Michigan Is About To Feel The BurnS

The Detroit Free Press took a good, hard look at the Wolverines' off-season training regimen and found that Rich Rodriguez seems to have drawn heavily on the fitness precepts laid out in the Bataan Death March.

The Freep's Michael Rosenberg and Mark Snyder did a great bit of reporting here, getting several players and even some parents to air their concerns (anonymously, of course) about the workouts overseen by strength coach Mike Barwis, the Hans to Rodriguez's Franz. The newspaper found that Rodriguez and Barwis have routinely flouted NCAA rules governing how much time coaches can require players to spend on football:

In the past two off-seasons, players said, the Wolverines were expected to spend two to three times more than the eight hours allowed for required workouts each week. Players are free to exceed the limit, but it must be truly voluntary.

The players said the off-season work was clearly required. Several of them said players who failed to do all the strength and conditioning were forced to come back to finish or were punished with additional work.

"It was mandatory," one player said. "They'd tell you it wasn't, but it really was. If you didn't show up, there was punishment. I just felt for the guys that did miss a workout and had to go through the personal hell they would go through."

The newspaper adds that, should the NCAA choose to investigate, Michigan football could be found guilty of "major violations" for the first time in the program's history (which would mean, of course, that we'd be made to endure yet more retrospective fattening of Michigan's most sacred cow, His Surly Grace Bo Schembechler). For now, at least, let's all pretend to be shocked that student-athletes are worked so hard by the well-compensated bullies who coach them. My god, it's almost like playing college football is a job.

A look inside Rodriguez's rigorous program [Detroit Free Press]