The NCAA approved a change to its enforcement policies that will change the way rule-breakers are punished for infractions. Head coaches will now be held more accountable for the actions of their staffs and others related to their programs under the new system, which takes effect on August 1, 2013. Violations that occurred prior to today will still be subject to the current processes and penalties.
According to a USA Today report, the NCAA has established a four levels of rules violations, replacing the former categories of "major" and "secondary." These levels will range from "incidental issues" to "severe breach of conduct."
Changes will also increase the NCAA's capacity to handle infractions cases, allowing less severe matters to be processed and dealt with quicker, avoiding many of the delays that affect cases currently. A group of 13 university presidents, athletics directors, commissioners and other officials have worked on overhauling the system for the past year, since the NCAA president had called for reforms.
USA Today noted:
"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," Emmert said in an NCAA statement released Tuesday.
The changes will hopefully improve and clarify the NCAA's rules-enforcement processes, but among the changes, is the ability to penalize a program's head-coach for violations committed by assistants. In order to avoid penalties, head coaches will have to prove that they took steps to prevent the violations that occurred and to educate their staff on NCAA rules issues.
Head coaches will now have to deal with greater scrutiny from the NCAA and have to exercise greater oversight of their programs. Coaches may even be charged with different levels of infractions than their schools in the same case under the new system, and any charges would follow them to any new job they took.
Additional changes are coming, and according to the USA Today report, that should include a series of changes to the NCAA rulebook, designed to streamline those rules. The first of those changes could be approved as soon as January, when the NCAA will hold a convention.
Those changes will simplify the rules and make them less detailed and more focused on the integrity of the program.