Rich Rodriguez: a tale of two coaches

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On August 14th, Rich Rodriguez will appear in front of the NCAACommittee on Infractions to plead his case regarding five majorallegations against Michigan’s football program. The notice ofallegations, made back in February, included failure to documentfootball practice hours adequately, impermissible use of qualitycontrol staff members and failure to promote an atmosphere ofcompliance. 

Of all the things that will be discussed thatday, the recent notice of allegations against WVU will not be one ofthem. West Virginia will have its own hearing with the NCAA.

In a response to the West Virginia allegations, Rodriguez claimed “I have always taken compliance seriously,” and went on to say “any errors certainly weren’t made intentionally.”

Oh, really?

A closer look at the NCAA report on West Virginia shows that in violation 5(a) “Prior to the 2005-06 academic year through the fall semester of the 2007-08 academic year, the [WVU] compliance staff communicated concerns to the football staff regarding various individuals with interactions with football student-athletes during practice and game-day activities. However, individuals who were considered to be noncoaching sport-specific staff members continued to engage in impermissible activities… subsequent to the discussions.”

In layman’s terms, West Virginia’s compliance staff told Rodriguez he was breaking the rules and he ignored them. It is interesting to note that nowhere in the investigation does it mention the compliance staff expressing concern to Bill Stewart or his assistants–for better or for worse.

When West Virginia faces the NCAA in December, it is likely Rodriguez will very much be a man of interest. The fact of the matter remains that there are two programs with squeaky-clean histories which now face major NCAA violations. Both programs have one common denominator.  

Under his contract, Rodriguez can be fired if theNCAA, Big Ten or Michigan determines he is guilty of a majorNCAA violation and/or he has purposely committed any othertype of violation.