NCAA hits Michigan with 5 major rule violations

Published 4:52 am Wednesday, February 24, 2010

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — 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, while expressing full support for his coach, who is just 8-16 in two seasons heading the nation’s winningest football program.

“Rich Rodriguez is our football coach, and he will be our football coach next year,” Brandon said.

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In its notice of allegations — which Michigan received Monday — the NCAA said Rodriguez “failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program.” He 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, the report said.

It also said the athletics department failed to make sure its football program was complying with NCAA regulations. Brandon said the department “clearly made mistakes,” but “there was no charge of loss of institutional control” — an allegation that in previous cases has led to severe NCAA sanctions for other schools.

An accompanying letter from the NCAA to university President Mary Sue Coleman said Michigan “should understand that all of the alleged violations set forth in the document” are considered to be “potential major violations of NCAA legislation, unless designated as secondary.”

Brandon said he wasn’t sure he understood “the difference between ’major’ and ’minor’ and ’secondary’ and ’primary.”’