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Michigan nearing end of practice reductions

CHICAGO -- Michigan is eager to put its recent NCAA punishment behind it.

So eager are the Wolverines that they have decided to take some more of the bitter medicine now so it hurts a little less later.

Athletic director Dave Brandon said on Monday at the Big Ten spring meetings that the program has completed the majority of its most serious sanction: the reduction of football practice time. In November, the NCAA's Committee on Infractions slapped the Wolverines with major violations regarding practice policies and the use of staff members under former coach Rich Rodriguez. As part of the penalties, the NCAA accepted Michigan's self-imposed sanction of reducing practice by 130 hours before the end of the 2011-12 school year.

In anticipation of the penalties, the Wolverines began cutting their practice hours in the 2010 season.

"We haven't been releasing it about hour-by-hour," Brandon said. "But we've been recording it hour-by-hour. We're about two-thirds of the way through that. We've accelerated the process of where we need to be at this point."

Giving back two-thirds of the allotted time means the Wolverines have missed more than 85 hours of practice since fall camp started in 2010. It was unclear how much of that missed time occurred during last season and how much, if any, was reduced during this year's spring practice under new head coach Brady Hoke.

Either way, Brandon indicated that Michigan would be back to normal quickly in Hoke's tenure.

"We're well ahead, and we will have given back all of those hours well before [2012]," Brandon said.

Still, Brandon said the sanctions will have left their mark on the program.

"Our football team has practiced less than our competitors, and practice is one of the things you rely on to get better," he said. "So to a certain extent, we're at a competitive disadvantage. We had real, tangible penalties to deal with, and we are still dealing with them."