ANN ARBOR, Michigan - The University of Michigan yesterday admitted to a series of violations in its storied football program but insisted the problems related to practice time and the activities of graduate assistants were not enough to warrant major punishment from the NCAA.
Michigan released over 150 pages detailing its investigation and self-imposed sanctions it hopes will satisfy the NCAA, which governs collegiate athletics. NCAA staff will hold a hearing on the case in August. A final decision on penalties could take months.
The self-imposed sanctions included a recommendation for two years of probation for the NCAA's winningest football program, which has fallen to 8-16 in two seasons under coach Rich Rodriguez. The school also said seven people, including Rodriguez, had been reprimanded and another was fired.
The school said it should not be tagged as a repeat offender despite a 2003 scandal in the basketball program - a key argument, since the designation would almost certainly mean harsher penalties from the NCAA.
"We're imposing on ourselves what we believe are corrective actions," athletic director David Brandon said in an interview with The Associated Press.
A spokeswoman from the NCAA did not immediately return a message yesterday.
Michigan said it will cut back practice and training time by 130 hours over the next two years, starting this summer. 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.
The violations came to light last fall during a second straight losing season for Rodriguez, who will return for his third season at Michigan this fall. Anonymous players told the Detroit Free Press that they were exceeding NCAA limits on practice and training time, prompting school and NCAA investigations.
The NCAA has outlined five potentially major rules violations, all related to practices and workouts. It accused Rodriguez of failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program - a charge Michigan vehemently denied even as it acknowledged an overall failure by the athletic department.
"We think that is overly harsh," Brandon said.
Brandon said the school decided not to take away scholarships or eliminate coaching positions.
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