Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

U-M responds to NCAA Notice of Allegations

The University of Michigan announced today it has self-imposed sanctions in its football program for violating NCAA rules.

The sanctions — which relate to quality-control staff and practice and training time — follow a cooperative investigation with the NCAA and are detailed in a response to a Notice of Allegations the institution received Feb. 22. The response also outlines actions already taken to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future.

View the documents that are part of U-M's response to the NCAA.

“As we have said all along, we take full responsibility for knowing and following NCAA rules, and we will address concerns, quickly and head on,” said President Mary Sue Coleman. “We believe the sanctions we have imposed fit the nature of the violations.”

The university posted its response online today, a day after the NCAA received it. In February, U-M shared the Notice of Allegations publicly the week it received the document, and conducted interviews on the subject.

“We have made every effort to be as transparent as possible — to do this in the light of day,” said Athletic Director David Brandon. “We’ve made some mistakes as a program — we know that. We also have learned from this experience, we’ve made some necessary improvements, and now we are eager to move forward.”

Coach Rich Rodriguez said he and his staff are committed to adhering to NCAA rules, and working closely with the compliance office to assure the football program is fully compliant.

“We’ve already made some positive changes,” he said.

U-M’s response will be reviewed at a hearing before the NCAA Committee on Infractions Aug. 13-14. The committee is expected to issue its findings in the fall.

U-M findings, detailed in its response, include the following:

• U-M exceeded the limit on the number of coaches allowed. As a result, the institution has reduced the number of quality-control staff members by 40 percent and prohibited them from attending practices, games and coaches’ meetings for the remainder of 2010. And, though the NCAA has adopted a new bylaw that allows non-coaching, sport-specific staff to attend coaches’ meetings, U-M will not allow its quality-control staff to take advantage of the new bylaw until 2011.

• U-M violated the restrictions on practice and training time (countable athletically related activities, or CARA.) The institution estimated its football program exceeded the CARA limits in 2008 and 2009 by 65 hours, and has self-imposed reductions in practice and training times on a 2:1 basis, for a total of 130 hours during the next two years.

• U-M did not adequately monitor its football program in the areas noted above.

• Rodriguez agrees there were instances where mistakes were made in monitoring some areas under his control.

• U-M disagrees with the NCAA enforcement staff that Rodriguez failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program. The information gathered during the investigation demonstrates that Rodriguez has been committed to both compliance with NCAA bylaws and with the academic success of his student-athletes during his time at the university. Rodriguez has been responsive to direct requests from the compliance and academic support staffs.

• U-M will issue letters of reprimand to seven individuals who shared in the responsibility for these violations occurring over an extended period, and one dismissal has occurred as a result of an issue of integrity.

• U-M has taken corrective measures to prevent these or similar violations from occurring in the future. For instance, the university already has implemented a “fail-safe” procedure to help ensure internal tracking in a timely, effective way.

• U-M found no evidence of student-athlete abuse, nor any evidence that its employees disregarded student-athlete welfare. This is in stark contrast to early media reports.

• While U-M could be considered a repeat violator as a result of a May 8, 2003, men’s basketball case, the institution does not believe it is warranted in this instance.