I was always concerned about the missing CARA forms. In November, after the Detroit News reported no sheets had been turned into compliance since Rodriguez arrived I rambled out some thoughts on the matter, including this:
But either Rodriguez and crew are complete and total a-holes and told Van Horn and crew to stick it, or someone at U-M was asleep at the whistle. The football team had plenty to worry about after last season. Isn’t much of this on the university for not cracking the whip? After a few months went by formless, shouldn’t have someone reminded RR and crew of the policy..
Reader ‘Papa D’ reacted to that post with this:
Where was the oversight from the athletic department CEO, namely Bill (Vladimir) Martin? Don’t you think Judy Van Horn reported the lack of compliance to the AD?
This remains a great question.
Super Dave Brandon beautifully handled the situation Tuesday and even took responsibility for the whole mess. But of course Dave was reformulating the Domino’s pizza recipe when all this went down and the real head of the athletic department was Bill Martin.
Mgoblog provided an excellent rundown of the blatant stonewalling of Scott Draper and Brad Labadie with respect to the requests by Judy Van Horn and Ann Vollano to submit the practice forms and other required documentation. Clearly there were serious issues exposed here but if we’re assigning blame we also have to consider the person to whom both the compliance folks and the football staff report up to: the athletic director.
On March 24 I interviewed former Michigan hockey player, assistant coach, WTKA morning host, U-M lecturer and lawyer Dave Shand about many topics including the NCAA investigation. At the time Michigan had merely received the Notice of Allegations and if you recall Dave Brandon wasn’t officially the AD yet.
Check out Shand’s take on CARA form noncompliance and what he expected the report to say. (And again to be clear, this is from back March):
Notable quotes from Shand from March:
- “They [Rodriguez’s staff] were never in compliance from day one. The problem is I know Judy Van Horn and I know Ann Vollano. They are terrific at their jobs.”
- “..As far as I know, when he [Brandon, addressing the media after the Notice of Allegations was released] stood up there, he was not the athletic director at the University of Michigan. The athletic director at the University of Michigan was unbelievably conspicuous in his absence.”
- “I know the people in the Compliance department – they’re terrific. And I know because they were on my ass all the time, and I know how good they do their jobs.”
- “I’ve been in the business world a long time…If you’ve got some in an another department and you need the paperwork that they have, and you need the reports that they have, and they won’t give it to you, who do you go to? You go to the boss. And what do you say to the boss? ‘I need these reports to do my job. You have to tell them to give me what I need to do my job.’ And the boss is Bill Martin.”
- On what Martin should have said to Rodriguez. “’You need to give Judy and Ann and the Compliance department those reports. And you need to do it now. And if you don’t do it now, I’m going to have to be crawling up your ass and it’s not going to be a comfortable feeling..’ I’m pretty sure that conversation never took place.”
- I think Bill Martin is going to get hung out to dry in the final report. That requests were made repeatedly to Rich Rodriguez and his staff by the Compliance department. That the non-compliance was reported to Bill Martin…and Bill Martin never required Rich Rodriguez or his football program to submit the necessary reports to bring the program into compliance.”
Shand pretty much predicted what the report would find short of directly implicating Martin in the whole thing. FWIW, Shand is clearly no fan of Martin and sued the former AD claiming Martin ordered his dismissal from WTKA. The suit was tossed out in November 2009.
So what did Tuesday’s report say about Martin’s involvement or awareness of the CARA issue? According to page 2-14 of the U-M response, Martin didn’t get officially involved until August 2009:
But that footnote (4) on the same page reveals that Van Horn informed Martin of the issue much earlier:
Martin knew about the issue (at least) eight months earlier but did nothing until August. To my knowledge he hasn’t released a statement to defend his role or to say something along the lines of his successor in taking some lumps for the mess. Why not? I don’t know other than perhaps Martin is hoping to skate through to September 4, take out a giant pair of maize and blue scissors to dedicate the renovated Big House then sail on.
At this point it seems to me people would be fine with Martin giving a blanket, “I take full responsibility”-type statement a la super Dave. There’s plenty of blame to go around but Martin wasn’t merely a figurehead or a random actor in this drama.
Reading through the report it seems Van Horn and Vollano’s escalation path was primarily to associate AD Joe Parker but that didn’t get the job done. Martin was the boss, he’s the ultimate escalation point and he failed to step in until this got out of control. Martin owes a statement on his role and responsibility in this mess.