Winners and losers as the NCAA investigation into Michigan football concludes
The NCAA is done handing down sanctions to the Michigan football program and now will move on to other schools and other problems.
There were clear winners and losers throughout the 14-month process beginning with the articles in the Detroit Free Press outlining allegations of violations to the end of the investigation Thursday.
Gene Marsh and Lightfoot, Franklin & White: Marsh and his attorneys told Michigan what it needed to do to prepare for the NCAA hearing, what it should self-impose and worked with the university every step of the way. The school paid more than $600,000 in legal fees, but considering the NCAA pretty much complied with the school’s suggested penalties, it was worth it. Plus, the attorneys told Michigan how to defend against the failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance.
Dave Brandon: Brandon took his podium time seriously enough to denounce “a local newspaper” otherwise known as the Detroit Free Press multiple times while discussing the NCAA’s findings. He used his savvy as a CEO to answer questions and challenged reporters to find the difference between a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance and failure to monitor. He was able to rile a fan base looking for something to believe in and spun Michigan having five major NCAA violations handed to it as, at the very least, a neutral movement for the university.
Losers: Alex Herron: The former Michigan graduate assistant looked like he had a pretty plum job, working for one of the most historic programs in college football and putting himself in a position to one day land a coaching job. Then he lied to NCAA investigators, was caught and fired. While the NCAA “imposed no penalty directly on you,” his actions likely make him unemployable, for a little while at least, in college coaching ranks.
Brad Labadie: The former director of football operations was painted in the NCAA report and the Michigan and Rich Rodriguez responses as the point of communication breakdown between the coaching staff and the compliance department. Labadie no longer works at the university, having left in July for a job in the private sector.
Michigan: Michigan was hit with its first major NCAA sanctions in the history of its football program. Were the charges as serious as those levied against USC or the ones likely coming against North Carolina? No, but they were still directly in violation of NCAA rules.
Rich Rodriguez: While Rodriguez and Michigan had the failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance charge -- the one aimed at the head coach -- lessened, he still presided over a football program nailed with NCAA sanctions. He’ll lose 130 practice hours and was still labeled with a failure to monitor.