Michigan's date with the NCAA Committee on Infractions has finally arrived, as head football coach Rich Rodriguez and other officials from the school are in Seattle as we speak to meet about the alleged violations resulting from "practicegate." AnnArbor.com's Michael Rothstein set the scene for us in an article from earlier today.
Among the Michigan contingent spotted entering the room were Brandon, Coleman, Rodriguez, faculty representative Percy Bates, Michigan strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis, aide Scott Draper and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.
Also in attendance was Alex Herron, the former graduate assistant accused of lying to NCAA investigators.
The NCAA Committee on Infractions meeting room, in the Grand I ballroom on the fourth floor of the Westin, was adjacent to a meeting about diabetes. The breakfast room on the third floor, in the Whidbey room, was next to an oncology conference.
Inside the room, four sides were set up, each with white tablecloths, black microphones and small placards with each person’s name written in large, black lettering.
Also in the room are "at least" 12 boxes of things, some of which are labeled as "UM exhibits." In those boxes are undoubtedly documents that will be discussed during the meeting today, as Michigan is in Seattle to essentially face the music on five charges the NCAA previously alleged.
Four of those charges -- voluntary offseason workouts were regularly monitored by quality-control staff members, practice limits were exceeded, the aforementioned Alex Herron lied to NCAA investigators and the athletic department did not "adequately monitor its football program to assure" that it was in NCAA compliance -- have already been admitted to by Michigan.
The one charge Michigan is expected to contest is that Rich Rodriguez "failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance." The interesting thing about this charge is that the same allegation, as well as others similar to the Michigan case, came about from an NCAA investigation into West Virginia's football program. Rich Rodriguez already released a statement about the allegations from his days at WVU, but I'm sure he will face questions about them today in Seattle.
As soon as the meeting today is done, Rodriguez and the rest of the Michigan contingent will return to Ann Arbor. For Rodriguez, he will have the rest of the day to get ready for Sunday's practices, as there is no practice today because of this meeting.