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Oct. 2016 Enforcement Memo to Conference Commissioners

October 31, 2016

TO: Collegiate Commissioners Association
FROM: Jonathan F. Duncan, NCAA vice president of enforcement
SUBJECT: Enforcement activities

You received a memorandum earlier this year outlining the enforcement staff's twin goals of timeliness and transparency. Please consider this an update on enforcement activities and an extension of that prior discussion.

Cases - Pending and Trending

In addition to working on process improvements and performance enhancements, the enforcement staff has been busy investigating cases. Substantiated violations that are most significant will be presented to and decided by the membership through the NCAA Committee on Infractions. Others will be closed, processed at lower levels or transferred as appropriate.

This calendar year, the enforcement staff projects that it will submit 103 Level I, Level II or major allegations across 28 cases. Most cases are in Division I and many (but not all) will conclude in less time than previous years. We also anticipate processing more than 5,000 Level III or secondary infractions.

In deciding which matters to pursue, the enforcement staff focuses on behaviors that most seriously threaten fair competition and the collegiate model. Accordingly, cases submitted this year and cases in the pipeline primarily involve academic misconduct, recruiting inducements, extra benefits, unethical conduct and head coach responsibility. We will continue monitoring trends in these areas because our goal is not only to stay current with environmental changes and member priorities, but also to become increasingly effective as we move forward.

Behind the Scenes

Each case discussed above rests on layers of detailed and individualized analysis. In the spirit of transparency, outlined below are the sequential steps our staff takes before alleging a Level I or Level II violation. Each step is an important safeguard designed to (1) sort behaviors, (2) ensure the quality of our work, (3) achieve consistency among cases, (4) protect important interests (reputational and otherwise) of involved parties, (5) provide a complete factual record for the Committee on Infractions, and (6) deliver excellent service to the broader membership.

  • We review all incoming information for materiality, specificity and other indicia of credibility.
  • Staff leaders make a preliminary assessment of whether the information merits further review.
  • If so, we assign a team to follow up and engage relevant parties as appropriate to begin investigating.
  • Although there are obviously challenges, our team investigates as quickly and collaboratively as possible to uncover pertinent information, whether incriminating or exculpatory.
  • We communicate with all parties regarding facts learned, information needed, interpretive questions, eligibility concerns, procedural options and bylaw expectations.
  • As the investigation winds down, the team considers potential allegations and processing options, including summary disposition or Level III.
  • Bylaw experts in the NCAA's department of academic and membership affairs review draft allegations for proper citation and application of rules.
  • The investigative team presents factual information and recommendations to an independent cross section of the enforcement staff for scrutiny, debate and analysis.
  • The investigative team discusses potential allegations with parties who will likely be at risk.
  • Enforcement leaders again review and revise draft allegations.

These steps, and often many others, are exhausted before the enforcement staff finalizes any allegation. Even after completing these steps and providing formal notice, the staff continues to assess the alleged violations, together with supporting and refuting information and responses of all parties. These steps are followed by meaningful member review through the Committee on Infractions and the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee.

If there are questions about the duration of these procedures or the enforcement staff's approach, please do not hesitate to contact me.