Question: Could you start by giving us the general overview that you did in the room with the teleconference?
Dave Brandon: "For me and I think the coach agrees, this is a day of relief. We've been working on these responses for many, many weeks. There has been a lot of issues and concerns about what's happening and what our response is going to be and today it is out there. In February, when we received the notice of allegations within 24 hours we released it to the public because we wanted to have total transparency. We did not have anything to hide. Within 24 hours of responding to the NCAA notice of allegations yesterday, were back at you today and we've released everything. I do not what the total, a 120 pages of detailed responses to every one of the allegations and also we included as part of that our self-imposed penalties that we are appropriate based on those allegations. We believe that the work product speaks for itself. It's detailed. It will provide you all the information that you need and we invite anyone to take a look at it and I believe that you will get a very good sense for the Universities (Michigan) position. The things that we know that we did wrong and more importantly the things that we are doing to remedy those."
Question: Do you think this will satisfy the NCAA in terms of probation or not something harsher?
Dave Brandon: "We hope so. We believe based on the counsel that we've received and the analysis that we've done of previous cases that we've done a good job of balancing the penalties that we're imposing on ourselves to correlate with the violations what they were and the level that they rose too. Ultimately that decision will be made by the NCAA. They have the final decision in terms of whether these penalties are appropriate, but we believe that we've done the responsible thing."
Question: Rich is this a point for you, kind of like a bit of a relief and able to put it behind you. Obviously you have the August 13/14 dates with the committee, but is this a little bit of a place where you can kind of go forward and put it behind for now?
Coach Rodriguez: "Certainly there has been some work involved. I've worked with my attorney and we've worked together with Michigan's counsel on preparing the responses, but we've been doing other things too; spring practice and spring recruiting. So it's kept some busy days, but there is certainly as Dave mentioned, a relief to have his part of the process completed and then we'll have to work closely together over the next several months as we prepare for the August meeting. As Dave mentioned earlier, this is very detailed responses. There is a lot out there, information for folks to disseminate and we've been open and transparent since day one."
Question: Rich you're an emotional guy especially when you talk about your kids and your players; is it hurtful to have to listen to questions about why should the coach be fired. Well the coach fostered an atmosphere of noncompliance, that is emotional stuff.
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah it is and it is probably tougher on the families of the coaches. They've handled it very well. We mentioned it earlier to the print media that the thing that probably bothered me the most when this whole thing initially started was some of the insinuation about student-athlete welfare and the thing that all the years that we've been together and certainly all my years as a head coach; the thing that we take the most pride is looking after the best interests of our student-athletes. One thing about this very thorough investigation, I think has at least shown that there are not any student-athlete welfare issues and our players enjoyed what was going on with the program. There are issues and certainly mistakes that were made, but there were no student-athlete issues and at least I can take some relief in that part of it."
Question: Rich even with this report though and what has been found does this ratchet up the pressure on you, do you feel even more that you must win and that you must have success in this program immediately?
Coach Rodriguez: "Fair question, I'm surprised it took this long to ask about pressure to win. I think it is inherent in the profession and inherent in my job that you're going to have that every year anyways. I've probably said this before and it is not just coach speak, but I think coaches themselves put enough pressure on them themselves and their program to have success every year that anything on top of that really isn't going to make much of a difference. Is there a sense of urgency – sure, but there was a sense of urgency last year, the year and 20 years ago when I was coaching at Glenville State College. There is always a sense of urgency to do as well as you can. I do not think anything can add to that sense of urgency, particularly if you are a coach and you have a program that prides on its competiveness and uses that as one of our principles of teaching."
Question: Dave to what extent do you think that this will create a black-eye for an otherwise very proud University with typically a squeaky-clean football program?
Dave Brandon: "I do not this is a black-eye, this is a bruise. We did some things wrong. We fumbled the ball. We had breakdown in chains of command. We had breakdowns in communications. We had systems in place that were backup systems to prevent problems from happening and those systems failed. We bare the responsibility of all that, but you have to look at the body of work at the University of Michigan. We've been playing football for 130 years. We've got 25 sports here. We've got a lot of coaches, a lot of student-athletes who work really hard to build the brand that we're all so proud to be associated with. I refuse to believe that we made a few mistakes here and we're going to be held accountable and we should, that that is somehow detracts from who we are and what we're about and the values that we're going to continue to follow as we move forward."
Question: Dave or Rich and I do not mean to downplay the seriousness of the charge, but too much practice time happens in every sport, every school in division one; was Michigan just clumsy about it?
Coach Rodriguez: "I'll answer first. I think a lot of the answers to some of those questions as far as the hours are in both responses and I think sometimes you can look at it and again this is not all practice time per se, some of it…a lot of the hours as Dave mentioned earlier were in workout times, in particular in the summer and some in the offseason. So work outs and practices are a little bit different. But that being said, I think it is important, the rules are there for a reason, they are in place for a reason and you have to adhere to them. The same thing is true with all the issues. It is important not to just follow the letter of the rules but also the intended rules and we've got to make sure as a coaching staff and as a program that we're sharp on that every day."
Question: Dave in the report you make a point to mention that some of the newspaper reporting, media reporting was inaccurate in terms of the seriousness of wrong doing within the program, yet at the same time…I guess my question is, if it had not been for that would these issues within the program, would they have ever come to light do you believe with the systems that were in place?
Dave Brandon: "Well certainly what we've included in the report traces back to what Rich said earlier. One of the most hurtful things that you can say about a coach or a program is that they somehow abused, or take advantage of, or do not think about the health and welfare of the student-athletes. In the earlier stages of all this that seemed to be the theme and what we want to make very clear to everyone and anyone that is interested that the NCAA came in and scrubbed this program as hard as you can you scrub a program, we have internally and we do not see any instances where any of that was a point in fact. As it relates to failure to chain of command and communication breakdowns and systems and process, god I'd like to believe that when the new athletic director came in that all those things would have gotten better in a New York minute. At the end of the day, I do not know. I do not know how many of these situations would have surfaced quickly, but we've had our wake-up call. We understand some of the issues that we're poorly handled. We've responded to them already. I can tell you the culture of communication. The interaction that we're all having together and our commitment to making sure that Michigan is never in this position again is something that is pretty intense."
Question: Can you reiterate for us again Dave, I know you were asked again in February and as well in the teleconference room, just about your commitment to Rich and I believe you quoted as saying that these major violations could be interpreted as grounds for termination, but you do not believe that they are appropriate under these sets of circumstances, if you could please reiterate this for us?
Dave Brandon: "Let me nail this because this is the question that I'm sick of hearing. So let me just say that this is perfectly clear with anybody who is interested. Rich's contract has a clause in it that if he is found guilty of a major NCAA infraction it could be cause for termination. The reality is, is that when we looked at these allegations as they were presented to us in February, I got up in front of many of you and said based on the nature and scope and scale of these allegations, we do not believe that they do not rise to the level of impacting the employment status of our head football coach. I can tell you now several months later after completing our internal investigation that I'm even more convinced that the things that occurred, the violations we own them, we're not going to deny them, we're not going to play the game that geez somebody else is doing it so it makes it okay for us. We're not going to play the game of we do not like the rules so we shouldn't have to follow it. We're not going there. We have been found to violate certain rules with the NCAA and we're standing up and taking responsibility for it, but I want you to know that the way that these happened was not attributable to any one person and shouldn't be. These were failures along the chain of command. They involved administrative people. They involved people within the football program, as well as people who do not even report up through the football program. It's a shared responsibility. One of the reasons we're doing letters of reprimand in a number of people's files is because they all had a part to play in this unfortunate outcome and we believe that is the appropriate balanced approach to take. Rich Rodriguez is going to be our coach in the fall. We're excited about opening our new stadium. We're excited about going out and competing and we're going to get focused on that real soon."
Full Transcript: Brandon/RRod Videoconference
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