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

cfaller96

February 23rd, 2010 at 6:29 PM ^

From what I've seen:

A) there is no excessive practice violation (because I'm assuming the debate over how to count stretching will eventually vindicate M)
B) any problems with QC staff were discovered by M themselves, were accidental, and have been fixed.

If you want to call that "breaking the rules," then fine. At this point I don't care. But if you want to imply that there was something wrong or unethical about what M did here, well, you're just wrong.

cfaller96

February 23rd, 2010 at 6:24 PM ^

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.

I think you totally missed my point, both in my piece and in my original response here. Direct quote from my piece: "this isn’t a defense of whatever’s been going on in the offseason because "everybody does it." This is a defense because "everybody wants to do it, and thus no one can stop it."

I was responding to your whine that "everybody does it" isn't a valid defense for what went on here. That's way too simplistic a viewpoint, because with regards to practice, everybody does it. There is nothing wrong or unethical about practicing a sport. That's how you get good. Everybody knows this, which is again why everybody does it.

Regarding the violations, if everybody wants to do more practice (in part because everybody else is doing it oops there I go again), then in some way shape or form these extra hours are voluntary and are not a violation. This is pretty much exactly what we learned at the presser (depending on how one defines stretching).

You've changed your argument midstream. You started by saying "please stop saying 'everybody does it'", but now that I've pointed out that there's nothing wrong with the fact that everybody does it, you're saying "if they broke the rules then it's unethical." But the fact that everybody does it makes everything voluntary which makes it not against the rules which makes it not unethical. Round and round we go.

There is nothing inherently unethical about practicing a lot, which is the whole point of this faux scandal. Everybody does it.

Fuzzy Dunlop

February 23rd, 2010 at 8:40 PM ^

Let me start by saying that I believe the allegations are overblown and that this will, and should, pass with little more than a ripple. That said, the reasoning in the previous post is mind-bogglingly inane.

I was responding to your whine that "everybody does it" isn't a valid defense for what went on here. That's way too simplistic a viewpoint, because with regards to practice, everybody does it.

So basically you're saying that it's OK because everybody does it, and accusing Bando of "whining" by saying that "everybody does it" isn't a valid defense. Gotcha.

There is nothing wrong or unethical about practicing a sport. That's how you get good. Everybody knows this, which is again why everybody does it.

This is the dictionary definition of a strawman argument. No one has ever said there's something wrong or unethical about practicing a sport. The question is whether the COACHES (not the players) broke the rules by requiring too much practice.

Regarding the violations, if everybody wants to do more practice (in part because everybody else is doing it oops there I go again), then in some way shape or form these extra hours are voluntary and are not a violation.

No. Just no. If coaches require players to be at a practice, and have coaches monitoring the practice in violation of NCAA rules, the practices are not "voluntary" just because the players are happy to do it. This is about compliance with NCAA rules, not some philosophical debate about the meaning of the term "voluntary."

But the fact that everybody does it makes everything voluntary which makes it not against the rules which makes it not unethical. Round and round we go.

You're confusing ethics and morals. Ethics are the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group. Michigan's coaches agreed to abide by NCAA rules, and if they violated those rules, that would be unethical. The fact that others may have violated the rules in a worse manner does not render the violation ethical.

There is nothing inherently unethical about practicing a lot, which is the whole point of this faux scandal. Everybody does it.

And the circle of illogic is complete. Again, no one has ever claimed that practicing a lot is unethical. The issue is whether the coaches REQUIRED players to practice more than the rules permit.

cfaller96

February 24th, 2010 at 3:37 PM ^

So basically you're saying that it's OK because everybody does it, and accusing Bando of "whining" by saying that "everybody does it" isn't a valid defense. Gotcha.

No. What I'm saying is (and I went into it in detail in the post I wrote a long time ago) is that "everybody does it" is an explanation for why everything is voluntary. There seems to be this misconception that "voluntary" is some sort of loophole that everybody uses to get around practice restrictions. This is not true- the voluntary aspect of training is necessarily a part of every college athlete's experience. "Everybody does it" is an explanation for why all these hours are voluntary, and not "voluntary." Bando doesn't seem to get that. Maybe you don't either, I can't tell.

No one has ever said there's something wrong or unethical about practicing a sport...Again, no one has ever claimed that practicing a lot is unethical.

On the contrary, the original Freep article expressed Grave Concerns about the amount of practice M players were putting in. Parents expressed concern about it taking time away from schoolwork, and anonymous players were quoted saying they frequently fell asleep in class. That looks like a lot of concern to me.

You should perhaps go back and reread the article. To a former college athlete, nothing there was surprising or alarming. To an uninformed fan/reader, however, it probably looked like RichRod was running a Win At All Costs regime. There is no strawman here- the Freep expressed concern (and prematurely passed judgment), and attempted to pass those concerns and judgments along to readers.

If coaches require players to be at a practice, and have coaches monitoring the practice in violation of NCAA rules, the practices are not "voluntary" just because the players are happy to do it.

I never said any such thing (strawman?), and this isn't what happened at M (strawman?). The NCAA has guidelines that determine whether a practice is voluntary or mandatory. As we just learned, Michigan's practice schedules are not abnormal in any sense or in any kind of consistent violation. Michigan coaches do require players to be at practice, but only for 20 hours a week during the season. Beyond that it's voluntary, and it's up to the coaches to make sure they meet those voluntary guidelines (which it appears they accidentally didn't do early in the RichRod era).

The only problem I see is in how the QC staff were operating, and how they may have (accidentally IMO) thrown a whole bunch of voluntary hours onto the mandatory side of the ledger. These are not black and white issues, however, and some of these guidelines are ever changing- accidents will happen. That is not cause for some M fans to show their moral superiority by expressing OUTRAGE that RichRod "didn't follow the rules." Bando is pretty clearly doing that, and it's tiresome.

Getting back to the original article, the original point, and the original concern about "everybody does it," however: all those hours cited by the Freep actually were voluntary in the eyes of the NCAA. Period.

This is what I've been saying all along- succeeding in high level sports demands a lot of work, regardless of what the coaches do and what the NCAA says you can do. So of course this is going to end up being voluntary, not "voluntary." Further, this "everybody does it" competitive pressure directly contributes to the nature of a lot of these practice hours- increased competitive pressures will lead to increased volunteerism. Thus, you cannot separate "everybody does it" from analyzing how these practices will be classified by the NCAA.

So I return again to some people's misconception that this voluntary classification is somehow a loophole in the rules. It is not, and "everybody does it" is an integral part of that truth.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:22 PM ^

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

I think you're confusing the behavior of our players with adherence to an absurdly arcane set of regulations.

No, I would not want to ever use the "everybody kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me" line. When Justin Feagin got in trouble, nobody here expected RR to keep him on the team just because other programs might have. When it comes to a set of artificial regulations that, yes, everybody fudges, there's no special honor in sending your players home after precisely eight hours because it's the Michigan way.

mstier

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:25 PM ^

But were we going 80 or going 70 in a 65 zone?

I think people are using the "everyone else does it" mantra not to justify gross violations but to highlight the ridiculousness of being punished for going 20 minutes over the 20 hour limit in a week when it is likely that everyone program does this now and again.

cfaller96

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:27 PM ^

Can we really cut it with the "Everyone else has a marching band!" 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 gameday experience than a bunch of fucking horns at halftime.

/douchey snark

Noahdb

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:55 PM ^

What the NCAA really wants is for Michigan to show that they have their arms around this thing. They understand what the rules are and here's how they aren't going to do it again.

Comply, show that it was an honest mistake and that you've addressed and fixed the problem.

Boom. The NCAA does *not* want to put Michigan on probation. Especially for something so stupid and pedantic.

NickUmich

February 23rd, 2010 at 3:58 PM ^

Can someone answer the question definitively whether or not we were on probation when these alleged violations occurred? It seems pretty simple to figure out this yes or no answer.

Rasmus

February 24th, 2010 at 8:56 AM ^

I think probably Brian will address this at some point. To compare the Freep allegations to what the NCAA actually found.

IIRC, the only thing the Freep got right was Alex Herron, the graduate assistant. In fact, it seems Herron's second lie (in the December interview) was basically just to admit what the Freep had alleged (that he was there taking attendance). Clearly, he is no genius. Anyhow, the Freep was wrong even when they were right -- Herron appears to have been further off the reservation than what they alleged.

[It's a very good sign for Rich that the single most troubling allegation is focused on one dumb-ass coach who crossed an obvious line. If it were a wider problem, then all the graduate assistants would be listed, like in the quality-control allegation. They are not. Thus, the other graduate assistants knew where the line was and did not cross it.]

JeffB

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:15 PM ^

I do wonder what this means for the compliance department. Not knowing the rules on the voluntary time (10 hours versus 8, and as MABW said above, that's really consistent) or the use of QC personnel. I could see a big reorg of the compliance department, and maybe moving offices and such so there's less "pressure" from coaches that happen to be around.

Given the questions about the QC personnel having training or strength/conditioning experience or not, I could also see that being a new "requirement" for the QC personnel. I could also see a reduction in those people going forward as a self-imposed penalty.

Jeff

sparty2219

February 23rd, 2010 at 9:04 PM ^

Again, I state that it is not the compliance department's fault. I, as a former NCAA athlete, know that the coaches know the rules! They are the same rules through out all of the NCAA colleges...mandatory hours and non-mandatory workouts. They know darn well that you cannot have a coach in the weight room during the non-mandatory workouts, and that includes their BRIGHT quality control personnel. I am sure that the QC personnel as well as the coaching staff plead ignorance...even trickery to talk someone into believing that it's OK. Like I said...R$CHROB knows how many hours he can practice. How long has he been a coach for????

Mountaineers Fanatic

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:23 PM ^

Let's see...UM is guilty of practicing up to 2hrs a week more than allowed, that is 24 extra minutes a day. Some of that time was coaches watching athletes stretch before practice and some of it was watching them run extra (on their own) after practice. Next UM is guilty of wanting their players to attend class during the off-season and making those players run for not doing so. Yeah, that sounds like a major violation to me.
The FP has outdone themselves again. Why didn't they publish the actually numbers involved? Probably because those numbers are no where near the numbers they initially reported and they would look like fools if anyone actually knew what they initially stated. Here's the deal, UM will turn into the NCAA their plans so this doesn't happen again and this whole thing will be put behind us...WITH NO SANCTIONS or PROBABTION!!!
Sorry FP, maybe next time. I'm sure you guys will come up with something else to pin on RR and UM

FreetheFabFive

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:29 PM ^

All I have to say is if USC is handed with sanctions on par or anything less than what Michigan is handed, I'll be the first one in line to buy a pitchfork.

It's amazing to me that the NCAA can be so harsh about violations pertaining to football techniques and missing classes, yet Mayo, McKnight, and Bush all have documented "gifts" and nothing has yet to come of it. Bush left four years ago! It's going to take less than a year for this news to break and for Michigan to get sanctions handed against them. You mean to tell me that these allegations are more serious than USC? Give me a break.

SpartanDan

February 23rd, 2010 at 6:16 PM ^

The Bush allegations evolved into a hotly contested legal battle, while U of M has complied with the NCAA investigation at every turn, in order to reach a mutual resolution.

Moral: Don't comply with the NCAA investigators, and if you get hit with anything it will be a decade after the fact.

What a screwed-up system.

Blue boy johnson

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:37 PM ^

I agree with Misopogon, I don't see a whole lot of violating going on.
What I am most pissed about is the overseers at voluntary workouts, don't know if other programs do likewise but it really is too anal. Damn back-off a bit, and it is not like the overseers were doing exemplary coaching anyway.

Wolverine90

February 23rd, 2010 at 6:34 PM ^

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. It's expect that our rivals and their fans blow this minor epdisode out of proportion for their own mirth, but the way I see it, the ensuing circus shall serve as another point around which our boys will rally this year. Us against the world baby! GO BLUE. I just hope Gerg has the D ready.

AlwaysBlue

February 23rd, 2010 at 5:36 PM ^

I don't know how anybody can read through that document and conclude that this was the result of a rogue staff member or a few minor errors. I read it and see an athletic department that had questions about the quality control staff and didn't follow up. I see the strength and conditioning staff failed to comply with requests from the compliance department. I see a coach charged with failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance and failure to monitor.

I haven't read a lot of these sorts of documents so I don't have the benefit of that perspective. To my eye though it seems that Michigan had the right framework in place to catch these issues and then sat by and failed to enforce. That's a pretty sad state of affairs.

mi93

February 23rd, 2010 at 5:50 PM ^

...it seems these each would likely qualify as secondary violations, but the collection of them may be deemed as a major violation.

Anyone here think the USC story will be as openly discussed? I'm working in LA and ESPN is the only coverage I've seen (though I work 16 hours / day and clearly no longer trust print media).

UMMAN83

February 23rd, 2010 at 6:42 PM ^

allegations, the image of our FB HC, President, and future AD today speaking about this is pitiful and an embarrassment. Enough said. Brandon has his job cut out for him. I have great faith in him.

ijohnb

February 23rd, 2010 at 6:49 PM ^

the difference between a major violation and a minor violation (infraction, etc.) is not necessary a bright line-type of conduct distinction as much as it is a cummulative "big picture" kind of analysis, including, what measures are taken to prevent future acts, intent, and other mitigating/aggravating factors.

What is quite clear is that this was not a nothing, completely contrived and altogether exaggerated accusation(s). But the saving grace, is that these were the kind of acts that don't trample on the "integrity" of college football and violate the spirit of amatuer athetics. They are violations, no doubt, and it is quite clear that there will be consequences, but were not talking Ed Martin here.

On the other hand, the most surprising development of the day was an affirmative, outward and directed vote of support to Rich Rod. Read the dates on this boys and girls, these charges begin on about RR's first day on the job, and much of the findings are regarding areas of the job where he should maintain hands on control. I am very excited about the product that Rich is going to put on the field soon and do support him, but after reading this thing beginning to end, Coach Rod is getting a firm "talkin to" right about now. The leash has gotten very short for sure.

dennisblundon

February 23rd, 2010 at 6:53 PM ^

As someone who played college football I can assure you that this goes on everywhere and at every level. The only difference is that other programs were never called out on it so nobody asked any questions. I couldnt tell you how many hours I practiced in any given week through out my entire career let alone be able to recall that yes practice did in fact run over 20 minutes.

wiscwood

February 23rd, 2010 at 10:55 PM ^

I think Michigan has much more integrity than USC. The rules are the rules. Michigan decided to face their demons. USC has put halos on their demons. It may hurt now, but it is still great to be a Michigan Wolverine. SC will go down in flames when they get their allegations are confimed.

joeburner82

February 24th, 2010 at 12:49 AM ^

Recently, Florida State got into a little trouble with academic fraud and fieldedineligible players, which is considered to be much worse than the potential Michigan violations. As a result, the football program had to vacate wins, lose scholarships, and be put on probation. However, Florida State did not get a post season ban!

What does this mean for Michigan if found guilty of the violations?

Logic suggests:
1. They will probably be put on probation...whatever.
2. Florida State only lost 6 scholarships over a three year period as a result of ACADEMIC FRAUD! Therefore, if Michigan loses scholarships, it has to be less than 6.
3. There is no way Michigan will have a postseason ban.
4. Hopefully, this will result in a slap on the wrist and nothing worse.

If the NCAA punishes Michigan like Flordia State or worse...I will have Johnny sweep the legs of the commitee!

bronxblue

February 24th, 2010 at 12:21 PM ^

I largely agree that in a logical world, UM would be given a slap on the wrist and told to learn the rulebook. But as we've seen, sometimes the NCAA wants to make an "example" of a team, and they basically have UM and USC in their cross-hairs. It is very possible that they'll overreact to UM and under-react to USC, and I'm worried that could lead to a particularly onerous probation period or even a ban for a postseason. I gave up hoping the NCAA would respond normally with FSU's academic fraud and taking this long to really address the potential USC violations.