Monday, March 01, 2010

I'm Never Reading the Detroit Free Press Again

So. The University of Michigan football program underwent an investigation by the NCAA as a result of an article written by Detroit Free Press writers Michael Rosenberg and Mark Snyder. The big accusation in that article was that the program forced players into practicing way longer than the weekly limits. Like, way longer:
"Players spent at least nine hours on football activities on Sundays after games last fall. NCAA rules mandate a daily 4-hour limit. The Wolverines also exceeded the weekly limit of 20 hours, the athletes said."
(There's no link, because I'm not giving them extra hits.)

Okay, so the Free Press makes it sound like the football program exhibited a blatant disregard for the rules, and worked their kids to exhaustion. Well, here's what the NCAA found:
Between August 31 and October 26, 2008, football student-athletes were required to participate in as many as five hours of countable athletically related activities per day, which exceeded the maximum of four hours a day, on several occasions, including, but not limited to, August 31; September 7, 14 and 28; and October 5, 12, 19 and 26. Additionally, during the week beginning October 19, 2008, the student-athletes were required to participate in approximately 20 hours and 20 minutes of countable athletically related activities, which exceeded the maximum of 20 hours per week. [NCAA Bylaw]
In case you missed it: 20 minutes. They went 20 minutes over each week. And occasionally an extra hour on Sundays. Never mind the issue of what is a countable hour and what is not...activities such as weightlifting and watching film usually fall under the "non-countable" category.

This is the type of thing that arguably could be found at any major college football program in the country. I'm not saying that that makes it right, but Michigan is going to end up with some penalties for something that is probably fairly widespread.

Regardless, it remains that the Detroit Free Press made some huge claims and they didn't pan out. I'm sure that they'll argue that this is still a victory, since something was still found. But an occasional extra hour versus an extra five hours every week is a big difference. This again exposes the Free Press' bias, and Rosenberg's vendetta against RichRod in particular.

Now, there were some more serious issues exposed by this investigation, or at least more embarrassing ones. There's an allegation regarding quality control people acting as coaches during voluntary workouts when they should've been making sure that nobody was acting as coaches during voluntary workouts. There's also an allegation that one coach, Alex Herron, lied to the NCAA during the investigation.

From what I've read, the best speculation on disciplinary measures will be as follows: Michigan may self-impose some sanctions and/or the NCAA will make them forfeit a couple scholarships and practices. Herron is probably gone, and the program's quality control will be tightened up. Ultimately, what'll come down probably won't set the program back a la the basketball stuff years ago. And, of course, people who hate Michigan will be able to point and say OMG MAJOR VIOLATIONS LOLZ~!

All said and done, the Free Press made some gross exaggerations and distortions in the name of getting some attention, trying to sabotage Michigan/RichRod, or both.

Journalism at its finest. I'm sure they're very proud.