You are here

New enforcement program tougher, more efficient

In 2012, Division I redesigned its enforcement structure to address a variety of concerns identified by the membership. The new enforcement structure creates additional levels of infractions, hastens the investigation process and offers stauncher penalties for the most egregious violations. The structure is the result of more than a year of work by the Enforcement Working Group, established after the 2011 Presidential Retreat.

“A more sensible rules book combined with a more efficient way to enforce those rules will serve to sustain the collegiate model and restore public trust in college sports and the NCAA,” Board of Directors Chair and Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch said. “These outcomes are precisely what presidents sought after the 2011 retreat.”

At its core, the new enforcement structure:

  • Includes a four-tier violation structure that ranges from severe breaches of conduct to incidental infractions. The structure, which replaces the current two-tier approach, focuses on conduct breaches that seriously undermine or threaten the integrity of the NCAA Constitution.
  • Enhances head coach accountability and potential consequences for head coaches who fail to direct their staffs and student-athletes to uphold NCAA bylaws. Penalties include imposed suspensions that can range from 10 percent of the season to an entire season.
  • Increases the Division I Committee on Infractions from 10 to as many as 24 voting members from which smaller panels will be assembled to review cases more quickly and efficiently.
  • Continues to offer harsh consequences (postseason bans, scholarship reductions, recruiting limits, head coach suspensions, show-cause orders and financial penalties) that align more predictably with the severity of the violations. The new penalty structure also places a premium on aggravating and mitigating circumstances in each case.

The new structure became effective August 1, 2013

Why did the structure change?

The Enforcement Working Group; established by presidents and composed of athletics directors, coaches, administrators, a student-athlete, faculty and others; worked to re-establish a sense of shared responsibility for NCAA rules compliance and enforcement. The group was guided by the principles of fairness, accountability and integrity, as well as several concerns the membership had expressed about the process.

The working group recommended changes in several areas. In October 2012, the Division I Board of Directors adopted an overhauled enforcement structure that creates additional levels of infractions, accelerates the investigation process and holds the membership accountable with tougher penalties for the most egregious violations.

The membership wanted to have stiffer and more predictable penalties, so that people would think twice about whether to engage in bad behavior. Having penalty guidelines sends clear signals about what consequences people can expect for certain behaviors.

Members also asked for a more expedited process. Expanding the Committee on Infractions to as many as 24 members and creating multiple panels of 5-7 members from that “pool” that can adjudicate cases more frequently could reduce by half the time to completion for the less complicated cases.