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Rich Rodriguez says Michigan has followed NCAA rules

The football coach denies allegations from anonymous players and former players who say the team regularly exceeds limits on how much time players can spend on training and practice.

September 01, 2009|staff and wire reports

Michigan football Coach Rich Rodriguez said Monday that his program has abided by NCAA rules, despite allegations from anonymous players and former players who say the team has practiced far beyond the time allowed.

"We know the rules," Rodriguez said, "and we follow the rules."

At a news conference in Ann Arbor, Rodriguez became emotional and had to gather himself several times with glassy eyes as he denied any wrongdoing.

"I guess I'm here to tell you that whatever you've heard or want to believe, the truth is that this coaching staff cares very deeply about the young men in our program," he said.

The school on Sunday opened an investigation into allegations that the football program regularly violates NCAA rules limiting how much time players can spend on training and practice.

The announcement came after a Detroit Free Press article in which players from the 2008 and 2009 teams said the amount of time they spend on football during the season and in the off-season greatly exceeds NCAA limits. The players spoke to the newspaper on condition of anonymity because they feared repercussions from coaches.

Rodriguez suggested the complaints were an attempt to "tear up" the effort to rebuild a program that stumbled to a 3-9 record last season, including a 2-6 mark in the Big Ten Conference. "Nobody on my staff would ever tell a player to miss a class . . . never have, never will," Rodriguez said.

JURISPRUDENCE

Delaware betting limited to parlays

A federal appeals court dealt another body blow to Delaware's plans for a new sports betting lottery, saying it must be limited to parlay bets on professional football games.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals declared last week that Delaware's sports betting plan, which included single-game bets and wagering on a variety of professional and collegiate sports, violated federal law, but it did not expressly say why.

On Monday, the panel outlined its reasoning in a 23-page opinion. The court said it interpreted language that exempted Delaware from a 1992 federal ban on sports gambling -- known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act -- as precluding any type of betting beyond what it had offered in a failed NFL lottery in 1976.

That lottery allowed only parlay bets, which means bettors had to pick the winners of at least three NFL games in a single wager.

A Delaware bankruptcy judge approved Tribune Co.'s request for quick court action on the company's planned sale of the Chicago Cubs.

The family of billionaire Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, has agreed to buy a 95% stake in the team and its Wrigley Field home for $845 million, but the deal must be approved by the bankruptcy court, as well as Major League Baseball.

GYMNASTICS

Liukin won't try out for worlds

Olympic champion Nastia Liukin withdrew her name from consideration for the world gymnastics championships, saying she hasn't had enough time to train. Liukin, only the third U.S. woman to win the Olympic title, has been in high demand for appearances, photo shoots and commercial opportunities since she left Beijing, but the schedule wreaked havoc on her training.

The first of two training camps that will be used to choose the U.S. women's team is next week, and worlds are Oct. 13-18 in London. There is no team competition at this year's worlds, only the all-around and individual events.

Although Liukin said she is going to take a break from the sport -- "I hope to go on vacation, hopefully on an island somewhere" -- she insists she is not retiring.

She plans to return to the gym and still hopes to compete at the London Olympics in 2012. She'd also like to compete at another world championships.

ETC.

NHLPA ousts Kelly as director

Paul Kelly is out as executive director of the NHL Players' Assn., after a review produced a list of issues players had with his leadership.

The union announced at its annual meeting that the executive board "overwhelmingly" voted to remove Kelly, who held the job for less than two years. The executive board is made up of one player from each of the 30 teams.

The union didn't give a specific reason for Kelly's immediate removal.

Emma Laaksonen scored on a power play 2 minutes 10 seconds into the third period to lift Finland to a 3-2 win over the United States in the opening game of the Hockey Canada Cup.

It was the Finnish women's second-ever win over the Americans.

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