NCAA: Michigan football out of compliance

2010-02-23T13:45:00Z NCAA: Michigan football out of complianceThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 23, 2010 1:45 pm  • 

ANN ARBOR, Mich. | The NCAA has found that Michigan was out of compliance with practice time rules under coach Rich Rodriguez, who admitted making "mistakes" in another blow to his rocky start at college football's winningest program.

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.

"Rich Rodriguez is our football coach and he will be our football coach next year," he said.

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

The NCAA has been looking into allegations raised last fall that Michigan players practiced or spent time on football-related activities beyond NCAA limits. 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.

The school at the time said it was investigating the allegations. 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.

NCAA regulations allow players to spend eight hours a week on mandatory workouts during the offseason. Players told the Free Press they spent two to three times that amount on required workouts.

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 seven-on-seven offseason scrimmages that are supposed to be voluntary and that only training staff are allowed to attend.

Near the end of last season, the school released embarrassing details of an internal audit that discovered Rodriguez's team failed to file forms tracking how much time players spent on football during his first season and the following offseason.

The audit looked into compliance areas for several Michigan teams, including the football and men's basketball programs. Auditors reviewed practice logs for a week during the season and a week in the offseason.

It found "a concern" that the football program failed to file monthly Countable Athletically Related Activities forms created by the school to track how much players work out and practice. The forms are a tool to comply with the NCAA rules.

The school report did not find issues of noncompliance -- a key issue for NCAA investigators -- but acknowledged the practice logs for football were not available to be reviewed when the audit was conducted. The forms since had been turned in on a timely basis, according to the school.

"My reading of the situation is we had a breakdown of communication," Brandon said Tuesday. "We found we were not being vigilant in the way those (time records) were being filled and managed."

The time record system that the football staff designed "was too cumbersome to manage" and is being changed.

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.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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