That was a fine decision LSU coach Les Miles made two years ago to not go to Michigan. (See video below)
By now you’ve probably heard that Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez is being investigated by the school for requiring players to put in practices and strength and conditioning hours far more than are allowed by the NCAA. This follows a package of stories in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press that quoted several players anonymously. Rodriguez denied the allegations again today in a news conference.
My initial reaction was the same as almost everybody’s: Hah! (Sorry. I have this thing about how people who pledge loyalty one day, leave the next, try to get out of paying $4 million exit clauses in their contract and get implicated for stealing player files on the way out the door. I also have a strong belief in the whole what-goes-around-comes-around thing.)
Here’s my second reaction: I’d be stunned if the vast majority of major college football programs — and that certainly includes everybody in the SEC and ACC — also aren’t bending/breaking the rules when it comes to unofficial organized workouts. There is no such thing any more as an “optional” workout.
But you know what the difference is? The players on those other programs aren’t complaining.
That’s the real story here: Rodriguez is not revered in Ann Arbor the way he was in Morgantown. I’m not even sure he’s liked. Regardless of what Michigan finds in its in-house investigation, it’s clear that former and current players have such disdain for Rodriguez and his methods that they felt compelled to go to the media. And maybe it’s just a lot easier to push people around when you’re tucked into the mountains in West Virginia than it is in Ann Arbor.
Rodriguez is making $2.5 million per year (I think that’s still considered big money if you’re not in the SEC). Michigan also helped pay for his protracted buyout at West Virginia. The administration has a lot riding on this hire. So far all they’ve gotten out of it is a 3-9 record and a home loss to Toledo. This follows the school’s strange dance with Miles, which prompted his brief and abrupt news conference below from before the SEC title game.
This is the downside of big time college football programs believing one coach can solve all of their problems. Sometimes things blow up.
It says here that’s not a bad thing.
Dec. 1, 2007: Les Miles holds an unscheduled news conference to announce, “Move along: Nothing to see here.”