SBD/October 31, 2012/Colleges

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  • NCAA Strengthens Penalties For Violations, Overhauls Enforcement Rules

    The NCAA yesterday approved a new enforcement structure that will "dramatically change the way it punishes rules breakers in major-college athletics," according to Auerbach & Wolken of USA TODAY. The changes, which take effect Aug.1, mean coaches "will be held more accountable for infractions that happen under their watch and could be penalized in a way that follows them if they change jobs." It also will "change the infractions system, establishing four levels of violations." Additionally, the NCAA D-1 BOD agreed to "increase the size of the committee on infractions." The "most controversial change is that head coaches now can be penalized individually for violations committed by their assistants, unless they can prove they took preventive steps to acknowledge red flags and educate their staff about how to deal with issues." Oregon State Univ. President and former NCAA Exec Committee Chair Ed Ray said that head coaches "wouldn't be penalized for assistants who 'go rogue' if they made a sensible effort to ensure their staff followed rules." Auerbach & Wolken note the NCAA's overhaul is a "result of a year-long effort from a 13-member group of presidents, athletics directors, commissioners and others." The next piece of NCAA President Mark Emmert's "reform agenda, which would complement the new penalty structure, is a streamlining of the NCAA rulebook." Wake Forest Univ. President and NCAA D-1 BOD Chair Nathan Hatch said that the "first wave of those changes was being vetted among the membership and likely would be approved at the NCAA convention in January" (USA TODAY, 10/31). Ray said, "The bad actors are few in number, but they are driving other people crazy. We are trying to be as explicit and quick and definitive as possible in showing what bad behavior can get you, if you get caught" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/31). 

    CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE: SI.com's Andy Staples wrote the NCAA's decision "holds millionaire head coaches accountable for broken rules instead of allowing them to sacrifice assistants to save their own skins." The new policy also "will hopefully speed up the often-glacial enforcement process, allowing the NCAA to deal with rule-breaking coaches before they retire." Fans should "credit the NCAA for making an honest effort to overhaul a system in desperate need of fixing" (SI.com, 10/30).

    GROUNDED: The AP's Michael Marot noted NCAA BOD members typically "attend the Indianapolis meetings in person." But when it "became clear that Superstorm Sandy could have a significant impact on travel plans, the members who were not yet in Indy were told to stay home." Ray said that it was "the first time in his 5 1/2-year tenure the board met on the phone" (AP, 10/30).

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