Michigan's transparency doesn't lessen burden on Rodriguez
Give Michigan credit for one thing: Few schools accused of major NCAA violations have been more open and transparent about the process. No shielded documents or redacted names here. Want to read every word of both the school's (79 pages) and coach
As for the abridged version, all you need to know is this: The school acknowledges it screwed up. It admonished seven individuals, including Rodriguez, for lack of oversight, breakdowns in communication and an overall "failure to monitor" various day-to-day elements of the program. Its self-imposed punishment includes forfeiting 130 hours of practice time (double the amount it allegedly exceeded) over the next two years; reducing its number of "quality-control" staff from five to three and limiting their practice involvement; and imposing two years probation, which, while seemingly meager, still represents the first such stint in the fabled history of Michigan's program.
The NCAA's Committee on Infractions will get the final say on both Rodriguez's culpability and the other allegations come August. Don't be surprised if the committee adds to the school's own self-imposed punishment (it usually does), but don't expect anything major, either. Maybe another year's probation. Maybe a couple of docked scholarships, which the school apparently deemed unwarranted based on past precedent. The USC/
Ultimately, Michigan's punishment fits the crime, which was never an overly egregious one. Michigan fans' greatest concern was never whether the NCAA would "drop the hammer" on their program; it was the additional stain now associated with the already embattled Rodriguez. The school defended him to some degree Monday, but he's still the CEO of a program about to face probation. He's still a coach who needs to win at least eight games this fall, or else -- but that would have been true with or without that 89-page letter.