The University of Michigan football team consistently has violated NCAA rules governing off-season workouts, in-season demands on players, and mandatory summer activities under coach Rich Rodriguez, numerous players told the Detroit Free Press...
“It’s one of those things where you can’t say something,” one current Wolverine said. “If you say something, they’re going to say you’re a lazy person and don’t want to work hard.”
That player was one of six current or former players who gave lengthy, detailed and nearly identical descriptions of the program to the Free Press.
In the past two off-seasons, players said, the Wolverines were expected to spend two to three times more than the eight hours allowed for required workouts each week. Players are free to exceed the limit, but it must be truly voluntary.
The players said the off-season work was clearly required. Several of them said players who failed to do all the strength and conditioning were forced to come back to finish or were punished with additional work.
“It was mandatory,” one player said. “They’d tell you it wasn’t, but it really was. If you didn’t show up, there was punishment. I just felt for the guys that did miss a workout and had to go through the personal hell they would go through.”
Other allegations include:
- In-season football activities that far exceeded the 20-hour-per-week allotment from the NCAA. Players said they often spent nine hours on football activities the days after games - the NCAA mandates a four hour daily limit.
- Members of the team's quality control staff were present for 7-on-7 drills during the offseason, which violates NCAA rules. Only trainers are allowed to attend these workouts.
- The time demands on players negatively affected their academic performance.
- Several current Wolverines freshmen spoke openly to the Free Press about daily workout regimens that violated NCAA rules.
- Players were forced to sign NCAA forms stating all rules had been followed and had not informed the school's compliance department of any violations for fear of punishment from the program.
The player, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions from fans, said in-season Sundays at the football facility lasted from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., including a one-hour lunch. That would be an 11-hour day. The NCAA daily limit is four hours, the weekly limit 20.Predictably, RichRod denied the allegations...
The same player said required offseason workouts included three-hour lifts on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays and two hours of speed and agility on Tuesdays and Thursday. That's a total of 13 hours, with the limit at eight hours of required workouts.
This player said he would tell the Big Ten or NCAA what players were required to do and believes most of his former teammates would, as well.
“We know the practice and off-season rules, and we stay within the guidelines. We follow the rules and have always been completely committed to being compliant with all NCAA rules.”If the NCAA investigates and concludes that Michigan willfully and repeatedly broke the rules, the NCAA could find major violations. That could trigger probation, loss of scholarships, and loss of practice time. Michigan, which has won more games than any program in college football history, has never been found guilty of major violations in football.
These allegations make us more curious than ever about the documents RichRod destroyed when he left West Virginia...
West Virginia officials are wondering if assistant coaches aren’t all that Rich Rodriguez took with him to Michigan. They believe he may also have destroyed all or most of the paperwork files relating to every player on the current Mountaineer roster and virtually all of the activities conducted by the program over the past seven years.
Soon after returning to work after the Fiesta Bowl a little more than a week ago, the staff at the Puskar Center found that most of the files — including all of the player files — that had been stored in Rodriguez’s private office were missing. In addition, all of the players’ strength and conditioning files in the weight room were gone.
“It’s unbelievable. Everything is gone, like it never existed,’’ said a source within the athletic department, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Good, bad or indifferent, we don’t have a record of anything that has happened.’’
According to the source, the files in Rodriguez’s office that are now missing included everything from records regarding summer camps — financial and otherwise — to data on boosters, recruiting and most everything related to activities within the program during Rodriguez’s seven years at WVU.
Most disturbing, though, is the absence of all of the players’ personal files, which included, among other things, contact information, scholarship money awarded, class attendance records and records on personal conduct and community service, be it positive or negative.