Baldwin Wallace University lacked control of its financial aid packaging when it permitted two of its programs to operate in violation of NCAA rules, according to findings by the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions. Over a four year period, at least 63 student-athletes received special consideration through two programs, due to athletic ability and some of the awards amounted to significant dollar amounts.
Penalties in this case, including those self-imposed by the university, include three years of probation, a 2012-13 postseason ban for all university teams, a vacation of certain records and other education, administrative and reporting requirements.
This case was resolved through the summary disposition process, a cooperative effort where the involved parties collectively 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 a formal hearing.
From 2009-10 through 2012-13, the university’s admissions office used a matrix-rating system where prospects were identified with a star for purposes of admission. The university’s financial aid office also used these ratings without removing the athletics identification, a requirement under NCAA rules. A total of 63 student-athletes had their financial aid packages influenced by athletics consideration at some point during their enrollment. In a second program, the university allowed athletics staff members to directly contact the vice president of enrollment and/or the director of financial aid regarding specific recruited prospects to be considered for enhanced financial aid packages. Thirteen student-athletes had their aid influenced by the program for the 2012-13 academic year, and received a collective total of $25,327.
Baldwin Wallace lacked institutional control when its personnel did not check NCAA rules to see if it was permissible to allow athletics staff to identify specific recruited prospects in order to impact the financial aid packages. When university staff members warned that one of the programs would violate NCAA rules, the university also did not recognize and address those concerns. Lastly, the university did not monitor the formulation of financial aid packages to ensure athletic ability was not considered.
The penalties include:
- Public reprimand and censure.
- Three years of probation from Feb. 4, 2014 through Feb. 3, 2017.
- A 2012-13 postseason ban for all university teams (self-imposed by the university).
- A vacation of the university’s NCAA championship participation in women’s cross country, softball and men’s track and field.
- Request a Level Two review from the NCAA Committee on Financial Aid during each probationary year. During this review, the committee looks closely at a school’s policies and procedures for awarding aid, as well as the impact of those factors on aid received by student-athletes.
- The athletics director and compliance staff attended the 2013 NCAA Regional Rules Seminar (self-imposed by the university).
The members of the Division III Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case include Dave Cecil, chair and director of financial aid at Transylvania State; Keith Jacques, attorney at Woodman, Edmands, Danylik, Austin, Smith and Jacques; Amy Hackett, director of athletics at University of Puget Sound; and Nancy Meyer, director of women’s athletics at Calvin College.