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Michigan football program violated rules, NCAA investigation finds

Jake Fromm/Daily
University President Mary Sue Coleman, Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez and incoming Athletic Director David Brandon announce that the University has received a notice of allegations from the NCAA. Buy this photo

By Kyle Swanson, Daily News Editor
Published February 23, 2010

The Michigan football program has committed five violations of NCAA rules and regulations, according to a notice of allegations the University received from the NCAA yesterday. The findings are the outcome of a four-month investigation by the NCAA into the University’s Athletic Department.

The University will formally respond to the allegations, which were announced by school officials at a news conference yesterday afternoon, in the next 90 days. The University will also appear before the NCAA's Committee on Infractions in August.

The notice of allegations asserts that the University violated NCAA regulations in five main areas. First, the notice says that the University’s football program broke NCAA rules that limit the number of coaches that may work with student-athletes. The notice states that five quality control officers — staff members who are not technically coaches, but work with the football team — illegally engaged in coaching activities.

The NCAA also alleges that the University violated regulations that prohibit staff members from monitoring football players in voluntary, off-season workouts and conditioning — two activities that the athletic department is also accused of having exceeded time restrictions on.

Both of those potential violations first surfaced in a Detroit Free Press article that was published in late August. In the wake of that report, the NCAA and the University both launched independent investigations into the matter.

The notice of allegations — the culmination of the NCAA’s investigation — also specifically called out Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez for acting in a manner that “failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program” and for failing to sufficiently monitor the activities of his program with regard to the other allegations.

The athletic department is similarly charged with not properly overseeing the activities of the football program with regard to the allegations.

Alex Herron, a graduate assistant football coach, is accused of providing NCAA investigators with misleading, and at times, false information about his role in the situation.

University President Mary Sue Coleman, Rodriguez and incoming Athletic Director David Brandon announced the notice of allegations at the press conference yesterday afternoon.

Coleman began the briefing by saying that the University "has been cooperating with the NCAA in its investigation of our football program."

"Intercollegiate athletics is a fundamental feature of the University of Michigan, and we take pride in the integrity of our athletics program," Coleman said. "We also take full responsibility for knowing and following NCAA rules and thus view the allegations seriously."

Coleman added that she and other University officials are "addressing concerns, quickly and head on."

"All of us — Coach Rodriguez, David Brandon and I — are deeply committed to compliance with NCAA rules and the future of our football program," she said.

Brandon announced the notice of allegations from the NCAA during the press conference. Brandon said the NCAA brought allegations of wrongdoing in the number of hours student-athletes spent practicing and violated rules governing what activities could be attended by quality control staff.

"We clearly made mistakes in those areas, and we have already taken action to prevent any of those mistakes from being repeated," Brandon said.

Brandon then went on to provide what he described as a "top-level perspective" of the allegations.

"In some out-of-season practices where there are alleged overages, the overage is approximately two hours in a week," Brandon said. "During the season on some Sundays, the allegation is that the University of Michigan exceeded the daily permissible practice time by less than an hour.