Minnesota head football coach P.J. Fleck is under investigation for a potential violation of NCAA rules, according to a report.
The reports state that, Western Michigan officials contacted Minnesota with concerns about Fleck's alleged contact with current Western Michigan football players, as well as linebacker Robert Spillane, who was granted a release from the program on Monday. The report also stated that the University of Minnesota began an investigation into the matter on Tuesday, and that officials checked the phones of Fleck and members of his coaching staff.
NCAA rules prohibit any contact between a coach and a player from another school without prior written approval from the student-athletes' home school.
Spillane released a statement via Twitter on Wednesday, saying,
"After much consideration, I obtained a full release from WMU Broncos football and am enthusiastically pursuing alternative academic/football opportunities. Contrary to media reports this decision has nothing to do with PJ Fleck or the University of Minnesota. I want to say thank you to all the coaches, family, administration and fans who have helped me along the way to grow into the man I am today. Most of all I want to thank my teammates who have given me such an amazing experience while I was at Western, I will be cheering you on harder than anyone next year. I am truly excited for what my future holds."
The 36-year old Fleck spent four seasons at Western Michigan, posting a 30-22 record, including a 13-1 mark and berth in the Cotton Bowl Classic in 2016. After paying Western Michigan $600,000 to buy out his contract, he signed a five-year, $18-million contract with Minnesota. He was replaced by former Purdue Offensive Coordinator Tim Lester, who played quarterback at Western Michigan (1996-99).
After Fleck was hired by Minnesota, as many as 10 former verbal commits to Western Michigan switched to the Gophers.