Gone would be the highly subjective, case-by-case evaluation by the Committee on Infractions. Gone too apparently will be the wide latitude of discretion employed by that body as the new model seeks to streamline cases and moves them through the process more rapidly.
Currently, enforcement classifies violations as either major or secondary infractions. In order to provide greater flexibility, the new model would include four, including most egregious, serious, secondary and minor.
"The working group recognizes the wide-spread perception that the current penalty model leads to inconsistent and insufficient penalties and does not adequately deter other institutions and individuals from engaging in conduct contrary to the rules," the working group's report stated. "The working group believes that the severity of the penalty imposed must correspond with the significance of the rule violation(s)."
Remember the clamor for a system that imposes mandatory minimum penalties for serious rules violations, consistency between the time vs. crime ratio and elimination of Committee discretion? That’s all on the table here, as once the infractions are categorized the new model proposes an array of consistent penalties.
In some of the worst cases—like the Bush and Mayo case at USC—the penalties could potentially cripple a sports program for years.
So how does it really work? Well, take the infamous USC case involving Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo among others: violations of NCAA bylaws governing amateurism; failure to report knowledge of violations; unethical conduct; violations of coaching staff limitations; impermissible recruiting contacts by a representative of the institution's athletics interests; impermissible inducements and extra benefits; and lack of institutional control.
According to the new model, this would be classified as multiple Level I violations with four significant aggravating factors. Here's a comparison of penalties with what the Trojans got and what they would have received under the new model:
So yes, USC would have been punished even worse under the new proposed enforcement model coming from the NCAA. That's interesting because athletic director Pat Haden is on the enforcement working group and has made it a point to say that the Trojans were unfairly punished.
Under the new model, USC would be given 2-3 (or more) years in post-season bans, a fine ranging from 1.5% to 2.0% of the program budget, a 37% to 50% reduction in scholarships, similar reductions in recruiting activity and a five year show cause order on the assistant coach who facilitated the wrongdoing.
There are fates worth that the death penalty for the most egregious of NCAA rules violators. It’s hard to imagine anything harsher than watching your program get scheduled by Southern Miss as a homecoming opponent for the next decade.
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