The last two days

After a day of reading/skimming/ignoring the hysterical rantings of "reporters" who should know better, I came upon Brian Cook's "interview with a compliance guy" over at mgoblog. Since he was right before, I would imagine that his assessment should be taken seriously. Apparently, Compliance Guy thinks that the NCAA will call the minor violations a "pattern" and thus make major violations out of them. I would like to look at his projected punishments one at a time and their likely effect on the program:

1. A reduction in countable coaches (one assigned to a non-coaching position).

This would really have minimal effect. It could make everyone on the staff work a little harder, but there should still be enough coaches on the staff to provide solid coaching for everyone.

2. A reduction in practices with a shorter spring season in 2011 and/or reduced hour limits.

Of these, the shorter spring season would hurt the most, but it wouldn't really be all that bad. One of the benefits of the team being so young now is that by 2011, most of the starters will have had plenty of experience and familiarity with the systems on both sides of the ball. This team should be "loaded for bear" and the reduced practice time might actually be to their benefit with the possibility of less "wear and tear" and more stamina at the end of the season.

A penalty like that would be a disaster during a year without a lot of returning players, but should be OK for 2011.

3. Possibly recruiting restrictions, including limiting the number of coaches off campus at any given time.

This penalty makes no sense because the violations don't involve recruiting, so I don't really see this happening. If it does, though, it is much better that it happens with a full cupboard than an empty one. The cupboard is filling up nicely. The only real problem I can foresee would be if it causes another lean year for OL's to go with this one.

4. Possibly a reduction of around three scholarships for a year or two.

Once again, this could be a bit of a PITA, but it would fit in with #3 if it happens, and the impact would be about the same as #3.

5. 3-4 years probation (longer due to repeat violator status).

Unlike the kind of probation involving the criminal justice system that players up at Misdemeanor State get, this is a lot more cosmetic than functional. Things are done right at the University of Michigan, and the clerical errors have been corrected. It's not like UM players routinely get "Columbus Handshakes," so all this really does on a functional level is to make sure Michigan does what they routinely do anyway. It can be turned into a positive, much like how the safest airline to fly is often the last one to have had a crash because of the operational scrutiny they face.

The biggest impact of probation, other than having to listen to Spartyshit for the next twenty years, is negative recruiting, but I don't really think that it will have as great of an effect as opposing coaches would like. I'm sure RR will have a great gameplan to minimize the impact of negative recruiting by then, and probably does already.

All in all, this looks like it will be pretty much as projected: the NCAA will get to beat their chests and show everyone how "tough" they are, but the actual effects will be more cosmetic than functional. And really, that's the way it should be. UM doesn't deserve anything major for helping kids work out and expecting them to go to class, but the NCAA does have to demonstrate that their rules are important. Usually, all transactions between the NCAA and "violators" are zero sum, but this is as close to win/win as it can be under their current administration.

It sucks that the Three Stooges started this process in the first place, but if the outcome is as projected, it won't be all that bad. The best justice I can hope for is for RR to have has job longer than any of the Three Stooges have theirs.

Speaking of the Three Stooges, it looks like Dave Birkett is very close to becoming an honorary Stooge, sorta like Shemp. His coverage of this mess could definitely be a little more friendly to the hometown team. I'm not asking him to be a shill, but a little bit of objectivity would be nice. I would still like to know WTF Tony Dearing was thinking when he hired an MSU grad to cover UM sports.

As for the Morgan Trent involvement, I nominate him as the first recipient of the "Justin Bovine No Class" award. He got a shot at a degree and a shot at the NFL thanks to UM, but decided to throw "his" school under the bus. He obviously values his ego a lot more than he does hard work. Thanks, Morgan, for displaying your lack of class to the entire country. If you weren't so lazy and entitled, you would have gone higher than the sixth round. I hope you never come back to Ann Arbor again.

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