It looks like Minnesota's new football coach did in fact break an NCAA rule, although it doesn't appear to be nefarious as once believed.
According to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota athletics department spokesman Jake Ricker has confirmed that the school plans to self-report a minor NCAA violation involving Fleck's contact with one of his former Western Michigan players.
Reports surfaced last week that Western Michigan had contacted Minnesota with concerns that Fleck had been in contact with some Broncos players who he had previously coached, leading to an investigation. This came on the heels of junior linebacker Robert Spillane's decision to transfer to another program, although Spillane offered a statement on Twitter that his desire to leave Kalamazoo had "nothing to do with PJ Fleck or the University of Minnesota."
NCAA rules prohibit any contact between a coach and a player from another school without prior written approval from the student-athletes' home school.
Minnesota Athletic Director Mark Coyle told reporter John Shipley of the Saint Paul Pioneer Press that he had spoken with Western Michigan Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard and, "reassured her we are not recruiting students from Western Michigan.”
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Nick Buckley can be reached at email@example.com or 269-966-0652. Follow him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley
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