Mountaineers’ NCAA Problems a Distraction for Michigan
By Todd Neeley
Is it just me or has the NCAA been on a rampage lately? The chapter is barely finished on the USC saga and now this. The West Virginia football program was hit with five major rules violations and one secondary violation, involving the 2005 to 2009 seasons.
That includes the tenure of now Michigan Head Coach Rich Rodriguez, whose team is entering fall camp following a disappointing season in 2009.
Between 2005 and 2009, West Virginia is accused of allowing non-coaching staff members to conduct drills with players in the spring and summer programs, analyzed video with players, attend meetings with players and offer advice.
Rodriguez said he believed his program was following the rules at the time and that the violations came about because of rules misinterpretation.
“I have always taken compliance seriously and have sincerely felt our program was very open and transparent,” Rodriguez said in a statement from the Michigan athletics communications department. “I regret any mistakes that were made or rules that were misinterpreted. Any errors certainly weren’t made intentionally. I openly discussed my past practices with NCAA investigators and will continue to cooperate fully during this process. I have redoubled efforts with my staff and our compliance team to improve several processes, strengthen communications, and work to ensure these mistakes won’t happen in the future. We have a tremendous program and an exceptional group of student-athletes, and I look forward to an exciting and successful football season.”
Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon said in a statement that he stands behind Rodriguez.
“We’re not part of the inquiry at WVU and we have limited access to the information pertaining to this investigation. We’re certainly paying close attention to the situation, but we all need to let the process – and the facts – unfold before we draw any conclusions. I’m not going to speculate about any aspect of the outcome. I’ve already said Rich is our coach this fall and WVU’s announcement does not change that fact. Our focus is on our program and the start of the football season.”
Hate to say it, but this has just become Michigan’s problem because it’s a huge distraction for the Wolverines at the start of fall camp.
Does this mean Brandon is open to a coaching change in 2011?