‘Heckuva Job Brownie’ Brad Labadie: RR’s Right-Hand Man “Crashes” the Practice Time and Coach-Number Monitoring Process

RichRod and Bill Martin’s  “Atmosphere of Un-Compliance”:
“Teflon” Brad Labadie (Former Dir. of Football Operations)  did almost nothing of substance for 18 months on the two Major (and ongoing) NCAA Compliance violations admitted to by UM:  Too Much Practice Time and Too Many Coaches. He was mostly AWOL. Everyone knows what workplaces  should be like: if you don’t produce, you’re out –  and Labadie gives the appearance of having been mostly asleep at the wheel.
Down below this entry is a detailed chronology outlining Labadie’s repeated failures to act, and the repeated reminders he got to try to get him to do something; this chronology runs from Jan. 07 through May ’08.  It stops there not because Labadie cleaned up his act then (he didn’t), but because the suggestion is so strong by that time that: 1) Labadie had a remarkable predilection to as thoroughly as possible subvert both the Practice Time and Coach-Number monitoring process which the NCAA finds so important; and 2) Bill Martin and RR’s failure to sanction Labadie or change his behavior can only be interpreted to have shown their apparent satisfaction that Labadie had “crashed” the entire monitoring system.

So Labadie  not only never get fired — he stays on as long as he wants,then leaves quietly for another job in June 2010.   In most employment settings, his abject failure to do anything on two major issues — with almost no explanation, no protest, no excuse – mostly just silence- would have been cause for either major job reassignment, and/or firing.  He not only never suffered any sanction, he was allowed — after having just specifically blown off repeated and urgent requests by CSO to produce long-overdue CARA forms before the May 2009 Audit, which Audit was conducted with the knowledge of Bill Martin – to go to the Big Ten Conference convention with Martin only 10 days later–  sort of the reward-equivalent of W’s bizzare “Heckuva Job Brownie” compliment to the FEMA Chief who so badly botched Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts five years ago.

And, even after the Aug. 29, 2009 Freep article, and then the NCAA coming in, Labadie still continued in the same position (!), and was given responsibility for “revamping” the entire Practice Time-monitoring system — with Pres. Coleman’s apparent acquiescence.  So he continued on, but apparently without much oversight, because he just kept right on generating NCAA violations, the last being the result of his confessed “mistake” in November of 2009.
One of the many salient facts buried in the chronology is that Labadie “worked for” RR, in the same building every day.  His excuse, given to investigators, for allegedly failing to tell RR about CARA filing failings, is that he “didn’t want RR to look unfavorably upon him.”

Having read the entire record, this statement needs to be seen for what it is:  Preposterous.  And, according the entire weight of the evidence – Completely Disingenuous.  It is very difficult not to conclude, over a beer on South U, that more than one person  actually liked the way Labadie disrupted those two central monitoring functions.

RR can generate  any excuse he wants, but, to quote Andrew Carnegie, “As I grow older I pay less attention to what men say. I watch what they do.” Look at what RR and Bill Martin did, upon being repeatedly given evidence that Labadie had – over and over – failed to do his job.  They left him right there in that same position.  Perhaps Labadie knew too much, had had too many discussions or text messages with RR?  And perhaps someone needed to keep him silent by insuring that Labadie was never offended, never demoted, never even moved out of his position.

An example: According to RR, he allegedly first found out about the lack of any CARAs  in late July 2009 –another assertion which is almost impossible to give much weight to. But let’s assume it’s true –   what happened at that point?  There is no indication in the record that RR got mad at Labadie. At all. Anywhere.

But even more suspicious is the complete absence of any indication in the record that RR – at the time he was interviewed by the Enforcement Staff — was even more than just slightly annoyed by Labadie’s 18-month “crash” of the monitoring mechanisms for Practice- Time and Coach Numbers.   Is it not significant that RR didn’t get mad?  Wouldn’t it have been logical for RR to blow up at Labadie, march to Martin, and demand that he get a new Director of Football Operations? — Labadie worked directly under RR — if only to draw a strong and symbolic “Compliance Lesson” for all others?

So not only is the absence of any sanction or recrimination for Labadie probative as to the credibility of Labadie’s “excuse” that he didn’t want RR to “look unfavorably on him” for not filing CARAs —   but it is also probative on the central issue as to whether RR failed to promote an “atmosphere of compliance.”  Atmosphere is  built through accountability.  Put yourself in the shoes of any UM Coach (football or otherwise) or other Athletic Dept. staffer, watching events unfold in late July 2009.  All of them have read the Audit report which just came out; all know that Labadie was a major factor in the significant problems noted there.  And they all, like Andrew Carnegie, watch what people do, not what they say.  And RR did nothing.  Bill Martin did nothing.  They kept Labadie right there in the most secure position they could imagine for him.

Assuming Labadie  has large responsibility for the Violations, what did these other Coaches learn, then, from subsequent events about an “atmosphere of compliance ” under RR and Bill Martin?:  the absence of sanction for Labadie broadly showed to all  that compliance was not important to RR, or Bill Martin.

And the lesson from all the events which have transpired over these two years is broader than that, and even more probative on the extent to which RR  and Martin fostered an “Atmosphere of Un-compliance.”   As far as one can tell, RR and Martin imposed no sanctions at all on any of the people working under them.
Dir. of Football Operations Brad Labadie:  A Summary of His Actions and State of Knowledge All Along the Way 

[RR Filing p. 4-72:  Labadie told the enforcement staff that he did not tell Rodriguez that he had failed to submit CARA forms because he did not want Rodriguez to look unfavorably upon him.]

1/2/08    Email from Rachel Strassner of CSO to All Coaches:     December CARA forms due
1/11/08  New Coach Compliance Orientation Meeting:
“Repeat Violator Status ends as of 5/8/08.”
Mentions “M Football Conditioning and Preseason Activities Resource (handout).
Monthly Submission of Countable Hour Logs (CARA) and Recruiting Logs
“Designation of Coaching Categories [Handout]”
1/31/08: CARA Forms missing
2/1/08 January CARA Forms due
2/6/08: need signed CARA forms
2/12/08: CARA forms still missing
2/13/08: Need CARA Forms
2/19/08  Compliance and Rich Rodriguez – Head Football Coach and Annual Meeting
I-B: Repeat Violator Status (from BB sanctions) ends 5/7/08
I-E-3 CARA forms (NCAA survey on football S-A time practice a major issue at NCAA convention)
I-F Role of key football administrators (Scott, Brad, Chris [Allen, S&C] and Mike [Barwis,S&C]
2/20/08  Email Strassner/CSO to Labadie: received some CARAs, followup questions, and need more
3/3/08    Email Strassner/CSO to Coaches: February Compliance Logs are due – First reminder
3/4/08    Email Strassner/CSO to Labadie: still missing some CARA forms
3/4/08:   Memo from Judy Van Horn (Head of CSO) to All M Coaches,Sports Administrators, Strength Coaches ,ASP, and Operations Staff,  RE: Conditioning Activities as Form of Discipline: can’t use discipline to exceed CARA requirements.
3/11/08, 10:28 a.m.  Email Strassner/CSO to Mike Parrish (cc to Draper, Labadie and JVH): Still missing CARA forms
3/11/08, 1:20 p.m.  Email Vollano/CSO to Parrish, and R Strassner (cc to Labadie): Auditors will be here Thursday; still missing CARAs
3/17/08  Email Strassner/CSO to Labadie: Still missing CARA forms
3/18/08  Email Vollano/CSO to Labdie and Strassner: Brad, when do you think you can get these? I am trying to keep the auditor at bay
3/24/08  Email Vollano/CSO to  Labadie: there are still missing forms
4/1/08  Email from Strassner/CSO to Coaches: Reminder that logs are due for March, including CARA
4/18/08 10 a.m. Email Strassner/CSO to Labadie: Still missing the following forms, including some CARAS. Please submit the delinquent logs to the CSO
5/1/08  Email Strassner/CSO to Coaches: Reminder that April Compliance Logs Due, including CARAs [Labadie is on this distribution list]
5/8/08  Email Strassner/CSO to Labadie (cc Vollano and Scott Draper):  Still missing all CARA forms from Jan. 6, 2008 through the end of the winter semester
5/29/08   Email Strassner/CSO to Labadie (cc Vollano and Draper): How are  those CARA forms coming for Jan-April? Need them, and delinquent logs.
6/3/08:  Compliance Rules Education Meeting, for Football Staff
IV-B: Summer Conditioning, Practice and Facility Use (Handout)
IV-C NCAA Legislated Definition of Voluntary- Summer Activities Must Meet All Four Points (Handout)
IV-D: Coaches and Sports Specific Staff not Permitted to Watch S-A Voluntary Activities at Any Time
V-B: Potential Addition of CSO Phone Call  Monitoring Software and what it means for UM Coaches
V-C: Rules Education Meetings for Coaches 2008-9 – 6 Monthly Meetings
6/11/08  Email Strassner/CSO  (Importance: High) to Labadie (cc to Vollano,  Draper):  CSO is stilling missing CARAS, Jan-April 2008
7/30/08 Meeting, Brad Labadie, Mike Parrish, Ann Vollano, and Judy Van Horn
B. Monitoring systems and division of responsibility between Brad and Mike Parrish
a. CARA forms and obtaining student signatures in a timely manner
8/1/08  Memorandum: Vollano to All Michigan Coaches and Selected Administrative staff. Re: CARA
Encloses blank CARA forms for 2008-9. [To be completed weekly. Each form contains affirmation at bottom, to be signed by Head Coach and CSO Officer: “I certify that the following information is accurate has been correctly and fully completed, and that all NCAA Rules and Regulations pertaining to daily and weekly countable athletically-related activities have been satisfied.”]
8/15/08: Memo to All Head Coaches, from Ann Vollano of Compliance, asking all to fill out Coaching Designation Forms (listing of each coach, Asst. Coach, QC, etc):
Attached you will find the ‘Designation of Coaching Category Form” for …2008-09. Please note that the form has been changed and it now includes space for each member of your non-coaching sport specific staff to sign. In addition, please attach a copy of each sports-specific staff person’s job description…. Once we have gathered titles and job descriptions, we will have each sports specific staff member sign an agreement with respect to their role with each sport. The role of non-coaching, sport-specific staff continues to receive increased scrutiny from both the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference staff.
[Note that this memo, is copied to a number of people, including AD Martin, Draper and Labadie. All Head Coaches are instructed to respond by 8/22 with the completed form.]
9/23/08  Email Roy Shavers/CSO to Coaches. Reminder CARA forms.
10/14/08 10:38 a.m., Email from Vollano to Labadie and Draper: Scott & Brad: as you know, this year we are collecting job descriptions on the sport-specific non-coaching staff members. I have football’s limitation form but have not received job descriptions. Do you have any descriptions that you can provide to me?
10/14/08 10:41 a.m. Email Labadie to Vollano/CSO:  I think that Scott and Judy worked on that this summer. I will ask him about it. Thanks.
10/14/08 10:43 a.m., Email from Vollano to Labadie, Re: Coaching Staff Limits: They have talked about the requirement, but I do not think they have worked on the descriptions.She has asked me several times if I have received them. I just wanted to give you the background as I know it.
11/3/08 Email Shavers/CSO to Coaches  CARA forms for October are due.
11/24/08  Email Shavers/CSO to Labadie. Reminder that CARA forms for August-October are due
12/1/08 Email Shavers/CSO to Coaches [Labadie is back on this distribution list]: November CARA forms are due
12/4/08 Meeting Scheduled,  Judy Van Horn With Brad labadie.  Subject: CARA forms
12/16/08 1:40 p.m. Email Vollano/CSO to Labadie [Note that this email is copied  to Asst AD Joe Parker] : I have left a couple of messages, but thought that email would be easier. I want to remind you that I need job descriptions for all your non coaching specific staff members. [She goes on to repeat almost everything in her original memo of 8/15, about new forms, having sign-offs by staffers, and fact the this is all getting more NCAA scrutiny.]
12/16/08 1:44 p.m., Email Labadie to Vollano/CSO: Thanks Ann, I just listened to your voicemail from earlier where you said you are not taking it personally, and you shouldn’t. Who are the specific people that you need job descriptions on? Administrators, recruiting people, or quality control, video? Or do you need a job description for everyone in the building?
12/16/08 1:46 p.m. Email Vollano/CSO to Labadie: I am glad. No just the people that signed. QC, Dir. of Ops, etc. Did the copy come through for you? I can fax it if you want. Let me know. Hey. also, we have NO Cara forms for the whole term. Any idea when we can get them, or some of them?
1/2/09   Email Shaver to all Coaches [Labadie is on this distribution list]: Reminder, Dec. CARA forms due
1/8/09 4:00 pm Email from Sr. AD Joe Parker to Labadie, Draper and Parrish [Note: cc’d to AD Bill Martin – this appears to be first time Martin has explicitly been copied on CARA issues.   1. Can you do whatever is necessary to get the completed CARA forms to the Compliance Office? They have all teams completed, with one exception, football. We need to put a process in place to insure that this information is delivered in a timely manner to the Compliance Office. Open to suggestions.
1/8/09 4:45 pm Email from Labadie to Parker, Parrish, Draper, with cc to Bill Martin: “I will get CARA cleaned up at upcoming Team meetings/workouts.”
[The above is an interesting, and revealing entry. It suggests that no forms existed as of the date of the memo, and that someone – Labadie — is going to go around and get people to just sign a bunch of forms that he has hurried to fill out on a jerry-rigged and possibly back-dated basis. There are many questions here: did RR sign each form which is submitted, at the bottom as he is supposed to, thereby being held to the affirmation at the bottom of the forms? Where did the information on the forms come from? How reliable is it? The circumstances surrounding the presentation of the forms is critical not only to a determination of RR’s good faith, but also is the complete foundation for any conclusions to be drawn by the Enforcement Staff, as to the central issue:  HOW MUCH PRACTICE TIME WAS SPENT BY THE ATHLETES, AND HAVE THEY SIGNED OFF ON THOSE TIMES CONTEMPORANEOUS WITH THE PRACTICES? This central issue is NEVER mentioned in the UM  filing.]
1/20/09  Sr. AD Joe Parker email to Labadie (cc to AD Bill Martin): Any success with the CARA forms?
2/2/09  Email Shaver/CSO to all Coaches [Labadie is on this distribution list]: Reminder: Jan. CARA forms due
2/12/09  Rules Education Meeting, Football Coaching Staff:  no discussion re: CARAs, QC activities, job descriptions, or practice time.
4/1/09  Email Shavers to all Coaches (RR not on list; Labadie is): Reminder that March CARA forms are due.
4/3/09 Email Vollano/CSO to Labadie: Re: CARA forms. “Any idea when we can get the CARA forms?  I do not want to bug you about it, but FYI, the university auditors are going to start their audit of CARA, contacts, telephone, and evaluation logs. They are going to start their audit next week.
4/14/09 Compliance Meeting, Bill Martin, Athletic Director
I. Football & Compliance Issues
D: Football has not submitted 2008-9 CARA forms
E. Football has not submitted job descriptions for non-coaching administrative staff
I. Reminders & Guidelines: CSO initiative for job descriptions for all non-coachsport-specific staff prior to ’09-10
IV. Student Athletes and Summer Compliance Issues
B. Summer conditioning – sport specific staff not permitted to observe voluntary activities.
5/7/09 9:24 a.m.  Email Vollano/CSO to Labadie:  I just want to let you know that the auditors are here doing the CARA. They have an empty folder for football. Any chance you [could] bring them over? They will be here until 11 a.m. Let me know what you think. Thanks for your help.  [Note the context here:  the  numerous Timeline entries preceding this 5/7 Vollano email about the Audit  show that everyone — Bill Martin, Joe Parker, Scott Draper, Brad Labadie – they all knew that there would be ZERO CARAs available to the Auditors on May 7.  Very interesting. With so many people having direct knowledge and involvement by this point, there is almost no credible reason to assume that Zero CARAs were available because they all just “forgot” that the Auditors were coming on May 7.
—-  Maybe They Just Didn’t Care? :  But assuming they didn’t forget that Auditors would be doing their work on May 7, might it be that they just ‘didn’t care’ about the Audit and its’ results?  This conclusion also doesn’t ring true, for professional people like Martin, Parker, Draper etc., both because it is a significant a stain to have that kind of Auditor’s review [no documents at all for some 16 months] but also because it certainly generates a much higher liklihood of drawing some regulator’s later attention.  So here’s what the Timeline suggest to the reasonable reader:.
Martin affirmatively decided, sometime in the late Winter/early Spring 2009, that having Zero CARAs for the Auditors was better than having Phony/Lousy CARAS:  Which leads to the most logical conclusion as to the puzzling ‘paralysis’ of all these characters – Martin, Parker, Draper, Labadie –  for at least four months previous to May 7, and their appalling failure to “get mad” and/or scurry around to have someone get and present the “best possible” CARAs: they all concluded that having the Auditor find that no CARAs were produced is better than directing RR and/or Labadie to go “make up the entire set of CARAs.” And better than explicitly stating the bald truth, which is: because no CARAs exist, we don’t have a clue what went on for practice time, on a daily or weekly basis. We might be able to get some general information, but details? – Forget it.
Why take this “forget-having-CARAs-for-the-May 7 Auditors” approach? For 4 Reasons: a)  because it might be obvious that the entries were ‘mass-produced on one night by one person’; b)  because  the CARAS were intentionally designed to require cross-signature by the very persons whose activity the forms allege to monitor – the athletes- so that just getting that done is now almost impossible in May. We can surmise that Martin and the rest all knew, at this point in early May, that there were ZERO completed CARA forms, anywhere; and d) that to have anyone generate any CARA forms at this entirely late date might subject one or more of the Athletic Department personnell to By Law 10 Ethical charges.
Several other pieces in the puzzle are worth noting here. See the 5/19 entry below, where Labadie makes another promise about producing the CARAs; he says he is “in Chicago.”  Guess why? The Annual Big Ten Athletic Directors’ meeting. And guess who else was there, at that meeting?: Bill Martin.    They are at the Big Ten Conference meeting together. Did Martin and Labadie drive over together? Take the train? Are their hotel rooms right next to each other? Did they sit next to each other? Did they talk? Did they talk about the Audit done, and the fact that there were ZERO CARAs available? Did Martin get mad? Did he tell Labadie: those are going to be filed in my office the day after we get back in Ann Arbor!  Or, if you give it another thought, does it cross your mind to wonder why Martin let Labadie go to the Chicago meeting at all?  After, he  had just committed a major mistake, it would appear.  Martin should have been furious. But he wasn’t, apparently. And all of these questions are pertinent for any fact-finder actually interested in getting at the bottom of things: it is not at all clear that the NCAA falls in that category.

And Martin’s not mad, for the same reasons that he and Parker and Draper and Labadie did ZERO to get CARAs for the May 7 audit: There were no CARAs.  The second reason Martin’s not mad, and Labadie’s with him in Chicago, and nobody pushed to get some CARAs filed is the big one:  Martin knew, and they all knew, that Rich Rod knew about the CARAs.  Reading the UM Filing, and breaking down the chronology, anyone and everyone involved on South State St. knew that Rich Rod knew, and they want to gulp every time they see him.
So by this analysis the following puzzling factors are explained:
1.    Labadie’s (and to an extent, Draper’s) tortured failure to act over 18 months (on CARA and Job Descriptions);
2.    The obvious paralysis of every Athletic Department higher management person in the face of outside audit;
3.    The failure of the UM filing to produce any CARA forms, or even to be explicit about when they were produced AND about whether they (if they exisst) are as inherently unreliable as circumstances dictate they must be.
4.    The failure of the UM filing to provide any reasonable explanation, or citation to specific acts, for the CARA, QC, and Job Description violations – other than the “waste-basket” explanation of “inattention.”
All of these odd behaviors, by good people, are explained only by concluding that they were all gulping while desperately trying to protect Rich Rod  and, for many of them, themselves, at the expense of just coming clean with the truth. The avoidance of the truth is continued in the UM filing. Brandon, perhaps, cannot be faulted, he came in at a late date, was still trying to figure out who’s who at the time the filing was made. But he can make corrections now.
One final note: Look at the entries below for 5/20. There is very fuzzy suggestion  that some kind of CARA forms were turned in then. [We don’t know for sure because the UM Filing tries desperately  – by withholding CARAs based on trumped up “intellectual property” objection – to avoid any discussion of whether the forms were filed, and when, and who filled them out and signed.] And reference to Bill Martin’s Compliance Meeting Agenda for May 26 fails to show any entry for “missing CARAs” (as the April Agenda had.)  But IF they were filed on 5/20, then one might wonder whether the specific plan, nowhere reduced to writing, and formulated by Bill Martin, was to NOT file any before the 5/7 Audit, and then just try to obfuscate when anyone later wants to try to track them down – to keep those CARA forms from ever hitting the light of day – which seems to have happened.  Had those forms been attached or made public, there might have been some question of violation of NCAA Bylaw 10 (Ethics).  In fact, there is probably a prima facie case for such a violation existing through the course of this entire chronology.
5/7/09 12:30 p.m Email Labadie to Vollano/CSO:  Figured out what the voicemail was about. Sorry, I’ve been out this morning and I just got the autoreply that you are out later today – Brad
5/8/09   Email Vollano/CSO to Labadie:  Brad, they were here yesterday and are done with CARA. Right now their report is going to include a finding that there were no CARA’s for football. Can you get them to me ASAP so I can have them review them? Please advise. Their report goes to Bill, the President, and the Regents. — Ann
5/19/09 3:01 p.m. Email Sr.AD Joe Parker to Draper, Labadie [cc B. Martin]: Subject, email from Vollano, 1 min. 33 seconds) Gentlemen, Ann has been requesting for several months. Can you submit the CARA forms by tomorrow?
5/19/09 5:53 p.m.: Email Labadie, to  Sr. AD Joe Parker. [No cc to B Martin, or Draper, or Vollano] Subject: Voicemail from Vollano. “Yep. Had them finished yesterday at workouts and they should have been delivered today. I am in Chicago at a meeting [Big Ten Meeting of AD’s, Martin also there] but will follow up and make sure that they were delivered. Thanks.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s