The NCAA, the national governing body for college athletics, is in a precarious position. Battered by recent lawsuits, the NCAA is undergoing a self-initiated review designed to modernize and transform its operations through updating its constitution and rules.
The enforcement process through which the NCAA enforces its myriad regulations has proven central to this review and is likely subject to substantial changes. One aspect of the process that deserves consideration is the fact that the Committee on Infractions (COI), which serves as the independent adjudicator when the enforcement staff alleges that coaches and staff members violate NCAA rules, affirmed ninety-three percent of the staff’s allegations over a recent three-year period.
Critics have questioned the COI’s independence, accusing it of serving as a rubber stamp for the enforcement staff’s rules violations allegations. This seemingly high affirmation rate could bolster that criticism. However, after examining the Federal Trade Commission’s similar enforcement process, comparably high affirmation rate, and the likely reason for the high rate, this Article does not take issue with the COI’s high affirmation rate. Instead, the Article suggests that the NCAA’s self-review of, and changes to, its enforcement operations is an opportune time to increase enforcement staff resources to better enable it to pursue additional potential NCAA rules violations. Doing so would benefit college athletics constituents by providing additional insights into COI expectations of NCAA rules compliance through the infractions process.