You're hearing a lot about NCAA rules, guidelines and sanctions. And in the coming days we'll all be hearing a lot more. Here's a little help in interpreting some of the arcane NCAA-speak that's flying around:
Institutions typically self-report to the NCAA in the event they have reason to believe a violation of an NCAA rule has occurred.
The NCAA Secondary Violation Penalty Schedule provides guidance for penalties for inadvertent secondary (or minor) violations. For example, if coaching staff members attended an opponent's contest, violating the regulation generally prohibiting in-person scouting of an opponent, the employing institution should issue a letter of reprimand to the involved coaching staff members. Many recruiting violations would necessitate the institution to issue a letter of admonishment to involved staff members, with notice that repeat violations will be forwarded to the NCAA for evaluation and imposition of appropriate recruiting restrictions on the institution. Most of these involve recruiting violations.
Major infractions involve an in-depth investigation process in cooperation with the institution. Major infractions may warrant penalties such as forfeiture of games involving ineligible players, probation, limiting television coverage, termination of responsible staff, dissociation of representatives of athletic interests, reduction of allowable grants-in-aid, financial penalties, and, in the worst case, effectively suspending an athletic program for a given period of time.
Examples of major infractions include providing extra benefits to student athletes or recruits, falsification of recruiting records, unethical conduct (including academic fraud), impermissible recruiting inducements, lack of institutional control and failure to monitor its athletic programs, provision of false and misleading information, hiring irregularities, fraudulent entrance examinations, impermissible observation of preseason activities, and impermissible tryouts.
Improper academic assistance is a violation of NCAA rules and will jeopardize the eligibility of the athletes involved.
The wild cards involved for FSU: Does the "academic misconduct," as the NCAA has called the situation, constitute a major violation under the term "academic fraud"?
Even more critical, can the "academic scandal" (the tabloid term ESPN is using) with misconduct by a tutor hired by the athletic department and players involved, be construed as a big no-no called "lack of institutional control and failure to monitor its athletic programs"?