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Accountability and Penalties

Meaningful penalties align with significance of wrongdoing

The new structure enhances head coach responsibility/accountability and potential consequences for head coaches who fail to promote compliance within their programs.

“We heard loud and clear from members across Division I that we need clear, consistent and credible accountability,” said Lou Anna Simon, Michigan State president and Executive Committee chair. “These membership-driven changes provide tough, fair consequences that communicate to universities, coaches, student-athletes and others that rule-breaking will not be tolerated.”

Penalties in the previous structure relied on whether the head coach knew of the violations or whether there was a “presumption of knowledge.” But under the new structure, rather than focus on knowledge or the presumption of it, the bylaw  was amended to presume responsibility.  Accordingly, if a violation occurs, the head coach is presumed responsible, and if he or she can’t overcome that presumption, charges will be forthcoming.

The core consequences in the new structure are familiar (postseason bans, scholarship reductions and financial sanctions, among others) but are customizable according to the severity of the violation. The membership has on multiple occasions acknowledged that postseason bans, scholarship reductions and coach suspensions offer the most effective deterrent to potential rule breakers – and they are also the most effective in addressing the advantages gained as a result.


Frequently Asked Questions

Depending upon the nature of the violation, including aggravating and/or mitigating circumstances, a head coach could receive a show cause order and could be suspended from 10 percent to an entire coaching season.

  • In-person, off-campus contacts during a dead period (particularly during the National Letter of Intent signing dead period).
  • Intentional or significant game-day simulations and/or impermissible recruiting aids.
  • Exceeding the permissible number of contacts with a prospective student-athlete.
  • Providing team gear or other inducements to prospective student-athletes.
  • Providing a written offer of athletically related financial aid to a prospective student-athlete prior to August 1 of the prospect's senior year in high school.

How does the new penalty structure provide greater predictability and consistency?

The new penalty structure clearly outlines the range of penalties available to the Committee on Infractions for each level of violation, including the factors relied upon for the penalties imposed



New violation structure
Accountability and penalties
Committee on Infractions
Infractions Appeals Committee