Michigan pleads its case with NCAA

SEATTLE — Rich Rodriguez walked briskly toward the escalator, ready to get out of the hotel ballroom and on a plane to Michigan.

"Certainly glad this part of the process is over," Michigan's football coach said in his only comment Saturday after a 7½-hour hearing before the NCAA committee on infractions.

Rodriguez, athletic director David Brandon and school president Mary Sue Coleman were among those who were holed up in a hotel defending themselves against NCAA claims that Rodriguez failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program.

"We had a very fair and thorough hearing, and we feel good about the fact we were given that opportunity," Brandon said. "And the process will continue and under the rules based on the process as it's been laid out, we're going to be very quiet. We're going to go back, we're going to prepare for a great season, we're going to get focused on football and let the NCAA do their work."

Brandon, Rodriguez and Coleman arrived early, followed by as many as 12 boxes of material being brought into the hearing.

"When you have never done something before, you never know what it's going to be like," Brandon said. "We were very well prepared. … We went in there with a lot of confidence and a clear understanding of what our objectives were."

The NCAA has accused Michigan of five major rules violations related to practices and workouts. The allegations came after a Detroit Free Press report that led to investigations by the school and the NCAA.

The school admitted in May it was guilty of four violations, but it spent Saturday challenging the allegation that Rodriguez failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance.

Michigan will likely have to wait 6-8 weeks to have the case closed — barring an appeal.

When it admitted guilt in May, the school imposed its own punishments. 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. Rodriguez is 8-16 in two disappointing seasons.

Clemson: Quarterback Kyle Parker, a first-round draft pick of the Rockies who faces a Monday deadline to sign a baseball contract, threw for 170 yards and three touchdowns in a scrimmage. Two scoring passes went to tailback Andre Ellington and one to Marquan Jones.

Kentucky: Coach Joker Phillips said starting quarterback candidates Mike Hartline, Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski all showed flashes during a scrimmage, but all three committed blunders. Phillips blamed most of the miscues on a lack of timing, something he hopes will improve throughout camp. Hartline was named the starter when camp began, but Phillips said he won't make a final decision for another week.

LSU: Starting linebacker Ryan Baker broke his jaw in a practice collision with a teammate and likely will miss the Sept. 4 opener against North Carolina, the Shreveport Times reported. Coach Les Miles said Baker could miss up to six weeks and will likely will be replaced by freshman redshirt Kevin Minter.

Notre Dame: First-year coach Brian Kelly, said he was impressed during Saturday's scrimmage with the play of backup tight end Tyler Eifert and the progress of starting quarterback Dayne Crist. He also liked the play of freshman quarterback Tommy Rees, who is battling Nate Montana for the backup role behind Crist.

Michigan pleads its case with NCAA 08/14/10 [Last modified: Saturday, August 14, 2010 11:54pm]

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