About Enforcement

The NCAA enforcement program strives to maintain a level playing field for the more than 400,000 student-athletes. Commitment to fair play is a bedrock principle of the NCAA. The NCAA upholds that principle by enforcing membership-created rules that ensure equitable competition and protect the well-being of student-athletes at all member institutions.

Hearings

Most major violation cases end up before the Committee on Infractions, a group drawn from the membership or independent sources. Most members have a legal background. A pre-hearing conference is conducted to help both sides prepare and to ensure that no new information is introduced during the actual hearing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who attends Committee on Infractions hearings?

  • Committee on Infractions members and supporting staff
  • NCAA enforcement staff
  • Institutional representatives
  • Individuals named in allegations who have been asked to formally respond
  • Other individuals no longer affiliated with the involved institution

What happens during a Committee on Infractions hearing?

Introductions: The committee chair calls the meeting to order and all individuals participating in the hearing are introduced on the record. 

Opening statements: The institution, any involved individuals and a representative from the NCAA enforcement staff are each provided an opportunity to make a brief opening statement (usually 5-10 minutes) focused on the infractions case and underlying violations. 

Review of allegations: For each allegation, the enforcement staff presents a general description of the allegation and the information it believes supports a finding that violations occurred.

  • The institution responds to the allegation.
  • The involved individuals named in the allegations respond.
  • Committee members may ask questions at any time during the discussion of an allegation. It is possible that the parties will be requested to respond to questions before their formal presentations.
  • The Committee on Infractions allows all parties to present any information relevant to the allegation and does not set time limits on the discussion of an allegation. The purpose of the hearing is to provide each party an opportunity to present all information it deems important for the committee to review.
  • If the institution, any involved individual or the enforcement staff wishes to ask a question of another party, that question should be directed to the committee, which will then decide if the question is appropriate and, if so, direct it to the appropriate party.
  • The committee will discuss any procedural concerns or issues related to the enforcement staff’s conduct if such issues are raised in the response to the notice of allegations or at the hearing.
Closing statements: After the discussion of all allegations, each party is provided an opportunity to make a brief closing statement.

Are witnesses called during a hearing?

No. The committee may ask questions of involved individuals at the hearing and may also inquire about information reported by witnesses or developed by the enforcement staff, institution or involved individuals. However, witnesses are not summoned.

Documents with all pertinent information from the investigation are prepared and submitted to committee members and everyone else involved in the case at least two weeks before the hearing. The Division I Committee on Infractions meets six times annually.

At hearings, institutions are usually represented by the president or chancellor, faculty athletics representative, athletics director, and the current or former head coach of the involved sport or sports. The institution’s legal counsel and rules-compliance officials also attend. Student-athletes who face eligibility consequences also may be present, along with any other parties tied to the potential violations.

The enforcement staff is represented by three people: the primary investigator on the case, the director who oversaw the investigation and the vice president of enforcement.

The hearing is run by the chair of the committee, currently Conference-USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky.

Similar to a court proceeding, all involved parties, including the institution and the enforcement staff, give opening statements. Both the enforcement staff and the institution and other involved parties make presentations on each individual allegation. Committee members ask questions. After all allegations are discussed, each party offers closing statements.

The committee’s main job is to reach the correct decision, so the hearing takes as much or as little time as is necessary. The committee wants to be sure that when the hearing is complete, everyone in the room has had the opportunity to say everything they need to say.

The committee deliberates in private to determine its findings and what penalties should be assessed. The committee’s report, prepared with the assistance of NCAA staff separate from enforcement, is released eight to 12 weeks after a hearing.

These processes are similar to those found in Divisions II and III.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2012