It was only a matter of time until something else hit the news on this. ESPN is reporting that NCAA investigators recently started sniffing around Morgantown for any indication of NCAA Rules Violations my the Mountaineer football program. Details are fuzzy, which is to say they are non-existent. The West Virginia primary and athletic websites do not (as of the time of this post) have a press release on the investigation. The sole source on this is ESPN's Mark Shlabach, who is generally reliable in reporting the comings and goings of college football's news worthy topics.
The important part of the story is that West Virginia is being investigated. But investigated for what? The phrase "rules violations" could mean anything and usually does. At this time no one seems to know what the (if any) allegations actually are and no one seems to have an idea of what the time frame is for the investigation. All we know is that the NCAA was in Morgantown interviewing people... for something. Naturally, the finger was immediately pointed at Rodriguez:
West Virginia officials wouldn't comment on the specifics of the allegations, but a source close to the situation said the allegations center around former Mountaineers coach and current Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez.
I love that the specifics can't be commented on, but the school (and I'm not taking a long leap to assume someone at WVU leaked this) is happy to indicate the only reason the NCAA came calling was because of Rodriguez.
Sadly, it's not much of a jump at this point. The NCAA does have the duty of due diligence in making it's allegations against any school. The fact that they've leveled charges against Rodriguez means that they would be somewhat remiss if they didn't check into his prior places of employment. Are the alleged violations a one time occurrence or are these long standing issues?
But why would this revelation come out now? Hell, we don't even know when the investigators showed up at WVU's doorstep. The school won't comment on when, where and who (other than throwing Rodriguez under the bus). However, Schlabach just announced that the visit was within the last 45 days.
Shouldn't the NCAA have done this due diligence months ago, before they started throwing around terms like "major violation?" To begin a subsequent investigation on a coach, and by default his current employer seems, patently unfair when their response to the NCAA's present set of allegations against that coach and school are due by the end of this week. The flip side of this argument is that the NCAA shouldn't rest on its laurels after the first shoe is dropped. They should continue to investigate potential wrong doings. This is true. But it's not like this is something that just dropped in their lap or as if it wasn't known that Rodriguez used to work at West Virginia.
If the two investigations are in fact related, it is just a sign of how incredibly sloppy and inept the NCAA compliance and investigation departments truly are. If you're building a case, you get all the details before you go to hearing. You don't set the hearing, allow the other side to reply to your allegations, and then say "oh, by the way..." It is certainly within the NCAA's ability to do this, but it makes them look like they're on a witch hunt rather than actually and competently doing their duty.
I think it's also suspect if the NCAA gives any undue weight to any unsupported "testimony" originating from Morgan town. The bad blood between West Virginia and it's former head coach could fill an aquifer. And most, if not all, of that bad blood flows from Morgantown toward Rodriguez' mail box. If there are things to substantiate violations (documents, recordings, etc...), fine. My biggest concern is unsubstantiated allegations. It's not like Rodriguez or Michigan will have an attorney there to cross examine anyone. The whole thing just reeks at this point.
How does this impact Rodriguez and Michigan? Right now, it doesn't. The NCAA is notorious for punishing the school where the violations occurred rather than the coach in his new digs. If you need proof, look at Steve Fischer, John Calipari, and Kelvin Sampson. Every one of these bozos managed to get their former employers in all kinds of trouble, yet walked scott-free because they weren't employed by the school they screwed anymore. I'm not comparing Rodriguez to any of these guys, but if they can walk after the crap they've pulled, the allegations against Rodriguez aren't even in the same galaxy seem to indicate little would happen to him and Michigan as a result of a WVU investigation.
Right now, this means little to nothing for Michigan fans because there's so little to go on. All we have is hearsay that the questioning mostly centered around how much time players were doing football related activities and Rodriguez stewardship of the program. But we also know that the NCAA was asking all kinds of other non-Rodriguez related questioning. So who the hell knows what actually happened or what the goal of all this is?
While it might not mean too much in the grand scheme of things, it does mean we get to sit through another week to a month of Rodriguez and Michigan bashing in the press.