Division I Board of Directors modernizes infractions process

The Division I Board of Directors has adopted three major proposals that modify infractions procedures intended to modernize and enhance the process while focusing national office and membership resources on the most serious violations.

The proposals were submitted by the Transformation and Infractions Process committees and introduced Aug. 17 by the Division I Council. 

“These changes to the overall infractions process will accelerate the timelines for infractions cases,” said Jere Morehead, president at the University of Georgia and chair of the Board of Directors. “With the adoption of the new constitution in January, NCAA members committed to resolving cases fairly and in a timely fashion, thus holding those responsible for violations accountable and avoiding penalizing those who were not involved in rule-breaking.”

Peer-review process — Enforcement and Committee on Infractions

The first proposal focuses on increasing cooperation in infractions cases, increasing transparency during the infractions process and expediting the resolution of infractions cases.

Cooperation with an investigation is already a requirement of all NCAA member schools, and this proposal will further incentivize schools to self-report violations and cooperate throughout an investigation by revising factors that are considered when the Committee on Infractions prescribes penalties. 

The proposal encourages timely completion of cases through the creation of an additional resolution method, allowing greater flexibility for involved parties and prohibiting deadline extensions except in clear and extreme circumstances. Members will also be encouraged to pursue the more timely, cooperative methods of resolving cases, reserving Committee on Infractions hearings for the most serious cases.

Changes to the process include:

  • More clearly defined violation charging standards for enforcement staff.
  • Clarification about the role of school leadership in an investigation.
  • A new standard for head coach responsibility requirements.
  • The creation of a public-facing dashboard of existing infractions cases.

Changes will take effect Jan. 1, 2023.

Appeals process — Infractions Appeals Committee

As with the proposal for the peer-review process, the Infractions Process Committee also recommended significant changes to the appeals process for infractions cases, noting that clarifying standards for appeals would likely reduce the number of appealed cases, which risk prolonging the infractions process.

Changes will include:

  • Limiting appeals of penalties to only those that fall outside legislated penalty guidelines.
  • Overturning Committee on Infractions decisions only when an appealing party demonstrates that no reasonable person could have made that decision.
  • Resolving the majority of appealed cases through a written record rather than conducting oral arguments.
  • As with the peer-review proposal, prohibiting extensions to timelines except in extreme and clearly defined circumstances.
  • Removing the automatic stay for appealed penalties.
  • Authorizing the Infractions Appeals Committee to issue summary affirmations of COI decisions without further comment.

The changes are effective Jan. 1, 2023.

Eliminating the IARP

The board also voted to discontinue the Independent Accountability Resolution Process, which was created in 2019 at the recommendation of the Commission on College Basketball. 

The board in January placed a temporary moratorium on accepting additional cases into the IARP, at the request of the Independent Accountability Oversight Committee and the Infractions Process Committee. The number of cases referred to the independent process was greater than initially anticipated, which has prolonged case timelines and required significant resources to bring those cases to resolution.

During that time, the Transformation Committee charged the IPC with considering overall changes to the infractions process. The IPC determined that discontinuing the independent process — when combined with the proposals to modernize the peer-review process — would streamline the overall infractions process and make better use of membership and national office resources.

The IARP will be dissolved after the five remaining cases in that process are adjudicated.

Future consideration

Moving forward, the Infractions Process Committee will consider additional concepts designed to deliver timely and fair outcomes in infractions matters. 

Subjects under further consideration include: 

  • Requiring increased documentation of recruiting efforts.
  • Adjusting the size and composition of the Committee on Infractions.
  • Identifying appropriate types of penalties and modifying current penalty ranges, including identifying potential alternative penalties to postseason bans.
  • Amending confidentiality rules that apply to involved parties and the NCAA national office during an investigation.

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