The University of Minnesota is planning to self-report a minor NCAA violation related to P.J. Fleck's contact with one of his former players, athletics department spokesman Jake Ricker confirmed Tuesday.

Athletic director Mark Coyle has spoken with Western Michigan AD Kathy Beauregard to reassure her that Fleck isn't recruiting his former players, Ricker confirmed.

"From my understanding, even if a coach sends a former student-athlete a text that even says 'happy birthday,' that's a violation," Coyle told the St. Paul Pioneer Press, which first reported news of the minor violation.

Ricker said Coyle would have no further comment.

Last week, Western Michigan granted standout linebacker Robert Spillane his release to transfer another school. Reports surfaced that Fleck had been in contact with Spillane and other former players.

Spillane tweeted "contrary to media reports" his decision to get his release from the school "has nothing to do with P.J. Fleck or the University of Minnesota."

Appeal sidelines Winfield

The woman involved in an alleged September sexual assault by several players has appealed a university panel's decision to clear Gophers safety Antoine Winfield Jr., his attorney Ryan Pacyga confirmed.

The woman also appealed the panel's decision to clear Gophers running back Kobe McCrary, according to his attorney, Lee Hutton.

Winfield and McCrary did not take part the team's first team practice Tuesday and will remain out at least until University provost Karen Hanson rules on the appeals. Hanson is expected to make her ruling by March 19, Pacyga said.

"I believe in the defense we put forth," Pacyga said. "The panel unanimously cleared [Winfield] on every allegation. It's my hopes that the provost will see it that way, but I don't want to comment more than that right now."

The Gophers have practice Thursday but won't practice again until March 21 because of spring break. News of the latest appeal was first reported by KSTP-TV.

Winfield and McCrary originally were handed a one-year suspensions, but they appealed, and a University panel cleared them of that punishment in February.

Besides Winfield and McCrary, the panel cleared Seth Green, Kobe McCrary of their one-year suspensions and cleared Antonio Shenault of probation.

That panel upheld the recommended expulsions for four other players — KiAnte Hardin, Ray Buford, Dior Johnson and Tamarion Johnson.

The panel lowered Carlton Djam's recommended punishment from expulsion to a one-year suspension, and upheld the one-year suspension for Mark Williams.