NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A year after calling for a "new model" for college athletics, NCAA Executive Director Dick Schultz opened the 85th annual NCAA convention Monday by asking the organization's members to develop "a second chapter to that model," including a review of the NCAA enforcement process.
"The special convention in 1985 made sweeping changes in the enforcement and infractions process," Schultz said, referring to the convention during which the NCAA toughened its enforcement policies and added the so-called "death penalty" for repeat violators. "After five years, I feel it is time to review those actions.
"This review is not because I have any special concerns that the enforcement process is not doing its job fairly or that the (NCAA) infractions committee is not just. But we all recognize that sanctions and the investigative process are like a lightning rod. They attract much negative publicity--not only to the NCAA, but to the individual universities and college athletics in general. There are no winners in the enforcement and infractions process."
In the last year, the NCAA enforcement process has been the subject of legislation introduced in Congress and several state legislatures. In California, the legislature passed a resolution calling for Congress to enact a law compelling the NCAA enforcement process to conform to Constitutional due process requirements.
Schultz noted that he has asked the NCAA Council to form a special subcommittee to review the investigative methods of the enforcement staff, the work of the Committee on Infractions and the way information regarding infractions cases is released to the public.
In addition to members of the council, he said, the committee should include other NCAA members who have been through the enforcement process and individuals from outside the NCAA who could provide expertise.
If changes are required, he said, the council should prepare legislation for next year's convention.
Speaking of the enforcement staff and the infractions committee, Schultz said: "In spite of what you may read or hear, their efforts have resulted in fewer major violations. However, if there are concerns over the procedures, this will provide the membership with the opportunity for adjustment."
At a news conference after his speech, Schultz suggested that one change in NCAA enforcement policy might be allowing NCAA enforcement representatives to use tape recorders during interviews. Currently, investigators must take notes in longhand, then return to the subjects of the interviews to obtain signed statements.
Alan Williams, the University of Virginia history professor who currently chairs the infractions committee, said: "I've had at least four college presidents who have been through the (enforcement) process in the last year say positive things about it. They thanked the committee and said the process was tough but fair. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't go back and look at things."
As for Schultz's reference to the NCAA enforcement process as a "lightning rod," Williams laughed.
"We're not a feel-good committee," he said. "I can stop a conversation just by saying my name. But I also think that if people think there are problems, we ought to take a look at them."
In his speech, Schultz said another area of reform that should be explored is the financing of college athletic programs. Specifically, he suggested that the common mandate that athletic departments be self-supporting is incorrect.
"Athletic departments should be funded like any other university department or auxiliary enterprise," he said. "A budget should be submitted and approved, and all staff compensation should come through normal university channels.
"Athletic departments should develop as much revenue as possible by institutionally approved methods. Any shortfalls should be covered by the university, and any profits should go to the general fund. Only then can athletics hold its place in higher education."
The College Football Bowl Assn. announced that, in anticipation of the NCAA removing all restrictions on negotiations between schools and bowls, it would impose its own date on which such negotiations can begin. This year, the association announced, the date will be Nov. 17, a week earlier than NCAA rules currently allow.
The NCAA is expected to approve a measure eliminating restrictions on negotiations between schools and bowls this week. The bowl association, meeting independently of the NCAA in Nashville, also announced that a bowl found in violation of the Nov. 17 date will face a $250,000 fine.
At the same time, the NCAA postseason football committee established a three-member panel to study the idea of a draft that would match bowls and schools. Tom Hansen, Pacific 10 Conference commissioner and a member of the panel, said a draft, with either the bowls or the schools doing the drafting, might eliminate the chaos that surrounds the bowl selection process.