UCLA’s Young Leads Pac-10 Drive to Avert Retroactive Penalties
Just seconds before the Thursday afternoon deadline for submitting amendments to the proposals that will be voted upon by the National Collegiate Athletic Assn.'s Special Convention this morning, UCLA Chancellor Charles Young offered an amendment that would make it clear that any violation of rules that occurred before Sept. 1, 1985 should not be counted toward the “repeat violator” rule that carries with it penalties known as “death penalties.”
Until Thursday morning, that question had not been raised. But when Young learned that the NCAA Council was interpreting the language of the proposal to mean that a school hit with a major penalty after Sept. 1 would be subject to the repeat-violator rule retroactively, he reported it to the Pac-10 meeting and the Pac-10 representatives voted, 10-0, to hastily draft the amendment.
If the legislation were to pass without the amendment, UCLA, USC, Arizona and Arizona State all would be open to the repeat-violator penalties if another penalty were to be found soon after Sept. 1. The legislation on repeat violators has penalties that include suspending the sport altogether for up to two years, suspending the coaching staff for the same time and eliminating all initial scholarships and recruiting for two years.
The result would be devastating.
Many schools outside the Pac-10 also favored the amendment.
In presenting the amendment to the convention, Young said: “We in the Pac-10 have discussed this matter and believe that the retroactive application is at least questionable if not inappropriate. We have proposed an amendment that would add (language) to make clear that the period would begin running Sept. 1, 1985, and any two major infractions after that date, within a five-year period, would result in the penalty required for a repeat offense, but would not take into account actions that took place in the past when this penalty did not exist.”
Everyone in the convention hall was beginning to sound like a lawyer as the lobbying and debating continued on the fairness of making the rule retroactive.
USC Athletic Director Mike McGee said: “In and of itself it is punitive. A program that has already satisfied the sanctions imposed earlier are being exposed to double jeopardy.”
McGee raised another interesting question. If one violation is going to be considered retroactively, why not two? There are several schools, including possibly Arizona State and certainly SMU and Georgia, that have received two penalties in the last five-year period. Should those programs be suspended?
Asked if he thought there would be enough support to pass the amendment, McGee said: “I have talked to a number of people who think that there is a real problem (of) equity.
“I’m not saying these things just because we have a vested interest,” McGee said. “I have a problem with the fairness of it.”
Young said that he was chosen to make the presentation because he thought UCLA was not affected. However, UCLA was, indeed, affected, because the basketball program went on probation Dec. 4, 1981. Young had been advised by his staff that the penalty had occurred in 1980.
“Well, then, I’m mistaken,” Young said. “I didn’t think I was making a self-serving move.”
Young said he objected to the rule on grounds of fairness. But he said: “I would vote for it even if the amendment fails.”
McGee, too, said that he would favor Proposal 3, even without the amendment.
As for the legality of making the rule retroactive, John Davis, president of Oregon State and president of the NCAA, explained, quoting from the interpretation of the NCAA lawyers: “In the law of statutes it is generally held that remedial or procedural statutes that do not affect vested rights operate retroactively. . . . Proposal 3 is remedial or procedural legislation . . . because no member could have a vested right rising out of a violation of association rules . . .
“If an institution receives its notice (of an investigation) prior to Sept. 1, then the old procedures apply. However, if an institution receives its notice of a violation subsequent to Sept. 1, 1985, then the new procedures and penalties are applicable . . . in applying the new procedure, major violations occuring prior to Sept. 1, 1985, should be considered in determining whether a member is a repeat violator because otherwise there would be a lengthy and unnecessary delay in implementation of that legislation and many repeat violators would escape the stiffer penalties.”
In keeping with the convention’s theme of integrity, Arliss Roaden of Tennessee State and John Toner of the University of Connecticut gave reports on the progress being made by their committees to deal with the problems of gambling and drugs.
Roaden said that representatives of the NCAA had been meeting with the FBI regarding point-shaving and game-fixing. He said that the NCAA was asking for stricter legislation against gambling and for stricter enforcement.
He outlined several proposals, including a policy statement saying that everyone in the NCAA would give total cooperation to the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Roaden said: “We are not naive enough to think that we can control all gambling or all drug usage, but it is our intent, with all means available to us, to leave no stone unturned until we do everything we can to combat these serious threats to intercollegiate athletics.”
Toner, who is the chairman of the committee for establishing a drug-testing policy, said that his committee would have solid proposals to present to the annual convention in January. If all goes as he thinks it will go, the NCAA could be testing athletes for drugs as soon as the 1986-87 school year.
He said that the NCAA would test not only for performance-enhancing chemicals but also for recreational street drugs.
The NCAA is working “in harmony” with the United States Olympic Committee in working out its policies, he said.
“We are limited, at this point in time, to but one laboratory that is approved by the IOC in the United States, and there is only one other laboratory approved by the IOC on this continent, and that is in Montreal,” Toner said, later confirming that the one approved lab is the lab at UCLA that was set up for the Olympics.
Toner said, for now, the committee is recommending that the NCAA begin by testing athletes at random, not announcing in which sports those would be so that all sports would be on alert.
“We feel that there is a serious problem with anabolic steroids,” he said, adding that steroids do give an athletic advantage. Each test, including testing for steroids, will cost about $200. The total cost for implementing this program would probably cost the NCAA between $500,000 and $600,000.
There are plans to test at the site of championships, including all 18 football bowl games. Because of the number of teams involved in both the men’s and the women’s basketball tournaments and the time restrictions, Toner said that testing would be done after some of the early rounds, at least ensuring a “clean” final.
Track and field athletes would be tested at all three championships every year.
Toner said that an athlete who tested positive would not be allowed to compete in that championship and would automatically lose his eligibility for the next 90 days. He would then have 90 days of rehabilitation and re-testing, and if he tested clean he could apply to have his eligibility restored. If he tested positive a second time, he would lose the next school year’s eligibility.