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Michigan notified of rules violations

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Associated Press
February 24, 2010
— The NCAA is accusing Michigan of five potentially major rules violations under coach Rich Rodriguez, who admitted making “mistakes” but will be back for a third try at putting the Wolverines back into the national title hunt.

Incoming athletic director David Brandon disclosed the NCAA conclusions Tuesday, but said there were no surprises in the report. He expressed full support for his coach, who is 8-16 in two disappointing seasons heading the nation’s winningest football program.


In its notice of allegations—which Michigan received Monday—the NCAA said Rodriguez “failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program,” and tracked neither what his staff was doing nor whether his players were following NCAA rules, particularly those limiting the time spent on practice and football-related activities.


It also said the athletics department failed to make sure its football program was complying with NCAA regulations.


Michigan has 90 days to respond and will appear at an NCAA hearing on infractions in August.


Michigan is seeing how its internal investigation matches up with the NCAA findings and will consider implementing self-imposed sanctions.


The NCAA said last October that it was looking into the program following an August report in the Detroit Free Press. The newspaper, citing anonymous football players, reported that Michigan exceeded NCAA limits regarding practices and workouts in 2008 and 2009.


Rodriguez, who signed a six-year deal worth $2.5 million per season, tearfully defended his program just five days before the season-opener, saying he and his staff have followed the rules. He suggested the complaints were an attempt to “tear up” his rebuilding effort following a 3-9 season.


On Tuesday, the coach said if the football staff misinterpreted NCAA rules, “That’s on us.”


“We’re looking at it to see why we misinterpreted and why we made mistakes,” he said.


The players also said the amount of time they spent on football activities during the season exceeded the weekly limit of 20 hours and often exceeded the daily limit of four hours. They said football staff often watched offseason scrimmages that are supposed to be voluntary.


According to his contract, Rodriguez can be fired for cause if the NCAA, the Big Ten or the school determines he has committed a major violation of NCAA rules or he has intentionally committed any other type of violation of NCAA rules.



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