The NCAA hopes to replace its arbitrarily applied ruler with a baseball bat. A new proposal, backed by NCAA president Mark Emmert would see a more efficient infractions regime dispensing prompt, predictable and severe punishments. Such a regime, they believe, would provide an effective deterrent against rampant corruption and NCAA violations.
Schools would face far sterner sanctions for serious issues such as illicit benefits, academic fraud and a lack of institutional control. Punishments for such acts would start with losing one quarter of all scholarships and receiving a one to two year postseason ban and escalate potentially to half of all scholarships and a three or more year postseason ban.
The NCAA would also fine schools by as much as five percent of their operating budget, which could run into the seven-figures. Individuals would be held personally responsible, with suspensions lasting as long as a season and show-cause penalties lasting ten years or more. The new regulations would also let the NCAA place a program on probation for up to a decade.
Though the intentions are noble, getting approval for the harsh punishments may be difficult. The NCAA derives its authority from the schools it governs. Schools have no reason to submit to draconian penalties. The Sanity Code of 1948, which would have expelled programs from the NCAA for improper benefits, was repealed almost immediately and that was decades before college athletics became a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s in no one’s best interest for a beefed up NCAA to start kneecapping major programs.
Scandals may be rife. They make the NCAA look incompetent, but they aren’t affecting the popularity of college football and basketball. Without tremendous public pressure, it seems unlikely schools would place their eight or nine-figure per year football revenues at serious risk to protect the NCAA infractions framework.
[Photo via Getty]