The University of Wisconsin, River Falls did not monitor its scholarship process, according to findings by the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions. Over a five year period, Wisconsin-River Falls’ head football coach was involved in the arrangement of scholarship packages for five student assistant coaches, contrary to NCAA rules. The coach gave special consideration to five student-athletes due to their athletic abilities, which allowed them to receive more than $4,000 in impermissible aid.
Penalties in this case include one year of probation, a review from the NCAA Committee on Financial Aid and an outside audit of athletic employment and scholarship awarding practices.
Wisconsin-River Falls did not monitor its scholarship process when it did not adequately educate university staff involved in the scholarship process, allowed the head coach to choose scholarship recipients for four years and by failing to detect the violations.
The university conducted an internal financial aid review and uncovered NCAA rules violations regarding athletics criteria for seven scholarships and allowing the head football coach to select scholarship recipients. Over the course of four academic years, five scholarships included some degree of athletics leadership, participation or performance as criteria for the awards. Two other scholarships considered athletics participation when determining awards.
The penalties include:
- Public reprimand and censure.
- One year of probation from April 23, 2014 through April 22, 2015.
- A Level Two review from the NCAA Committee on Financial Aid. 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.
- Attendance at an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar for the athletics director, head football coach, director of financial aid and other staff involved in the awarding and distribution of scholarships.
- An outside audit of the university’s student-athlete employment practices and scholarship awarding processes to ensure they are consistent with university and NCAA guidelines.
The members of the Division III Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case include Dave Cecil, chair and associate vice president for financial aid at Transylvania University; Keith Jacques, attorney at Woodman, Edmands, Danylik, Austin, Smith and Jacques; Amy Hackett, director of athletics at University of Puget Sound; Nancy Meyer, director of women’s athletics at Calvin College; and Garnett Purnell, director of athletics at Wittenberg University.