When word came this week that Demar Dorsey would not be admitted to Michigan, many Wolverine fans — myself included — bemoaned the decision of the admissions department to reject an NCAA qualified player who had already been offered a scholarship, especially someone who had been through everything Dorsey has gone through over the course of his recruitment. I said this yesterday (emphasis added for reasons which will be revealed shortly):
I don’t have much to add to this — everything I said yesterday still holds true, in that this process has been incredibly unfair to Dorsey and is an embarrassment to the school and the program. Word is Rich Rodriguez is furious about the situation, and I don’t blame him one bit. He got cleared by someone at the school to offer Dorsey a scholarship, Dorsey qualified, and admissions refused to let him in (despite what sounds like a strong push from the coaching staff to reconsider) — this is not only unfortunate for Dorsey, who now has to find another school, but for Rodriguez and his staff, who will certainly be placed under scrutiny by recruits (and opposing coaches recruiting Michigan targets) about their ability to get commits on campus who may be borderline qualifiers.
The highlighted part of that paragraph was based on something stated by Brian Cook at MGoBlog before Dorsey had officially been released from his commitment:
This situation is the Draper/Labadie/compliance dysfunction all over again, with miscommunication between Rodriguez—who went to bat for Dorsey with a provost before signing day and got a signoff on him—and admissions replacing the lack of communication between the football administration and compliance. It’s a different sclerotic artery, but the root cause is the same.
Why do I bring this up? Today I received an email from a close friend with an intimate knowledge of the Dorsey situation. To protect my friend and his source, parts of the following email have been redacted, but I can tell you that I firmly believe that everything he told me is true, and it helps to clarify the entire situation a great deal. Here’s the email (emphasis mine):
Stumbled on a little tidbit of inside info … When Rodriguez offered Dorsey a scholarship, he had a [Ed: GPA and ACT score removed — suffice it to say, the scores didn’t qualify] . Florida withdrew his scholarship because of his grades. Nobody in admissions ever cleared Dorsey before Rodriguez offered a scholarship. He eventually got his grades up by dropping out of school, attending an alternative high school which he did not get credit from [Ed: this would be the LifeSkills school which released the promotional video featuring Dorsey], and taking online classes, all of which he got an A in. His ACT score (according to his coach, Michigan never saw documentation) jumped to 18. Dorsey never even filled out a standard college application, which all athletes are supposed to do to be considered. Long story short, there was no mix-up. Three felonies aside, strictly for academics, the director of admissions, Coleman, and Brandon all agreed that Dorsey had no place at Michigan. Rod never checked with anyone before offering a scholarship and having him sign a letter of intent. He just did it and then expected admissions to let him in. I feel sorry for the kid, but this was Rod’s fault, not admissions. Had Rod ever checked with anyone, he would’ve gotten a firm “no”. There wasn’t even a debate about whether he’d be let in. And apparently, Rod’s in the habit of doing stuff like this.
Anyway, I thought this was very discouraging to hear. I still have a lot of faith in Rod as a football coach, but he really is just a football coach. And since that was at odds with what you and Brian wrote, I thought I’d write to clear it up.
He added this in a follow-up email:
Brian wrote that the day before signing day Rod went to bat for [sic] “a Provost.” I have no idea what that means. There’s only one provost. If you refer to each of the associate provosts as “a provost” then there are three more. [My source] swears this never happened. Maybe he met with someone about the felonies. Again, this was not about the felonies, but instead about the grades. He had a [low GPA/ACT score] at the time. It is simple [sic] inconceivable that anyone involved with Michigan would have signed off on that.
To me, this whole story sounds much more viable than what most of us have presumed to be true for the last few days: that Rodriguez found someone who gave him clearance to offer a scholarship, only to have admissions reject Dorsey months later, with some massive failure in communication between the coaching staff and the admissions department occurring somewhere in the middle. Breaking stories is not my usual job as a blogger, but I couldn’t sit on this story — again, I believe it makes a lot of sense, and although I am forced to release it as a story from an anonymous source, I believe it to be true. If someone has a way of confirming the story, I would love to get a definite statement that it is in fact true — as a student blogging in my spare time, I don’t have the resources (or the sources) to find confirmation.
Just to clarify, I have the utmost respect for Brian Cook as a blogger — I’m sure a source did tell him that story about Rich Rod checking with “a provost,” and he certainly wasn’t the only Michigan fan/blogger to take the stance he did. Again, I made the exact same assumptions. As it stands, I still feel much the same way when it comes to Demar Dorsey: I still believe he did a great deal of work to get his life turned around and to qualify for the NCAA, which he did — he just didn’t meet the academic standards that Michigan upholds, and it was unfortunate that he was offered a scholarship when it was apparently very clear that he would never be admitted.
Instead, this looks very bad for Rodriguez, especially in light of the recent NCAA violations (regardless of who is really at fault for the violations, Rodriguez was still cited for a lack of institutional control, which appears to be the case again here). I still believe that Rodriguez is a good football coach who can succeed in Ann Arbor, but it is apparent that he will have to do a much better job of managing the off-the-field aspect of coaching if he hopes to stay out of these types of situations in the future.
UPDATE: MGoBrian has a post confirming (to the extent of his knowledge) the details of this post. Also, I have removed the information of Dorsey’s exact GPA and ACT score prior to his qualifying scores — I had no right to give out that information, and I sincerely apologize for leaving that part of the email intact. Posting that was irresponsible journalism and not right, but there was no malicious intent — I was just trying to get the story right and made a regretful error.
Also, this clears up the issue of Brian’s statement about the provost:
Ace spends a section of his post debunking the idea that Rodriguez got a sign-off on offering Dorsey from the “provost” mentioned. I think there’s been a miscommunication due to an awkward sentence. The original paragraph:
“This situation is the Draper/Labadie/compliance dysfunction all over again, with miscommunication between Rodriguez—who went to bat for Dorsey with a provost before signing day and got a signoff on him—and admissions replacing the lack of communication between the football administration and compliance. It’s a different sclerotic artery, but the root cause is the same.”
This has been taken to imply that Rodriguez had gotten some sort of sign off from admissions; unfortunately I was trying to express the opposite. When Rodriguez was clearing Dorsey with part of the university—something that did indeed happen, though it might not have been a “provost”—it was about his checkered past and not his checkered transcript. It was the failure of both parties not to explore the kid’s academic background sufficiently, or of Rodriguez not to understand that Michigan is not West Virginia in these matters*, that left Dorsey and Michigan in the position they are today, where Michigan looks stupid coming and going and Dorsey’s left to find a new home in the middle of June. That is essentially identical to the CARA form fiasco.