The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee”) recently issued its findings and found that the University of Michigan (“Michigan”) committed major violations of NCAA legislation. The case relates to violations of playing and practice season limitations, exceeding limitations on the number of coaches, failure to monitor by Michigan and the head football coach, and the unethical conduct of a former graduate assistant coach. After the investigation concluded the case was submitted to the Committee for hearing. The NCAA enforcement staff and Michigan were in substantial agreement as it relates to the violations committed, but disagreed on a charge indicating the head football coach failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance and the institution failed to monitor.
The Committee found that Michigan committed the following violations of NCAA legislation:
1. Exceeding Coaching Staff Limitations in violation of NCAA Bylaws 184.108.40.206.1, 220.127.116.11.1.1, and 18.104.22.168
A. The Committee found that the institution’s football program exceeded the permissible limit on the number of coaches by five (5) when quality control staff members engaged in on- and off-field coaching activities. The Committee provided the following factual explanation for the confirmation of said violations:
i. During the off-season, quality control coaches conducted position-specific drills with student-athletes with the goal of improving technique and developing fundamental football-related skills and instructed the student-athletes on how to perform the drills.
ii. During in-season practices, the quality control coaches provided advice and/or corrections to football student-athletes regarding technique and plays.
iii. Quality control coaches watched game film and practice film with student-athletes and provided advice and/or corrections to the student-athletes pertaining to technique and plays.
iv. Quality control coaches attended meetings involving coaching activities. (The rule has now been changed to all the presence of non-coaching staff members at coaching meetings)
2. Exceeding Playing and Practice Season Limitations in violation of NCAA Bylaws 17.02.1, 17.02.13, 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52.1.1, 184.108.40.206.4, and 17.9.6
A. The Committee found that the institution’s football program violated NCAA legislation governing playing and practice seasons when football staff members 1) monitored and conducted voluntary summer workouts; 2) conducted impermissible activities outside the playing season; 3) required football student-athletes to participate in summer conditioning activities for disciplinary purposes; and 4) exceeded time limits for countable athletically related activities outside of the playing season. The Committee provided the following factual explanation for the confirmation of said violations:
i. Five (5) quality control staff members and others regularly monitored and conducted skill development activities that occurred two (2) days per week during voluntary summer workouts.
ii. The quality control staff members and others were often involved in seven-on-seven summer passing workouts.
iii. Outside of the playing season, offensive and defensive alignments were set up and equipment related to the sport was used.
iv. During voluntary summer workouts, strength and conditioning staff used additional conditioning as punishment for missing class.
v. The football program exceeded the daily and weekly limitations for countable athletically-related activities on multiple occasions.
3. Unethical Conduct in violation of NCAA Bylaws 10.01.1 and 10.1
A. The Committee found that the former graduate assistant provided false and misleading information to the institution and enforcement staff. The former graduate assistant on two (2) separate occasions denied his involvement in any of the alleged violations, which were ultimately recanted at a later date.
4. Failure to Monitor in violation of NCAA Bylaw 2.8.1
A. The Committee found that the head football coach failed to monitor the duties and activities of the quality control staff members, the former graduate assistant coach and a student assistant coach, and the time limits for athletically related activities. The Committee provided the following factual explanation for the confirmation of said violations:
i. The institution’s compliance staff educated the football coaching staff regarding the issues that lead to violations on multiple occasions.
ii. The head football coach agreed he failed to monitor 1) the quality control staff members and others relating to summer and winter workouts; 2) the quality control staff members review of film with student-athletes; and 3) the quality control staff members with respect to attending coaches meetings.
B. The Committee found that the athletics department failed to monitor its football program to assure compliance regarding the limitations on the numbers, duties, and activities of countable football coaches, and time limits for countable athletically related activities. The Committee provided the following factual explanation for the confirmation of said violations:
i. The football staff failed to provide the compliance office with job descriptions and duties for the quality control staff despite the compliance staff’s diligent requests to obtain the same.
ii. The compliance staff reached out to the former director of athletics and senior associate athletics director for help in obtaining job descriptions and duties, but these administrators failed to insist that the football staff immediately comply with the compliance staff’s requests or face sanctions.
As a result of the aforementioned violations, the Committee penalized Michigan as follows:
1. Public reprimand and censure.
2. Three years of probation from November 4, 2010 through November 2, 2013. (Institution proposed two years of probation)
3. The institution will decrease the permitted countable athletically related activity time by 130 hours beginning June 1, 2010 and ending no later than the conclusion of the 2011-2012 academic year. (Self-Imposed)
4. The head football coach shall attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar in 2011.