I would like to direct this to the faithful of West Virginia and the entire Big Ten: enough is enough. Leave the man alone.
The man in question? None other than Michigan's very own head coach, Rich Rodriguez.
It all started in December, just before WVU's BCS bowl game against Oklahoma. Rumors were swirling around about who would become Michigan's new head coach. Would Les Miles leave LSU? What about Rutger's Greg Schiano? Well, when those two decided to stay in the safe deposit boxes that are the positions they hold, coach Rodriguez's name emerged. And within a matter of days, Michigan had it's new coach.
Now, Big Ten fans, if you could leave the room for a second, I'd like to have a man to man with the WVU followers. Alright big guy. I know you're upset and you think we poached your head coach; the guy who brought you to national prominence. But open your eyes. He wanted to leave. I mean, we're Michigan and you guys aren't. As arrogant as that may seem, it's that simple. Rodriguez not only gets paid more to coach at Michigan than he did at WVU, he has more resources available to him. Recruiting will be easier simply because it's Michigan and many kids across the nation would love to dawn the winged helmet. He'll get more notoriety and attention for his work (assuming that plays a factor for him). He didn't have those things at WVU.
I understand being upset, but let it go. He didn't sneak out the back door. Everyone knew about his negotiations. The only thing I question about Rodriguez's departure was that he should have coached his team's bowl game. It would've been the classy move, but hey, he had to help us secure the recruits who were screaming "OMFG COACHING CHANGE!!!!!!!" And he did a fine job of that, I may add.
Then it's insinuated that he snuck into his old office to shred important documents. First of all, think about how ridiculous that sounds. Really, you think your old coach would come back just to sabotage the program, risking his name and new, lucrative job to do so? Please. Second, I find it extremely hard to believe that those who saw him thought "uh oh, he might be here to destroy important files! I better stop him!" No, they let him go in and didn't seem too worried. If the pieces don't fit, they don't fit.
Now, to the Big Ten, who seems to think that Rodriguez is an evil thief, set to come down the chimney and steal all of their prospects. You know, because there's a gentlemen's agreement and no one in the Big Ten dares talk to a committed player. Joe Tiller, who happened to lose his best recruit, WR Roy Roundtree, to Michigan close to signing day, seemed to be the most incensed. He went as far as calling Rodriguez a "snake oil salesman in a wizard's hat." Well now.
What about the fact that Ohio State's beloved and honorable sweater vest just stole Illinois commit Melvin Fellows? Was there a gentleman's agreement there? Will anyone call Tressel out on the fact that he basically took a shot at Rodriguez about this so-called gentelmen's agreement, then stole another Big Ten school's prize recruit? I doubt it. No one dares challenge the sweater vest.
In any case, the "wizard-hatted snake oil salesman" seems to be on the ball with recruiting and is bringing Michigan into parts of the country that ol' Lloyd wouldn't venture. He's hitting Mississippi hard. He's going into Ohio, a place where Lloyd rarely delved despite the fact that there is a good group of top notch talent, several of which grow up loving Michigan. And as long as he keeps swindling them into coming to Michigan, I guess we'll have to live with that maize and blue wizard hat.