Enforcement Changes a Nice Step for NCAA, but…


I guess we're supposed to be excited about progress.

Maybe, as college sports fans, we're supposed to throw our hands up and heap huzzahs and kudos upon the NCAA Enforcement Workgroup for undertaking the hard task of looking at revising the policies that are in place in regards to the administration of enforcement.

The workgroup, on Tuesday, released the changes that they have been working on since August 2011, which includes increasing the number of categories of infractions from two to four and also increasing the number of people who make up the Committee on Infractions from 10 to up to 24.

These changes are to allow for, in part, swifter administration of justice in smaller cases. Instead of just having major and secondary violations, there are now a couple of shades in between.

Also, by increasing the number of members of the Committee on Infractions, it will allow for smaller subcommittees, in essence, to be tapped to hear cases. Not bad.

Of course, the biggest change is that coaches are going to get more blame heaped upon them.

Well, maybe saying “blame heaped upon them” isn’t exactly the right choice of words. How about this, then: Coaches are going to be held more accountable for the things that go on in their programs.

Yeah, that seems about right.

It also seems like it is long overdue.

Look, let’s be honest; most coaches are control freaks to a certain extent. You have to be in order to make it as a college coach, especially for those in Division I. The attention to detail that you need in order to game plan and coordinate practice and manage your staff is a key component to the job.

Which is why it always seems disingenuous when head coaches throw assistants under the bus, saying, “I had no idea what that person was doing. I…I…I….”

It almost always comes across as a patently false statement. Even a football program, which has a lot of people associated with it, can still be managed competently and have a coach that knows what is going on.

Essentially, the Enforcement Workgroup is saying that coaches are not going to be allowed to stick their heads in the sand and say, “Hey, not my fault.” The bar has been raised, and given the amount of compensation that some coaches receive, a little added responsibility is not a bad thing.

But for all of the potential that this change in enforcement standards has, there is still one large problem. The NCAA still has a workgroup out there revising the NCAA Manual.

So in other words, the levels of crime have been rewritten without the actual law being revised first. And an out has been given. For example, the Level IV of infractions, or as I like to call it, “Oops, my butt dialed a recruit once,” might wind up being completely wiped away.

Only the NCAA could approach this whole thing in an ass-backwards way. Only the NCAA leadership would decide to announce changes to enforcement without having made final decisions on what the rules are supposed to be.

So while accountability is good, and while it is wonderful that there are some shades of gray being applied to the rules by allowing for different levels of severity of violations beyond the duality of major and secondary, I want to see what the actual rules are before I pop the cork in celebration.

It’s great that change is coming. But I want the full picture and to see it in action before I decide if this is truly a good job, or just more smokescreening from Indianapolis.