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NCAA Gets Tough On Rule-Breakers

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The NCAA passed a package of sweeping changes Tuesday intended to crack down hard on rule-breaking schools and coaches.

Under the new legislation, approved by the 13-member board of directors, programs that commit the most egregious infractions could face postseason bans of two to four years and fines stretching into the millions, while coaches could face suspensions of up to one year for violations committed by their staffs. The board also approved measures to expand the penalty structure from two tiers to four, create new penalty guidelines and speed up the litigation process.

The vote ends a movement that started in August 2011 during the midst of one of the most scandalous years in college sports history. NCAA President Mark Emmert was so concerned that he asked dozens of university leaders to join him at a presidential retreat in Indianapolis.

It was then that Emmert, along with school presidents and chancellors, said they were going to get tough on those who refused to play by the rules.

Now they have.

“We have sought all along to remove the ‘risk-reward’ analysis that has tempted people – often because of the financial pressures to win at all costs – to break the rules in the hopes that either they won’t be caught or that the consequences won’t be very harsh if they do get caught,” Emmert said. “The new system the board adopted today is the result of a lot of hard work and membership input devoted to protecting the collegiate model.”

Under the plan, violators found in a “serious breach of conduct” with aggravating circumstances could get those postseason bans and be forced to return millions of dollars from specific events or gross revenue generated by the sport during those years in which rules were broken.

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