Rodriguez answers claims about Michigan's lack of family values

Updated: March 30, 2008, 10:11 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez responded Saturday to recent allegations from a now-former player that his program has a lack of family values.

"I've been a head coach for 15 years," Rodriguez told reporters. "I think we have as close a family unit ... than anybody in the country. Always has been and always will be."

Rodriguez's comments came several days after offensive lineman Justin Boren left the Michigan football team because the program's "family values have eroded."

"I have great trouble accepting that those family values have eroded in just a few months," Boren said. "That I am unable to perform under these circumstances at the level I expect of myself, and my teammates and Michigan fans deserve, is why I have made the decision to leave."

To stress his point, Rodriguez noted in his press conference that his own mother-in-law traveled more than seven hours from her home to spend time with the Michigan team and its coach.

"Family is pretty important to all of us, and every coach can tell you that," Rodriguez said. "Just ask anybody who has played for me in the last 15 years. Don't ask somebody that's left with a different agenda."

Rodriguez took over the Wolverines in December for longtime Michigan man Lloyd Carr.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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