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Tuesday, May 25, 2010
What they're saying about UM's response

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Both Michigan and head coach Rich Rodriguez have issued extensive responses -- 168 pages in total -- to the NCAA admitting that the football program committed major violations for the first time in its history. Michigan has self-imposed penalties, namely loss of practice time and loss of quality control coaches, and will learn its ultimate fate Aug. 13-14 in Seattle as officials appear before the NCAA's Committee on Infractions.

Rodriguez and athletic director Dave Brandon will address reporters today at 11 a.m. ET, but some quotes and statements are already out about the violations and where Michigan goes from here.

The university's official news release includes several statements:
Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman: "As we have said all along, we take full responsibility for knowing and following NCAA rules, and we will address concerns, quickly and head on. We believe the sanctions we have imposed fit the nature of the violations."

Brandon: "We have made every effort to be as transparent as possible -- to do this in the light of day. We've made some mistakes as a program -- we know that. We also have learned from this experience, we’ve made some necessary improvements, and now we are eager to move forward."

Brandon also did interviews with select news outlets Monday night, including The Detroit News and annarbor.com. Here's a sampling of what he had to say:

Rodriguez also was talking Monday night, as he addressed reporters after attending the Michigan AP sports editors' meeting.

Here's some of what he had to say:

Should we refer to RichRod as the Old Ball Coach from now on? Wonder if Steve Spurrier will be offended.

Here's the message I get from Brandon in all this: What happened was unfortunate, and casts a negative light on Michigan. Many people screwed up, so pinning this all on Rodriguez is unfair. In fact, the potential for these problems was there before he arrived. And let's be real honest: this isn't paying players or academic fraud we're talking about. The media grossly exaggerated much of this stuff. We respect the NCAA's investigation, but to penalize us further would be excessive and somewhat hypocritical, given the vagueness of rules around quality control coaches, etc. If you expect me to fire Rodriguez based on these violations, keep waiting. Now if he goes 5-7 again ...

Here's the message I get from Rodriguez: I made some mistakes here, and these violations took place on my watch, which is disappointing. But I'm not the only one who screwed up, as there were communication and monitoring breakdowns elsewhere. I'm not going to downplay the violations, but they aren't capital crimes, as the media might want you to believe. This process was brutal, but it's nearing an end. I'm not going anywhere yet, so let me coach my football team. I know I need to win this season, so let's get on with it.