On August 14th, Rich Rodriguez will appear in front of the NCAACommittee on Infractions to plead his case regarding five majorallegations against Michigan’s football program. The notice ofallegations, made back in February, included failure to documentfootball practice hours adequately, impermissible use of qualitycontrol staff members and failure to promote an atmosphere ofcompliance.
Of all the things that will be discussed thatday, the recent notice of allegations against WVU will not be one ofthem. West Virginia will have its own hearing with the NCAA.
In a response to the West Virginia allegations, Rodriguez claimed “I have always taken compliance seriously,” and went on to say “any errors certainly weren’t made intentionally.”
A closer look at the NCAA report on West Virginia shows that in violation 5(a) “Prior to the 2005-06 academic year through the fall semester of the 2007-08 academic year, the [WVU] compliance staff communicated concerns to the football staff regarding various individuals with interactions with football student-athletes during practice and game-day activities. However, individuals who were considered to be noncoaching sport-specific staff members continued to engage in impermissible activities… subsequent to the discussions.”
In layman’s terms, West Virginia’s compliance staff told Rodriguez he was breaking the rules and he ignored them. It is interesting to note that nowhere in the investigation does it mention the compliance staff expressing concern to Bill Stewart or his assistants–for better or for worse.
When West Virginia faces the NCAA in December, it is likely Rodriguez will very much be a man of interest. The fact of the matter remains that there are two programs with squeaky-clean histories which now face major NCAA violations. Both programs have one common denominator.
Under his contract, Rodriguez can be fired if theNCAA, Big Ten or Michigan determines he is guilty of a majorNCAA violation and/or he has purposely committed any othertype of violation.
The first month of the football season at Rutgers has had its share of off-field stories worth keeping an eye on, so the news on Tuesday that the university has hired Bond, Schoeneck & King, a law firm with a history of working on NCAA violation cases, is certainly a bit of an eye-opener. The NCAA is not, at this time, investigating Rutgers. Instead, this is a move to investigate a pair of concerns related to the football program so that they may be properly reported to the NCAA if and when needed.
“Rutgers has retained outside counsel with expertise in NCAA infractions to help identify any potential rules violations,” Rutgers senior vice president for external affairs Peter McDonough said in a report published by NJ.com. “This is an ongoing and rigorous process that helps us to identify any shortcomings, to self-report them as required by NCAA rules and to remedy them as best practices demand.”
According to the report from NJ.com, Rutgers is focusing on one allegation of an arrested player failing multiple drug tests while on the team and accusations related to the program’s ambassador program. The name of the former player was not identified in the report. The ambassador program has come into scrutiny following the evolving case related to wide receiver Leonte Carroo.
The hired firm tends to serve as a liaison with the NCAA, but Rutgers will be given a final copy of the firm’s investigation for review. If Rutgers determines any NCAA violations were commited as determined by the report, that information will be passed on to the NCAA. The information revealed or uncovered in the firm’s investigation will determine if the NCAA will have to do some of its own digging, or merely adopt the firm’s report at face value and decide on any appropriate punishment from there.
Rutgers wide receiver Leonte Carroo could have a charge of simple assault dropped by a New Jersey court today. The woman he is accused of slamming to the concrete has agreed to drop the restraining order request and has asked the assault charge against the Rutgers receiver be dropped as well. NJ.com reports today the woman and Carroo each appeared in a family court on Tuesday, and the woman told the judge she is not scared of Carroo.
So, what does this mean for football? Simply put, it means Carroo may be eligible to play again as soon as this weekend. That would be good timing, as Rutgers is set to host Michigan State this Saturday night.
Carroo has been sitting out while serving an indefinite suspension while this legal process plays out. Carroo has missed each of the last two games for Rutgers, against Penn State and Kansas. Rutgers was off this past weekend. If this legal process does play out as it is expected at this point, Carroo could be reinstated quickly and promptly, making him eligible to return right away. Carroo is one fo the best players on the roster, so having him back and eligible to play is very good news for the Scarlet Knights offense.