The University of Michigan football program admitted to major NCAA violations for the first time in its history. They also announced self-imposed sanctions. The sanctions were light, but, then again, so were the infractions.
Michigan had too many coaches. They fired two of the five “quality control staff” members and won’t let the remaining ones attend the events next season, even though the NCAA now allows it.
Michigan surpassed CARA (Countable Athletically Related Activities) restrictions by 65 hours. They will dock themselves 130 hours over the next two years.
Michigan fired Alex Herron, the dude who lied to NCAA investigators.
Michigan disagrees with the “atmosphere of non-compliance” claim about Rodriguez but has issued stern “letters of reprimand” to individuals responsible for the violations. (Apparently, you can send letters of reprimand to yourself.)
Michigan will offer to go on NCAA probation for two years.
The punishments are fitting, though don’t tangibly affect the competitiveness of the program. Hopefully, the NCAA will do Michigan fans a solid at the hearing in August and force the school to vacate the past two seasons.
The initial allegations were trumped up. This wasn’t systemic abuse of student athletes. The CARA restrictions are similar to academic restrictions. Michigan was only allowed to keep me in a classroom for 16 hours per week. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t expected to do the 30 hours of studying per week to prepare for those 16 hours. The only real difference was I didn’t have a TA monitoring me.
Football coaches are sadists. They may be the most unlikeable segment of the population still socially acceptable. The only things shocking were Michigan’s carelessness and the media outrage. The “scandal” says more about acrimony between Rodriguez and media members and between Rodriguez and Carr holdovers than it does about Michigan’s football program.
Big-time college football is not a student activity. It is a business. Michigan football brought in nearly $100 million in revenue and made almost $10 million in profit, during a season they did not make a bowl game. It’s a profitable side activity that supplements the rest of the university. Its presence provides programming, advertising revenue and a steady stream of news that sells well.
Scholarship players aren’t “student-athletes” they are indentured servants. When you play football at Michigan, you sacrifice your body, your self-esteem and your free time. You receive room and board, a free education (not an inconsiderable sum), use of the facilities and a chance to market yourself for a lucrative career in the NFL.
The amateur ethos is pure. This system is sad and insidious, but we all feed on it, especially media members who are employed because of it. Censure is disingenuous when you’re the one most firmly grasping the teat.