he's a goner and is going to use Gardner burning his redshirt out of spite? I guess we'll see.

obama from kenya

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 1:52 p.m.

Are we sure that Denard Robinson is academically eligible? Maybe RR will find out he's not at like 11:45 tonight. Better have Devin Gardner ready to go.

Lorain Steelmen

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 1:51 p.m.

Tulstom. Exams went deep into december, possibly the 23rd. It would have taken a couple of days for the various profs involved to grade those exams, and report the grades out. If any of these profs went home for Christmas they may have held off on their end, until the 27th or 28th. Tate's status could have been close enough to require that all the course exams were reported. The team left for Fla, on the 26th. So Tate would have been in Florida, BEFORE he knew the results. As soon as the athletic dept knew they probably notifed the coaches. So here we are. I feel badly for Tate first of all, because it will make his future much tougher. My gut tells me he wants a UM degree, and will get it whether he playes football or not. Secondly, I feel badly for Gardner, because he may be forced to burn a year which makes him a soph, next year. With DRob here for 2 more years, it only gives Devin 2 years as the starter. I like Devin and think he has tremendous potential in this offense. I suppose that Kennedy could run the show saturday, if called upon, but suspect RR would go with Gardner, if DRob gets knocked out of the game. Cerainly, MSU would try to do just that.

obama from kenya

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 1:49 p.m.

The next article should be entitled: "David Brandon: Rich Rodriguez's future with Michigan football team 'undetermined'"


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 1:48 p.m.

Two things come to mind: Forcier had to have known he was struggling academically before now. He should have stepped up and asked for help. Also, my recollection is that past coaching staffs have kept an eye on player academic standings and urged players to get help when needed. Was any of this done? Either way, Forcier doesn't come across as a very responsible kid.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 1:48 p.m.

Maybe they waited so MS might waste some time, any time studying and preping for Tate as a possible/likely participant at some point in the game.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 1:42 p.m.

I agree with tulsatom. There is no excuse for this "ineligibility" announcement to have happened 2 days before the bowl game. Some posters have offered reasons such as how much time it takes to do grading, calculate final grades, etc. However, when you know you are struggling and borderline in some or all of your classes, you, Tate, have a responsibility to make sure you are eligible BEFORE boarding a plane to Jacksonville. And with all the support staff in the athletic department, someone must have the job of making sure all these kids are academically eligible throughout the season, and coming up on a bowl game, someone should have checked well before December 30, after the team has flown in and practiced. Profs can be contacted to find out grades, even if the grades are not yet posted online. Tate has the most responsibility in this debacle, and the athletic department has the rest for not following up on "academically borderline" players PRIOR to leaving for Jax.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 1:29 p.m.

What I don't understand is why did they have to wait until 2 days before the bowl game to make the announcement of his ineligibility. Didn't they know he would be ineligible to play before Christmas before flying him down to Florida and going through all these practices? If the staff knew he was ineligible, it could've allowed Gardner more meaningful reps in practice. I bet Miss State is licking their chops right now and thinking "If we can just ding up Denard we've got this game in the bag".


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 1:17 p.m.

It's a miracle! Jacksonville is just up the coast from St. Augustine where the Fountain of Youth is. They gave DG just enough 'special water' to make him younger, you know, like before his back was "injured". I know that coaches play this game about redshirting guys that played but this is "Twilight Zone" material. DG is hurt, we need to MEDICALLY redshirt him. Lost our backup QB to a brain malfunction, and it's "No, wait! DG is better. He's game ready and clear to play in case DR hits crushed by MSU." I don't believe anything RR said after "...I don't know..."! But, finally, he said something honest.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 1:14 p.m.

What a mess. I hope Tate gets himself back on the right track and that Denard can pull off a miracle and stay in the whole game. From what I've read about Gardner, he'll be an asset to a coach with almost any kind of system, Spread Option or not. It would be a shame to see him waste a year of eligibility on one game. Go Blue


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 12:49 p.m.

Tate's status is not unlike his coaches, undetermined.


Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 12:44 p.m.

Why do coaches need to keep up the charade of "medical redshirt". Gardner could have played in any game this season. A back injury is one of those convenient ones that has no way to be proven or not. Oh my back is sore, i can't play. If that is the case, why did he dress all those games? Rich Rod is trying to save a kid a year of eligibility that would not have been an issue had he not played in already.