Big Ten: Rick Greenspan
When Rodriguez, athletic director Dave Brandon, university president Mary Sue Coleman and other Michigan officials appear before the NCAA's Committee on Infractions on Saturday, they will try to show that Rodriguez did, in fact, promote an atmosphere of compliance, which the NCAA is refuting. The charge against the coach is the only NCAA allegation, out of five, that Michigan contested in its response to the NCAA in late May. If you missed them, check out the full responses by Michigan and by Rodriguez.
Two things to remember:
- The likelihood of any major news coming from the Seattle hearings is slim to none, although media members will be on hand, just in case. As we found out with the USC case, the NCAA takes its sweet time issuing final rulings on these cases, so we likely won't know anything official until mid-to-late fall, at the earliest.
- The Committee on Infractions is required to only consider the case being presented, so Rodriguez's pending situation at West Virginia officially will not be a factor. That said, you can bet the NCAA folks know what's going on at West Virginia, and it will be tough for them to completely forget about the situation.
Here's an extensive look on how the meetings might play out Saturday, with quotes from former Indiana athletic director Rick Greenspan, who has sat in the same hot seat. For more, click here and here.
From The Detroit News:
Michigan appears well-positioned headed into the crucial hearings this weekend. From the moment allegations surfaced that the players practiced too much at the direction of football staff, the university appears to have done exactly what the NCAA says any of its member institutions should do.
From immediately launching its own investigation, to cooperating with the NCAA's separate investigation, to uncovering and evaluating a huge amount of evidence, to imposing stiff penalties on itself, Michigan may well have done everything necessary in the face of the first major violations leveled against its storied football program to escape even tougher treatment from the NCAA.
The only thing it could have done better, according to experts on NCAA investigations, is to have discovered the violations itself.
"U-M has accepted full responsibility and has put a plan in place to ensure future compliance, which will go a long way with the committee," said Rick Karcher, director of the Center for Law & Sports at the Florida Coastal School of Law.
However, a loose end, according to the experienced observers, is coach Rich Rodriguez.
Rodriguez obviously has to worry about a potential show cause penalty, which could restrict his recruiting and coaching activities.
My take: Rodriguez's ultimate fate still comes down to whether his team can defend better on the field, not in a hearing room. Although a potential pattern of non-compliance is cause for concern, these violations aren't in the same ballpark as academic fraud or what allegedly went down with agents at several ACC and SEC programs.
Still, this is a very important Saturday for Rodriguez. He'll have a few more of them once September rolls around.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Here's the second half of my interview with Indiana's new athletic director, Fred Glass. Part I is here.
You obviously have a lot of sports to oversee. Where do you put football in your list of priorities?
Fred Glass: I guess right at the top. Like in all programs, you've really got to look at the revenue sports, basketball and football. And at Indiana, I'm not telling any secrets when I say that basketball has been the franchise and the flagship and we've got to pay attention to our strength. So basketball is very high on our list, but I'd say football is right there as well, and [it] provides the greatest opportunity for us. We aren't selling out that stadium, and trying to compete in the Big Ten without a successful football program is like trying to fight with both hands tied behind your back because obviously, it doesn't create the resources that we need to be successful in our 23 other sports. So football is right there with basketball. They're the two top priorities because of their importance to the overall program. That's not to disrespect the other 22 sports. It's just a reality for them to be successful, football and basketball have to be successful.
You mentioned the tragedy with coach [Terry] Hoeppner passing away, but it seemed like you built some momentum with the bowl season in '07. Did you feel the momentum was lost last fall, and is this coming year crucial, given the stadium renovations, to get that momentum back?
FG: Yeah, we absolutely lost momentum. Everybody from coach Lynch on down would say it was disappointing we didn't build on a really emotional year. I don't think [the 2007] team has gotten the appreciation it ought to, the circumstances they fought through and the way they stuck together. This year was very disappointing. It's not what we expect, it's not what coach [Bill] Lynch expects. Coach Lynch is looking for improvement, and so am I.
What's your relationship like with coach Lynch? He's been around the state for a long time and now several years at Indiana. How well do you know him?
FG: We didn't have a personal relationship until I became his AD, but he grew up in Indianapolis and so did I. He was a Catholic school kid and so was I. He was a star in Catholic football and basketball circles when I was a kid. He went to Butler and starred there. I grew up in the shadows of Hinkle Fieldhouse, actually was a ball boy over there and a close follower of Butler athletics. So I have a great deal of respect for coach Lynch's abilities, the kind of person he is. I'm excited that he's at Indiana and I'm really looking forward to working with him.
You came out and publicly supported him before you officially took the job. There were some questions about his job. Why did you feel the need to speak out and reiterate your support?
FG: It truly was a recruiting issue because it was a real awkward time. I was the athletic director designate, but Rick Greenspan was staying in till the end of the calendar year. There were these rumblings because of the disappointing season that there might be a coaching change or something like that, and that might have been used as a negative recruiting tool by some of our competitors. And so even though it was awkward that I wasn't yet the athletic director, I really thought it was important to get out in front of that because I thought I was really the only person who could speak definitively about it. Rick was a lame duck, and if the president [of the university] said something about it, people might say, 'Well, that's him saying it. What happens when the new AD gets in?' So I thought it was really important to clear the air early so there was no misunderstanding that coach Lynch was going to be the football coach at Indiana.
Bill didn't really change his coaching staff this year while a lot of other coaches did. Does that go along with the continuity aspect you mentioned needs to be in place at Indiana?FG: I'm going to leave that in coach Lynch's department because I think it's very valuable to have the same head coach and the same system. I'm not a micro manager by nature, and I certainly would be out of my element because I wasn't a D-1 football player or a D-1 coach or whatever. It's coach Lynch's team. He owns it. And his judgment about whether he wants to keep people in place or do something else is really his decision. I look to him to make those choices."
And just lastly, what are your expectations for 2009, for Bill and the team and everything around the program?
FG: I'm real optimistic. Very few things change last year, and we're bowl eligible, so there's some things to build upon. I think coach Lynch is excited. There's a lot of enthusiasm around the recruiting class and that sort of thing. So I don't have any kind of litmus test of, 'This many games will be a success and this many games will not be successful,' because there's a lot of ways to measure performance. But ultimately, it's going to be win-loss [record] and we're looking to be better there.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Coaching changes are cropping up around the country, but the Big Ten figures to be a nonfactor in what we around here like to call the silly season.
No Big Ten coach is in imminent danger of being fired. There's definitely some heat on Indiana's Bill Lynch, but with a lame-duck athletic director (Rick Greenspan), new AD Fred Glass not taking over until Jan. 2 (after hiring season) and beaucoup bucks owed to two basketball coaches (Kelvin Sampson and Tom Crean), a change isn't likely. Obviously, Purdue will have a change with Danny Hope taking over for Joe Tiller, but we've known that for months.
The big news in the Big Ten likely will involve contracts for existing coaches, some of whom have been mentioned as candidates for vacancies in other conferences. Here are some of the men who figure to get rewarded after strong seasons.
Michigan State's Mark Dantonio
Dantonio has been mentioned as a fringe candidate at places like Tennessee, but there's no panic in East Lansing that he'll jump ship like Nick Saban or George Perles did. Still, the school would be crazy not to sweeten Dantonio's deal. And athletic director Mark Hollis seems like a smart guy.
Expect a raise and a contract extension for Dantonio, whose salary ($1.1 million) ranks near the bottom of the league. This guy has Michigan State bound for its first New Year's Day bowl since 2000. The program's once-troubled culture has changed, and in-state recruiting is booming.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Indiana is expected to introduce Indianapolis attorney Fred Glass as its new athletic director at a news conference scheduled for 10:15 a.m. Tuesday.
An Indiana alum, Glass has been an integral part of the Indianapolis sporting scene. He served as the president of the Marion County Capital Improvement Board, which owns and operates Lucas Oil Stadium, Conseco Fieldhouse and Victory Field. He also served on the local organizing committee for the 2000 and 2006 Final Fours and chaired a committee that tried to get the 2011 Super Bowl to the city.
He lacks previous experience in collegiate athletics administration, but as we've seen lately in the Hoosier State, that doesn't really matter.
Indiana isn't the first school to tap into the legal world for its top athletics official.
Notre Dame hired Indianapolis attorney Jack Swarbrick to replace Kevin White in July. Longtime Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke has a law degree and spent 13 years with a steel company before entering college athletics.
So the three top athletic directors in the state are alums of their respective schools who have law degrees and spent much of their careers on the outside.
I wouldn't be surprised if several up-and-coming athletic administrators are thinking about law school right about now.
Swarbick was a surprising choice -- a source told me several major-conference ADs turned down Notre Dame -- and Glass also seems somewhat unconventional. It seemed likely that Oregon State AD Bob De Carolis would get the job, but Indiana went with Glass, who succeeds Rick Greenspan.
Glass takes over a department still dealing with the fallout from the phone-call scandal involving former men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson. The NCAA accused Indiana of failing to monitor its flagship sports program and could level further sanctions against the school.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Bill Lynch might not have a catalog of catchphrases or the unique charisma that made the late Terry Hoeppner such a rare breed, but Lynch shares one important thing with the man he succeeded as Indiana's head coach. This is his dream job.
Ohio is the national breeding ground for college coaches, but both Lynch and Hoeppner grew up next door in Indiana. Lynch has spent almost his entire career coaching in his home state, bouncing from Butler to Ball State to Indiana to Ball State to DePauw and finally back to Indiana. Lynch became the Hoosiers' head coach under tragic circumstances following Hoeppner's death in June 2007, but he helped to honor his friend by guiding Indiana to its first bowl appearance since 1993. For pulling off one of the most impressive and underrated coaching jobs in the country, Lynch was rewarded with the title of permanent head coach and given a contract through June 2012.
After Wednesday's practice, I talked with Lynch over a couple of Gatorades (orange flavor). Here's what he had to say about Hoeppner, the quarterback competition and the need to take the program one step further.
Last year was somewhat stable, but do you have a greater sense of ownership now, conducting this camp?
Bill Lynch: It's kind of a continuation of last year. I'm very appreciative of [athletic director] Rick Greenspan and the president to make a quick decision as soon as the season was over. That was very important in terms of continuity and recruiting and with our players. It's a unique group. This staff, all except for one, came at the same time. They've been here, so the philosophy and the approach and the expectations have stayed the same, which I think is really important in a program like ours. When you build a program, you want your older guys to pass down to the younger guys, 'This is what we do here.' When you have constant turnover, the expectations are always up in the air. So that's really important. What we do is so similar. My personality is different than Hep's. Hep was such a unique and charismatic guy, and I hope I'm smart enough not to try to take on his personality because he was Hep. That's what made him such a beloved guy. There's probably little changes or variations based on my background or experiences that are probably pretty subtle.
Hep made no secret about the fact that this was his dream job. Obviously, you didn't want it under these circumstances, but is it the same for you?
BL: Oh, yeah. I would never want it under these circumstances. When I worked here in the early 90s for coach [Bill] Mallory -- I grew up in Indianapolis and coached all around the state and have always been a big fan -- '93 and '94, up until last year, those were the last two winning seasons and bowl appearances, all of that. But I really took on a great appreciation for the university and the belief that we can win in football here. That's the important thing. Coach Mallory was the guy that never listened to anybody saying, 'You can't win in football at Indiana.' He didn't listen to it, and when I worked for him, he had a great feel for that. Hep and I have been friends and I always had such great respect for him. He really had the same approach and attitude that coach Mallory had. To be able to come and work here, it is a dream job.
Did you envision being a head coach again in your career after Ball State [37-53 overall record]?
BL: [Shakes head] You never know what's around the corner. That's why you would never want it under these circumstances. But I'm grateful to be here and really enjoy working with the kids in the program.
You've talked about win 13 as a goal for this year. For so many guys, having that connection to Hep, does that help?
BL: Yeah, and really going back, the Play 13 [motto] was certainly Hep's and it took on a life of its own because of the tragedy a year ago. But our kids know that the goal is to keep moving up. We want to become a team that's competing for the Big Ten championship. We want to be a team that's respected on a national level. We went to a bowl game. That was the first step, and that was always the first step to Hep. Now we know that the next step is we've got to go to a bowl and we've got to win a bowl game. Perhaps we put limitations on ourselves last year. It was an emotional year and there were a lot of things, but there was such a rallying cry to play 13 that even though we talked and talked, when we looked back at it after the bowl game, we probably realized getting there was the goal. The game itself [a 49-33 loss] taught us that if you want to become a team that's thought of on a national level and play with people all across the country, you've got to compete every day. Maybe we reached the goal to soon last year. That's where the 'Win the 13th' comes about. It's not good enough to get to a bowl game.
Has anything about the quarterback competition surprised you?
BL: It hasn't to us. As visitors have come, it has. The biggest thing is visitors come and they say [Ben] Chappell's really pretty good. And it's like they thought that we didn't feel that way. He was a solid 2 [backup] last year and then, in the spring, when he got the chance to run the show the whole time, he had a great spring. Even though we're not working with him in the summer, we knew he was running the show until Kellen [Lewis] came back. We know Kellen's an outstanding player and a great playmaker and has proven it on the field, on Saturdays, for a year and a half. But Ben is a really competitive quarterback. I think the quarterback position is different. I don't think the quarterback has to prove it to the coach. I don't think he has to prove it to the fans or the media. He's got to prove it to his teammates. They've got to believe in him. The players have to believe in that guy. And obviously, they believe in Kellen. He's proven it. He's earned that. But Ben now has that, and that's what is such a great situation for us. We've got two guys. Whoever runs on the field, the players are going to run out there feeling, 'We're going to be successful.'
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
You might have seen the nasty condition of Indiana's football field after floods swept through Bloomington last month. The school responded Wednesday, announcing that FieldTurf would be installed and ready for Indiana's season opener Aug. 30 against Western Kentucky. Workers began stripping the old field Wednesday morning. Here are some photos from Doug Wilson's blog on The (Bloomington, Ind.) Herald-Times Web site.
The removal and FieldTurf installation will cost $406,680, which will be covered by insurance.
"Everyone's cooperation in the face of a very unique situation is much appreciated," Hoosiers coach Bill Lynch said in a statement. "We look forward to a great season and to using our new state-of-the-art FieldTurf."
With a $55 million renovation taking place in the north end zone of Memorial Stadium, it's good to know the field won't look like a mogul course. Athletic director Rick Greenspan thought the replacement could cost up to $1 million, so this sounds like a bargain.
Indiana safety Austin Thomas has been keeping a close eye on the happenings at the stadium.
"I stay up to date with that," Thomas said Wednesday morning. "They're smoothing out the gravel base for it, and I heard they're going to put on the top within the next week or so, sometime soon."
There is one error in Indiana's release. Northwestern isn't among the Big Ten schools that use FieldTurf as the official playing surface. The Wildcats do have a FieldTurf practice field, but Ryan Field is all natural.