The NCAA, WVU, and Michigan Plot Thickens, With a U Turn on Pending Charges Against WVU & RichRod

In an August 4, 2010 letter from David Price, NCAA VP of Enforcement to WVU President James Clements, the NCAA alleged 5 Major, and 1 Minor, WVU Violations, which charges also run to Rich Rodriguez, because he was Head Coach there through Dec. 2007.

The WVU charges, as noted in our previous post, are almost identical to those made against UM and Rich Rod:  too much coaching and practice-time, and RR’s “failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance.”  (In the UM case, RR & UM admitted the excess-coach and practice-time  major violations, and contested the “atmosphere-failure” charge. On Nov. 4, the NCAA ruled that RR did not fail to “promote an atmosphere of compliance.”)

But the WVU charge, as noted earlier, asserts that WVU Compliance had told WVU coaching staff that there were problems with use of excess coaches  — but that those “Excess Coaches” continued, thereafter, to be used.  In other words, this charge alleges a knowing violation by RR.

Since that Aug. 4 NCAA Charge-Letter to WVU, some interesting, if not odd, things have  happened, and I’ll list them:

1) The Aug. 4 NCAA Charge Letter to WVU correctly states that NCAA  process usually allows a university to choose between having either: 1) an in-person hearing (after the school files its’ written response), or 2) utilizing the “Summary Disposition” process (i.e., no hearing, just submission of written evidence.)

2) NCAA VP Price’s August 4 letter also summarily concludes that:

“It is my understanding that the summary disposition process is not an option due to [WVU’s] status as a possible repeat violator under Bylaw”

[WVU was found to have been a “major violator” in 2007 arising out of NCAA Bylaw violations in its’ Men’s Soccer Program.]

3) That Aug. 4 NCAA/WVU letter also explicitly stated:

“The Committee on Infractions will  determine following the Infractions Hearing if your institution should be subject to the provisions of this bylaw [] and whether the enhanced penalties provided for in the bylaw should be imposed.”

4) At this point, it appeared that WVU had the option of filing a written response, in anticipation of the Hearing, on: a) an “Expedited” 76-day schedule, which would have required filing by mid-October; or, b) a “Usual”  90-day response time, which would have required written response by mid-November.

5.  And, in a Aug. 10, 2010 article in the Charleston Gazette by reporter David Hickman, he states that:

“According to a school statement, the university was prepared to go with the expedited time schedule (76 days to respond to the charges), but the NCAA told the school that it would have to go with the normal 90 days.
The school did not say so, but it is believed that a third party in the investigation was unwilling to agree to the 76-day response window. In addition to WVU and Stewart, Rodriguez is also charged with violations while at West Virginia and would presumably have to respond to those. He is facing similar and additional NCAA charges at his current school, Michigan. “[Emphasis Added.]

[The clear suggestion is that Rich Rod did not agree to an expedited 76-day schedule, and so prevented the WVU matter from being considered at the Dec. 10-11 meeting of the NCAA Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis, and appearing to mandate that it be heard, instead, at its’ Feb. 10-11 meeting in Ft. Lauderdale.]

6. On Nov. 18, WVU announced that there would be no hearing, and that the NCAA/WVU/Rich Rod charges would  be adjudicated by way of the “Summary Disposition” process.

What’s the significance of all this, vis-a-vis Rich Rod’s status at Michigan?

1. It directly contradicts NCAA VP Price’s statement that the “Summary Disposition Process” is not available to WVU due to its’ repeat violator status.

2. It also contradicts the suggestion in that letter that, if WVU or any party wanted to utilize a Summary Disposition process and penalty provision, then a request to do so would have to be made at the hearing before the Infractions Committee.  No hearing’s been held, so apparently something has happened behind the scenes which nonetheless has allowed WVU and RR to avoid a hearing, and just submit a written submission.

3. The WV press suggest this is because all parties (WVU, Rich Rod, and the NCAA Enforcement Staff) have reached an agreement.  Nowhere is this explicitly stated; moreover, it appears, according to NCAA procedural rules, to be an end-run around the hearing requirement.  What may be more true — and we are inferring from an incomplete set of facts — is that the “agreement” amongst all may have eliminated the need for a hearing. And it is, in that scenario, extremely unlikely that the NCAA Enforcement Staff willy-nilly decided to “back off” on its’ charge that RR “failed to promote a [WVU] atmosphere of  compliance.  Instead, it is much more likely that this U-Turn in NCAA process (again, all facts are not publicly available) happened because RR and WVU “caved on all charges.”

If the latter scenario is true, then RR has already admitted to a) having “failed to promote a [WVU] atmosphere of compliance” and; b) having been told by his WVU Compliance people, sometime in the middle of events, that excess Coaches were being used, and that he continued using them.  And those admissions would clearly subject Rich Rod to a potential Show Cause finding, and may even subject him to some kind of  suspension.

[One final note: If the Committee on Infractions disagrees with the Summary Disposition filed with them, they can still require that a hearing be held.]


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, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The NCAA, WVU, and Michigan Plot Thickens, With a U Turn on Pending Charges Against WVU & RichRod

  1. SHub'68 says:

    Don’t forget, Michigan hired a former NCAA investigator as a consultant. It would pretty reasonable to assume he was there working with UM, Rodriguez and WVU. My money is on WVU getting a wrist slap similar to what UM got.

    • brewonsouthu says:

      Finally! A discerning mind. SHub, I’m a little amazed: I think I agree with everything you have stated, in all 3 of your posts, and I’ve read them twice. You are absolutely right – that some of those violations started before RR, and reflect profound institutional problems. You have seen right through the whole scenario: I had generally just left off all that “pre-RR” analysis, only because my views tend to be so contrarian (as opposed to what the general public perceives), that I sensed that to go down that track would just further insure that my analysis gets zero attention. (See, e.g., the puerile dismissive comments on message boards, like, “think the guy has an agenda?” – from people who are so lazy they don’t read the written exegesis before them.)
      If one wants to be extra skeptical, one might imagine that Lloyd suddenly “decided” to “fully retire” one month before the NCAA Aug hearing for precisely the reason that CARAs were a problem in his tenure. And Martin hardly walked out casually, he got yanked off his stage long before he could finish his lux box song. The only distinction I might suggest re: your analysis woudl be the notion that the “Coach-Number” issue is clearly RR’s pet (illicit) project (as opposed to having been present at UM all along), and always has been.
      There is also a broader point, which I haven’t explored deeply – that (partially depending on the names of the people on the Infractions Comm.), the NCAA has become a charade. UM couldn’t point to one thing that RR did to “Promote an AOC”, and all RR could say was he talked about it at hideaways. So letting him off there is gutless. But the billions of dollars flowing around this cartel makes it do some pretty whacky things.
      — The guy who got off easiest, though, was Martin; he should have been the number one witness in Seattle. Instead, he got off, as UM relied on DB’s corporate “gravitas” (boy–did Coleman ever need him), and a whole lot of “winking” sidebar comments to the Enforcement and Infractions people that “we got rid of that guy.”
      — I guess one final point, and I haven’t focussed on it here, but it’s not explicitly derived from the record: the backscatter from some good sources is that RR is a very slippery guy, day-to-day, and one of the reasons I love M Football (as I stated elsewhere) is that it is somewhat unique for having a long string of standup, top-drawer people as Coaches.
      Also, pass on my link, if you have the notion, I’d like to think that there “evidence-based” M fans out there who like a rational debate.

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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