NCAA approves tougher sanctions for rule-breakers

INDIANAPOLIS - The NCAA has passed a proposal that will impose tougher sanctions on programs and hold coaches more accountable for rule-breaking.

The board's decision Tuesday concludes an effort that began in August 2011 when university leaders met with NCAA President Mark Emmert at a retreat in Indianapolis in the midst of one of the most scandalous years in college sports history.

School chancellors and presidents promised then to get tough on rule-breakers, and now they have.

Under the new legislation, programs that commit the most egregious violations could face postseason bans of two to four years and fines totaling millions.

Head coaches also could be suspended for up to one full season for violations committed by their assistants if they cannot prove they were unaware of the infractions.

"It's something the membership put forward and, ultimately, I think it will be better,'' Chris Strobel, the NCAA's director of enforcement, told The Associated Press on Monday. "It's allowing the enforcement staff to use its resources on the most severe cases, and it will include stronger and more consistent penalties, so I think it's moving in the right direction.''

Head coaches also will be held more accountable for their staffs. Unless a head coach can prove he or she was unaware of what took place, the most egregious violations could lead to suspensions from 10 percent of the season to a full season.

And what if the new policies don't the stem the tide of rule-breaking? The NCAA could take additional steps.
"We'll continue to evaluate it and if we recognize something is not working in the right area, that's a step we will rectify,'' Strobel said.

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