NCAA Board to Weigh Stiffer Penalties for Rule Breakers

Four-year bowl bans, 50-percent scholarship cuts, and financial penalties that could stretch into the millions. Those are a few of the tougher sanctions that athletic departments could face starting next August under a new set of proposals to be presented to the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors this week.

The plans, put forth by an NCAA working group charged with revamping the enforcement process, look largely like the ideas the group floated in February.

The latest set of recommendations, however, provides more detail about the role of the Division I Committee on Infractions in handing down penalties. According to a 72-page NCAA document obtained by The Chronicle, the committee would have more leeway in using the “death penalty” and other severe sanctions against athletics programs that commit the most egregious violations.

Also new: More clarity on the depth of proposed penalties, including recruiting restrictions that could have significant ramifications for the worst offenders. According to latest “penalty matrix” outlined by the NCAA, the most egregious violations could lead to a 26-week ban on unofficial visits and all contact and communications with prospects.

Teams could also face a 50-percent cut in official paid visits, based on the average number provided during the previous four years. Under the plan, major-college football programs would face a reduction of up to 28 visits, while basketball could lose as many as six official visits.

Football teams could also see a loss of half of their evaluation days, including up to 21 visits during the fall and 84 in the spring.

The NCAA board is not expected to vote on the proposals until October, and any changes would not go into effect until at least a year from now. The ideas, which I write about in more detail here, are part of a broad overhaul of the enforcement process that has been in the works for months.

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