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Major changes to NCAA enforcement policy to take effect next week

The NCAA will vote on a major change in its enforcement policy next week, holding head coaches accountable for rules violations committed by their assistants. The new bylaw is applicable for all Division I sports, but we will, of course, focus on how things will change for football coaching staffs. Read the full NCAA document here.

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors will vote on the proposals this coming Tuesday, and if passed the NCAA's Bylaw 11.1.2.1 will hold head coaches responsible for the actions of all assistant coaches and administrators that report, either directly or indirectly, to the head coach. A head coach will now be held responsible for all Level I and Level II (major violations such as academic fraud or recruiting  inducements) violations.

After August 1, 2013, a head coach may be suspended a full season for Level I violations and a half season for Level II infractions. The NCAA does provide some wiggle room for head coaches. As stated in the legislation, a head coach will be suspended "unless the coach can show that he or she promoted an atmosphere of compliance and monitored his or her staff."

Change doesn't stop there as, effective August 1, 2013, a head coach may be suspended for any Level III violations committed by assistant coaches. The NCAA defines a Level III violation as:

  • In-person, off-campus contacts during a dead period (particularly during the NLI signing dead period.

  • Exceeding the permissible number of contacts with a prospective student-athlete.

  • Intentional or significant game-day simulations and/or impermissible recruiting aids.

  • Providing team gear or other inducements to prospective student-athletes.

  • Violations that occur as a result of engaging nonscholastic third parties in the recruiting process (e.g., prescheduled unofficial visits that are impermissibly funded, etc.).

  • Collective recruiting violations and/or other intentional recruiting violations (e.g., multiple impermissible early phone calls, multiple impermissible contacts, providing inducements).

  • Holding 7-on-7 events on an institution's campus and/or otherwise attending or being involved in nonscholastic events.

  • Impermissible benefits to student-athletes or inducements to prospective student-athletes by third parties that the coaching staff knows about or is involved with.

  • Providing a written offer of athletically related financial aid to a prospective student-athlete prior to August 1 of the prospect's senior year in high school.

The NCAA strongly encourages head coaches to be proactive in looking for possible violations and to communicate their strategy and expectations with both their staffs and their superiors on campus through monitoring and documentation. For example, head coaches are expected to assign a staff member as a liaison to the university's compliance staff, and also assign staff members to monitor specific areas of compliance. 

Credit to USA Today's George Schroeder and Dan Wolken for their report.

Here is ESPN's update on the changes:

Author: Zach Barnett
Zach Barnett is a native of Denton, Texas and a graduate of the University of Texas. He joined FootballScoop in 2012 after two years at the National Football Foundation. His hobbies include watching college football, reading about college football and writing about college football.