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Originally published Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 9:04 PM

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NCAA board of directors approves tougher penalties for rule breakers | College football

The NCAA board of directors on Tuesday passed a package of sweeping changes that will hold coaches more accountable for rule-breaking offenses and threaten rogue programs with longer postseason bans and/or fines that could cost millions of dollars.

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INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA is demanding everyone in college sports play by the same book.

Those who deviate from it and defy the rules will soon be paying a steeper price.

The NCAA board of directors Tuesday passed a package of sweeping changes that will hold coaches more accountable for rule-breaking offenses and threaten rogue programs with longer postseason bans and/or fines that could cost millions of dollars.

Some coaches say it is about time.

"Throughout history, the only way to keep civilization and to keep things in order is to have very strong rules and enforce them," said Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who won two national titles at Florida. "There's no other way. Clear rules with very firm and swift — it has to be a little bit more swift — punishment."

The NCAA believes it has fixed the problem of swift justice, too, by approving an increase in the number of infractions-committee voting members, from 10 up to 24.

The plan is to split the full committee into smaller panels, all of which could hear cases and allow as many as 10 meetings to take place annually instead of the five that have traditionally been held.

Typically, board members attend the Indianapolis meetings in person. But when it became clear Superstorm Sandy could have a significant impact on travel plans, members who were not yet in Indianapolis were told to stay home and there was a conference call.

"We have sought all along to remove the 'risk-reward' analysis that has tempted people — often because of the financial pressures to win at all costs — to break the rules in the hopes that either they won't be caught or that the consequences won't be very harsh if they do get caught," NCAA President Mark Emmert, a former University of Washington president, said in a statement posted on the governing body's website.

Coaches will find themselves under more scrutiny.

If any member of the coaching staff commits a serious infraction, the head coach must prove he or she was unaware it occurred or face a suspension ranging from 10 percent of the season to one full season.

Note

• ESPN's Todd McShay, on an Oct. 17 teleconference, called Virginia Tech's offense "outdated by 10 or 15 years" and also compared quarterback Logan Thomas' throwing motion to Shaquille O'Neal shooting a free throw.

Hokies coach Frank Beamer bristled when asked about McShay's comments.

"Do you know what he based that on?" Beamer said. "Me neither. I think those guys stay on the air by being controversial. We're doing a lot of things that you see, you turn on the TV, a lot of stuff.

"And then I think he made some reference about Logan and I think he was one that had Logan up there pretty high as far as an NFL quarterback (prospect)."

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