For the third time in less than a month, a Michigan football commit has been denied admission to the university.
Cornelius Jones, a quarterback from Spartanburg High School in South Carolina and a Rivals.com three-star recruit, has failed to meet the academic requirements needed to gain entry to Michigan.
Jones’ high school coach, Freddy Brown, told reporters yesterday that Jones was able to meet the necessary standards for an acceptable GPA, but his overall SAT score of 790 was 20 points short of the minimum needed.
According to Brown, Jones will attend Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia in the fall and try to enroll at Michigan the following winter semester.
Just last week, an almost identical situation occurred as another high school coach came out on behalf of his player to announce, for admissions reasons, their student would not be able to attend Michigan in the fall.
Jeff Whitaker, coach of Youngstown, Ohio linebacker and Michigan football commit Antonio Kinard, told reporters that Kinard is looking to attend Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia due to difficulty with the Ohio Graduation Test.
These two incidents cap off what feels like a month-long marathon of students who committed to Michigan only to be rejected later.
The starting point for the marathon originated a couple of weeks ago when Michigan commit and Rivals.com four-star recruit Demar Dorsey was denied admission to the university.
The admissions office for the university never came out and directly stated why Dorsey was denied admission after committing, and Dorsey himself is unsure of the exact reasons, but reports speculate that it was due to some questionable academics on his part.
With this series of Michigan commits being denied just months before they are supposed to put on the maize and blue winged helmet, the question starts to arise as to why this is all happening and whose fault it is.
There are a few different answers to that question.
It could be the fault of head coach Rich Rodriguez.
Ever since the denial of Dorsey, there have been some who say Rodriguez is recruiting an academically lower-caliber player.
As MGoBlog.com pointed out after the Dorsey situation came to fruition, "The decision not to admit him had nothing to do with tinfoil hat theories and everything to do with the fact that he shouldn't have been offered in the first place."
"Admissions is not the problem here. They are just doing what they have always been doing, except now they're dealing with some kids that previous Michigan coaches would not have tried to recruit."
"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."
And The Wolverine Blog backed these sentiments up:
"[Dorsey] 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."
There are those in the other camp on this issue who look not towards Rodriguez, but to those against him.
Many feel Rodriguez is recruiting the same players Michigan always has, and it is the fault of those in charge (e.g. the alumni, boosters, and front office) for these recent denials.
In racking up the worst season in the history of the nation’s "winning-est college football team," Rodriguez may not be able to pull the strings, or have the clout, previous coaches in his position possessed.
Coaches like Carr, Schembechler, and Moeller, were likely able to get their players through the doors much easier given the fact that they proved such a risk would pay off in wins.
In Rodriguez’ case, he has yet to prove the end result of allowing some players in who don’t meet the basic team requirements is victories.
The occasional moment of looking the other way is a means to an end, not the end in itself.
Then again, it could also be the case none of this is news at all, that in fact this situation happens all the time, but given the media’s witch hunt for Rodriguez, these moments that are normal are being changed into moments at the stake.
After the denial of Dorsey, Athletic Director David Brandon held an interview with the Detroit Free Press where he said the following:
“It's unfortunate that [Dorsey’s] being singled out and used to create this story...With certain candidates for admission, there's always a possibility that, ultimately, they won't be qualified and won't be admitted. That's not unusual."
"It's not all that uncommon for the situation we find ourselves in...It's not uncommon for it to happen...This is not a unique case."
There is no doubt the media has been having a field day with Rodriguez since his arrival in Ann Arbor.
With the initial lawsuit Michigan had to settle in order to hire the coach in the first place, to the losses, NCAA sanctions, questionable recruits, questionable comments, and now the admissions denials, every issue, no matter how minute, becomes a story.
Chances are, in the perfect storm that has been Rodriguez’ coaching career for Michigan, the issues surrounding admissions denials to signed athletes are not solely the fault of any one person, department, or news organization.
Rather, all of these things combined play a role in this past month’s events.
Regardless of where you believe the blame lies, there is one thing everybody can agree on; these news stories, situations, and denials are not good for the University of Michigan or its football program.
If these issues continue, top recruits will stop saying no to top programs for a school that will commit but not admit, boosters and alumni will become at odds with a program that is at odds with itself, and coaches will leave a university they do not feel they can call home—that is if the University does not first treat their resident like a guest and ask them to head back where they came from so they can continue on with their lives.
The effect of this is detrimental, and the evidence of that will be seen in the years to come.
These stories are becoming nothing more than the aired out dirty laundry for a program which has used up nearly all of its clothes line.
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