the_town_gossip 

Back in November when twice-weekly WTKA afternoon host Jeff DeFran used an eight minute prepared statement to tear into Rodriguez I gave him some credit for going against the grain, knowing he’d get abused by many listeners and M loyalists.  But part of his self-described rant included a prediction that RichRod would be let go in January, backed up by what Jeff described as strong sources:

“..then I think, once there’s a new AD ready to be hired and announced, Bill Martin will have to do the dirty work…these are what I’m hearing from strong sources, he’ll fire Rich Rod in January, the new AD comes in, Bill Martin’s a lame duck, and the new tenure of Michigan football will start.”

I don’t mind if hosts/journalists/bloggers want to share some inside rumblings, but if you put out something of this magnitude and it doesn’t happen, shouldn’t there be a mea culpa or at least an explanation?  I don’t listen to DeFran each day but I don’t think he’s shared what happened or what changed.

I bring this up because DeFran was back on air this afternoon on WTKA’s Big Show and offered up more serious scuttlebutt from his State Street insiders.  I wasn’t listening (not a fan of his show) but MVictors reader BiggieMunn rang me on the hotline.  Quote:

[During] the big [NCAA] infractions committee meeting with Michigan in mid-August, Rich Rod could be the pawn in that.  And I’m just hearing this from people inside the family, people inside the athletic department: the firing of Rich Rod could be offered up. In return, Michigan doesn’t get any probation or sanctions against them.

Later he added, “That is definitely being floated around there.”

Audio:

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OK, once again this is a serious claim.  I’m sure Brandon and team are running through all the options to respond to the NCAA, but for DeFran to put this out there implies that it’s being considered.  If it’s not, then shame on DeFran for bringing it up in the first place.   And keep in mind he could have simply said something like, “Knowing what I know, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rich Rod is fired in exchange for..” instead of citing athletic department sources.

So what now?  Because he (or his sources) whiffed on the January firing and to my knowledge hasn’t explained why, I guess I’d take this with a grain of salt.  I’d feel a lot better about DeFran’s info if he opened up a little bit about what he heard last year and what has happened since. 

More on the DeFran comments here:

  • Bruce Madej calls back into WTKA (4-30)
  • Defusing DeFran (4-30)
  • Locomotive Jeff (DeFran audio (4-29)
  • Jeff’s Sewing Circle (4-28)
  •  

    You can check out all of the WTKA podcasts here.

    8 Comments

    1. Seriously? The NCAA is going to buy some quid pro quo regarding RR and the invesitgation? I don’t recall the NCAA requiring resignations before… see Bobby Bowden.

    2. Greg - MVictors

      @Chris
      And as Mark Copeland (producer) suggested with this initial question, the timing doesn’t make any sense. There are student-athletes, a football season and a stadium that needs luxury suites filled..so RichRod is canned and he takes all the assistants away and the season is a mess – all for lighter or no sanctions? Doesn’t make a lot of sense but unless you call DeFran a liar, someone is telling him this.

    3. This sounds like DeFran putting words in other people’s mouths. He suggests something and the person doesn’t emphatically deny it, so DeFran takes that as confirmation:

      DeFran: “So, Joe, do you think firing Rodriguez is being discussed as a way to avoid sanctions?”

      Joe: “Huh?”

      DeFran: “Ah, so I’m right!”

      Joe: “I don’t know, and I wouldn’t tell you if I did. Please stop calling me.”

    4. I know that Dave Brandon is a public figure which means it is harder to get a slander charge to stick, but since Brandon has been emphatic that Rich will coach the team this season, DeFran has insinuated that Brandon is a liar. At this point, I think Ira should meet privately with DeFran and verify that he truly has sources and is not making this up. If he refuses to name sources, he should be fired.

    5. JeffDefranisignorant

      Jeff Defran is generally not well prepared and not very bright. How Ira let’s him stay on the air is amazing. Please bring in a professional like Karsch or Fithian. I don’t mind differing opinions but please make them reasoned and intelligent. This isn’t Columbus!

    6. This is another case of Michigan sports talk radio with:”HEY! Huddle up everybody, this is BIG, you gotta listen to THIS!!………uh, we got nothin”.

      The NCAA is going to punish Michigan by docking them a number of practices and issue some formal letter of admonishment. UM is going to fire the CARA form people and then demonstrate some administrative changes and training initiatives for the future.

      So when did these “Athletic Department insiders” jump all the way across the chasm to conclude that firing Rich Rodriguez in August 2010 before the season begin is suddenly a fair trade and a good deal for UM to avoid losing these 3 to 5 practices? It just doesn’t make any sense.

      But when you think about selling advertising minutes, this is really great, controversial content for a radio station. I understand that. But seriously, what are these guys going to do when Demar Dorsey ends up having a great freshman season, and Rich Rod gets Michigan qualified for a bowl game?

    7. Pingback: Locomotive Jeff (DeFran audio 04-29)

    8. What was DeFraud’s excuse for the lack of dismissal in January? I can’t believe WTKA’s ratings are very good when he’s on the air. That’s what I liked about Schand; as agitating as he could be at times, he was not afraid to criticize the program without resorting to DeFraud’s ratings tactics. In fact, I’m beginning to think the station’s afternoon ratings are so abysmal they just gave up and are putting anyone on the air just to fill up time (and save money). Seriously, who is this “ratty” guy? He sounds like a complete tool and is a compilation of every bad sports radio host in detroit (which is almost all of them). I’ve had to stop listening.

    9. he has no sources, just as before he’s making this up

    10. Pingback: Bruce Madej calls back into WTKA (04-30)

    11. Pingback: Defusing DeFran