LOS ANGELES -- USC Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said he was somewhat familiar with new legislation adopted Tuesday by the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, intended to make football and basketball coaches more accountable for mistakes made by their assistants.
A new four-tier penalty system opens up more possible penalties and directly punishes head coaches who have any knowledge of violations committed by those on their staff. In the past, only major and secondary violations were available, and head coaches often escaped punishments in secondary-violation situations.
"Those have been in discussion for a long time," Kiffin said when asked about the new legislation Tuesday. "I think that what it came down to is people were tired of an assistant coach doing something and an assistant coach being the one punished."
Kiffin said he did not have a particularly strong opinion on the topic, although he appeared to lean against it.
"It is what it is," he said. "I just think it's the responsibility ... you're the head coach and it's hard to know what everybody's doing, just like it's hard to know what your players are doing or the relatives are doing or the things we've discussed before.
"If those are the rules, then those are the rules. They come with the job."
The document calls head coaches responsible for several types of violations "unless the coach can show that he or she promoted an atmosphere of compliance and monitored his or her staff."
USC athletic director Pat Haden said it will require coaches to take more responsibility for the actions of their assistants.
"It's a tougher penalty structure, there's no doubt about it," Haden told USA Today, which first reported on the changes last week. "The point is, for head coaches -- and this goes for any sport -- you have this responsibility. You need to be constantly vigilant and you need to be constantly coaching your coaches about how important it is to play by the rules."
Haden was part of the group of athletic officials who worked on the legislation before its adoption.