You are here

Methodist University cited for a financial aid violation

Download the October 2017 Methodist University Public Infractinons Decision

Methodist improperly administered an otherwise permissible scholarship when it awarded $110,000 in scholarships to 11 soccer student-athletes and no non-athlete students, according to a decision issued by the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions.

This case was resolved through the summary disposition process, a cooperative effort where the involved parties submit the case to the Committee on Infractions in written form. The NCAA enforcement staff and school must agree to use the summary disposition process instead of having an in-person hearing. Because the penalties are agreed upon by the school and involved individuals, there is not an opportunity to appeal the penalties.

As part of a broader campus initiative to increase international enrollment, Methodist offered a one-time $10,000 scholarship to Nordic students during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years. Although non-athlete students applied, the only students who enrolled were student-athletes.  In total, 11 men's soccer student-athletes and no non-athlete students received the award. NCAA rules in Division III do not allow schools to provide scholarships to student-athletes or teams in a manner that is distinguishable from the general student body.

The imbalance occurred despite Methodist’s awareness of NCAA rules and the school’s recruiting efforts to attract non-student-athletes from Nordic countries. To Methodist’s credit, university and athletics leadership recognized they would need to closely monitor the Nordic grant.  Methodist’s monitoring efforts identified the imbalance and led to the school ending the grant ahead of schedule.

The penalties include:

  • Public reprimand and censure for the university.
  • Two years of probation from Oct. 20, 2017, through Oct. 19, 2019.
  • Methodist must pay a $1,000 fine.
  • Continued education through attendance at NCAA Regional Rules Seminars.

The members of the Division III Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case are Christopher Bledsoe, athletics director at New York University; Effel Harper, an associate professor and faculty athletics representative at Mary Hardin-Baylor; Tracey Hathaway, associate director of athletics for compliance and student-athlete welfare at Massachusetts Boston; Gerald Houlihan, attorney in private practice and committee chair; and Gerald Young, athletics director of Carleton.