Hurry Up And Wait: Michigan Appears Before the NCAA Committee on Infractions

[Ed. Note - As you can see below, Beauford already tackled this. But I'll leave this up anyway.]

Over the last year and change we've been told one consistent thing: "it's going to be a while before we have a final answer to all of this."

On Saturday the University of Michigan, its Athletic Director Dave Brandon, its President Mary Sue Coleman, its Head Football Coach Rich Rodriguez, and a number of members of the athletic department (past and present) met with the NCAA's Committee on Infractions in Seattle to contest the NCAA's allegations against the football program regarding excess practice time. We know it happened because a legion of reporters followed the Michigan contingent to Seattle and camped outside of the meeting area like burnouts waiting for Phish tickets. They sat there speculating about what was going on, remarking about people's clothing, taking photos of the hallway, eating pizza, and basically wasting what has a glorious Saturday afternoon everywhere else in the country... except inside the Seattle Marriot (or whatever chain hotel the NCAA decided to host the Committee meeting in).

As the day went on, nothing really happened. At least nothing really happened within the purview of the reporters. There were several sightings. Rodriguez was wearing a blazer! But now one knows what went on behind those closed doors. When the lengthy hearing concluded, Dave Brandon issued the following statement:

"We feel that the committee gave us a full and fair hearing today.

"Our statements today were similar to those we provided the NCAA earlier this summer. We own the mistakes. We fixed some process and communication problems that caused them. We're keeping a close eye on this so it doesn't happen again.

"I'm proud of the extra effort everyone has been putting into compliance these past several months. Rich and his staff -- in coordination with the compliance group -- have been working together to keep us on the right track.

"We will await the committee's decision and we will not speculate about the outcome -- we must let the process play out. We won't comment further on this matter until after we receive the committee's decision.

"We're going to get back to Michigan now for the start of what we expect will be a great football season."

And that was that.

The only salient points made over the weekend were things we already knew. The University of Michigan did not contest the first four counts of the NCAA's five count memorandum of allegations:

  1. Quality-control staff members regularly monitored voluntary off-season workouts and regularly assisted with on- and off-field coaching duties.
  2. Players were required to participate in more than the maximum allowed practice hours.
  3. Graduate assistant coach Alex Herron provided "false and misleading information" to NCAA enforcement staff.
  4. The athletic department "failed to adequately monitor its football program to assure" NCAA compliance.

 

The only count to be contested at this hearing was the allegation that Rodriguez did not promote an atmosphere of compliance, which both the University and Rodriguez vigorously denied. But, again, these are things we knew months ago. Michigan has already self-imposed penalties, including: two years probation; cutting back practice and training time by 130 hours over the next two years; cutting its quality-control staff from five to three individuals (inlcuding banning them from practices, games or coaching meetings for the rest of the year); and, issuing letters of reprimand to seven members of the athletic department. None of that changed over the weekend.

And, just like before the weekend started, we don't have a clue when this will finally be resolved.

They gave us wide ranges of time," Brandon said. "But that's not for me to announce. That's for them to talk about. I think they give themselves plenty of time because they really are in control now. They're going to take whatever time they need, and we want them to."

So, there really isn't much to report. A hearing was scheduled. A hearing was held. Things occurred. But what actually happened at that hearing is a mystery to everyone who showed up, other than the people who participated and they're not talking. We'll find out what happened eventually, but for now, there's only one thing to do.

Hurry up and wait.

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