Griz Club Reacts To UM's Decision Against Penalty Reduction - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Griz Club Reacts To UM's Decision Against Penalty Reduction

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MISSOULA - The University of Montana rejects an appeal of the self-imposed sanctions on the Montana Grizzlies football team. President Royce Engstrom's decision against lifting sanctions comes after more than 500 Griz fans signed a petition that said the penalties for reported NCAA violations are over the top.

Engstrom made the decision after a lot of time and consideration.

"Really it's based on talking to other people and advice from a law firm that specializes in NCAA cases," said Peggy Kuhr, UM's Vice President for Integrated Communications.

The penalties were put in place after a NCAA investigation revealed coaches allowed boosters to give free legal representation, meals and other benefits, along with other violations.

"You negotiate your own penalties, so in a sense, we designated our own penalties," Kuhr said.

A three-year probationary period for Griz football, includes vacating five wins from the 2011 football season, and the loss of four scholarships.

After Griz fans signed a petition asking the university to seek reductions to the penalties, Engstrom asked a legal firm for advice.

"They came back and said your penalties are not extraordinary, they're very much in the realm of where they should be. They said an appeal would not be worth the university's time or money," Kuhr said.

Earlier this week Engstrom met with the Grizzly Quarterback Club, the group calling for reductions, to inform it of his decision.

"We're appreciative that the president took it seriously. He did seek out a second opinion, and he met with us in person," said Brint Wahlberg, a member of the club.

Wahlberg said he respects the president's decision.

"I think they have good background and legal opinion on this, so we're ready to move on, move forward and hope for better days for the Griz ahead," Wahlberg said.

University officials say UM is ready to move on too.

"We're under a three year probation period, we agreed to the sanctions and we'll continue to function," Kuhr said.

The law firm President Royce Engstrom spoke with is located in Kansas City, and was recommended to him by UM boosters.

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