Latest Violations Could Lead the NCAA to Extend USC’s ‘Death Penalty’ Period

USC’s recent football violations could not possibly count as a second violation under the new “death penalty” legislation passed at the NCAA special convention last June because the violations occurred before the effective date of Sept. 1. But it is possible that the violation may cause USC’s five-year clock to be reset.

The legislation provides for extreme penalties--including suspension of the sport for one or two years and suspension of all recruiting for up to two years--if an institution is caught in a second major violation within a five-year period.

The NCAA has not yet reviewed USC’s latest violations and therefore has not ruled on whether they should be considered secondary or major.

A secondary violation is defined as a violation that gives only a limited recruiting or competitive edge and is isolated or insignificant. Violations that give a more extensive advantage are considered major. However, the assistant director who reviews the case has the authority to classify a lesser violation as a major infraction if it has been a repeated infraction at that institution.

As it stands now, any violation against USC through April, 1987, would be considered a second major infraction because of the violations that occurred in April, 1982. If the most recent violations are ruled to be a major infraction, it will not count as a second infraction but USC then would be vulnerable to the “death penalty” through 1990.