What Is the NCAA Death Penalty?

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The NCAA death penalty is a rule that allows the organization to ban a member school from sports competition for a minimum of one year. The NCAA has used this penalty a few times, and according to the organization's founding rules, it has always had the ability to impose bans on member schools it deems to be in violation of certain rules or codes of conduct.

There are nuances to the death penalty system, including a repeat violator rule instituted in the 1980s that allows the organization to offer warnings to offending schools and put first-time violators on probation. Famous examples of the NCAA death penalty being levied and then lifted include a temporary halt on Southern Methodist University's football program during the late 1980s in response to allegations that student-athletes were receiving payments from the school's booster club, which was a major violation of NCAA rules.