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2017 Division I Committee on Infractions Year in Review

The Division I Committee on Infractions is an independent body made up of individuals from NCAA member schools and the general public, which can include college administrators or former coaches, attorneys or university professors, among others. It is the peer-review portion of the infractions process.

Cases are heard by a randomly generated panel of three or five- to-seven members, which can be formed as needed, depending on the caseload. Panels are randomly generated accounting for committee member availability, conflicts of intive process. It then decides what happened, whether the actions violated NCAA rules, and what penalties should be prescribed.

In recent years, the committee has refined its processes to ensure outcomes are fair, transparent, accountable, and completed in an efficient time frame. Though each case presents unique facts, violation and penalty trends demonstrate that the review process is consistent.

The committee is supported by the office of the Committees on Infractions. Those eight staff members provide the group case management support, research, drafting, strategic planning and administrative support, and other duties as assigned by the committee chair.

Meet the Committee

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The committee includes:

 

Additionally:

10 members hold law degrees
9 are former student-athletes
3 have held prominent positions within the U.S. government executive branch

Case types

Infractions cases can be resolved in a few ways . For Level I and Level II violations, parties may contest the case or attempt to reach a summary disposition.

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Case Volume

Committee on Infractions cases decided in each year:

Case Efficiency

Recent changes made to speed up the infractions process have made case processing more efficient . The committee has grown from 10 members in 2013 who heard every case to 22 members who share the workload (and can grow to 24 members). The restructuring has helped the committee increase its capacity and improve its efficiency while producing fair, transparent, timely and accountable hearings and decisions. The shift to the panel structure in 2013 has cut the time from a hearing and a decision, and the time frame continues to decrease.

Once the committee receives a case, the time it takes to process the case can be impacted by a number of factors, including extensions, time to set up hearings and unavailable dates of the parties. Still, in the last three years, processing time for all case types has improved.

For comparison:

Although the NCAA infractions process is unique, the time it takes other adjudicative bodies to issue decisions can offer some helpful context on the pace at which the NCAA’s process moves. According to the National Center for State Courts, the time from oral argument to resolution is more than 200 days in civil cases on appeal from trial, on average. (This is comparable to the timeline from hearing to release in the NCAA infractions process outlined to the right.) For criminal cases, according to the Department of Justice, the average time to decide an appeals case after briefing is more than 100 days.

* A contested case includes 150 days of bylaw-mandated response periods before the hearing. This charge-and- response period occurs after the investigation, but before the case reaches the Committee on Infractions. The average case also includes roughly five weeks of time between when the committee received the final procedural document from the enforcement staff and the hearing.

* During this time frame, the average case also includes about four weeks for the parties to respond to requests for clarification or for institutions and involved individuals to respond to proposed penalties. These figures do not include the typical two to three weeks of preparation and generating a panel for review.

* As the data show, the summary disposition process takes longer when schools challenge penalties via an expedited hearing process. This time frame includes the panel’s review of the submitted summary disposition report, proposal of additional penalties, time associated with any additional information or the school’s decision to contest certain penalties, setting up the hearing on penalties and settling on any changes to the penalties after the hearing.

 

What Comes Next

The Committee on Infractions has set several goals for the next year that focus on improving its processes. Additionally, a new structure pertinent to the most complex cases soon will be implemented.

Implementing Commission on College Basketball recommendations

The committee’s work only accounts for a relatively short portion of the full infractions timeline. The committee’s section of that timeline has shrunk significantly in recent years. The committee has doubled its size in order to more efficiently handle its increasing caseloads. Likewise, it continues to review and improve processes to promote efficiency and transparency, and to ensure consistency as penalty guidelines are applied.

Timeliness

The enforcement staff’s substantive areas of focus are recruiting and academic integrity. It will not focus exclusively on academic misconduct and recruiting infractions to the detriment of other violations, but will continue prioritizing them until instructed otherwise by member schools.

Trend awareness

As a quality control check, the committee has placed an emphasis on analyzing data to monitor its decisions and assessed penalties to help ensure outcomes are consistent with historic trends and to inform changes to its processes. The effort started with the release of an independent study conducted by Temple University, which analyzed 50 years of the committee’s decisions and found, when comparing penalties assigned to specific violations, the committee had been largely consistent. The study has since served as a baseline for analysis and forecasting to review types of violations and penalty consistency. The study reviewed infractions decisions before the changes implemented in 2013. The committee will continue to examine and analyze data under the new committee, violation and penalty structures.