Though an update into the NCAA’s investigation of the University’s football program was expected by the end of the day Thursday, University officials report they have yet to hear from NCAA officials.
In a letter to University President Mary Sue Coleman in October, NCAA Vice President of Enforcement David Price said he anticipated the investigation would be completed by December 31, 2009. Though the NCAA is only required to update the University on the case every six months, an update is widely expected once the investigation is completed.
The NCAA’s investigation is focused on allegations that Michigan’s football team had violated NCAA restrictions on the number of hours student-athletes are allowed to spend practicing and in off-season workouts. But Price wrote in the letter to Coleman that the investigation would also leave the door open to any “new information” that could possibly “expand inquiries” by the NCAA.
University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham said University officials have yet to receive an update on the findings of the investigation.
“We haven’t received word from the NCAA,” Cunningham wrote in an e-mail.
However, Cunningham indicated that she doesn’t find the lack of information from the NCAA surprising.
“The process is moving along as anticipated,” she wrote.
Representatives from the NCAA could not be reached for comment on Thursday. The NCAA’s national office is closed from Dec. 23 through Jan. 3 for the holiday season.
Allegations of misconduct and wrongdoing were brought forth in a Detroit Free Press article in late August. The report cited multiple Michigan football players who described the team’s practice schedules to violate NCAA rules.
Immediately following the Aug. 30 report from the Free Press, the University launched an internal investigation of the allegations. No updates or comment on the internal investigation have been issued since it began.
However, when the NCAA investigation was launched, University officials issued statements that said they would fully comply with all aspects of the NCAA investigation.
At the time, Athletic Director Bill Martin issued a statement saying, “We continue to cooperate with the NCAA on this matter, which is why we reached out to both the Big Ten and the NCAA as soon as we heard the allegations. We remain committed to following both the letter and the intent of the NCAA rules.”
At the same time, Coleman released a statement reaffirming her support for the University’s Athletic Department.
“As I said at the onset of this review, we place the highest importance on the well-being of our student-athletes and the integrity of our program,” Coleman wrote in a statement at the time. “We continue to work with the NCAA to ensure that a thorough and objective investigation occurs.”
Since the investigation launched, University officials have remained silent on the issue. At the University Board of Regents’ November meeting, Regent Andrew Richner (R–Grosse Pointe Park) read a statement that said the regents would not comment on the matter. After the same meeting, Coleman did not make herself available to the press immediately after the meeting — something she commonly does — and could be seen rushing out a side door.
If the NCAA’s investigation finds major violations by the University, the investigation’s findings would be sent to the NCAA Committee on Infractions. The Committee on Infractions would then consider the matter, sending it through a hearing process or to summary disposition — in which all involved parties would jointly compile a report on the matter.