October 07, 2016

NCAA Committee Recommends Ombuds for Investigations

A subcommittee of the National Collegiate Athletic Association has recommended several outside-the-box ideas for changing an enforcement system that is widely seen as ineffective an unfair. The NCAA oversees competitive college sports and polices its own rules; but its enforcement mechanisms are often seen as protracted and favoring high-profile athletics programs.  Since May 2016, the NCAA Division I Enforcement and Infractions Review Group has been conducting a review of the enforcement and infractions processes. One of the early proposals is for an Ombudsman to be available to parties involved in an NCAA investigation.

A subcommittee from the Collegiate Commissioners Association, a group of all 32 Division I conference commissioners, has reportedly offered four recommendations to the NCAA:

  • Don't spend money and time on violations that aren't fundamental in the eyes of NCAA members. Sort cases well so the most serious ones get the most attention from investigators to develop the facts.
  • Because a university's reputation is so important, if a school is being attacked, make sure it's for a good cause with sufficient evidence. There's a belief the NCAA sometimes gets off track with narrower cases that hurt a university's reputation but don't involve fundamental mistakes by the school.
  • Make sure wrongdoers are held accountable in a reasonable amount of time, understanding that cases can be delayed for various reasons. Provide more transparency on charging standards so there's some sense of a beginning and an end.
  • Create a neutral ombudsman that can provide clarification to the school or enforcement staff during the investigation. For instance, the ombudsman could handle questions about timing, how evidence was obtained, and whether schools are living up to the NCAA's expectation of cooperation in cases. The ombudsman could provide a preliminary signal without unnecessary delays.

The full report from the subcommittee has not ben made public, but it is worth noting that many other experts and insiders have also called for an NCAA Ombuds. (CBS Sports.)

Related posts: Psychologist Urges Ombuds as Buffer for Student Athletes; Michigan State to Appoint Ombuds for Student AthletesRecent Conflicts Highlight Role of Kidsports Ombuds; NCAA President Suggests Role for Ombuds; University of Utah Appoints Ombuds for Student Athletes; Sports Conflict Institute TV Explores How an Ombuds Might Help in SportsPAADS Athlete Development Summit to Feature Ombuds; Sports Conflict Institute Explores Ombuds for NCAA; Blogger Calls for International Sports to Adopt Ombuds; Responding to Rape Allegations, Baylor University Promises Ombuds for Athletes; Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada Seeks Input on Ombuds; Forbes Contributor: College Sports Needs an Ombuds Program.

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