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Presidential Forum discusses academic misconduct

Members look for feedback from presidential colleagues

The Division I Presidential Forum reviewed recommendations from a working group examining academic misconduct rules and will consider them over the next several months before forwarding its  recommendations to the Division I Board of Directors later this year.

The forum met at the NCAA Convention in Orlando, Florida.

“We had a robust conversation about the academic misconduct recommendations, and we look forward to hearing additional feedback from our Division I colleagues over the next several months,” said Frank Gilliam, chancellor at UNC Greensboro and chair of the forum. “We appreciate the report from the working group and commend the members on their flexibility and creative thinking.”

Ongoing concerns regarding the NCAA’s proper role in regulating academic matters prompted the NCAA Division I Board of Directors in April 2018 to ask the Division I Presidential Forum to oversee a review of current academic misconduct legislation and suggest potential rule or policy changes to the Board.  While legislation was adopted in 2016 that clarified and improved the framework surrounding academic misconduct, a number of issues in the last two years prompted this enhanced review.

To help the forum with this review, the Division I Presidential Forum Steering Committee authorized a small working group to review current academic misconduct and academic integrity legislation, policy and interpretations and recommend potential clarifications or modifications.  Over the next few months , the forum’s steering committee will study the report from the Academic Misconduct Working Group and consider which recommendations to forward to the full forum for consideration. The steering committee could also consider additional concepts or amend the recommendations as it deems appropriate. 

During the forum’s April meeting, the full group will consider what ideas to send to the Division I membership for feedback. That feedback, expected to be collected from conference meetings through the spring and summer as well as during spring and summer governance meetings, could include any new ideas brought forward throughout the process.

All the input will help form final recommendations from the forum to the Board of Directors, which identified academic misconduct as part of its strategic areas of emphasis for 2018-2023. If rule changes are required, the earliest they could be considered would be the 2019-20 legislative cycle.

At the recommendation of the working group, the forum members referred to the Division I Council a review of the interpretations process that schools and the Committee on Infractions can use to request an interpretation from the NCAA staff of certain rules in the context of an infractions case. Forum members agreed that process deserves a review for areas of possible improvement.

Last fall, the forum members endorsed clarifications of current academic misconduct legislation and policies as a first step. Those clarifications include explaining the penalty structure for violations that involve academics and clarifying when a school may use an expedited adjudication process for student-athletes.

Strengthened accountability

The forum members also discussed accountability for presidents and athletics directors as it relates to the new requirement that presidents, chancellors, athletics directors and athletics staff attest to rules compliance and other integrity issues. The forum’s steering committee will continue to discuss the issue of setting expectations for athletics directors in that area.

Updated Jan. 30, 2019.