From the Freep's report:
Players on the 2008 and 2009 teams described training and practice sessions that far exceeded limits set by the NCAA, which governs college athletics. The restrictions are designed to protect players’ well-being, ensure adequate study time and prevent schools from gaining an unfair competitive advantage.
The players, who did not want to be identified because they feared repercussions from coaches, said the violations occurred routinely at the direction of Rodriguez’s staff.
“It’s one of those things where you can’t say something,” one current Wolverine said. “If you say something, they’re going to say you’re a lazy person and don’t want to work hard.”
My thoughts when reading the detailed violations laid out in Michael Rosenberg and Mark Snyder's comprehensive report were, in order, "Holy crap" then "I hope State's not a part of this." And according to three former players, including Javon Ringer and Otis Wiley, MSU plays by the rules. And thank goodness for that, because the NCAA penalties for this could be severe.
Major NCAA violations can carry penalties from banning coaches and players, forcing games off television, scholarship reductions and even bowl bans. The ultimate penalty, the so-called "death penalty", would be to ban Michigan from even playing football at all - but that hasn't been used since it killed off the once-dominant Southern Methodist program 1987, and these violations aren't nearly that severe.
This isn't a time to gloat at Michigan's misfortune, however.
The best thing for MSU football is to dominate a worthy opponent and earn its way to becoming the undisputed number one program in the state. I want to beat a great Michigan team, each and every year. Sure, a win is a win, but I don't want to win this way. Part of me hopes this isn't actually true - Michigan did deny the allegations in statements to the Freep - but I'm mindful that the state of Michigan's best newspaper did just get a Pulitzer for investigative coverage, and the two reporters on this story have a professional reputation beyond reproach.
The NCAA should take whatever steps are necessary to clean up Michigan's program, as well as any other program doing this. If that means getting rid of Rich Rodriguez and all his assistants, fine. But I'm hoping this doesn't kill off Michigan football.
I want the so-called leaders and best at their best. But cheating to get there is unacceptable. And while this is not a time to gloat over someone else's misfortune, MSU fans should be proud that Mark Dantonio hasn't done that.