Michigan to meet NCAA over allegations (AP)

Aug 13th, 2010 | By sportsnews | Category: Sports

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP)—Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez concedes he is nervous
about this weekend’s hearing with the NCAA.

He’s not alone.

On Saturday, Rodriguez will join university president Mary Sue Coleman and
athletic director Dave Brandon in Seattle for the meeting with NCAA officials.

The NCAA has accused Michigan of five major rules violations related to
practices and workouts. School officials plan to challenge the allegation that
Rodriguez failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance but accept
responsibility for the other four allegations.

“We’re all anxious,” Rodriguez said Thursday night. “Everybody involved
in the process—the school administration, the coaches, the players—we’re all
looking forward to having this next process, which is this weekend, completed.
Then when the committee finishes with their conclusion, ending that whole
thing.”

Rodriguez led the Wolverines in a practice Friday, trying to keep the focus
on the field as college football’s winningest program prepares for the season
opener at home against Connecticut on Sept. 4.

Michigan captain Steve Schilling said the team won’t be distracted by
Rodriguez’s departure for the NCAA hearing.

“He’s not going to have to miss any practice time, so that won’t affect
us,” Schilling said. “Most of the guys by now have forgotten about that or put
it on the back burner. It’s been going on for so long, and it’s coming to an
end.”

The problems started nearly a year ago when the Detroit Free Press reported
that the Rodriguez-led program was exceeding NCAA limits on practice and
training time, leading to school and NCAA investigations.

The school admitted in May it was guilty of four violations. It reprimanded
Rodriguez and six other people and announced self-imposed sanctions, including
two years of probation. Michigan also said it would cut back practice and
training time by 130 hours over two years, double the amount of time it exceeded
NCAA rules.

It also trimmed the number of assistants—the so-called quality-control
staff—from five to three and banned them from practices, games or coaching
meetings for the rest of 2010.

Michigan hopes the NCAA agrees the school punished itself enough and agrees
with its defense of its embattled coach, who is 8-16 in two disappointing
seasons.

The school had a mock hearing to get prepared for the private session at a
Seattle hotel with the NCAA infractions committee. It expects to spend much of
the hearing defending the allegation against the coach.

After the hearing, Michigan will likely have to wait six to eight weeks to
have the case closed—barring an appeal.

Rodriguez had his team practice in pads for the first time this season
Friday morning, gave players Saturday off, and scheduled two workouts for
Sunday.

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