NCAA Board Endorses Bigger Penalties for Worst Violators

Flagrant or egregious violations of NCAA rules would lead to stiffer penalties than ever under a broad set of changes endorsed today by the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors.

The board stopped short of a binding vote, the NCAA said on its Web site, giving athletics officials across the country a chance to voice any concerns before a likely final vote in October.

The Division I Committee on Infractions, which would be significantly increased, to as many as 24 members, would have discretion over penalties. But according to a set of guidelines published on the NCAA’s site, teams committing the worst offenses could face four-year bowl bans, financial penalties of up to 5 percent of their budgets, and the loss of half of their scholarships.

Coaches could face season-long suspensions, a step the NCAA hopes will prevent programs from stepping outside the lines.

“Coaches come to me and say, ‘I feel like a chump. I’m trying to do things the right way, and I have peers who laugh at me because I don’t play the game and bend the rules the way they do,’” Ed Ray, president of Oregon State University and chair of the NCAA’s Executive Committee, said in a prepared statement.

“That’s got to stop. … Most coaches are terrific people who love their student-athletes, try to do it the right way, try to have the right values and succeed. They’re very frustrated. … I think most coaches are saying it’s about time. We want a level playing field.”

If approved by the board in October, the changes would take effect as of August 1, 2013.

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