By Brian Murphy
Boise State has asked the NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee to throw out the penalties levied by the Committee on Infractions that are above the school's self-imposed sanctions, according to Boise State's Nov. 3 appeal obtained by the Idaho Statesman.
The Committee on Infractions stripped Boise State of three football scholarships for this season and the next two and reduced the number of contact practices in the springs of 2012, 2013 and 2014.
The penalties were in addition to Boise State's self-imposed reduction of three pre-season practices in 2011 and 2012. Boise State had proposed a reduction of three total scholarships, which the Broncos took this season.
"Boise State contends that these penalties are excessive such that they constitute abuses of discretion in the situation presented by the case," Boise State writes in its 17-page appeal.
Boise State writes that reductions in scholarships have historically been linked to "financial aid overawards; academic fraud or other serious academic eligibility concerns; broader recruiting concerns that actually impact the individuals' choice of institutions; substaintial benefits from boosters; or exceeding coaching limits."
"None of these issues were present in the University's case," Boise State writes in its appeal.
In the appeal's summary section, Boise State argues that "the Committee improperly increased the self-imposed football grant-in-aid restrictions ... even though the penalty is not warranted and is inconsistent with precedent and the circumstances of this case."
And Boise State says the "decision to add additional sanctions concerning practice opportunities ... is also inappropriate in light of the circumstances of this case and not consistent with logic and the imposition of practice-related penalties in prior cases."
Boise State "acknowledges that major violations of NCAA legislation occurred in this case" and that "the findings, none of which are appealed, are significant and are the result of incidents that are inconsistent with the University's expectations for the operation of its intercollegiate athletics program."
However, "the University believes it would be unfair for the appealed excessive penalties to remain a part of the final outcome of this case."
Here's the appeals timeline, according to Boise State officials:
— Boise State had until Sept. 28 to notify the NCAA of its intent to appeal. The NCAA then will acknowledge receipt of Boise State's decision.
— Boise State will have 30 days from the acknowledgement to file its brief. It filed on Nov. 3.
— The COI will have 30 days to answer the brief.
— Boise State will have 14 days to file its rebuttal.
— It's unclear whether Boise State will have an in-person hearing or how long after the process has been completed that a decision will be announced.
Notes on the appeals process, from the NCAA:
— There are five members on the committee. At least one of the members is from the general public and isn’t associated with a college, professional sports organization or athletes in any way. The other members must be a staff member of an NCAA school or conference.
— An appeal is NOT a new hearing that provides a second chance to argue the case. The Infractions Appeals Committee will reverse or modify a ruling of the Committee on Infractions only if the individual or school can prove one of the following:
• The ruling by the Committee on Infractions was clearly contrary to the evidence;
• The individual or school did not actually break NCAA rules;
• There was a procedural error that caused the Committee on Infractions to find a violation of NCAA rules;
• The penalty was excessive and is an abuse of discretion.
— The appeal can be handled in written form or through an in-person hearing.
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