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2017 Division I Infractions Year in Review

Change is coming to the infractions process.

The Commission on College Basketball made recommendations this spring to alter significantly how the NCAA investigates and adjudicates complex infractions cases, a change for which we are ready and, indeed, eager. Many told commission members as much when they sought input as part of their seven-month review. The current peer-review system is tested in the adversarial dynamic that exists today in select cases.

Even in the midst of the challenges facing complex cases, the systems in place for handling the rest — comprising the vast majority of infractions — are growing more efficient and effective.


The enforcement staff, tasked with investigating cases and bringing charges, has streamlined its processes in recent years. Investigations into Level I and II violations are moving more swiftly, all while the enforcement staff processes a significantly higher volume of violations each year. The enforcement staff also has worked to make informed projections about cases earlier, meaning that unsubstantiated or less significant matters can be closed or processed faster. Outside of cases, the enforcement staff continues to develop relationships with institutions, coaches and others in a continuing effort to address threats to college sports proactively.


The Division I Committee on Infractions, which decides cases brought by the enforcement
group, has focused on improving efficiencies in several areas. The committee and staff who
support it have made efforts to educate members about the process at regional rules seminars and conference meetings. They have heightened focus on timeliness and docket management and have increasingly relied on guidelines and data to drive decisions and streamline processes. The committee also has heightened its focus on consistency. Not only has it operated within prescribed penalty guidelines, but also it has engaged in ongoing efforts to review violation and penalty data.


The Infractions Appeals Committee is undergoing important change as well. In the spring, the NCAA office serving the committee appointed its first managing director. The office soon will expand by two staffers, who will be able to offer committee members unprecedented support.

As the Division I Council tackles structural changes to address the Commission on College Basketball’s recommendations, we are launching this annual snapshot to give NCAA members insight into the system as it stands today. We are committed to fairness, to efficiency and, by extension, to the changes needed to enhance the peer-review model. We have made those we were able to make and look forward to those to come. We want the systems to work for all cases.

Division I Infractions Overview

The NCAA infractions process begins with rules that are proposed, considered and adopted by NCAA member schools and conferences. These rules focus on eligibility, recruiting, academic performance, playing and practice seasons, scholarships and extra benefits. In Division I, violations of these rules fall into three categories (Levels I, II and III), with Level I being the most serious and Level III providing minimal advantages or impermissible benefits. Alleged violations pass through as many as three stages, each conducted by groups independent of one another.

The process at a glance

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The process in detail

Cases start with the enforcement staff. A small percentage of the cases they investigate are sent to the Committee on Infractions for adjudication. Below, enforcement targets and average 2017 processing times.

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