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A penalty determined by the Committee on Infractions shall not be set aside on appeal except on a...

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A penalty determined by the Committee on Infractions shall not be set aside on appeal except on a showing by the appealing party that the penalty is excessive such that it constitutes an abuse of discretion.

The previous is NCAA Bylaw 32.10.4.1, which was changed shortly after Oklahoma had much of its punishment reduced. Previously the Infractions Appeals Committee could set aside a penalty on appeal if they felt like, considering all the evidence and circumstances, that the penalty was excessive or otherwise inappropriate. The new rule is obviously much a much tougher standard for appealing institutions, and presumably the change was brought about because the COI was tired of seeing so many of their penalties being reduced on appeal. The point of all of this is, while UA is deciding whether or not to appeal (they must file an appeal, if they plan to do so, before June 26th), that it will be very tough for us to have our penalties reduced. You really cannot point to the past successes of Oklahoma and others as hope simply because the standard is much more difficult now. Some may say we have nothing to lose by appealing, and that may be true. To be sure, the appeals committee can vacate and remand the penalty to the COI, so we could theoretically get higher penalties that way, but that's extremely unlikely. The more likely scenario is that we ruffle the NCAA's feathers moving forward, and the possibility of doing that should, and I'm sure will, be considered by UA deciding whether or not to appeal. At any rate, though, regardless of what UA ultimately chooses to do, it's going to be a very big uphill climb for the Tide here. I certainly do not like the probation or the vacated wins, but realistically it could have been much worse, and even through the crimson glasses I'm afraid it will be hard to make a convincing argument that the COI's penalties constitute an abuse of discretion. We'll see what UA does regarding the appeal, but frankly I do not expect success even if we do choose to appeal.
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