After learning of practicegate, West Virginia decided to look through its records from when Rich Rodriguez was their head coach, and they found zero complaints during his seven-year tenure.
“Based upon our looking back over the weekend, we don’t feel we have any concerns,” WVU’s Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Michael Fragale said Monday. “We have checked it out and there has been nothing flagged and nothing out of the ordinary.
“There were no student-athlete complaints during the time (Rodriguez) was here.”
Former players who agreed to speak to the Daily Mail anonymously after learning of the allegations first raised Saturday night said they knew of nothing similar happening at WVU during at their time with the team.
It’s makes no sense that Rodriguez, who did nothing wrong for all those years at WVU, would have suddenly changed his ways and started breaking the rules to the extent the Free Press described. Like Rodriguez said yesterday, he didn’t leave his care for players in West Virginia.
I will point out that one former WVU player spoke to The Times West Virginian via Facebook and said that players put in more time for football during Rodriguez’s first year than any other year he was there.
“I can honestly tell you — it was ONLY in Coach Rod’s first fall as WVU’s head coach (Sept ’01 – Nov ’01) that I felt we were at the stadium far more than the NCAA allowed. Coach Rod made the team report to the football office on Sundays during the season only and attendance was checked.
“We had to change into our workout gear, stretch/warm-up, and the strength staff would conduct light lifting sessions and put the team through moderate conditioning on the football field. This, of course, was after 1-2 hours of treatment for injured players (if needed). When you add all of the hours, it made for a less than desirable Sunday. I can remember missing all of 1:00 NFL games which didn’t end until 3:30-3:45.”
The player said other than that first year, there were no violations in this area.
“The rest of my days at WVU were business as usual — and acceptable to all of the players. Of course, Sunday sessions at the football office were no longer implemented, in part, because of the obvious displeasure among players the year before and we were winning on Saturdays.”
If Rodriguez had pushed his team too hard this summer, the player theorized it was because Rodriguez “refuses to have a repeat season like last year.”
Based on this player’s initial comments, West Virginia spent less time dealing with football on Sundays in Rodriguez’s first year than what was described about Michigan last season. Also, it sounds like when you actually tally up the countable hours, what WVU players did on Sundays was a very small chunk of the weekly 20-hour limit. Besides, these descriptions were extremely vague and were only from one player. And as West Virginia concluded, there were no complaints during Rodriguez’s tenure, which obviously includes the first year where players supposedly spent more time dealing with football.