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NCAA Division I Council introduces infractions proposal for exemplary cooperation

Meghan Durham Wright, NCAA, Press Release

The NCAA Division I Council recently introduced a proposal from the Division I Board of Directors Infractions Process Committee that would more clearly define exemplary cooperation in the infractions process and would establish the impact on prescribed penalties – including removing a postseason ban from the table for the majority of schools found to have demonstrated exemplary cooperation during an infractions case. 

If adopted by the council in June, the new rules would be effective Aug. 1. 

"Full cooperation is already an expectation of all members of our association," said Geoffrey S. Mearns, president of Ball State University and chair of the Division I Infractions Process Committee. "But by providing specific information about how an institution can demonstrate exemplary cooperation, and by providing clear incentives for that cooperation, we will expedite the fair resolution of infractions cases, which remains a priority for all Division I members."

Specifically, factors a Committee on Infractions hearing panel would consider in deciding to give schools and individuals credit for exemplary cooperation during an infractions case are: 

• Volunteering all pertinent school and personal information that are in the party's possession or should be reasonably expected to further the infractions process and its expectations. 

• Identifying individuals to be interviewed of whom the enforcement staff might otherwise be unaware. 

• Expending substantial resources (financial, dedication of personnel, unfettered access to information) to expedite the gathering of information. 

• Taking sufficient action to address violations through self-imposed penalties or proposing meaningful corrective measures.

• Recognizing and bringing to the attention of the enforcement staff violations related to the investigation about which the enforcement staff might otherwise be unaware. 

If a Committee on Infractions hearing panel determines that a school or party has demonstrated exemplary cooperation, the panel will reduce the case by one classification level (for example, Level I-standard becomes Level I-mitigated), which impacts the penalties that would then be assessed by the committee. 

For all cases in which a party earns exemplary cooperation – with the exception of those who are considered a repeat violator – the panel would not prescribe a postseason competition ban for that case. For repeat violators, the Committee on Infractions would continue to have the discretion to assess that penalty in certain Level I cases. 

Conference membership requirements 

The council discussed and provided feedback for the Division I Board of Directors on items related to conference realignment and the impact on conferences that no longer meet the minimum number of members to retain Division I status. 

Currently, NCAA rules permit a two-year grace period for conferences that fall below membership requirements to get back up to full membership status. The council's feedback will be shared with the Division I Board of Directors, which has the authority to make final determinations regarding membership status, governance access and voting during the grace period. 

The board was expected to take up this discussion during its next meeting. 

Academic success of transfers

In the wake of approving new transfer rules, the council members emphasized that they remain committed to the academic success of student-athletes and that anyone who decides to recruit a student who already has transferred one or more times must make a commitment to the academic success of that student and ensure the student-athlete has a complete understanding of the academic impact of transferring to the certifying school. Members will continue to study the impact of the policy with special emphasis on the academic success of all student-athletes. 

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