Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
This is a significant change in the way that violations will be assessed and punished.
The USA Today has obtained a draft of some new legislation about NCAA violations that is expected to be voted into effect by the NCAA Board of Directors next week. It brings two major changes to the way the organization with categorize and punish violations.
The first change is getting rid of the major/secondary dichotomy and replacing it with four levels of violations. It works like the DEFCON system where I is the worst and IV is the mildest. So, your Mark Richt butt dialing of recruits would classify as a Level IV violation, while your SMU having a payroll to keep would be a Level I.
Having more classifications allows for more nuance, and it's probably warranted. Michigan football getting caught for exceeding the allowed practice time and Michigan basketball players getting caught with hundreds of thousands of dollars from a booster are two completely different things, but both went down in the books as "major" violations. Clearly, they belong in different categories though, and that will probably be the case in the future.
What's interesting is that this new structure will reportedly take effect immediately, meaning that probably the first big case to be adjudicated on the scale will be the Nevin Shapiro scandal at Miami.
The other big change is that it makes head coaches more responsible for compliance within their programs. A direct quote from the document reads:
A head coach is presumed responsible for major/Level I and Level II violations (e.g. academic fraud, recruiting inducements) occurring within his or her program unless the coach can show that he or she promoted an atmosphere of compliance and monitored his or her staff.
Claiming no knowledge of violations is no longer enough for head coaches to escape penalty. They have to be constantly doing things to promote that atmosphere of compliance or else they'll take a hit from things they didn't know were going on.
One of the primary consequences of the new system is that head coaches can be suspended for a lot more things now. Men's basketball coaches can be suspended for a range of recruiting violations, while football coaches can be suspended for handing out scholarship offers before the allowed date. In the case of the biggest violations, coaches can be suspended for an entire season.
Interestingly, it prescribes "a heightened state of awareness" around the recruitment of top recruits, echoing the late Paul Dee's famous quote from the Reggie Bush case, "High profile players demand high profile compliance."