Harsher consequences for cheaters, including the firing of coaches and the loss of athletes' remaining eligibility, and the addition of a 12th regular-season football game are among 132 proposals on the agenda for the NCAA's 77th annual convention Jan. 10-12 in San Diego.
For the first time, coaches whose programs are caught cheating could have stipulations in their contracts making them subject to firing or suspension. In addition, athletes involved in cheating cases could lose their remaining eligiblity, but would remain on scholarship.
Under a proposal by some major college powers, including Georgia and Nebraska, contracts would include a stipulation that the coach may be suspended or fired if found in violation of NCAA regulations.
"We just have to scare the hell out of some people," said Digger Phelps, the Notre Dame basketball coach.
Another proposal, by the Pacific-10 Conference, to eliminate complimentary tickets is seen as a means of eliminating an avenue of cheating--athletes selling tickets. Instead, an athlete would receive complimentary admission, with his name on a gate list, good for four admissions per game. He would violate NCAA rules by selling or trading the complimentary admission.
Other proposals to be considered at the convention would considerably toughen admissions requirements for athletes, change the format of this season's and future NCAA basketball tournaments, and give the big-time football powers more control over the organization.
The latter would occur under a plan to restructure the NCAA Council, the organization's policy-making arm, and the executive committee, so that big-time football schools control each of them.
There is another proposal to require attendance criteria to keep Division I status for colleges and universities that do not play Division I football. That is one of the most controversial proposals on the agenda at San Diego.
Division I-AA members have been called to a meeting Wednesday at NCAA headquarters. The NCAA wants to lobby members of Division I-AA to support the attendance proposal. The vote now is termed "too close to call" by Steve Morgan, NCAA director of legislative services. The I-AA members also will discuss academics, television legislation and reorganization.
As a whole, this phase of the proposals would appear to mollify the members of the College Football Association. Earlier this year, the CFA signed a national television contract with NBC, but the contract fell apart when the CFA could not deliver the teams.
Georgia and Oklahoma, two CFA members, sued the NCAA, claiming that the NCAA network television contracts violate antitrust laws involving television rights that the schools say they own for their games. The two schools won the case in a U.S. District Court, but a federal appeals court stayed the lower court's order. No decision from the appeals court is likely before Jan. 1.
Adding a 12th football game would add to revenues by increasing gate receipts and the possibility of another television appearance. Division I-A and I-AA schools will have a divided vote on this issue, meaning it could be passed by I-A, with I-AA keeping 11 games. Such a vote is a strong possibility.
Among cost-cutting football proposals are: reducing traveling squads to 54 players; reducing total scholarships by 10, to 85 in Division I-A and to 65 in I-AA. The new I-A limit is unlikely to pass; the I-AA limit likely will pass, sources said.
Two academic proposals are given the best chance for passage. One would require at least a 2.0 average on a 4.0 scale in a core curriculum of 11 academic courses, including at least three in English, two in mathematics, two in social science and two in natural or physical science. The other would require that a certain number of degree credits must be passed in a program leading to a degree.
Several proposals involve basketball. One would eliminate the four preliminary games in this year's NCAA tournament and establish a 52-team draw. Another would ask the NCAA to recommend to its basketball committee that every Division I team, other than those on probations prohibiting participation, compete in the 1984 tournament. Morgan said neither has significant support.