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Study: NCAA penalties harsher for non-BCS, historically black schools
Schools in leagues that have automatic berths in the Bowl Championship Series receive less-stringent probation penalties from the NCAA than other Division I institutions for violating the governing body’s rules, says a study released Tuesday by a former NCAA legal consultant.
Florida attorney Michael L. Buckner says his research also shows historically black schools (HBCUs) in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and Southwestern Athletic Conference receive longer probation penalties from the NCAA infractions committee than any other Division I category.
Buckner’s study claims that from Jan. 1, 2005, to Sept. 2, 2009, the NCAA Committee on Infractions issued:
•An average probation penalty of 2.58 years to schools in the six BCS automatic-qualifier leagues (Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific-10 and Southeastern) compared with 2.74 years for the rest of Division I.
•An average penalty of 2.58 years to schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly Division I-A, compared with 2.86 years for the rest of Division I.
•An average penalty of 3.83 years to HBCUs [in the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly Division I-AA], compared with an average of 2.54 years for the rest of Division I, excluding HBCUs.
NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn, in an e-mail response to USA TODAY, said Buckner’s claims “are based upon an inadequate examination of the facts. Specifically, its ‘research’ is reliant on a very small sample size of a handful of institutions and a methodology that fails to tests the claims against standard statistical criteria … It should (also) be noted that probation is simply a period of time in which the involved institution is monitored by the committee to ensure that its compliance systems are functioning properly and that other penalties imposed by the committee are being carried out. Probationary periods are not designed to be punitive, but rather remedial in nature.”
Buckner told USA TODAY that the study points out that “a probation penalty was the only common penalty imposed against the schools …The study is a brief survey of a 56-month period; it is not intended to be or represented as a scientific study. I invite the NCAA to conduct such an analysis so that the membership can engage in an informative discussion on the fairness of the enforcement process.”
By Sal Ruibal, USA TODAY