Rich Rod’s ‘Greasy Kid Stuff’ Excuses to NCAA: Didn’t Know, Didn’t Hear, Didn’t Read, Didn’t Ask

Here’s RR’s Compliance-Management Paradigm (quoted from his NCAA Filing): “For off-season workouts, RR relies on the S&C staff to design, conduct and monitor the workouts. He assumes those workouts are being conducted in compliance with NCAA CARA legislation unless it is brought to his attention that there is a problem.” [p. 4-68]

In other words: Assign it, never follow-up, spot-check, monitor, or oversee.  This is no management at all. (Give RR some credit: this is one of the more forthright statements in his Filing.) But this management paradigm invites those working below RR to do whatever they want as regards potential compliance “close calls” or violations.  After all, he never checks back. This policy is a major and direct cause of all of the admitted violations, and its’ admitted existence – and the explicitness with which it is stated in RR’s own brief — is fundamental support for concluding that RR did nothing to “promote an atmosphere of compliance.” Finally, note that this policy is described in the present tense — so that, as of May 25, 2010, when RR’s Filing was sent to the NCAA, this vacuous Compliance-Management Paradigm was still in effect! And, as we show below, RR’s brief couples this upside-down  “no-management”paradigm with a long list of tenuous, sometimes laughable excuses for the admitted NCAA violations: 

We break down below, by subject-matter, RR’s excuses for the admitted violations.  And keep in mind the NCAA’s healthy skepticism about these kinds of dodges: “Too often, when assistant coaches are involved in a web of serious violations, head coaches profess ignorance, saying that they were too busy to know what was occurring and that they trusted their assistants. Such a failure by head coaches to control their teams … is a lack of institutional control.”

There it is: “lack of institutional control“- the elephant in the room.  We talked previously about the “incoherence” of the UM Filing.  The secret to understanding that perplexing “incoherence” is to see it as the direct result of good lawyer’s advice given to AD Brandon and Pres. Coleman: there is sufficient evidence in this record – from the actions or failures to act of, RR and Bill Martin and their agents -for a possible finding by the NCAA that UM had a “lack of institutional control.

Both UM and RR are justifiably terrified of such a finding, so their Filings are mostly alot of distracting and “useless barging around… like a man with his sleeve caught in a thresher” (to quote Richard Ford.)

RR’s Filing is professionally done  – everything gets thrown into the washer with some soap and bleach, but it comes out of the washer and dryer like any load of freshly laundered clothing – a big jumble.  So we’ll try to shake it out, and fold it and sort it into neat piles.

Trying to Make Sense of the RR Filing by Re-organizing it:  The Filing  hides much, but also tells us alot. More than its’ author realizes. It’s has hop-scotch disorganization, and uses many catch-phrases without explanation. (We never find out, for example, exactly what he means when he repeatedly asserts that he “takes responsibility for” an admitted violation.) There is also, for example, endless focus on the question of the proper distinction between “skill development” and “coaching” activities, but very little attention is given to the central, bizarre and still-unexplained series of events surrounding the 18-month failure to file required practice-time records. Finally, the “solutions” (“Corrective Actions”) loosely alluded to by RR are in the nature of “schoolboy-in-principal’s office” promises to “do better,” and completely lack substance. The reader is left scratching his head as to what RR intends to do differently from here on out.

Break-down by Violation Subject-Matter:  So what we’ll try to do here is re-organize the RR position, by subject-matter of each violation, to reveal more clearly the big picture, and also allow better evaluation the credibility of RR’s claims. (Both the UM and RR Filings are apparently terrified of weighing the credibility of any of the witnesses against one another, which is why neither Filing has much heft, in the end.)

—  Citations to RR Filing page numbers are at the beginning of each listing below.  At the end of each listing we have applied a “label” to each of RR’s “explanations.”  We will, in a later posting, use these labels to “add  things up.”

[Subjects: Too Many Coaches, QC Meeting Attendance, QC Film, Grad Asst/Student Coach, Job Descriptions, Skill Development, WarmUp & Stretching Off-Season, Too Much Practice, Missing CARA forms, Sunday Workouts, Conditioning Discipline, Corrective Action]

I-1:  “surprised and disappointed that violations occurred in his program.”
I-1:  “regrets that he did not adequately monitor certain aspects of his program in this case. Failed to Monitor
I-1:  “as a head coach, he has a heightened responsibility to monitor his program and promote an atmosphere of compliance. Accepts Heightened Responsibility
I-1: Violations went undetected because several Michigan staff members, including RR, were not paying close enough attention. In short, there was a collective failure that resulted in the violations in this case. Didn’t Know About Events
4-14:  RR acknowledges that violations occurred and that with respect to some of the violations-but not all-he could have done a better job of monitoring the activities of some members of his staff. However, RR did not fail to promote atmosphere of compliance. Failed to Monitor

4-28 RR hired the QC staff to serve as Administrative AssistantSs for the coaching staff and also to assist S&C. RR knew that it was permissible for S&C staff to conduct skill development. RR considered the QC staff to be part-time S&C staff because they were assigned part-time work under Mike Barwis. Thus, RR believed it was entirely appropriate for the QC staff to assist Chris Allen and the S&C staff in conducting skill development. Didn’t Know Rules
4-28  RR and others also thought that Michigan’s athletics administration and compliance staff were aware of the QC staff’s involvement with S&C staff and with skill development. RR recalls that when he was hired and received permission to hire five QC staff, he had a general discussion with Bill Martin that QC would be working with the strength staff. Bill Martin Knew
4-59   RR believes he did a good job ensuring that only his coaches were coaching, but he also understands now that he could have done a better job of making clear to both quality control staff and the student-athletes that quality control was absolutely prohibited from offering any feedback, tips or advice. Failed to Monitor; Failed to Instruct
4-68 For off-season workouts, RR relies on the strength staff to design, conduct and monitor the workouts. He assumes those workouts are being conducted in compliance with NCAA CARA legislation unless it is brought to his attention that there is a problem.  Didn’t Know About Events; Didn’t Monitor

[The above is an astonishing statement; the curtain is drawn back, and RR explicitly reveals the fundamental operating principle which underlies his purported “compliance management” – even at the time of the May 25 Filing.  This is a “No-Management-At-All” approach: assign it out, and wave good bye to the topic, and don’t bother to even once check on it until the Enforcement Staff comes around.  Add to this RR Compliance Management Principle the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” prevailing ethic in the Department, and RR is not going to have anyone bringing any “problems” to his attention.  More on this whole issue later.]

4-5:   RR “thought it was permissible for the QC staff to attend the meetings as long as they did not participate as coaches.” Didn’t Know Rules

4-4. RR did not direct the [QC staff to watch a film with players], he was not aware of the activity and he did not encourage or condone the activity. Nonetheless, RR accepts responsibility for not ensuring that his QC staff members did not watch film with players. Didn’t Know About Events; Didn’t Order; Accepts Responsibility:
4-60   RR did not assign quality control to watch film with student-athletes nor was he aware of the very few times that it apparently occurred. Didn’t Know About Events; Didn’t Order

4-5:  RR asserts that Allegation 2A (QC, Grad Asst, and Student Asst Coach conducted & observed summer workouts) is “largely repetitive of Allegation 1A.”  [ This is false. Allegation 2A Violations refer to activities of the Grad Asst (who lied to the NCAA investigators about his activity) and Student Asst. Coach. Allegation 1A Violations referred only to QC activities.
4-34  RR also accepts responsibility for the violations resulting from the graduate assistant coach and student assistant coach being involved with summer skill development.   RR did not assign the GA and student assistant coach to assist with skill development. However, he also did not make clear that they were prohibited from being involved with summer workouts because they were members of the coaching staff.
4-35  RR was not aware it [GA and QC observing 7 x 7 drills, and providing advcie] occurred Accepts Responsibility; Didn’t Know Events; Failed to Tell Staff that Conduct is Prohibited

4-42  RR does not recall receiving the August 15 memorandum [from CSO, requesting Job Descriptions from all head coaches] or discussing it with anyone, but he does not deny receiving it. Didn’t Know About Events
4-43  RR was not copied on or made aware of these follow-up requests [from CSO, for a year after 9/08, seeking Job Descriptions.] Didn’t Know About Events; Staff Failed to Inform RR
4-45  However, he is also very disappointed that his administrators failed to provide the job descriptions on multiple occasions and he is disappointed that the compliance staff never brought their failure to his attention. Didn’t Know About Events; Staff Failed to Inform RR
4-45   Throughout his tenure at Michigan, RR has had an open line of communication with the compliance office. There have been several times when the compliance staff has contacted him directly and in-person about various concerns and RR has always been promptly responsive.
4-45: RR does not understand why no one brought this particular
concern to his attention. Didn’t Know Events. [This is an odd statement; did he never ask Draper and Labadie why they kept him in the dark for a year?  Does RR not view this as evidence that his then-current “compliance management” process was fundamentally flawed?  There is no indication that this ever crossed his mind. More on this later.]  Didn’t Know Events

4-41   To the extent some of the skill development activities were impermissible, RR was not aware but he accepts responsibility for the violations. Didn’t Know About Events;  Accepts Responsibility
RR asserts he thought it was legal, and that Compliance and  S&C’s Barwis had it worked out. Didn’t Know Rules; Staff Error

4-1:  RR agrees that violations occurred when the QC staff participated in summer skill development and he agrees he is responsible for the violations. Accepts Responsibility
4-1:  RR agrees that his actions or inaction caused or contributed to some-but not all-of the violations alleged in Allegations 1 and 2 (# of coaches, Non Coaching Sport Specific personnel involvement in summer, and excess CARA weekly hours.).  RR Actions Caused or Contributed
4-3.  RR was not aware that NCAA legislation prohibits the sport-specific non-coaching staff members from being involved with voluntary summer workouts. RR did not knowingly or deliberately ignore the bylaw, he simply overlooked it and believed it was permissible for the QC staff to be involved in summer workouts because they were assigned to work with the strength staff. Didn’t Know Rules;  Overlooked Bylaw (Not Knowing or Deliberate)
4-5:  RR was not aware of [QC staff was involved in skill development that involve coaching activities that could be conducted only by countable coaches], but he accepts responsibility for not ensuring that they did not occur.  Didn’t Know About Events; Accepts Responsibility
4-34:  Voluntary Summer Workouts:  Even though RR considered the quality control staff to be part-time strength and conditioning coaches who were not countable, they did not perform duties on a department-wide basis and, therefore, were prohibited from participating in summer workouts, including skill development. RR was not aware of the department-wide requirement although he should have been, both because he has a responsibility to know the rules and because UM’s CSO office provided rule education memos to the football and strength staffs referencing the bylaw.
rules and because Michigan’s compliance office provided rules education memoranda.  RR accepts full responsibility for not understanding that quality control was prohibited from conducting and monitoring summer skill development.  4-34 : RR did not knowingly or deliberately ignore the bylaw, he simply overlooked it and believed that it was permissible for quality control to be involved in summer workouts because they were part-time strength staff. If RR had been aware of the prohibition, he would have had Barwis arrange for the full-time strength staff to conduct summer skill development for all student-athletes.  Didn’t Know Rules (Should Have Known, Didnt’ Deliberately Ignore Bylaw)Overlooked Bylaw; Accepts Responsibility

4-6:  “S&C staff’s miscalculation of countable activities in off-season workouts… They occurred because the S&C staff mistakenly believed that certain warmup & stretching activities did not count toward the CARA limits. RR was not involved with the miscalculation [by S&C staff, leading to warm-up and stretching not being counted toward CARA limits.] RR Didn’t Know About Events;  Staff Didn’t Know Rules (Not Knowing or Deliberate); RR Didn’t Order
4-10:  RR understands [the CARA violations] occurred as a result of miscommunication concerning whether certain strength and conditioning activities were countable activities. There certainly was not a knowing or deliberate effort to exceed the CARA limits…” Staff Didn’t Know Rules (Not Knowing or Deliberate)
4-10:  RR regrets that any CARA violations occurred, but he notes that the scope of the violations is significantly less than reported by media reports in August 2009. [Note: this assertion depends on a conclusion that the CARA records were: 1) produced; 2) reliable; 3) not made up long after the events; 4) counter-signed by players; and 5) affirmed by RR.  All in all, the CARA records are probably inherently unreliable, and the failure to maintain those records in a reliable way deprives any fact-finder of credible evidence sufficient to make any credible conclusions about when and how much practice happened.]

4-68   For off-season workouts, RR relies on the strength staff to design, conduct and monitor the workouts. He assumes those workouts are being conducted in compliance with NCAA
CARA legislation unless it is brought to his attention that there is a problem. [As mentioned above, this is Non-Management: RR assumes everything is fine unless someone speaks up unilaterally.]
Didn’t Know About Events; Staff Didn’t Know Rules

4-71   Brad Labadie was responsible for completing and submitting CARA forms before RR arrived and he kept that responsibility after RR became head coach. RR changed nothing about the CARA form process that was already in place when he arrived.
4-72  Under the procedure in existence when RR arrived, the head coach had no involvement for completing or submitting the CARA forms. Labadie was responsible for completing the forms, obtaining student-athlete signatures and submitting them to the compliance staff.
From January 2008 to August 2009, no one at Michigan alerted RR or complained that Labadie had failed to submit CARA forms. There were multiple written and verbal reminders from the compliance staff to Labadie and Draper. The compliance staff also alerted Joe Parker and Bill Martin that it had not received CARA forms from football. No one, including Michigan’s compliance staff, told RR until August 2009 after Michigan did an audit that noted the lack of CARA forms from the football program.
4-72:  Labadie told the enforcement staff that he did not tell RR that he had failed to submit CARA forms because he did not want RR to look unfavorably upon him.
[This position taken by RR here can only elicit a guffaw:  Any CARA forms which exist are worthless, for above-noted reasons. And it is false that the CARA procedure was one in which RR had “no involvement”; in fact, the August 2008 memo he received explicitly showed that RR had a duty to sign every CARA form with an affirmation that the information was accurate and in compliance. And, even if he throws Labadie under the bus on this, Labadie is still RR’s “Hip-Pocket” guy, with whom he works daily: Labadie reported directly to RR. So that Labadie’s failures in these circumstances, are easily, if not necessarily, imputed to RR.  Moreover, for RR to claim (as he implicitly does here) that he knew nothing about the missing CARA forms after May 7, 2009 (when the Audit was done) borders on the preposterous. But it is damning to RR, however you look at it.  Someone had to have told him then, but assuming for a moment that he remained “uninformed” about these defects, then he was so out in “left field”as to raise the notion that his staff was “scared to death” of him on compliance issues.  And the credibility of Labadie’s alleged excuse for never completing CARAs – that he was afraid RR would be mad at him — evaporates when one notes that AD Martin and Pres. Coleman will then hear about Labadie’s malfeasance – and they should have been just a little cranky about.  {Note that NO ONE was cranky about it — because the absence of CARAS HELPED Martin and Labadie.]] Didn’t know, Staff Failed to Inform
4-6: RR’STAFF DID NOT KNOW RULES:  ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY:   RR accepts responsibility for the CARA violations (associated with one-hour lifts on Sundays in Fall of ‘08). RR’s Dir. of FB Ops monitored the daily and weekly CARA limits and he mistakenly believed the Sunday lift was voluntary and, therefore, did not count the lift toward the CARA limits. RR acknowledges he is responsible for the confusion [about CARA violations derived from one hour lift on Sundays in the fall of 2008.]
4-69  RR takes responsibility for these overages [in CARA limits, re: not counting Sunday one hour workouts in 2008]
4-70   Brad Labadie kept track of CARA hours for the football program in the fall of 2008. He did not understand that the Sunday lift was required and therefore did not include the lift on the Michigan CARA forms. RR accepts responsibility for any confusion about whether the Sunday lift was required and also for the overages that resulted from the confusion. Accepts Responsibility; Staff Didn’t Know Rules

4-5: RR did not direct the [disciplining of players] in summer with conditioning activity for missing class], he did not supervise the staff members who were involved, nor was he aware that occurred on a handful of occasions.
4-65   Some members of S&C staff received the emails and assumed they were supposed to punish the recalcitrant student-athlete with 15-20 minutes of conditioning activity.
4-66  RR knew it was impermissible to require student-athletes to do conditioning activity in the summer as punishment for missing class but he was not aware that it was being done.
4-66   In summary, RR did not direct the strength staff to punish student-athletes in the summer and he did not know it was being done. If he had known about it, he would have stopped it.
Michigan’s compliance staff had covered the subject in rules education memos with S&C staff, but apparently some of the staff did not receive or read the memos.
Didn’t Know About Events; Didn’t Supervise Staff Members Involved; CSO Had Covered

I-1: RR learned from his mistakes and will be a better coach and compliance leader going forward.
4-34: RR has redoubled his efforts to make sure his staff understands NCAA legislation restricting their
activities.    [Huh? – That’s all?]

About brewonsouthu

lawyer, with interest in college sports and NCAA oversight and decisions, and sports generally.
This entry was posted in Bill Martin, David Brandon, Mary Sue Coleman, Michigan Football, NCAA Investigation, NCAA sanctions, NCAA Violations, Quality Control Coaches, Rich Rodriguez, University of Michigan and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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