Rice: We’ll leave NCAA image likeness issue to the courts
Stating “the rewards for violating the rules far outweigh the risks,” former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s independent commission on college basketball Wednesday recommended significant increases in the penalties for schools that violate NCAA rules.
What does this potentially mean for the Kansas basketball program in light of the recent FBI revelation that shoe company money allegedly exchanged hands to steer two players to the Jayhawks?
That appears to be a tough question to answer at this point.
It should be noted that the FBI has not accused any individuals at KU, including coaches or administrators, of wrongdoing in its charges against Adidas representatives who allegedly made payments to a mother and a guardian of two KU players.
So projecting the future is difficult. Will the NCAA look to pursue backdated penalties for schools while potentially keeping the FBI probe on the top of the news cycle? And even if it does, will the FBI share evidence in its ongoing investigation into corruption in college basketball with the NCAA, which likely will be needed to seek punishments?
And if all that occurred, would KU's athletic department be found to have violated NCAA rules — something that hasn't been proven to this point?
If the answer is "yes" to all those, then Rice's comments suggest potential discipline could be harsh.
Rice said Wednesday the commission has recommended the following increases in the NCAA’s core penalty structure:
- Increase the competition penalties for Level I violations to allow a five-year postseason ban, including the NCAA Tournament.
- Increase the financial penalties for Level I violations to allow loss of all revenue sharing in postseason play, including revenue from the NCAA Tournament.
- Increase the penalties for a show-cause order to allow bans of more than one season.
- Increase the restrictions on head coaches to allow bans of more than one season.
- Increase the penalties for recruiting visit violations to allow full-year visit bans.
The commission also addressed changes in how cases involving alleged violations of NCAA rules would be heard, suggesting that the NCAA create “independent investigative and adjudicative arms" to resolve complex NCAA cases.
“Today’s current state, where an entire community knows of significant rule breaking and yet the governance body lacks the power or will to investigate and act, breeds cynicism and contempt," Rice said. “To restore credibility to this process, the investigation, enforcement and resolution of high stakes cases must be placed in the hands of independent professionals."
The commission suggested the panel have the authority to give out significant punishments, which could include the loss of postseason play and potential revenues from that.
If any coach is deemed guilty of NCAA violations, that coach could receive a lifetime ban as well, according to committee recommendations.
As part of its 60-page report, the independent commission also called for greater personal accountability among athletic departments.
"The NCAA is certainly not blameless for its failure to address the corruption in college basketball that led to the recent prosecutions," the commission stated, "but the primary failures belong to the individuals at colleges and universities who allowed their programs to be corrupted, averting their eyes to keep the money flowing."