At last. Our long National (Alumni/Fanbase) nightmare is over.
ESPN is reporting that (according to a source close to the situation) the NCAA has dropped its allegations that Michigan Football Head Coach Rich Rodriguez failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance and that the NCAA has largely accepted Michigan's self imposed sanctions. ESPN is also reporting (citing the Detroit News, whose headline reads: NCAA will exonerate Rodriguez of 'atmosphere of compliance' charge.) that the NCAA will add a year of probation to Michigan's proposed two year probationary period.
In sum, the result of Michigan's infractions for extra
practice stretching time was three years of probation on the football program, reduced its "quality control" football staff from five persons to three, self-imposing a reduction of 130 hours of training and practice time on the program for the next two years, and terminating the member of the quality control staff who lied to NCAA investigators.
Ann Arbor dot Com is reporting that the Michigan Administration is fairly pleased with the outcome. As for the Free Press... they can go to hell. This whole thing started with their crusade against Rodriguez and the only thing it did was strengthen everyone's original perception that it was an honest mistake and make the paper look like a bunch of angry lemurs jumping up and down on a typewriter. I'm still mad at Rodriguez' handling of the defense this season (and last season, and the season before that), but I've never questioned that he is a man of integrity. The muck raking and dirt flinging by the Free Press in an attempt to paint Rodriguez as a, to borrow from Joe Tiller, a snake oil salesman has been inexcusable. It simply represents another reason why newspapers like the Free Press and their brand of "sports journalism" are dying.
The final report from the NCAA is due out later today. We'll keep you updated as the story develops.