NCAA Accuses WVU of 5 Major Football Violations

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- The NCAA has accused West Virginia's football program of five major and one secondary rules violations from 2005 to 2009, including under former coach Rich Rodriguez.

The allegations released Thursday allege student managers, graduate assistants and others worked with football players on their skills and techniques in violation of NCAA limits. The alleged violations occurred during both under Rodriguez and current coach Bill Stewart.

The allegations say both Rodriguez and Stewart failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance. The NCAA made similar accusations against Rodriguez during an earlier, separate investigation at Michigan.

West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck says WVU has fully cooperated with the NCAA.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck says an NCAA investigation into the Mountaineers' football program focuses on the activities of student managers, graduate assistants and other non-coaching staff.

Luck said in a statement Thursday the investigation focuses on activities from 2005 to 2009. He declined to be more specific.

Bill Stewart became the West Virginia head football coach in 2008, taking over for Rich Rodriguez, who left for Michigan after the 2007 season. Under Rodriguez, the Wolverines are being investigated by the NCAA for five potentially major rules violations, including those limiting the time spent on practice and football-related activities.

Luck says WVU has reduced its graduate assistant and non-coaching staff and restructured the student manager program.

WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck’s Statement on NCAA Football Inquiry
West Virginia University has a long history of athletic success on the field and in the classroom. We are proud of these accomplishments, and we take our responsibility to our student-athletes and fans very seriously.

NCAA compliance is essential to our athletic success. Our commitment to rules compliance is clear: Nothing short of perfection is acceptable. If we fall short of that standard, in any way, we will acknowledge it and remedy it.

As you recall, this past April, the University issued a statement acknowledging that the NCAA enforcement staff visited campus, conducted interviews and reviewed information.

And, for the past nine months, we have fully cooperated with the NCAA in the identification of potential rules violations in the football program.

This has been a thorough process. President James P. Clements initiated the University’s assistance through the General Counsel’s Office, ensuring full access and institutional cooperation. The NCAA enforcement staff interviewed more than 80 people.

Now, the inquiry is nearly complete. And, as part of the process, yesterday afternoon, West Virginia University received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, which we are providing to the public. The allegations focus primarily on the activities and roles of graduate assistants, student managers and other non-coaching staff in the football program -- from 2005 to 2009.

Because of our strong commitment to compliance, we implemented significant changes intended to ensure that those mistakes did not continue, and that they will not happen again.

This past spring, we developed new job descriptions and employment agreements which clearly detail permissible and non permissible activities for graduate assistants and other sport-specific personnel. In addition, we have expanded rules education and monitoring programs.

We have also reduced the number of football graduate assistant positions, restricted the duties of graduate assistants and non-coaching personnel, and restructured the student manager program. We may take additional actions.

We will carefully review the NCAA allegations and will prepare a response to each allegation by the requested date. We are eager to resolve this and move forward.

West Virginia University has always prided itself on its commitment to compliance. We take this responsibility very seriously. I know that our coaches and staff are fully supportive of these obligations.

I have spoken at length to Coach Bill Stewart and his staff and I am convinced that they believe in operating a fully-compliant football program. Coach Stewart and his coaches have my full support, the full support of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the full support of the University.

I would like to stress that because this is an ongoing inquiry, it is not appropriate to further discuss the specifics of the allegations or any potential institutional actions. As a result, we can not comment further regarding the inquiry.

Finally, let me say this: As Mountaineers it is in our DNA – in our very nature -- to stand strong, to stand together, and to stand firm when we face challenges – whether on the field or off. As we approach the coming season, let us do so with pride in our University, passion in our football team and persistence in our mission. And, most importantly, let us stand together with our Mountaineers.

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