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Michigan forfeit a possibility

October 1, 2007
By Cory Giger,
Penn State couldn’t beat Michigan on the field nine days ago, but there’s a chance the Nittany Lions could get a forfeited victory because the Wolverines used an ineligible player.

Michigan claims it misinterpreted an eligibility rule concerning freshman defensive back Artis Chambers, who played in the Wolverines’ first four games, including their 14-9 win over Penn State.

Michigan informed the Big Ten of the rules violation on Thursday, and the conference is reviewing the matter. The situation reportedly was not an NCAA infraction, but it did violate Big Ten eligibility rules.

It will be up to the conference, therefore, to determine what kind of punishment to levy on Michigan.

‘‘I can confirm that forfeiture is an option,’’ Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman told The Detroit News.

Since the Penn State game is the only Big Ten contest Chambers participated in, that’s the only game the Wolverines could have to forfeit.

‘‘We’ll have to wait to see what the Big Ten says,’’ Michigan athletic director Bill Martin told The Detroit News. ‘‘I can’t rule anything out at this point.’’

Martin also said the error was the athletic department’s fault rather than coach Lloyd Carr’s.

If Michigan has to forfeit the win to Penn State, it could have huge ramifications on the Lions’ season. They are 0-2 in the Big Ten and seemingly out of the running for the regular-season conference title, but a forfeited victory would make them 1-1 and back in the hunt.

That scenario could be worth millions of dollars, too, if Penn State were to go on and win the conference with the help of the forfeit and receive a BCS bowl bid.

Chipman said the Big Ten will not comment on specifics of the case until its review is completed.

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