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NCAA approves tougher sanctions for rule-breakers

NCAA approves tougher sanctions for rule-breakers

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The NCAA is demanding everyone in college sports play by the same book.

Those who deviate from it and flout the rules will soon be paying a steeper price.

On Tuesday, the NCAA's board of directors passed a package of sweeping changes that will hold coaches more accountable for rule-breaking offenses and threaten rogue programs with longer postseason bans and fines that could cost millions of dollars.

Coaches say it's about time.

``Throughout history, the only way to keep civilization and to keep things in order is to have very strong rules and enforce them,'' said Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer, who won two national titles at Florida. ``There's no other way. Clear rules with very firm and swift - it has to be a little bit more swift - punishment.''

The NCAA believes they have fixed the problem of swift justice, too, by approving an increase in the number of infractions committee voting members, from 10 up to 24.

The plan is to split the full committee into smaller panels, all of which could hear cases and allow as many as 10 meetings to take place annually instead of the five that have traditionally been held.

The board overwhelmingly supported all pieces of the legislation and voted unanimously to approve it, though it was unclear if all 13 board members participated in an unusual conference call.

Typically, members attend the Indianapolis meetings in person. But when it became clear that Superstorm Sandy could have a significant impact on travel plans, the members who were not yet in Indy were told to stay home.

Oregon State President Ed Ray, the NCAA executive committee chairman, told The Associated Press it was the first time in his 5 1/2-year tenure the board met on the phone.

But after debating these measures since August 2011, the board was not going let a storm, or anything else, derail the reform movement.

``We have sought all along to remove the `risk-reward' analysis that has tempted people - often because of the financial pressures to win at all costs - to break the rules in the hopes that either they won't be caught or that the consequences won't be very harsh if they do get caught,'' NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement posted on the governing body's web site.

So the board started by trying to strip cheaters of two of the biggest benefits - money and prestige.

Violators found to be in ``serious breach of conduct'' with aggravating circumstances could face penalties similar to those imposed on Penn State earlier this year following the Jerry Sandusky scandal - a four-year postseason ban and a $60 million fine.

Head coaches will find themselves under more scrutiny, too.

If any member of the coaching staff commits a serious infraction, the head coach must prove he or she was unaware it occurred or face a suspension ranging from 10 percent of the season to one full season. Some don't believe it is that much to ask.

``Being an assistant for so long, I still think like an assistant coach,'' Indiana football coach Kevin Wilson said. ``I think it's my responsibility, and I like to educate our staff on what to do and that you know what those guys are doing and that you make sure our guys are doing things properly.''

Committee members couldn't agree more.

``Everyone I've talked to tells me that if there's anything that coaches are, it is control freaks,'' Ray said. ``They not only know what's going on in their program, they know everything that's going on in their program - and if they don't, they should.''

Tuesday's decision is the latest chapter to update and toughen NCAA enforcement policies and procedures.

It started in August 2011 when Emmert asked dozens of school presidents and chancellors to attend a retreat during one of the most scandalous years in college sports.

Afterward, Emmert and Ray among others called on school leaders to get tougher on the most egregious rule-breakers.

The current two-tier penalty structure, for major and secondary infractions, is being scrapped for a four-level stepladder - severe breach of conduct, significant breach of conduct, breach of conduct and incidental issues. Punishment could also be impacted by charges of aggravating circumstances, or intentional violations, and mitigating circumstances that could help a school with its case.

NCAA officials believe it will help allocate more staff to the most serious cases.

But critics worry this may be just another round of tough talk and little action.

``It sounds nice in theory but until I see a big-time coach like (John) Calipari or somebody get suspended for a year, I will not believe this will do anything,'' said David Ridpath, an Ohio University professor and past president of the NCAA watchdog The Drake Group. ``I think there a lot of loopholes in there when you start reading it.''

If the policies don't clean up college sports, the NCAA could tweak the legislation, too.

``We'll continue to evaluate it and if we recognize something is not working in the right area, that's a step we will rectify,'' NCAA director of enforcement Chris Strobel said.

Infractions that occur after the meeting but are not resolved before Aug. 1. 2013, will be subject to the new sanctions. Schools currently under investigation, such as Miami, also could be hit with the new penalties if their cases are not resolved before Aug. 1.

Emmert has backed every legislative piece of the reform movement.

Last fall, the governing body passed a measure calling for tougher eligibility requirements on incoming freshmen and junior college transfers; another that tied academic performance to postseason eligibility; a third that give schools flexibility to offer multiyear scholarships or stick with the standard one-year scholarships (it withstood an override attempt); and a fourth that allowed student-athletes to collect stipends of up to $2,000.

The stipend plan was shelved, though Emmert wants to put it in place. That is unlikely to happen before the board's January meeting. Another committee is trying to shrink the NCAA's massive rule book, but no formal proposal is anticipated before January.

The board is already looking toward next year's reforms. A formal proposal to shrink the massive rule book also is expected to be heard in January, and it agreed to put off any legislation for the 2013-14 academic year until after other reforms are passed.

But on Tuesday, the NCAA rewrote the book by putting a greater emphasis on the role coaches will play moving forward.

``We delegate responsibility to our head coaches, and presidents delegate to athletic directors, just like companies delegate to different levels of management,'' Kansas State athletic director John Currie said. ``Ultimately the leader is accountable.''

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Associated Press Sports Writers Larry Lage in Detroit and Dave Skretta in Kansas City, Mo., also contributed to this report.

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Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

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Associated Press

Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

The sudden resignation of Barry Trotz as the coach of the Stanley Cup champion Capitals is the most stunning Washington coaching departure since Joe Gibbs retired from the Redskins about 13 months after the team won its third Super Bowl in a 10-year span. 

In the years leading up to Gibbs’ departure, there were some rumblings that he might leave. As early as 1986, John Madden said that Gibbs was a candidate to burn out of the profession early. During the 1989 season, Gibbs said that he was contemplating retirement, but he retracted his words the next day. In 1990, columnist and TV pregame panelist Will McDonough reported that Gibbs would retire after the season. Retirement rumors popped up again in early 1992, just two days before Super Bowl XXVI. Again, Gibbs denied them. The Redskins easily beat the Bills to claim their third championship in 10 years and there was no apparent reason why such a successful coach would think about leaving. 

Redskins fans had become so used to hearing the Gibbs retirement reports that many just started to tune them out. So on the morning of March 5, 1993, when reports of Gibbs’ resignation as coach started to circulate, many were in a state of denial.

That turned out to be wishful thinking. The fans were given a hard jolt of reality when the team announced a noon press conference. 

There the coach was on TV, as promised, confirming the news. He said it was a family decision. 

“Every year, we get away and talk about it,” Gibbs said. “We always reach the same conclusion. This year, it was different. The boys didn’t encourage me one way or another, but they understood when I told them what I was thinking. I think Pat’s happier than anyone. This isn’t an easy lifestyle for a coach’s wife. The coach is the guy who stands up and hears everyone tell him how great he is. The wife is the one waiting at home alone while the coach is spending every night at the office. 

“I wanted more time with my family. I wanted more time with my sons. I look at this as a window of opportunity with them and I couldn’t let it pass.” 

Although he has been diagnosed with a condition that has caused some pain and some difficulty in sleeping, Gibbs said that health was not a factor in his decision. 

Richie Petitbon, the team’s longtime defensive coordinator, was named the team’s new head coach. It had to be one of the shortest job interviews ever. 

“I get a call from Mr. Cooke who tells me Joe has retired and that he wants me to coach the Redskins,” Petitbon said. “After I picked myself up off the floor, I said yes.” 

After hearing the news, most Redskins fans had to pick themselves up as well.  

Petitbon lasted only one season as the head coach and the other eight head coaches who followed, including Gibbs himself in a four-year second stint, have been unable to get the Redskins back to the Super Bowl. Coincidentally, the Caps’ head coaching job is widely expected to go to Todd Reirden, who was Trotz’s top assistant just as Pettitbon was Gibbs’. 

Washington fans hope that the Caps have better fortune with Trotz’s successors. 

More Redskins

- 53-man roster: Roster projection--Offense
- 53-man roster: Best players 25 or younger

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

 

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Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 19, 37 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on defense; the offense was posted yesterday.

Defensive line (7)
Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Stacy McGee, Tim Settle, Ziggy Hood

I don’t think that McGee’s groin injury will be an issue, but it seemed that Jay Gruden was very tight-lipped about the whole thing, so we will have to wait until training camp starts. This is one more than they normally carry here and Hood’s presence on the roster could be in danger if injuries force the team to carry more players at another position. 

Outside linebacker (4)
Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Pernell McPhee

Anderson is certain to make the roster, but he was mostly invisible during the offseason practices that were open to the media. The spotlight will be on last year’s second-round pick in training camp. After a zero-sack rookie season, Anderson will be under pressure to produce this season. 

Inside linebacker (5)
Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Shaun Dion Hamilton

The player I have on the wrong side of the bubble here is Martrell Spaight. If he does work his way on, the spot most in jeopardy is Vigil’s. Harvey-Clemons got a lot of reps with the first team in OTAs and the team thinks he can help in nickel situations and perhaps more. And Gruden called Hamilton a potential future starter. So the two younger players seem safe, leaving Vigil vulnerable.

Cornerback (6)
Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Orlando Scandrick, Josh Holsey, Greg Stroman

As is the case with the running backs that I looked at yesterday, this group seems to be pretty well set. It’s not that it’s an exceptionally strong group, but there isn’t a lot of real competition. Behind these six are three undrafted free agents, and while Danny Johnson, Kenny Ladler, and Ranthony Texada all have had flashes in the offseason practices, they are extreme long shots to make the roster at this point. 

Safety (4)
D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everett, Troy Apke

If there are concerns about Nicholson’s health—to be clear, as of now there are none—Fish Smithson could make it as a fifth safety. 

Specialists (3)
K Dustin Hopkins, P Tress Way, LS Nick Sundberg

It looks like the Redskins will have the same trio of specialists for the fourth straight year. I will look it up at some point but for now, I’ll say that it’s been a while since they had such stability here. 


Defensive players: 26
Rookies (5): 
Payne, Settle, Hamilton, Stroman, Apke
New to the Redskins in 2018 (7): Rookies plus McPhee, Scandrick
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (13): Rookies plus new players plus Vigil (released in the final cut, re-signed later in the season). 

On the 53-man roster:

24 offense, 26 defense, 3 specialists
Rookies: 8
New to the Redskins in 2017: 12
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster: 16

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 37
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 51
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 74

The Redskins last played a game 170 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 82 days. 

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