IBJNews

NCAA approves tougher sanctions for rule-breakers

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The NCAA passed a package of sweeping changes Tuesday intended to crack down hard on rule-breaking schools and coaches.

Under the new legislation, approved by the 13-member board of directors, programs that commit the most egregious infractions could face postseason bans of two to four years and fines stretching into the millions, while coaches could face suspensions of up to one year for violations committed by their staffs. The board also approved measures to expand the penalty structure from two tiers to four, create new penalty guidelines and speed up the litigation process.

The vote ends a movement that started in August 2011 during the midst of one of the most scandalous years in college sports history. NCAA President Mark Emmert was so concerned that he asked dozens of university leaders to join him at a presidential retreat in Indianapolis, where the NCAA is headquartered.

It was then that Emmert, along with school presidents and chancellors, said they were going to get tough on those who refused to play by the rules.

Now they have.

"We have sought all along to remove the 'risk-reward' analysis that has tempted people — often because of the financial pressures to win at all costs — to break the rules in the hopes that either they won't be caught or that the consequences won't be very harsh if they do get caught," Emmert said. "The new system the board adopted today is the result of a lot of hard work and membership input devoted to protecting the collegiate model."

Under the plan, violators found in a "serious breach of conduct" with aggravating circumstances could get those postseason bans and be forced to return millions of dollars from specific events or gross revenue generated by the sport during those years in which rules were broken.

That's exactly what happened to Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The NCAA banned the Nittany Lions' football program from postseason play until after the 2016 season and levied a $60 million fine on the school.

If a member of the coaching staff commits an egregious infraction, the head coach must prove he or she was unaware it occurred or face a suspension that ranges from 10 percent of the season to one full season.

"We expect head coaches to provide practices and training and written materials that instruct their assistant coaches how to act," said NCAA executive committee chairman Ed Ray, the Oregon State president. "If they've done that it can become mitigating evidence that they shouldn't be held accountable for what the assistant coach did. But head coaches have to have these things in place or the presumption will be that he or she didn't care enough to set standards. In that case, if the assistant goes rogue, then it's partly the head coach's fault and they need to be held accountable."

Another piece of the plan allows the NCAA to scrap its current system of major and secondary infractions for a four-level stepladder — severe breach of conduct, significant breach of conduct, breach of conduct and incidental issues. The board is hoping this allows the enforcement staff to focus primarily on the most serious cases.

What if the new policies don't the stem the tide of cheating? The NCAA could make additional changes.

"We'll continue to evaluate it and if we recognize something is not working in the right area, that's a step we will rectify," NCAA director of enforcement Chris Strobel told The Associated Press on Monday.

The legislation also creates standard penalty guidelines, something schools and college fans have long argued the NCAA needed, and board members also approved a measure to expand the infractions committee, from 10 to up to 24 members. They're hoping the committee will use the extra members in a rotation so hearings can be held 10 times per year instead of the current five — in hopes of breaking the backlog of cases that has traditionally bogged things down.

Infractions that occur as of Tuesday but are not resolved before Aug. 1. 2013, will be subject to the new sanctions. Schools currently under investigation, such as Miami, also could be hit with the new penalties if their cases are not resolved before Aug. 1, too.

"The committee on infractions could proceed under the new standards or could apply the penalties under the old standards, based on whatever is more beneficial to the institution," Strobel said.

Emmert has backed every legislative piece of the reform movement.

Last fall, the governing body passed a measure calling for tougher eligibility requirements on incoming freshmen and junior college transfers; another that tied academic performance to postseason eligibility; a third that give schools flexibility to offer multiyear scholarships or stick with the standard one-year scholarships (it withstood an override attempt); and a fourth that allowed student-athletes to collect stipends of up to $2,000.

The stipend plan was shelved, though Emmert wants to put it in place. That is unlikely to happen before the board's January meeting and maybe later. Another committee is trying to shrink the NCAA's massive rule book, but no formal proposal is anticipated before January.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

ADVERTISEMENT