UM sued, saying closed regents meeting broke law

By David N. Goodman

Associated Press Writer

DETROIT (AP) -- A lawsuit claims the University of Michigan regents violated the state Open Meetings Act by holding a closed-door meeting and asks the university to release minutes from the session.

University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham said the regents acted appropriately when they met in closed session Feb. 3 in Ann Arbor.

The regents used at least part of the meeting to discuss an NCAA investigation of the football program, according to a person familiar with the session. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity at the time because the school was not disclosing any details of the meeting.

Highland Park school board member and Michigan alumnus Robert Davis has sued in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, calling the meeting a violation of state law. The Open Meetings Act allows public agencies to hold closed meetings under specific circumstances, such as to consider litigation.

Cunningham said last Friday that she was aware the lawsuit had been filed, but that university lawyers hadn't yet been served with it.

The university and the NCAA are looking into allegations raised last fall that players practiced or spent time on football-related activities beyond what is allowed by the NCAA.

Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez has said he did not know details of the regents' meeting. "I'm sure I'll know in due time," Rodriguez said on Feb. 3.

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman said recently that she didn't know the NCAA's timetable for notifying the school what alleged violations, if any, were uncovered in the investigation.

Rodriguez's team is coming off a 5-7 season that started 4-0. Near the end of the second consecutive disappointing season for the Wolverines, the school released embarrassing details of an internal audit that discovered Rodriguez's team failed to file forms tracking how much time players spent on football during his first season and the following offseason.

The NCAA sent Coleman a notice of inquiry in October, saying it planned to complete its investigation by Dec. 31. An e-mail was sent to the NCAA last Friday seeking comment.

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AP Sports Writer Larry Lage contributed to this report.

Published: Tue, Feb 23, 2010

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