Day 2 of the NCAA Presidential Retreat in Indianapolis, Indiana, was the conclusion of the “two-day summit [which called] for bold, sweeping changes to improve intercollegiate athletics”. According to the August 10, 2011, NCAA News article by Ronnie Ramos, the retreat participants, who consisted of Division I presidents and other invited guests, “were ‘fed up’ with cheating and a lack of accountability: and “were adamant about advancing several major initiatives they want addressed”. According to the NCAA account of the retreat, the presidents decided to pursue the following actions:
- Rewrite the NCAA rule book to reduce the number of rules and focus on the most significant issues.
- Improve academic standards for student-athletes and tie a team’s academic performance to participation in all NCAA championships.
- Revamp the NCAA penalty structure and increase the levels of violations.
- Refocus the NCAA enforcement staff to concentrate on major infractions.
- Strengthen the academic requirements for incoming freshman and student-athletes who transfer from two-year institutions.
The presidents also determined to pursue a fast-track approach for the proposed changes. In fact, the Division I Board of Directors, which meets today, as well as in October 2011, January 2012 and April 2012, “will be asked to consider these presidential initiatives during each of those meetings”.
One of the most interesting discussions on Day 2 was to create another level of violations–currently, the NCAA uses a two-tier structure of violations (major and secondary). I would be in favor of creating a third level of violations (e.g., super-major) for the most serious categories, including, but not limited to, academic-fraud, sports wagering, sports agents, most egregious recruiting activities, significant extra-benefits/inducements and certain types of unethical conduct. Further, the NCAA enforcement staff should focus most of its time and resources to addressing alleged major and super-major violations.