Representative David Kustoff (R-TN-08) this week filed legislation that, if enacted into law, would create due process protections for individuals and universities under investigation by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for rule infractions.
Representative Burgess Owens (R-UT-04) and Representative Josh Harder (D-CA-10) are co-sponsoring the legislation, according to a press release.
“The NCAA’s infractions process is systematically flawed. The NCAA writes the rules, enforces the rules, and punishes universities at will,” Kustoff said in the press release.
“Essentially, the NCAA acts as the prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner over college athletics. This unchecked authority and exploitative behavior has ruined careers, harmed the U.S. education system, and caused great economic damage to local communities.”
As written, the bill would do the following:
• Require the NCAA to provide member universities with fair notice regarding enforcement proceedings
• Require the NCAA to complete any investigation no later than one year after it begins
• Establish a two-year statute of limitations
• Prohibit information from confidential sources from being offered into the NCAA’s enforcement decisions
• Prohibit the NCAA from publicly disclosing information relating to an ongoing investigation until formal charges are filed
• Provide member universities the right to resolve disputes (over sanctions for bylaw infractions) with the NCAA through arbitration. The three-person arbitration panel will provide an independent, unbiased review and legally binding decision
• Require the NCAA to conduct its enforcement proceedings and investigations in a fair and consistent manner. The penalties issued against member institutions for bylaw infractions shall be equitable with respect to severity of the infraction and the institution’s history of infractions
• Direct the NCAA to submit an annual report to the Department of Justice (DOJ) summarizing its enforcement proceedings. The NCAA must also submit separate reports to each state’s attorney general summarizing its interactions with member universities headquartered in their respective states
• Direct the DOJ to establish supervisory and investigatory procedures to determine the NCAA’s compliance with this bill
• Authorize the DOJ, through an administrative law judge, to fine the NCAA or individuals on staff up to $15 million for violating the provisions of this bill
• Authorize the DOJ to order the permanent removal of any member on the NCAA’s Board of Governors
“The NCAA offers its members little due process protections. Its rules are irregularly enforced, and its investigations lack established procedures. Further, the NCAA punishes universities inconsistently and unpredictably,” Kustoff said.
“My bill, the NCAA Accountability Act, provides protection for universities and student-athletes in the form of due process, transparency, and fairness during enforcement proceedings. I look forward to the quick passage of this important bill.”
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