Michigan not in compliance with NCAA rules

According to a report by ESPN.com, the NCAA is accusing the Michigan football program of breaking five rules violations under head coach Rich Rodriguez.

In its notice of allegations — which Michigan received Monday — the NCAA said Rodriguez “failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program.” He tracked neither what his staff was doing nor whether his players were following NCAA rules, particularly those limiting the time spent on practice and football-related activities, the report said.

It also said the athletics department failed to make sure its football program was complying with NCAA regulations. Brandon said the department “clearly made mistakes,” but “there was no charge of loss of institutional control” — an allegation that in previous cases has led to severe NCAA sanctions for other schools.

Michigan has 90 days to respond and will appear at an NCAA hearing on infractions in August. The school will see how its internal investigation matches up with the NCAA findings and will consider implementing self-imposed sanctions, a move that could reduce NCAA penalties.

The NCAA said last October that it was looking into the Wolverine program following a report in the Detroit Free Press citing anonymous football players that said Michigan exceeded NCAA limits regarding practices and workouts in 2008 and 2009.

NCAA regulations allow players to spend eight hours a week on mandatory workouts during the offseason and several Michigan players have told the media that they spent two to three times that amount on required workouts. The players also said the amount of time they spent on football activities during the season exceeded the weekly limit of 20 hours, as well as the daily limit of four hours.

It would be naïve to think that other programs aren’t exceeding these practice times as well, but it sounds like what Rodriguez was doing was excessive. He, along with the Michigan program, have a serious problem on their hands.

Rodriguez has been nothing short of a disaster so far in Ann Arbor and if the Wolverines suffer another losing season (which would be their third straight), then I don’t know how the AD can keep Rich Rod on the sidelines. They’re showing support for him in light of these compliance issues, but one more bad year of football would probably end Rodriguez’s short tenure at UM.

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Q&A with ESPN’s Mike Golic

If you listen to ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike In the Morning,” you know that former NFL defensive lineman Mike Golic is one half of the equation and the counterpoint to long-time “Sportscenter” anchor Mike Greenberg. While both share a passion for sports, Golic takes the role of the “man’s man” and frequently discusses his passion for food and in particular, his love for grilling out. Well, lucky for us, Golic recently teamed up with Kingsford Charcoal to promote their new and improved briquets (and their new flavors of KC Masterpiece sauce and marinade), as well as with chef Chris Lilly, who owns Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-B-Q and is an award winning barbecue chef. So we’ve got some of their special recipes on our Grub For Guys page on Bullz-Eye.com, but we also had the opportunity to interview Golic about ESPN, grilling out, and of course, football:

The Scores Report: Hey Mike, we know you love to eat and love to grill. What is your favorite KC Masterpiece new flavor and why?

Mike Golic: I’m an original flavor kind of guy – no bells or whistles needed for me. But, I’ve tried the new KC Masterpiece Smoky Bourbon Barbecue Sauce and the smoky, sweet taste gives the original flavor some good competition for best sauce.

TSR: What are your thoughts on the new briquets, and do you use your grill year round?

MG: I have a fairly busy schedule with “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN analysis, and my family, but I definitely try to keep my grill fired up year-round whenever I have down-time. There is no better way to bring family and friends together than over the smokey flavors of a charcoal grill. In fact, when my boys where in high school, I used to travel to their football camps in early-August and grill for their entire teams during two-a-day workouts.

Kingsford MatchLight is my go-to charcoal – it has lighter fluid built into the briquet formula so it lights quickly and easily – which is especially convenient when I’m tailgating. I’ve heard that Kingsford briquets now light easier and faster, which I can also appreciate since I’m always crunched for time with my busy schedule.

TSR: Do you have any go-to items you like to grill for Super Bowl Sunday, or are you usually too busy working to cook that day?

MG: I will be working the whole week leading up to Super Bowl in Miami, but I’m excited to be able to go home and watch the actual game with my friends and family. But, while I’m in Miami, I will be firing up the grill with my buddy, world champion pitmaster, Chris Lilly earlier in the week. Chris has taught me quite a bit about grilling over the years and has inspired me to create a few tailgate recipes of my own. I will be demonstrating my BBQ Blitz Chicken Wraps for a few TV interviews with Chris before sharing a little tailgate with the lucky winner of the “On the Grill with Golic” sweepstakes that took place earlier this year. The recipe is attached in case your readers want to try it at home. For more great grilling recipes become a fan of Kingsford on Facebook at Facebook.com/KingsfordCharcoal.

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2009 College Football Week 12 Picks & Predictions

Last week was bitter sweet as I went 4-0 straight up but just 1-3 against the spread. Keep in mind that I try to only pick top 25 games, so they’re much, much harder to predict. Like, much harder. (Or at least that’s my excuse anyway.)

No. 8 LSU at Mississippi, 3:30PM ET
Both of these SEC teams will be looking to finish the 2009 season strong when they square off this Saturday in Oxford. The Rebels snapped a six-game losing streak to the Tigers last season but they haven’t won at home in his series since 1998. The public seems high on Ole Miss after the Rebs hammered Tennessee last Saturday, but keep in mind that the Vols were in the midst of some turmoil after three of their players were arrested for attempted armed robbery last week. Dexter McCluster went off on Tennessee for 282 yards and four touchdowns, but he’ll have a hard time repeating that effort against a stout LSU front seven. Something tells me that Les Miles’ team is still pissed off about what happened two weeks again in Tuscaloosa and will play this week with passion. I see a small upset for the Tigers and an outright win.
Odds: Ole Miss –4.5.
Prediction: LSU 20, Ole Miss 17.

No. 25 California at No. 17 Stanford, 7:30PM ET
Stanford is playing as well as anyone in the nation right now. The Cardinal have scored 106 points combined against Oregon and USC the past two weeks and senior running back Toby Gerhart has almost been unstoppable. Without running back Jahvid Best, Cal squeaked by Arizona last week, 24-16. With Best sidelined again this Saturday, many expect Stanford to roll but don’t forget that Cal has the 19th best run defense in the nation and is capable of containing Gerhart and keeping things close. Quarterback Kevin Riley might be able to take advantage of a Stanford secondary that has been inconsistent this season, although without the threat of a running game the Bears’ offense might become too one-dimensional in the second half. I think Stanford will pull out the victory but this game will be closer than people think.
Odds: Stanford –7.5.
Prediction: Stanford 35, Cal 31.

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Former Michigan QB rips Lloyd Carr

Former Michigan quarterback Rick Leach lambasted ex-Wolverine coach Lloyd Carr recently on an Ann Arbor radio show, claiming that Carr “flipped a huge middle finger right in our current coach’s face.”

Here are the details, courtesy of the Detroit Free Press:

“I saw an article that said Lloyd Carr was at the game in Iowa,” Leach told WTKA-AM (1050). “… No. 1, whose ticket did he go on? Whose private box was he sitting in, and whose university staff was in the box with him?

“As far as I’m concerned, as a former player that loves this program, I love our head coach, I love what they’re trying to do — our ex-coach flipped a huge middle finger right in our current coach’s face.”

Carr couldn’t be reached, and Michigan spokesman David Ablauf declined to comment on Leach’s comments.

If you read between the lines, Leach must be accusing Carr of getting a ticket to the game thanks to someone at Iowa. Seeing as how he and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz are friends, it’s a possibility that Carr got the ticket through him.

That said, who gives a flying crap? Considering Bobby Petrino has negotiated multiple times with other programs (and one NFL team) behind his school’s back, I don’t think Carr attending the Michigan-Iowa game on Ferentz’s ticket is that big of a deal. And Petrino is just one example of a coach that has left his team high and dry: Nick Saban, Brian Kelly and Leach’s homeboy Rich Rodriguez have all done the same.

I think Leach is being a little too sensitive here. If he wants to preach loyalty, he shouldn’t be backing Rodriguez.

Welcome to college football, Tate Forcier

Those that had followed Rich Rodriguez’s coaching career knew that his success at Michigan would be ultimately tied into whether or not he could find a quarterback. He didn’t have one last year and the Wolverines were an embarrassment week in and week out.

But this year, Rodriguez has found his signal caller of the present and the future in the impressive Tate Forcier.

The freshman signal caller was dazzling on Saturday, completing 23 of 33 pass attempts and racking up 310 total yards of offense as Michigan knocked off No. 18 Notre Dame 38-34 at the Big House. Forcier also threw two touchdown passes (including the game winner to Greg Mathews with under 15 seconds left to play) and ran for a score.

Forcier reminds me of a better, stronger-armed version of Jeff Garcia. Both do a great job of gliding around the pocket in order to buy more time to pass and both can throw while on the run. They’re always extremely aware of their surroundings and can also make plays with their legs. (Forcier’s juke of a ND defender on his 31-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter was freaking sweet.)

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Forcier up to this point (he had a nice game against Western Michigan in the opener, too) is that he doesn’t have a great offensive line in protecting him. He hasn’t been able to take three or five step drops (not that that’s a big part of Rodriguez’s offense anyway) and fire the ball into open receivers. He’s largely had to make plays on his own and he’s been creative while getting the ball into his wideouts’ hands.

Forcier has made Michigan relevant again and at least for now, Rich Rod can take a deep breath because he’s found his quarterback.

As for Notre Dame, they shot themselves in the foot repeatedly with stupid penalties. They had nine infractions for 75 yards, most of which wiped out offensive gains that could have kept drives moving. Their offense could have racked up nearly 550-plus yards today, but Charlie Weis’s team severely lacked fundamentals and it cost them big.

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