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West Virginia football team gets probation

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By The Associated Press
Saturday, July 9, 2011

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The NCAA said Friday it has accepted West Virginia's self-imposed sanctions that include two years' probation for major rules violations under former coaches Rich Rodriguez and Bill Stewart.

The report by the NCAA infractions committee said three failure-to-monitor violations occurred involving out-of-season coaching and the use of non-coaching staff to work with players.

Under the sanctions released Friday, the Mountaineers will lose a scholarship for the upcoming season and have recruiting restrictions and staff reductions. The probation doesn't include postseason play.

"I am pleased that the Committee accepted the self-imposed penalties the University proposed, without imposing any additional ones," West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck said in a statement. "The University has already taken corrective action and put new systems in place to address all the issues raised."

The infractions committee didn't decide the Mountaineers failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance with NCAA rules, an initial allegation made by the NCAA last year. Rodriguez avoided the same finding during an earlier, separate investigation at Michigan, which in May 2010 admitted it had committed a series of violations related to practice time and coaching activities. Michigan fired Rodriguez in January.

The case was resolved through the summary disposition process instead of a formal hearing.

The NCAA said WVU exceeded coaching staff limits when it allowed staff members, graduate assistants and a student assistant coach to participate in coaching activities both on and off the field. That included five video graduate assistants who monitored or conducted skills-development drills and attended position meetings where they worked directly with coaches.

"Their participation qualified them as countable coaches and the program therefore exceeded its allowable number of coaches," the NCAA said.

That led to the failure-to-monitor violations levied against Rodriguez, Stewart and the school.

Rodriguez and Stewart have acknowledged failing to adequately monitor the duties and activities of the staffers involved, and WVU also acknowledged failing to properly monitor the activities of Rodriguez, Stewart and their staffs, the NCAA said.

The probation involves the 2011 and 2012 season and will end in July 2013.

Luck took over as athletic director in July 2010 and was on the job a month when the initial NCAA infractions were made.

"We have taken this case very seriously from the beginning and, as we've said, will move forward with a complete commitment to compliance in all that we do," Luck said.

Rodriguez led West Virginia, his alma mater, to two Bowl Championship Series berths and a 60-26 record in seven seasons before taking over at Michigan in December 2007. He left West Virginia two weeks after the Mountaineers lost to Pittsburgh in the 2007 regular-season finale and failed to secure a spot in the national championship game.

Stewart was named head coach after leading the Mountaineers to the Fiesta Bowl win after the 2007 season as interim coach.

Stewart went 28-12 in three seasons at WVU but failed to earn a Bowl Championship Series berth. He agreed to resign June 10 and was replaced by coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen.

Additional Information:

West Virginia penalties

The NCAA handed down penalties against the Mountaineers football program Friday. Among them:

>> Probation from July 8, 2011, through July 7, 2013.

>> Reducing by two the football scholarships awarded during the 2010-11 academic year; the program loses one scholarship for 2011-12.

>> Eliminating of two noncoaching graduate assistant positions.

>> Eliminating one off-campus recruiter for the 2011 spring recruiting period.

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