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NCAA to Vote on New Enforcement Regime

Chris Lott

Martin Michaelson

16 October 2012
The National Collegiate Athletic Association Board of Directors will vote on October 30, 2012 whether to adopt proposed rules that would revise NCAA’s enforcement regime.  An NCAA working group proposed the rules in August 2012 in response to “recognition by presidential leadership that the values of intercollegiate athletics have become muddied”.

The proposals would among other things:

 (1)  Introduce a multi-level violation structure.  Under the current system, NCAA classifies violations as “major” or “secondary”.  The proposal introduces a four-level violations scheme: 

  Description Examples
Level I Severe breach of conduct Academic fraud; cash payments or benefits to prospective student-athletes
Level II Significant breach of conduct Failure to monitor
Level III Breach of conduct Select violations that create no more than a minimal competitive advantage
Level IV Incidental infractions Technical violations, such as paperwork issues

 (2) Establish penalty guidelines.  Current rules authorize NCAA to impose penalties for major and secondary violations.  The proposed rules introduce penalty guidelines, analogous to federal criminal sentencing guidelines, for Level I and Level II violations.  The guidelines would operate as follows:

  • The NCAA Committee on Infractions determines whether the violation is “aggravated”, “standard”, or “mitigated”, based on the evidence presented. 
  • For each level/degree of violation, a penalty matrix lists core penalties in the areas of competition, financial, scholarship, recruiting, probation, and coaches.   For example, penalty ranges for a Level I aggravated violation are postseason ban (two to four years); fine ($5,000 plus 3-5% of total budget for the sports program); scholarship reductions (25-50%); recruiting restrictions; probation (six to ten years); and suspension and/or show-cause order for the head coach, where applicable.
  • The Committee assigns penalties based on the matrix.  The Committee may deviate from the matrix in extenuating circumstances.

(3) Modify the NCAA rules enforcement process.  Currently, the Committee is 10 members, and it must have a quorum of four to act.  The proposed rules would expand the Committee to “a maximum of 24 voting members”.  Panels of five to seven Committee members would decide Level I and Level II cases.  NCAA staff would handle Level III cases.  The institution’s affiliated conference would address Level IV cases. 

 If ratified by the NCAA Board of Directors, the proposed rules would take effect August 1, 2013.


Chris Lott

Martin Michaelson

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