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Published: Tuesday, 10/27/2009

NCAA will further investigate UM

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

ANN ARBOR - The NCAA has determined enough "reasonably reliable information has been obtained" to further investigate whether University of Michigan football players worked overtime against their will.

UM President Mary Sue Coleman yesterday received a notice of inquiry from the NCAA and in it the governing body of college athletics indicated it will proceed in its probing into whether the football program and coach Rich Rodriguez violated numerous NCAA rules by conducting mandatory team activities beyond hourly thresholds.

A copy of the notice was not immediately available when requested by The Blade yesterday afternoon. A notice of inquiry is not served to a university unless there is "reasonable cause to believe that the institution may have violated NCAA rules," according to information provided on the NCAA's Web site. An enforcement staff will now determine whether information obtained during the investigation is credible.

The university released a statement regarding the matter hours after Rodriguez met with media members for a scheduled weekly press conference.

"As I said at the onset of this review, we place the highest importance on the well-being of our student-athletes and the integrity of our program," Coleman said in a statement. "We continue to work with the NCAA to ensure that a thorough and objective investigation occurs."

The Detroit Free Press published a report in August citing several current and former members of the team who indicated Rodriguez did not adhere to NCAA rules by working players beyond 20 hours per week and four hours per day. Additional allegations state that members of Rodriguez' staff were present during offseason 7-on-7 drills. Rodriguez has maintained innocence.

An NCAA spokesman declined comment when reached by The Blade.

If the NCAA determines infractions were committed, UM could lose some of its 85 allotted scholarships. Ironically, Rodriguez said yesterday he intends to sign 25 student-athletes - the maximum number allowed - to letters of intent in February.

"We continue to cooperate with the NCAA on this matter, which is why we reached out to both the Big Ten and the NCAA as soon as we heard the allegations," UM Director of Athletics Bill Martin said in a statement.

"We remain committed to following both the letter and the intent of the NCAA rules."

MOLK DONE: Center David Molk suffered an ACL tear Saturday against Penn State and will miss the remainder of the season, Rodriguez said.

Molk soon will undergo surgery and is not expected to report for spring practice. He will be active by the summer if rehab goes as planned.

Molk attempted to play after suffering the injury on a non-contact play during the first drive of the game but ultimately gave in. He missed the previous four games recovering from a broken foot suffered against Eastern Michigan. Rodriguez said the ACL tear is not a function of Molk overcompensating for the broken foot.

"I think the biggest thing with [Molk] is he feels strongly that he wishes he could be there for the team," said Molk's roommate, defensive tackle Ryan Van Bergen. "It's not an individual thing for him which is why the coaches and everybody loves him so much."

David Moosman will start at center Saturday at Illinois (1-6, 0-5 in Big Ten).

MORE INJURIES: Rodriguez said Martavious Odoms (knee; not torn), Junior Hemingway (bruised knee) and Brandon Minor (heal) are "day-to-day." Minor has been hindered with an ankle injury since camp.

Additionally, Donovan Warren has a sore ankle which is not related to his inadvertent collision with Hemingway on a punt return Saturday.

SHORT YARDS: The Nov. 7 home game versus Purdue will begin at noon and will be aired on the Big Ten Network. … Rodriguez said walk-on safety Jordan Kovacs, a Clay product, will receive a scholarship when one is made available. … Rodriguez, Van Bergen and Troy Woolfolk all disregarded comments made by Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark after Saturday's game that Wolverine defenders were routinely misaligned.

Contact Ryan Autullo

at: rautullo@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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