Media members set to experience enforcement: More than 30 members of the media and readers of a live blog will participate in the Enforcement Experience − a day-long session that will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the complex task of holding institutions, administrators, coaches and student-athletes accountable for NCAA rules that are intended to promote education and fair play. Read more »

New section on details Enforcement process: The NCAA enforcement program strives to maintain a level playing field for the more than 400,000 student-athletes. Read more »

Separating fact from fiction in ‘The Blind Side’: The Academy Award-winning movie “The Blind Side” got it wrong when it came to NCAA investigative practices, and NCAA Associate Director for Enforcement Joyce Thompson set the record straight.Read more »

Replay Enforcement Experience blog: The behind-the-scenes look at the NCAA enforcement process drew plenty of readers. Read more »

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Publish date: May 13, 2011

Broad audience benefited from first Enforcement Experience

By Marta Lawrence

The NCAA Enforcement Experience turned into something of an all-comers event.

In addition to the 24 media members who participated in the session Tuesday, nearly 2,000 users participated in a live blog.

Whether participants attended in-person or tracked online, the Enforcement Experience provided a behind-the-scenes look at the complex task of holding institutions, administrators, coaches and student-athletes accountable for NCAA rules that are intended to promote education and fair play.

The in-person media were walked through an enforcement case against the fictitious “State University” from the initial phone tip though the investigation, Committee on Infractions hearing and, ultimately, the penalty assessment. In the end, the penalties doled out by the reporters to “State” were fairly similar to those given by the Committee on Infraction members.

The live blog followed developments throughout the day and answered 115 user-submitted questions, ranging from descriptions of the process to the differences between student-athlete reinstatement and major infractions. For example:

Comment From Jason:  “Why are some appeals requests handled quicker than others, from the outside they move at an inconsistent speed (Cam Newton vs. Enes Kantor). Is there a certain length of time before an appeal can be heard and why the inconsistency?”     

NCAA: Jason, now would be a good time to point out the difference between the student-athlete reinstatement and enforcement department. SAR decisions are only regarding the student-athlete, enforcement involves institutions and at risk individuals, which means a much longer process. Sometimes reinstatement cases can be decided in as little as 24 hours. Cam Newton was an SAR decision. Enes Kantor was an initial-eligibility concern.”

Media reaction to Tuesday’s Enforcement Experience was largely positive, with sports journalists praising the Association for bringing more transparency to an often mysterious process. While the event garnered praise, many reporters used the opportunity to call for tougher rules and harsher penalties.

“Scandals are overshadowing college sports,” wrote Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel. While he was heartened to see the NCAA open its doors and allow the reporters access to the process, he wrote that the “status quo isn’t working.”

ESPN’s Pat Forde worried about the complexity of catching cheaters but praised the Enforcement Experience.

“They put on a very good show, delivering a ton of impressively presented information that even included a touch of that rarest of all NCAA commodities, humor,” wrote Forde. “They want us to write nice things about the enforcement process, of course. And we will, because enforcement director Julie Roe Lach and her staff deserve it after lifting the curtain on the most controversial and misunderstood thing the NCAA does. The Association is gradually emerging from decades of bunker mentality in which it was secretive about everything – especially enforcement – and this was another step forward in that regard.”

Both Wetzel and Forde had some of the most popular Tweets:

espn4d Pat Forde

I can tell you this much from Mock Enforcement Minicamp: State U is in trrrrrouble.


Best thing learned at NCAA enforcement experience? That 80 percent of coaches cry during infractions hearing.

An account by NCAA Associate Director of Enforcement Joyce Thompson of her real-life interview of Michael Oher, which differed extensively from her portrayal in “The Blind Side,” prompted Knoxville Sentinel reporter Andrew Gribble to Tweet, “Oh. Snap. The real NCAA investigator who interrogated Oher is now giving her side of the story.”

The staff plans a reprise of the Enforcement Experience, although no date has been determined.