NCAA Panel Discussion Focuses on Temple’s Study of Infractions Process

Feb 17, 2017

By Maren Angus
The infractions process was top of mind in an afternoon session at the NCAA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee on January 19.
The panel discussion featured President Emerita at Kent State University Dr. Carol A. Cartwright, Athletic Compliance at the University of Southern California Dave Roberts, and NCAA Managing Director of the Office of the Committee on Infractions Joel McGormley.
Jeremy Jordan, an associate professor at Temple University, was the focus of the discussion as he presented a Temple study that reviewed the trends of last year’s infractions and penalties.
“Temple independently analyzed the data,” said McGormley. “It wasn’t done by the National Office. We partnered with them to capture the data, but the analysis was our own.”
Introducing the Study
McGormley introduced who and what the study focused on. The who was the public members with legal training and membership representatives. The what was the finding of facts, conclusions about violations, and the prescription of penalties.
“If you look at infractions process by the numbers, you’re really looking at the time period of 1953 to 2014,” said McGormley. “That’s 514 cases for the purpose of the discussion we are having. That number is now up to over 600 cases overall.”
Last year was a record-setting year with 62 cases. The committee is also seeing a rise in number for Division II and III as well.
The Panel
Dr. Cartwright, the first female president of a university in Ohio, kicked off the panel discussion by reiterating that the study was a membership-driven initiative, which makes sense since the rules are made by members.
“We are committed as a committee to being very clear in our communication, being as transparent as possible, and to be driven by facts,” said Cartwright.
Roberts, who stepped down from his position at USC in November 2016, was brought in to revamp a compliance office and university that was coming off a four-year probation.
“I think the real benefit of this study is knowledge and informational power,” said Roberts. “As you go through this study, you are going to see some trends in certain sports, trends of some importance, trends of repeat offenses.; things that not everyone looks at. But more importantly, it provides an anchor point to go forward.”
The Study
Jordan and his colleagues at Temple spent more than two years studying the trends of infractions and penalties.
They faced many challenges while gathering data including the changing structure of the committee and the membership, the changing structure of the bylaws, the level of reporting decisions and the unique aspects of each case.
The objective of the study was to conduct a comprehensive review of all Division I major infraction cases, to provide some benchmarking data that helps the committee move forward and to determine the consistency.
“We looked at three different penalty types: years of probation, postseason ban and scholarship reduction. The reason we selected these outcomes was the percentage of cases that included these particular penalties,” Jordan said.
More than 80 percent of the cases reviewed included football or men’s basketball. Seventy-three involved a single sport and only 17 percent involved a sport other than football or men’s basketball. Since 1980, there’s been an average of 11 cases per year.
The most common infraction types included recruiting inducements and impermissible benefits. Surprisingly, 84 percent of the cases involved coaches and 40 percent involved multiple infraction types.
A Shift to Self-Reporting
“Another interesting finding was since 1984 we’ve seen a definite increase in self-reporting violations,” said Jordan. “Prior to 1984, only nine percent of cases involved self-reporting whereas since 1984, almost half of the cases have involved the institutions self-reporting.”
Sixty-nine percent of the cases resulting in probation was for one to two years. When it came to postseason bans, 61 percent included a one-year ban. Another trend since 1988 is that more than half the cases included a show-cause ruling.
“Lack of institutional control and academic ineligibility were significant for all penalty types. Conference membership was not related to penalty severity with one exception. Self-reported violations led to decreased penalty severity for probation but not postseason ban or scholarship reduction. Repeat offenders received more severe penalties for probation and postseason ban but not scholarship reduction.”
The vast majority of cases involved football or men’s basketball at over 84 percent. Probation, by far, was the most prescribed penalty, occurring in more than 544 cases. Most major infraction cases involved coaches and nearly half were self-reported.
The full study can be viewed at


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