Dorsey situation tests Michigan-Rodriguez bond

Rich Rodriguez spent a chunk of national signing day defending Michigan's new addition of defensive back Demar Dorsey, a blue-chip prospect with a checkered legal past.

Rodriguez is once again stumping for Dorsey, this time with the university's admissions office. The coach and his staff could be in for a tough fight.

After months of speculation that Dorsey wouldn't qualify academically to play college football this fall, ESPN.com learned Monday that Dorsey indeed made the cut to play for an FBS program in 2010. Just not for Michigan, at least right now.

Dorsey, the Big Ten's highest-rated recruit according to ESPN Recruiting, hasn't been allowed to enroll at Michigan, his high school coach Mark James told Corey Long.

"Demar is an NCAA qualifier with a 2.5 or 2.6 GPA and an 18 score on the ACT," said James. "But he hasn't yet been granted at Michigan."

Controversy surrounded Dorsey's commitment to Michigan when it was disclosed that he was arrested twice as a juvenile. He was acquitted on a charge of robbery with a deadly weapon in 2008 and had a previous charge of burglary dismissed.

James suggested that some of Dorsey's issues with his admission may stem from his previous transgressions with the law.

Both James and another source close to Dorsey told ESPN.com that Michigan's coaching staff is still working very hard to get him admitted.

If Dorsey doesn't get the green light, he could re-open his recruitment or enroll at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas, where in April he signed a letter of intent as a fallback plan.

"Right now I think the plan would be to re-open his recruitment and see what's out there," James said. "If he can't find something he likes he'll probably go to a juco for a year and try it again."

So where does this leave Rodriguez and Michigan? The coach can't be too thrilled that a player he recruited -- not to mention an elite prospect who could fill a major position of need -- might never wear the Maize and Blue despite meeting the NCAA's academic standards to play. Would Dorsey be in limbo if he signed with West Virginia, Clemson or Tulane? Probably not.

It's not like Rodriguez should be surprised. He knows that Michigan always has had higher academic standards for admissions than many powerhouse football programs. He knows that some of the players he recruited at previous coaching stops wouldn't be admitted to Michigan.

In November, he spoke about wanting to sign a junior college player or two but not getting his hopes up.

“There’s not a lot of transferrable credits for junior-college guys to come in here,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes people look at that as a quicker fix. That’s not going to really be an option for us just because of the academic differences.”

It's also interesting what James said about Dorsey's past possibly affecting his admission to Michigan. Shouldn't that have been reviewed by all parties before Dorsey signed? Dorsey has had no known incidents for quite some time. The only thing that changed was the media reaction (mostly negative) after he pledged to play for Michigan.

Everyone wants to gauge how much Michigan support Rodriguez has heading into a huge 2010 season. The school seemed to be firmly in his corner regarding the recent NCAA violations.

The outcome of Dorsey's situation could be another clue as to how much backing the coach has from his employer.