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Final Thoughts on the Erik Swenson Situation

Putting this week's controversial saga into perspective, where blame can be assigned to both sides and even media members for stirring the pot.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest stories this week on the recruiting trail, both locally and nationally, was the saga between 2016 four-star offensive lineman Erik Swenson and the Michigan Wolverines.

To summarize, Swenson decommitted from Michigan after being a verbal pledge since 2013 under Brady Hoke's staff. He has been telling everyone that will listen that Jim Harbaugh and staff pulled his offer out of the blue and was not transparent about his future.

This, like many things tend to do, set social media ablaze with questions of Harbaugh's ethics on the recruiting trail and how they are handling players they no longer see as fits in the class.

Of course, there two sides to every story. Michigan cannot publicly comment on this situation until signing day, and probably ultimately will not, but it has already become clear that some of the things out there right now are false and/or exaggerated.

Regardless, the questions must be asked.

I was one of these people to jump to conclusions in the immediate aftermath, and for that I apologize. As someone who will have journalism attached to my bachelor's degree, it was a mistake to make a judgement before gathering all of the facts. I pride myself on doing my best to keep people informed by being impartial.

A world with an increased social media presence gives us real-time access to what is going on out there, which in turn creates off-the-cuff emotional reactions.

As the facts begin to emerge, it is becoming more and more apparent that Michigan had hinted that this was a possibility months ago and that maybe he should keep his options open. Since Swenson was a Hoke recruit, the staff wanted to use his senior season to evaluate if he would be sticking around moving forward.

When they viewed his senior film, it sounds like they were not all that impressed with what they saw. Not that any of us normal-folk are great talent evaluators, but when you put his senior film against, say, Stephen Spanellis, it is pretty clear what Michigan is looking for.

The idea that commitments are never official until National Signing Day is absolutely true, and perhaps even moreso with Harbaugh at Michigan. It is not enough just to be dedicated to a cause, but you have to grow throughout the process and be willing to work the entire way.

Harbaugh is not a bad person, and the character assassination going on right now in the media is completely overblown. This is a man and a staff who is pulling out all the stops to do what they feel is necessary to put the best possible team on the field on fall Saturdays.

This is what Michigan fans wanted when Hoke was fired.

Whether or not people want to see it, college football recruiting is a business arrangement. A player pledges himself to a program in exchange for his four-to-five years in college completely paid for. Coaches have a criteria in mind when it comes to what they want to see from their players. They have to hold up their end of the deal.

Sometimes business deals go sour and bridges are burned.

Recruiting is not all sunshine and roses. Sometimes, shady stuff happens on both ends of the spectrum. And it happens at more schools than people would care to realize or report.

Because Harbaugh is always in the headlines, he is an easy target. But he is by no means the first coach ever to do something that upset a recruit and his family.

This will not have much of an impact on the recruiting trail moving forward. When 150-plus offers go out with only 25 or so committable spots on average, someone is going to end up hurt and pissed off. It is what it is.

Forget the past and move on. It may be time for the rest of us to do the same.