Mary Sue Coleman
President As you know, the University of Michigan has been cooperating with the NCAA in its investigation of our football program.
Today, we are sharing the Notice of Allegations we have received from the NCAA.Joining me are David Brandon, our incoming director of intercollegiate athletics, and Rich Rodriguez, our head football coach.
Integrity is at the heart of any great university, from research and scholarship to our public service, health care, and athletics.
Intercollegiate athletics is a fundamental feature of the University of Michigan, and we take pride in the integrity of our athletics programs.
We also take full responsibility for knowing and following NCAA rules and thus view the allegations seriously.
We will make all necessary changes. What we will not do is make excuses.
We already are addressing concerns, quickly and head on.
All of us… Coach Rodriguez, David Brandon and I… are deeply committed to compliance with NCAA rules, and the future of our football program.
David Brandon, incoming Athletic Director
I have been connected to the University of Michigan football program as a player; a fan; a donor; and a Regent of the University; for the past 40 years. During those many years, football has never been involved in any situation where we have been the subject of investigations and/or rule violations of this nature. Nor has our head coach Rich Rodriguez in his 25-plus years of coaching.
This is a tough day….and we must first and foremost take full responsibility for those events that brought us to this point – and we do. We will dedicate ourselves to learning from this and doing everything we can to prevent it from happening again in the future.
With that said, I will offer a brief overview of the NCAA allegations:
The NCAA investigation has revealed areas where we need to improve… countable coaching limits and playing and practice season rules, along with the monitoring of those two areas.
Regarding coaching limits, the allegation is that U-M non-coaching staff (also known as quality control staff) engaged in prohibited coaching behaviors.
The Quality Control staff members have a narrowly defined role, and as such, they may not engage in "skill development" or give advice to players during stretching and warm-up activities…. or while players are watching game or practice films.
Also, at the time of these allegations, NCAA rules prevented the quality control staff from sitting in on coaches' meetings. So, we were wrong in any instances where this occurred. Since that time, the NCAA has changed this rule and now allows quality control staff to sit in on coaches meetings.
We clearly made mistakes in these areas and we have already taken action to prevent any of those mistakes from being repeated.
Under the playing and practice season rule, there is also an allegation that we exceeded the permissible practice hours during some weeks at various points in the year. Again, you will see specifics detailed in the notice, but here is a top-level perspective:
In some out-of-season practices where there are alleged overages, the overage is approximately two hours in a week.
During the season on some Sundays, the allegation is that U-M exceeded the daily permissible practice time by less than an hour.
In a single instance, the allegation is that an overage caused the team to exceed its 20-hour weekly permissible limit by 20 minutes.
I have looked into these permissible practice hours issues, and I want to emphasize there were no situations where any student-athlete's welfare was put at risk.
Based on my understanding of this situation, I believe a significant reason for these alleged overages is a result of internal confusion over which activities are "countable" and which are not. We had a lack of clarity around whether time spent in stretching and warm-up activities were "countable minutes," and this represents a portion of the discrepancies between the NCAA's findings and our practice routines. Two of the NCAA allegations relate to how the institution and the coach monitored those two areas of concern.
That said, there is no charge of loss of institutional control.
I want to address one other allegation and accept full responsibility for the fact that we made a mistake. During the summer, the coaching staff was found to be disciplining some students who had unexcused absences from class by requiring special conditioning drills. Reprimanding students in this manner for failure to attend class is not allowed during the summer (as it is during the football season.)
A final allegation relates to an individual graduate student assistant's conduct during the investigation process.
You will notice in the letter to President Coleman, there is a reference made to NCAA bylaw 22.214.171.124, the repeat violator rule.
We are aware that we may be subject to this rule because of the 1996 basketball case, which was a very different situation.
While penalties are up to the NCAA to decide, we understand the rules do allow for discretion.
In the basketball case, the U-M completed its investigation of the program and self-imposed penalties in November of 2002. The NCAA did not impose sanctions in that investigation until May 2003, so the probationary period assessed by the NCAA continued through May 2008, which overlaps with the currently alleged violations by five months.
Let me outline what we've done and the next steps in the process:
We've already made some changes.
We have established a new "fail-safe" procedure to help us do our internal tracking in a timely, effective way. Now, if the CARA forms are late by two weeks a notice goes to the head coach and AD. If the forms are still late one week later, it goes to the president.
Another example: our quality control staff is no longer present in any activity that could be construed as a coaching situation.
And, we are updating and redoubling our efforts on staff education in all areas.
Here are the next steps:
We will spend time carefully reviewing all of the allegations and determining how they match with our own internal investigation that was conducted in tandem with the NCAA.
If there are any instances where details of some allegations do not match, we will provide that information as part of our responsive materials to the NCAA.
In addition, the NCAA has requested some additional information, detailed in the notice. We understand these requests are standard and we will prepare those responses as well.
During this review period, we also will consider, and implement, any sanctions we choose to self-impose.
We will begin now to prepare a response to the NCAA, and we anticipate a hearing before the NCAA Committee on Infractions this coming August. A timeline is included in your information. Until we file our response, we will not be discussing the investigation or providing any additional information.
As the incoming athletic director, I want to make clear that no accusation against our program is trivial. We take this report very seriously, and we will learn from it and get better. Leadership has always been the foundation of our program, and will continue to be in the future.
I look forward to working with Coach Rodriguez and his staff to address these concerns and continue the forward momentum of our football program.
Rich Rodriguez, football coach
As head coach, the football program is my responsibility. I'll do all I can to carefully monitor all the program's activities. I look forward to working with Dave and the compliance office to ensure there is no question of Michigan football's compliance with NCAA rules. Our philosophy has always been to be very transparent with our programs and to have an open relationship with our compliance office. I need to monitor more closely in the two areas of concern – and I will. Also, I want to say how proud I am of our team. They are excited about the program and what we believe we can achieve.
Full Transcript: Today's Presser Statements
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