Michigan receives three years probation

Published 7:32 pm Thursday, November 4, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions has penalized the University of Michigan for major violations involving its football program.

The case centers on violations of playing and practice season limitations, exceeding limits on the number of coaches, a failure to monitor by the university and head football coach, as well as unethical conduct by a former graduate assistant.

Penalties in this case include reductions in practice time and three years probation.

From the time the head football coach began working at the university in January 2008 through September 2009, the foo tball program exceeded playing and practice limits by approximately 65 hours. NCAA rules limiting athletically related activities are in place to safeguard student-athlete well-being while ensuring time for academic work. In this case, football staff members monitored and conducted voluntary summer workouts, conducted impermissible activities outside of the playing season, required student-athletes to participate in summer conditioning activities as a form of punishment, and exceeded time limits for athletic activities outside the playing season.

As stated in its report, “The committee noted that the violations of daily and weekly countable hour rules, though serious, were far less extensive than originally reported and that no student-athletes were substantially harmed.”

The public report includes additional details about these specific violations and the rules that govern these activities.

The football program also exceeded the number of allowed coa ches. NCAA rules allow one head coach, nine assistant coaches and two graduate assistants for Football Bowl Subdivision teams. In this case, five quality control staff members monitored and conducted skill-development activities, and offered advice on technique during practice and film review. These activities led to the quality control staff becoming countable coaches, which led to the university exceeding its limit.

The committee noted in its report that all five quality control staff members were on the sidelines for practice and games, traveled with the team, wore the same attire as coaches, shared office space with the football staff and attended team meetings. Student-athletes reported some confusion regarding whether the five individuals were members of the coaching staff.

The committee found that the scope and nature of the violations demonstrated that the head coach and university failed to monitor the number, duties and activities of the football coaches, as well as the time limits for countable athletically related activities. The committee noted the head coach failed to ascertain the extent of the activities taking place and to confirm that all activities were conducted according to NCAA rules.

The committee also noted the efforts of the compliance staff in this case “were thorough and diligent.” However, the university failed to monitor when administrators withheld the job descriptions of the coaching staff and forms documenting the countable hours from the compliance office. The former director of athletics and senior associate director of athletics also did not insist the football staff immediately comply with the requests for the job descriptions.

A former graduate assistant was also cited for unethical conduct for providing false and misleading information on two occasions during the investigation about his involvement and knowledge of violations.

The penalties, some of which were self-imposed by the institution and adopted by the committee, are below. Additional details are available in the public report.

• Public reprimand and censure.

• Three years of probation (November 4, 2010, to November 3, 2013).

• Reduction of 130 hours for allowed countable athletically related activity hours in football from June 1, 2010 through the conclusion of the 2011-12 academic year (self-imposed by the university).

• The head football coach must attend the 2011 NCAA Regional Rules Seminar.

The members of the Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case include Paul Dee, lecturer of law and education at the University of Miami and formerly the institution’s athletics director and general counsel. He is the chair of the Committee on Infractions. Other members are Melissa Conboy, deputy director of athletics at University of Notre Dame; James O’Fallon, a law professor and faculty athletics representative for University of Oregon; Roscoe C. Howard, Jr., attorney; John Black, attorney; Andrea Myers, athletics director emeritus, Indiana State University; and Eleanor Myers, faculty athletics representative and law professor at Temple University.