DOCUMENT: NCAA Notice Of Allegations

Submitted by Brian on February 23rd, 2010 at 2:43 PM

OCR FTW. I'll let those inclined pore over it. It sounds a lot worse in this format than it did coming from Brandon; it sounds like they have reasonable explanations for some of it. The QC folk being impermissibly involved sounds pretty bad, though, and one Alex Herron is so fired.

NOTICE OF ALLEGATIONS
to the
President of the University of Michigan

[NCAA Bylaws 11.7.1.1.1, 11.7.1.1.1.1, 11.7.2 and 11.7.2.1 (2009-10 NCAA Manual)]

1. It is alleged that from January 2008 through September 2009, the institution's football program exceeded the permissible limit on the number of coaches by five when quality control staff members (noncoaching sport-specific staff members who were not counted as countable coaches) engaged in on- and off-field coaching activities. The quality control staff members included Adam Braithwaite (March 2008 to the present), Dan Hott (January 2008 to the present), Josh Ison (February 2009 to the present), Bob McClain (January 2008 to February 2009), Eric Smith (January 2008 to the present) and Bryan Wright (June 2008 to the present). Specifically:

a.    During 2008 and 2009 winter and voluntary summer workouts, and outside of the regular playing season, quality control staff members regularly monitored and conducted skill-development activities with football student-athletes that occurred two days a week. Additionally, the quality control staff members coached the football student-athletes through those activities to improve technique and develop fundamental football-related skills. [NCAA Bylaws 11.7.1.1.1, 11.7.1.1.1.1, 11.7.2 and 11.7.2.1]

b.    During 2008 and 2009 spring and regular-season football practice, quality control staff members regularly assisted ' with football student-athletes' flexibility and warm-up activities. Additionally, on some occasions, the quality control staff members provided advice and/or corrections to football student-athletes pertaining to technique and plays. [NCAA Bylaws 11.7.1.1.1, 11.7.1.1.1.1, 11.7.2 and 11.7.2.1]

c.    From January 2008 through September 2009, the quality control staff members sometimes watched game and/or practice film with football student-athletes and provided advice and/or corrections to the football student-athletes pertaining to technique and plays. [NCAA Bylaws 11.7.1.1.1, 11.7.1.1.1.1, 11.7.2 and 11.7.2.1]

d.    From January 2008 through September 2009, the quality control staff members sometimes attended meetings involving coaching activities. [NCAA Bylaws 11.7.1.1.1, 11.7.1.1.1.1, 11.7.2 and 11.7.2.1]

Please indicate whether this information is substantially correct and whether the institution agrees violations of NCAA legislation occurred. Submit evidence to support your response. [Editor's note: rest after the jump.]

Also, please provide the following:

a.    A copy of pages 53 through 74 of the 2008 spring football media guide, pages 138 through 163 of the 2008 regular-season football media guide, pages 97 through 121 of the 2009 spring football media guide, pages 48 through 60 of the 2009 University of Michigan vs. University of Notre Dame program guide and pages 97 through 121 of the 2009 regular-season football media guide.

b.    A copy of the job descriptions for the quality control staff members that were provided to the compliance services office August 28, 2009, as well as the job description provided August 31, 2009. Also, please provide a copy of the classification descriptions for head strength and conditioning coaches and assistant strength and conditioning coaches that was provided to the enforcement staff September 17, 2009. Additionally, please include a statement indicating the purpose of hiring quality control staff members for the institution's football program.

c.    A copy of the title and salary information pertaining to temporary employees that was provided to the enforcement staff September 24, 2009. Also, please include the annual salary for each quality control staff member identified in Allegation No. 1, as well as the average annual salary for interns employed within any department or sports program in the athletics department.

d.    An overview of the previous education and degrees received by each of the quality control staff members identified in Allegation No. 1, as well as a history of previous employment. Also, please indicate whether any of those individuals received cardiopulmonary (CPR) and/or first aid certification, athletic training certification, or strength and conditioning specialist certification (CSCS). Additionally, please indicate whether those individuals were members of any strength and conditioning or football associations. Further, describe the location of those individuals' offices prior to September 2009 and the location of the strength and conditioning coaches' offices.

e.    An overview of the attendance, duties and activities of each quality control staff member from January 2008 through December 2009 at home and away-from-home contests, fall and spring practice, off-season and summer workouts, coaches meetings, and film review sessions with either coaches or student-athletes. Also, please provide an overview of any other duties the quality control staff members performed. Further, provide the institution's position on whether Rich Rodriguez, head football coach, knew or should have known the full extent of the quality control staff members' activities.

f.    Copies of all rules-education materials provided to the football staff pertaining to limitations on the number and duties of coaches, coaching categories, and the need for job descriptions, including, but not limited to, materials dated January 11, June 3 and July 29, 2008; and February 12, April 16 and July 29, 2009. Also, include the institution's position on whether' Rodriguez knew or should have known that the quality control staff members' involvement with the football program was impermissible.

g.    Copies of all rules-education materials provided to the strength and conditioning staff pertaining to limitations on the number and duties of coaches and coaching categories, including, but not limited to, materials dated February 7, 2008, and March 12, 2009.

h.    A statement indicating whether athletics administrators were aware of the quality control staff members' duties and activities within the football program from January 2008 through September 2009. Also, include a statement describing the athletics department's system used to monitor the countable coaching limitations of its football program from January 2008 through September 2009.

i.    An overview of the verbal and/or written attempts made by the compliance services office from January 2008 through September 2009 to obtain job descriptions for the quality control staff members from the football program. Also, please provide a copy of an August 15, 2008, memorandum from Ann Vollano, assistant athletics director, regarding designation of coaching staff. Additionally, include the institution's position on whether Rodriguez knew or should have known that the compliance services office had requested job descriptions but did not receive them in a timely fashion.

[NCAA Bylaws 17.02.1, 17.02.13, 17.1.6.1, 17.1.6.2-(b), 17.1.6.2.1.1, 17.1.6.2.4, 17.9.6-(a)-(1)-(b), 17.9.6-(a)-(2)-(b) (2009-10 NCAA Manual)]

2. It is alleged that from January 2008 through at least September 2009, the institution's football program violated NCAA legislation governing playing and practice seasons when it permitted football staff members to monitor and conduct voluntary summer workouts, conducted impermissible activities outside the playing season, required football student-athletes to participate in summer conditioning activities for disciplinary purposes, and exceeded time limits for countable athletically related activities during and outside of the playing season. Specifically:

a.    During 2008 and 2009 voluntary summer workouts, five quality control staff members, one graduate assistant football coach and one student assistant coach (only 2009) regularly monitored and conducted skill-development activities that occurred two days a week, even though they were not strength and conditioning coaches who were not countable coaches and who performed such duties on a department-wide basis. Additionally, some of the quality control staff members and the graduate assistant coach sometimes observed seven-on-seven passing activities and provided advice and/or corrections to football student-athletes pertaining to technique. [NCAA Bylaws 17.02.1, 17.1.6.2.1.1 and 17.9.6-(a)-(2)-(b)]

b. During 2008 and 2009 winter and voluntary summer workouts, and outside the playing season, some of the skill-development activities identified in Allegation No. 2-a were impermissible because they were not limited to weight training, conditioning and review of game film. [NCAA Bylaws 17.1.6.2.4, 17.9.6-(a)-(1)-(b) and 17.9.6-(a)-(2)-(b)]

During the summer of 2008 and 2009, strength and conditioning coaches who monitored and conducted some voluntary athletically related activities occasionally used additional conditioning activities as a disciplinary measure when they required football student-athletes to participate in such activities for missing class. [NCAA Bylaw 17.02.13]

d. From January 2008 through at least September 2009, the football program exceeded the daily and weekly hour limitations for countable athletically related activities on multiple occasions. Specifically:

(1)    Between January 27 and March 15, 2008, football student-athletes were sometimes required to participate in as many as 10 hours of countable athletically related activities per week, which exceeded the maximum of eight hours a week. [NCAA Bylaw 17.1.6.2-(b) and 17.9.6-(a)-(1)-(b)]

(2)    Between June 2 and July 25, 2008, football student-athletes sometimes participated in as many as 10 hours of voluntary weight training and conditioning activities per week, which exceeded the maximum of eight hours a week. [NCAA Bylaw 17.9.6-(a)-(2)-(b)]

(3)    Between August 31 and October 26, 2008, football student-athletes were required to participate in as many as five hours of countable athletically related activities per day, which exceeded the maximum of four hours a day, on several occasions, including, but not limited to, August 31; September 7, 14 and 28; and October 5, 12, 19 and 26. Additionally, during the week beginning October 19, 2008, the student-athletes were required to participate in approximately 20 hours and 20 minutes of countable athletically related activities, which exceeded the maximum of
20 hours per week. [NCAA Bylaw 17.1.6.1]

(4)    Between January 12 and March 14, 2009, football student-athletes were sometimes required to participate in as many as 10 hours of countable athletically related activities per week, which exceeded the maximum of eight hours a week. [NCAA Bylaw 17.1.6.2-(b) and 17.9.6-(a)-(1)-(b)]

(5)    Between June 8 and July 31, 2009, football student-athletes sometimes participated in as many as 10 hours of voluntary weight training and conditioning activities per week, which exceeded the maximum of eight hours a week. [NCAA Bylaw 17.9.6-(a)-(2)-(b)]

(6)    Between at least September 7 and 28, 2009, football student-athletes were required to participate in as many as 4 1/2 hours of countable athletically related activities per day, which exceeded the maximum of four hours a day, on several occasions, including, but not limited to, September 7, 14, 21 and 28. [NCAA Bylaw 17.1.6.1]
Please indicate whether this information is substantially correct and whether the institution agrees violations of NCAA legislation occurred. Submit evidence to support your response.

Also, please provide the following:
a.    A description of skill development, including specific activities pertaining to each player position. Also, please describe the use of any equipment, including, but not limited to, blocking/resistance sleds, mini basketballs and taped towels in skill development.

b.    A copy of all rules-education materials provided to the football staff pertaining to the involvement of strength and conditioning coaches, football coaches, and noncoaching sport-specific staff members in summer voluntary workouts, including, but not limited to, materials dated January 11, June 3 and July 29, 2008, and April 16, 2009. Also, include the institution's position on whether Rich Rodriguez, head football coach, knew or should have known that it was impermissible for quality control staff members, graduate assistants and student assistants to be involved in voluntary summer workouts.

c.    A copy of a March 4, 2008, and a March 5, 2009, memorandum from Judy Van Horn, associate athletics director/senior woman administrator, regarding conditioning activities as discipline. Also, please provide all rules-education materials provided to the strength and conditioning staff pertaining to summer voluntary workouts, including, but not limited to, materials dated February 7, 2008, and March 12, 2009.

d.    An overview of the athletics department's system used to monitor countable athletically related activities (CARA) in season, out of season and during the summer from January 2008 through September 2009.

e.    Copies of all CARA forms provided to the compliance services office by the football program for the weeks including January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2009, including a statement regarding when the forms were received and whether the forms included required student-athlete signatures. Also, please provide an overview of the verbal and/or written attempts made by the compliance services office between January 2008 and September 2009 to obtain required football CARA forms.

f.    A copy of all rules-education materials provided to the football staff pertaining generally to CARA, including, but not limited to, materials dated January 11 and July 29, 2008, and July 29, 2009. Also, please include copies of August 1, 2008, and August 13, 2009, memorandums from Ann Vollano, assistant athletics director, regarding CARA. Further, please provide a copy of a February 19, 2008, compliance meeting agenda with Rodriguez. Further, include the institution's position on whether Rodriguez knew or should have known about the athletics department's established procedures for monitoring CARA, as well as whether he knew or should have known that football CARA forms had not been provided in a timely fashion.

g.    A statement describing the manner in which the football program counted or did not count athletically related activities for CARA purposes from January 2008 through September 2009. Also, please provide copies of the 2008 and 2009 football summer conditioning period documents (including the summer conditioning period with breakdowns of workouts); May through July 2008 and May through July 2009 weight room schedules; June 23 and 25, 2009, e-mails from Dennis Murray, assistant strength coach, to Vollano regarding breakout times; and the 2008 and 2009 in-season practice schedules that Rodriguez distributed to his staff during hideaway meetings.

h. A statement indicating whether the institution believes any additional violations of the time limits for CARA occurred, including, but not limited to, between September 29 and the present date.

[NCAA Bylaws 10.01.1, 10.1 and 10.1-(d) (2009-10 NCAA Manual)]

3. It is alleged that Alex Herron, graduate assistant football coach, failed to deport himself in accordance with the generally recognized high standards of honesty and sportsmanship normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics for providing false and misleading information to the institution and enforcement staff when questioned about his involvement in and knowledge of possible NCAA violations outlined in Allegation No. 2-a. Specifically, Herron denied during his September 28, 2009, interview with the enforcement staff and institution that he was present for or involved in skill development or seven-on-seven passing activities that occurred over the summers of 2008 and 2009. Subsequently, during his December 15, 2009, interview, Herron conceded_ that he was present only briefly at the beginning of such skill-development activities but did not participate in those activities in any manner when, in fact, Herron monitored and conducted the 2008 and 2009 summer skill-development activities. Further, Herron continued to deny his presence at or involvement in seven-onseven passing activities when, in fact, he was sometimes present for and involved in such activities.
Please indicate whether this information is substantially correct and whether the institution agrees violations of NCAA legislation occurred. Submit evidence to support your response.
Also, please provide partial transcripts from Herron's September 28, 2009, interview (pages 25 and 26 and 35 through 48), and his December 15, 2009, interview (pages 2 through 13).

[NCAA Bylaw 11.1.2.1(2009-10 NCAA Manual)]
4. It is alleged that from January 2008 through at least September 2009, the scope and nature of the violations detailed in Allegation Nos. I and 2 demonstrate that Rich Rodriguez, head football coach, failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program and failed to adequately monitor the duties and activities of the quality control staff members, a graduate assistant coach and a student assistant coach, and the time limits for athletically related activities.

Please indicate whether this information is substantially correct and whether the institution agrees violations of NCAA legislation occurred. Submit evidence to support your response.

[NCAA Constitution 2.8.1 (2009-10 NCAA Manual)]
5. It is alleged that from January 2008 through at least September 2009, the scope and nature of the violations detailed in Allegation Nos. 1 and 2 demonstrate that the athletics department failed to adequately monitor its football program to assure compliance regarding the limitations on the number, duties and activities of countable football coaches, and time limits for countable athletically related activities. Specifically:

a.    During the winter of 2008, shortly after head football coach Rich Rodriguez's football staff was hired, compliance services office staff members became aware that the football program employed quality control staff members (noncoaching sport-specific staff members) and were concerned about the duties and activities of those individuals. However, the compliance services office failed to gather appropriate information regarding the quality control staff in order to determine whether the duties and activities of those individuals were permissible. Additionally, athletics administrators with responsibilities in the football program failed to provide appropriate information to the compliance services office pertaining to the duties and activities of the quality control staff members upon request. This collective failure partly resulted in the violations outlined in Allegation No. 1. [NCAA Constitution 2.8.1]

b.    From January 2008 through July 2009, the strength and conditioning staff failed to appropriately calculate the time limits for athletically related activities during winter and summer out-of-season workouts, even though the compliance services office provided NCAA rules education on several occasions pertaining to that matter. Also, during the summer of 2009, strength and conditioning staff members failed to provide appropriate information to the compliance services office regarding voluntary athletically related activities. That failure resulted in the compliance services office inadvertently approving the continued miscalculation of athletically related activities for the summer of 2009. Additionally, the compliance services office failed to follow its own established procedures for monitoring countable athletically related activities when it failed to collect required monitoring documents between January 2008 and May 2009. Further, athletics administrators with responsibilities in the football program failed to provide required forms pertaining to countable athletically related activities to the compliance services office between January 2008 and May 2009.

This collective failure partly resulted in the violations outlined in Allegation No. 2.

[NCAA Constitution 2.8.1]
Please indicate whether this information is substantially correct and whether the institution agrees violations of NCAA legislation occurred. Submit evidence to support your response.

Information Requested by the Committee on Infractions

6.    Please provide all information concerning other possible violations of NCAA legislation that was discovered by the institution as a result of its review of this matter. In this regard, please indicate the means by which the information was discovered and the institution's position whether a violation has occurred.
7.    Please provide a detailed description of any corrective or punitive actions implemented by the institution as a result of the violations acknowledged in this inquiry. In that regard, explain the reasons the institution believes these actions to be appropriate and identify the violations upon which the actions were based. Additionally, indicate the date that any corrective or punitive actions were implemented.
8.    Please provide a detailed description of all disciplinary actions taken against any current or former athletics department staff members as a result of violations acknowledged in this inquiry. In that regard, explain the reasons that the institution believes these actions to be appropriate and identify the violations upon which the actions were based. Additionally, indicate the date that any disciplinary actions were taken and submit copies of all correspondence from the institution to each individual describing these disciplinary actions.
9.    Please provide a statement indicating the dates and titles of all positions at the institution held by individuals identified during the inquiry as allegedly having significant involvement in NCAA violations, as well as a brief overview of each position. Additionally, provide the dates, title and employer of all positions held by such individual(s) during the five years prior to the dates of the alleged violations. Furthermore, provide a brief review of the previous major infractions case history for the identified individuals.
10.    Please provide a short summary of every major infractions case involving the institution or individuals named in this notice. In this summary, provide the date of the infractions report, a description of the violations found by the Committee on Infractions, the individuals involved, and the penalties and corrective actions. Additionally, please provide a copy of any major infractions reports involving the institution or individuals named in this notice that were issued by the Committee on Infractions within the last 10 years.
11.    Please provide a chart depicting the institution's reporting history of secondary violations for the past five years. In this chart, please indicate for each academic year the number of total secondary violations reported involving the institution or individuals named in this notice. Also, please include the applicable bylaws for each violation, and then indicate the number of secondary violations involving just the sports team named in this notice for the same five-year time period.
12.    Please provide the institution's overall NCAA division and conference affiliation as well as the total enrollment on campus and the number of men's and women's sports sponsored.
13.    Please provide a statement describing the general organization and structure of the institution's intercollegiate athletics department, including the identities of those individuals in the athletics department who were responsible for the supervision of all sport programs during the previous four years, and whether the institution conducts a systematic review of NCAA and institutional regulations for its athletics department employees. If yes, identify the agency, individual or committee responsible for this review and describe the responsibilities and functions of each identified.
14.    Please provide the following information concerning the sport programs identified in this inquiry:
•    The average number of initial and total grants-in-aid that have been awarded during the past four academic years.
•    The number of initial and total grants-in-aid in effect for the current academic year (or upcoming academic year if the regular academic year is not in session) and the number anticipated being in effect for the following academic year.
•    The identities of all student-athletes anticipated to be on athletically related financial aid as of the first semester of the next academic year who will have four years of remaining eligibility and five years of enrollment (per the NCAA's five-year rule) to complete those four years; the identities of all student-athletes who have three years of remaining eligibility and four years of remaining enrollment to complete those three years; the identities of all student-athletes who have two years of remaining eligibility and three years of remaining enrollment to complete those two years; and the identities of all student-athletes who have one year of remaining eligibility and two years of remaining enrollment to complete that year.
•    The average number of student-athletes during the previous four years who have redshirted and the number who are redshirting during the current academic year (or upcoming academic year if regular academic year is not in session).
•    The number of student-athletes in each of the previous four years who were awarded athletically related financial aid but who withdrew from the squad for reasons other than graduation or loss of eligibility.
•    A list of the institution's win-loss record for the past four seasons and the dates and results of all postseason competition in which the institution has participated during those years. If there was postseason competition, please indicate how this was earned; i.e, conference automatic bid, at-large bid.
•    The average number of official paid visits provided by the institution to prospective student-athletes during the past four years.
•    The cost of room, board, books and tuition at the institution for the past four academic years.
•    Copies of the institution's squad lists for the past four academic years.
•    One copy of the institution's media guides for the past four academic years to be sent to Mr. Shep Cooper, director of the Committees on Infractions, and, if available, the Internet URL(s) for the members of the committee to use to review the same information contained in these media guides. If this information is not available through the Internet, then the provision of one complete set of media guides to Mr. Cooper will suffice.
•    A review of the institution's obligations (contractual or otherwise) concerning live telecasts of contests during the next three seasons. These should include, but not be limited to, contractual agreements negotiated by the institution's conference and opponent or through its sports network affiliations.
•    A statement indicating whether the provisions of NCAA Bylaws 31.2.2.3 and 31.2.2.4 apply to the institution as a result of the involvement of student-athletes in violations noted in this inquiry.
• A statement indicating whether the provisions of NCAA Bylaw 19.5.2.2-(e) apply to the institution as a result of the involvement of student-athletes in violations noted in this inquiry.
Any additional information or comments regarding this case are welcome.

Comments

Ernis

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:28 PM ^

The thing is, these allegations in and of themselves may or may not be a big deal.

How screwed we are by them depends on the context. The allegations, as has been stated, involve infractions within "gray areas." The question is whether these were honest mistakes or intentional abuses of the system.

The fact that our compliance = FAIL frames a very bad context in that regard.

Thus, the allegations are more severe, given a lack of meaningful or honest compliance effort. It makes it look like there was intent to break the rules. This is the key point in determining severity of punishment.

Therefore: Shit is BAD. But exactly how bad? I dunno. I am definitely pessimistic at this point.

cfaller96

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:45 PM ^

To me it sounds like Compliance was operating off of some offseason assumptions developed during the Carr era, and caught on too late that RichRod was doing things differently. Note the allegation period starts in freaking January 2008, right after he was hired.

RichRod comes in, hands out offseason workout routines with undoubtedly new/different stuff to the kids, and has some assistants help instruct them on how to do it. Compliance realizes, too late, that having those assistants guiding the kids may constitute "mandatory" workouts, and then tries to get a handle on it. And ends up as a minor bureaucratic clusterf**k for awhile, but eventually gets straightened out.

Meanwhile, some kids have not taken to this new workout regime. They bristle at the presence of staff at these workouts (that I baselessly speculate they probably blew off in years past) and start heading for the exits. At some point one of them realizes that the presence of staff is in some way not kosher, and on their way out the door tells somebody outside the Program. Chaos ensues.

This is all speculation on my part. But IMO it fits. If we apply the term "rough transition" to not just the kids, but also the support and admin staff, then I think this all starts to make a little more sense.

sparty2219

February 23rd, 2010 at 6:51 PM ^

First of all, RichROB came from a college in the NCAA. The RULES are the same for EACH TEAM. If RichROB was using some assistants to HELP the MANDATORY, but not mandatory, workouts at Michigan, he was more than likely using them at "who cares" where he came from. When is he going to be held accountable for his own mistakes??? He KNOWS the RULES! The compliance department has to "babysit" him and his $4,000,000 bank account coaching ways? The compliance department has several other sports teams to worry about and they have to attend every single practice to baby sit this Coach who robs from the University by playing ignorant. Shame on you all for slamming the compliance department. They definitely have their hands more than full! They do more than their fair share of reminding this fool of the rules. Don't hate me because I am speaking the truth. Sparty on..

My name ... is Tim

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:30 PM ^

in the NCAA bylaws? If so, that may go a long way in determining how worried we should be. "Major violation" may - in the NCAA's legalese - merely mean any violation of a systemic nature. It may mean something worthy of a postseason ban. The key to analyzing any sort of legalese-based fluff is to find out the definition of the words used in the charging document. Often, they don't have a meaning that normal human-beings would ascribe to them. I'm hoping that's the case here.

MadMax

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:37 PM ^

Link: http://www.ncaapublications.com/Uploads/PDF/D1_Manual9d74a0b2-d10d-4587…

Violation, Secondary. A secondary violation is a violation that is isolated or inadvertant in nature, provides or is intended to provide only a minimal recruiting, competitive or other advantage and does not include any significant recruiting inducement or extra benefit. Multiple secondary violations by a member institution may collectively be considered as a major violation. (Revised: 1/11/94)

Violation, Major. All violations other than secondary violations are major violations, specifically including those that provide an extensive recruiting or competitive advantage. (Revised: 1/11/94)

From pp 289-90 of the NCAA Bylaws.

My name ... is Tim

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:45 PM ^

In order to argue that these violations are in fact secondary, and not major violations, Michigan would have to demonstrate that each alleged violation is:

1) Inadvertant or isolated [isolated seems unlikely here since it seems to have occurred frequently, but if they can blame a misinterpretation of the rules (i.e. stretching)], AND

2)Provided a minimal advantage (this would seem to be the case when an institution is providing only a few extra hours a week of stretching; I think one would be hard pressed to argue that such a difference in practice times or coach presence constitutes an EXTENSIVE advantage - particularly since we've won an average of 4 games the past 2 years! yuk yuk yuk!), AND

3) Does not include any significant recruiting inducement or extra benefit (Well this obviously is not the case - "Come to Michigan, you have to practice more!")

Michigan would have to prove all three of those requirements to satisfy the NCAA that the violations are secondary in nature. It's certainly arguable, as I tried to outline above. Whether or not the NCAA agrees is another issue.

cfaller96

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:54 PM ^

If excessive voluntary practice ends up being a "major" violation in the eyes of the NCAA, you have no idea how earth-shattering that will be. It would fundamentally change college athletics, as kids already spend many, many hours in voluntary practice time per week (for football it's 25 hours BTW). There is no way in hell the NCAA will want to open that can of worms, nor should they- competitive college athletics (in almost every sport) demands that level of time commitment. If they crack down on this, they will fundamentally degrade their product forever.

M will propose some extremely minor corrections (e.g. more restricted practice schedules), the NCAA will agree, and everyone will move on...except Sharp and Rosenberg, who are lying douchebags.

joeyb

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:00 PM ^

I think the key to showing that the QC stuff is isolated is that only one person did it. If the entire QC staff was coaching the players then we have a problem. Also, were they just tips from people who have played or were they "coaching" them.

The 20 minutes of extra practice each day is inadvertent because of the grey area issues in countable hours.

I can't say that Herron's misstatement of facts is minor, but I am not sure how much it would reflect on the school as opposed to one person mistakenly trying to cover their tracks for a mistake they made.

Ed Shuttlesworth

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:19 PM ^

For shitsakes, the allegations, even if all are true, do not, did not, and were not intended to provide anything more than a "minimal" advantage. Since their procedures are so opaque and at the same time so picayune, the NCAA didn't condescend to tell us whether there's a possibility that the "multiple secondary violations" constitute a "major" violation, so we don't know if that's on the table, but there's no way in hell these things provide any more than a "minimal" advantage.(**)

(**) With the unavoidable caveat that the NCAA can be at war with Eurasia or Eastasia as it chooses, making it folly to assume "minimal" means the same thing to the NCAA it has meant to generations of literate English speakers.

Token_sparty

February 23rd, 2010 at 5:23 PM ^

Every one of the five allegations are major violations. The NCAA is not concerned about your view of what type of advantage was to be gained. And, honestly, if the NCAA regulations are so difficult to understand, why have a football team at all? I don't believe it's that hard for any of the non-revenue generating sports to figure those rules and regulations out, why should it be so hard for UM's football staff? After all, Rodriguez isn't a rookie coach or anything, and it wouldn't matter if he were- every coach is bound by the rules.

As others have noted, allegations 4 and 5 are there to enable a charge of 'lack of institutional control' should UM's response fall anything short of groveling. The bylaws sections mentioned at the end seem to point to a vacating of wins, a reduction in scholarships, probation, or other restrictions. It could be worse, really. Although the NCAA retained the flexibility to really drop the hammer in August, I doubt that will happen; the Michigan staff will do whatever is necessary to ensure a mild penalty.

Ed Shuttlesworth

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:52 PM ^

What are the NCAA precedents on penalties for coaches (or QC guys who are alleged to be coaches) lying to the enforcement staff? The more and more I think about this, the worse and worse that seems. Make it a more senior coach -- an OC, DC, or HC. It can't just be a nothingburger in the NCAA's eyes if one of those flat-out lies in an investigation.(**)

(**) Assuming, of course, that the allegations of lies are "proven," or whatever word(s) substitutes for "proven" in NCAA la-la land.

Seth

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:31 PM ^

I just want to point out, before your paper hits your front porch tomorrow, that there's a lot in the way this was written to fill plenty of column inches if your intent is to make readers think this is a bigger deal than it is.

Example:

"It is alleged that from January 2008 through at least September 2009, the scope and nature of the violations detailed in Allegation Nos. 1 and 2 demonstrate that the athletics department failed to adequately monitor its football program to assure compliance regarding the limitations on the number, duties and activities of countable football coaches, and time limits for countable athletically related activities."

The key word here is "alleged." The key angle of interest, however, is that the NCAA's letter sounds like it's accusing, not alleging.

As Michigan fans, I urge you not to get too worked up over whatever you might see in print tomorrow.

This is my prediction: The substantive part of this thing is pretty much over. Nobody's going to get punished, nobody's going to hold anyone accountable, and nothing's going to happen to the Free Press nor the Michigan football program because of this. The entirety of the result of this is that Free Press will have a small circulation boost, get some notoriety, and put itself up for some awards, while many Michigan fans will have permanently lost their respect for that section, its editors, the writers involved, and the paper in general.

Already, they have an article up from today's press conference entitled "NCAA: U-M football made 5 major rule violations." In the subhead it's called a "notice of allegations." That's....well....I know this stuff....I know how to write headlines and subheads so that you fairly portray information, and how to do it if your intent is emphasize something that's not there. This is the latter. This is pathetic. This is an embarrassment. This makes everyone in my profession look bad. This is an utter disgrace.

Unless my predictions start proving outrageously false, my engagement on this issue is at an end. This has been a lose/lose situation for me from the get-go, a totally unnecessary embarrassment for both my alma mater, and my profession. I cannot apologize for either since I have no control over the Michigan Football Program's Quality Assurance Program, nor the Free Press sports staff. However, I want you all to know that the actions of the latter this past year and more have been a disgrace to journalism that I, personally, will have a long, hard time living down.

All I can ask is for you to think about some of the people who do your jobs, and how well or poorly they may do it.

Michael

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:41 PM ^

If you wish to lift your journalistic spirits, I watched an excellent HBO documentary called "Reporter" last night. It's about Nicholas Kristof's reporting of humanitarian issues around the world and it definitely gave me a glimmer of hope that there are still people out there interested in real journalism.

I should have saved it for tonight...

03 Blue 07

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:16 PM ^

I watched it as well, and thought 1.) That guy has had an incredibly interesting life, and 2.) wow, I hope to have 1/2 the experiences he's had in his journalism career. I also thought 3.) dang it, why couldn't I be a world-travelling Rhodes Scholar/journalist? It was a great documentary, and I only got through half of it- I recorded it, though, and will watch the rest later this week.

Yinka Double Dare

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:48 PM ^

It shouldn't be that surprising that the Freep's headline is so bad. The original "investigation" contained no context nor a single mention of noncountable hours.

The new article trumpets how this all started with their investigation. An investigation they neglect to mention was off by A FACTOR OF 10 TO A FACTOR OF 100 in the claimed amounts Michigan was over the limits.

Seriously, thank god these guys are just journalists who could give a shit about their credibility instead of, say, architects. That factor of 10 or 100 would be kind of a big deal.

cfaller96

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:02 PM ^

The entirety of the result of this is that Free Press will have a small circulation boost, get some notoriety, and put itself up for some awards, while many Michigan fans will have permanently lost their respect for that section, its editors, the writers involved, and the paper in general.

In a way, you just contradicted yourself- many Michigan fans are/were, after all, subscribers to the Freep.

The Freep will only get a circulation boost if their biased anti-UM coverage manages to lure previous non-subscribers in while simultaneously managing to convince Michigan fans to not drop their subscriptions. And this has to happen over the long term- if in 2-3 years the Freep's subscriber base is less than it was when they wrote their story, then there was no boost.

I speculate this is a bad bet for the Freep, and one they don't even realize they're making. IMO long term the Freep's credibility took a hit. A newspaper cannot maintain its business long term without simultaneous maintaining its credibility. Just an awful gamble by the Freep.

Seth

February 24th, 2010 at 9:46 AM ^

I very much hope you are right.

I've become pretty cynical about the Detroit sports audience, particularly in how it responds to Michigan since Rodriguez's arrival.

Look at the radio personalities who managed to survive the halving of local sports talk. Those guys weren't picked because they provided the highest quality information -- they were picked because they got high ratings.

There's money to be made in the audience of Valenti & Foster. So why would the Freep try to compete for the MGoBlog audience?

Ed Shuttlesworth

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:31 PM ^

For at least the past several years, "journalism" has come to consist of people trained to use the written word going on outlets like ESPN (and more, now, MSNBC, Fox News, etc.) and uttering tenth-grade claptrap like "THEY CHEATED." The louder they yell, and the more illiterate and banal their shouts, the more attention they get, and attention is essentially all that matters.

The power of the 24-hour news cycle and the hundreds of TV channels have rendered organized, deliberate, thoughtful written words a near nullity.

Seth

February 24th, 2010 at 9:41 AM ^

Do you realize the irony of writing "The power of the 24-hour news cycle and the hundreds of TV channels have rendered organized, deliberate, thoughtful written words a near nullity." in a thread that posts the entire document-de-plume, which followed a pretty lengthy, thoughtful, organized, and deliberate breakdown of said document, and was posted within hours of its release?

Why would anyone want to watch Edward Murrow now? Or wait for tomorrow's paper?

Radio stations barely ever play new music anymore. Is that because new music is dead? Hardly - there's more new bands coming out today than at any time in history. It's just the medium that changed.

"Journalism" is the act of honest investigation and presentation of information that is valuable to the public. What did you think was going on here, anyway?

Seth

February 24th, 2010 at 9:34 AM ^

Yes, and for every thing being lied about, covered up, ignored or misrepresented in the American press every day, there are three tangential iconoclasts who love an opportunity to rag on the press, yet would never in a million years examine their own biases.

What the Freep has done here is an insult because it's so blatant, repetitive, and unrepentant. And this is a paper who proudly declared during the Kilpatrick fiasco that they had no ombudsman and needed no ombudsman because they didn't use their paper as a pulpit.

The way they're acting is exactly how every two-bit media "critic" says all journalists act. It's a lot easier to laugh at these whinging wingers when one of our own isn't playing their fool.

It's the kind of facepalm that you get if, e.g., you see a Michigan fan/alum call another Michigan (non-alum) fan a "Walmart Wolverine." Because we're not like that, but our enemies say we're like that all the time. Make sense?

amir_al-muminin

February 24th, 2010 at 2:26 PM ^

Rereading my comment, I can see how it came off as douchey. I was merely expressing my surprise that one, especially a journalist, could feel that the Freep case is exceptional. I can provide far more egregious examples that occur regularly, but I'm afraid that I would run the risk of making this discussion political. I think we can both agree that is to be avoided.

I understand your point though. You work hard to preserve your journalistic integrity and to defend the reputation that those in your profession have in your Woodward-and-Bernstein fantasies. Alas, a particularly careless paper comes along and seems to vindicate those "tangential iconoclasts" whose criticisms you've fought so hard to refute.

The only thing is, I am vindicated every time I look at a newspaper or turn on the television. For a long time I was not able to do so without feeling disheartened, but I have been desensitized.

UMMAN83

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:31 PM ^

clarity to the situation. Seems like the matter is even worse and more confused now. We have Sharp on ESPN stating UM "cheated". If the department knows otherwise, when are they going to stuff something in his pie hole to shut him up.

st barth

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:35 PM ^

All this for a team that won a whopping 8 games the past two seasons? What a waste of time for everybody. If the NCAA exists (at least in part) to limit teams from having competitive advantage then you would think that more of the successful teams would get busted.

I could understand all the fuss if this went down during the years when M was rolling off Big Ten titles...but coming in the midst of the first two losing seasons in half a century is really the most nit-pickingest piece of shit ever.

Noahdb

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:42 PM ^

I used to have a cartoon on my wall at work. It was a single frame of a Far Side-esque sports 'toon from the 80s and 90s. It showed a bunch of guys in wingtips and suits parachuting in with briefcases onto a major college campus.

Below, the caption read, "And another NCAA investigation begins..."

It always sounds scary. But in the end, the NCAA is going to say, "Don't do that anymore!" and Michigan officials are going to try and look sorrowful while wringing their hats in their hands.

This is a bookkeeping issue.

Seriously, if you're worried about this...go to NCAA.org and go to the major violations database and read a couple of them.

You have NOTHING to worry about.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:49 PM ^

OK, here's what I see:

There are five allegations. All of them are written in Ominous Lawyery Tones, but let's be honest: For 99% of us, including myself, this is the first time we've ever seen actual NCAA documents pertaining to violations. How often do you actually see the documents without having them filtered through the news organizations? My guess is, no matter how major or minor, they all sound pretty similarly nasty.

- Allegation 1: The Freep alleged this way back when, but buried it way in deep among their other THINK OF THE CHILDREN (TOTC) allegations. Clearly even they felt it was a minor tack-on compared to the TOTC-ness of forcing them to work all day every day in the summer. The NCAA, on the other hand, puts it front and center.

Are we probably going to get a smack on the face for it? Yep. Might we have to find another new linebackers coach? Maybe. But you'll notice a lot of these specifications in the allegation say things like "occasionally", "sometimes", or "on some occasions." The NCAA can't tell you when, just that they happened. Probably the school's response will be along the lines of "yes but only a little" and provide a lot of equally lawyery stuff to that effect in reply.

Predicted NCAA response: Can they cut down on the number of QC staff you're allowed to hire? If not, then maybe a scholarship or two. For a year. Not a major deal.

- Allegation 2: Very similar to allegation 1, with a broader non-QC-coach focus. Again, the Freep relegated this to minor status, figuring it was just a sideshow to the TOTC crusade. This is where the actual TOTC stuff shows up - in grains of sand compared to the TOTC Everest the Freephole tried to build up. Much of it is fudgy. For example:

*Ten hours of voluntary stuff instead of eight. Can you really stop the players from working out voluntarily? Or maybe, the NCAA is acknowledging that what it calls voluntary, they already know it never is?

*Twenty minutes? Seriously?

Plus, the "ten hours instead of eight" shows up a lot. This tells me that the school has a big opening, as Brian mentioned, to say, "Look, here's our program. We weren't attempting to capriciously go over the limit. We believe(d) these extra two hours did not violate the rules and here's why, because here's what we did for these two hours." We would be much worse off if the allegations said ten hours, twelve hours, six hours, ten hours, fourteen hours, and were all over the place. This would indicate a program that didn't care about the rules and did what they wanted to every week. Being so damn consistent (two hours over the limit no matter what the circumstances) tells me they have a case, or at least plausible deniability, for why they felt they were in compliance.

You'll note there's nothing in there about doing eight hours of mandatory work when it's supposed to be voluntary, as the Freephole claimed.

Plus, I wear the "punished for not going to class" as a badge of honor.

- Allegation 3: "Mr. NCAA Investigator, we apologize profusely for this. The University of Michigan does not condone lying and in no way would have even considered suggesting to Mr. Herron that he do so. The allegation is in fact substantially correct and we assure you we are taking every step to ensure this does not happen again. Mr. Herron's employment contract was terminated in February, and we are conducting a seminar with all of our employees on the significance and seriousness of compliance NCAA rules, and most significantly, truthfulness."

It's not throwing Herron under the bus because it was the NCAA that came down with that one. And if the school did in fact tell Herron to lie, that would be bad, but then you'd think he wouldn't be the only one they told to do that, n'est-ce-pas? No, this is a single employee acting on his own, and the school's best approach here is to appear to fall on their sword for this and be most humble and contrite while emphasizing that this guy acted totally alone. Nothing will come of it.

Allegations 4 and 5: Boilerplate stuff. As has been mentioned by someone else, this is all language they throw in there so that if they do decide to bring the hammer, they can say this is why.

But there will be no hammer, except perhaps of the rubber mallet variety at worst.

Dr Sardonicus

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:30 PM ^

The NCAA has to keep its powder dry in case there's evidence that Rodriguez or others higher up conspired to over-practice. As you note, if it's simply what is alleged, these things will lead to U-M changing procedures and ensuring future compliance. It's not a big deal.

If there's some coverup going on then that's another matter. And until the NCAA is satisfied that it's relatively minor things, they're going to keep their options open.

The definition of secondary violation makes it clear that it's something that only gives a minor advantage (or no advantage) with no top-down commands, etc. Barring some evidence of higher-ups ordering things or covering things up, these are secondary violations.

Bando Calrissian

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:54 PM ^

Can we really cut it with the "Everyone else does it!" argument? It's like getting a speeding ticket and saying it's OK because you were driving 80 and someone blew by you at 95 right before you got pulled over.

We're Michigan. We should expect MORE from our program than the status quo.

bml

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:10 PM ^

Agree with the "we expect more" faction but I do agree that on one level it doesn't matter if anyone else does it. If we (which is to say "the coaches who actually control the program") did something that's clearly against the rules on a regular and intentional basis, we deserve to be punished for it.

That said, on another level, the "everyone else does it" point IS meaningful. I, for one, don't care if OSU and USC and UF send low-level coaches, identified for bureaucratic purposes as QC staff, to some practices that aren't attended by the HC and coordinators. That doesn't seem unreasonable or unfair.

I don't think a HC should be able to be on a student-athlete's ass 100 hours a week for the entire calendar year. So we have these rules where they end up putting in 30-40 hours of work a week, often informally or with some 24-year-old grad assistant. That seems OK to me. If that's more than you're comfortable with as an athlete there are a bajillion lower-level programs that offer differing degrees of commitment.

bronxblue

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:13 PM ^

I think the fans do expect this program to be better, and by and large it is - you don't have the mass "attrition" you see around SEC recruiting circles, you don't see the program with repeat violent offenders being allowed to play again once they leave jail, you don't have players's families being given thousands of dollars and players riding around in expensive automobiles provided by boosters. Now, I'm sure UM has its fair share of skeletons, but these alleged violations shouldn't be one of them.

And to your point, it's not like people are saying "everyone else" gives their players steroids or lets them skip classes without repercussions - these are players spending a few more minutes stretching and being monitored during summer classes to make sure they show up. Even to the worst possible degree, these allegations probably comprise the activity of most programs across the country, and there is no reason UM should be dragged through the mud for them. I know we like to say that college sports are all about the love of the game and pride, but they are also about winning and maximizing the limited time everyone has to get better on the field. We ultimately want UM to win and to do it with class - and these sensationalized violations certainly do not mar this goal.

cfaller96

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:16 PM ^

Warning: I am about to shamelessly shill something I wrote.

Bando, before we go any further, please read this first. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Now, if you still think there is something unethical about practicing in excess of NCAA guidelines, I am ready to have that debate. Anytime.

Seriously, kids volunteering to do more is NOT like breaking the law and endangering other citizens. Back off.

Bando Calrissian

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:38 PM ^

Whether or not we think the rule is "arcane" or "ridiculous," the NCAA has set down guidelines for practice time, coaches, etc. etc.

If UM has been found by the NCAA to be in violation of those rules, then we should be punished. The NCAA sets the rules. It's our University's job to abide by them.

And is it unethical to practice beyond what the NCAA allows under the rules the University of Michigan has accepted as a member institution of the NCAA? Yes, it is, as breaking rules by definition is usually unethical, if you want to bring "ethics" into the debate. You may think it isn't, and that's fine. The rules are still the rules in the eyes of the governing body, even if they do a pretty shitty job in applying them across the board.