The University of Wisconsin, Superior considered athletics criteria when it awarded 196 scholarships worth $393,575 to 110 student-athletes from 2008-09 through 2012-13, according to findings by the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions. NCAA rules do not allow Division III schools to consider athletics when determining a student’s financial aid. During the five year period, the university failed to monitor and educate staff members involved in creating, administering and awarding the scholarship.
Penalties in this case, including those self-imposed by the university, include two years of probation, a review of the financial aid process during each year of probation and NCAA Regional Rules Seminar attendance by various campus representatives.
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.
The University of Wisconsin-Superior Foundation’s scholarship application allowed all applicants, including student-athletes, to describe why they deserved a scholarship and to detail their leadership qualities and scholastic achievement. This field resulted in many student-athletes listing their athletics involvement as examples of leadership and achievement. Athletics administrators did not review or monitor the scholarship selection process and, as a result, did not detect the language in the Foundation’s scholarship application form. Wisconsin-Superior did not provide specific NCAA rules education to the Foundation’s staff and did not ask questions about the scholarship process.
Additionally, a secondary violation was committed when the Foundation set aside a scholarship for a former men’s ice hockey student-athlete from 2007-08 through 2011-12. Also, from June 2010 through 2010-11, an athletics staff member was involved in determining the recipient of the scholarship. The Foundation never awarded funds from the scholarship and once the problem was discovered, the Foundation changed its criteria.
The penalties include:
- Public reprimand and censure.
- Two years of probation from June 26, 2014 through June 25, 2016.
- 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.
- Attendance by various campus personnel at NCAA Regional Rules Seminars.
The members of the Division III Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case include Dave Cecil, chair and associate vice president of financial aid at Transylvania University; Amy Hackett, director of athletics at University of Puget Sound; Keith Jacques, partner at Woodman, Edmands, Danylik, Austin, Smith and Jacques; and Nancy Meyer, director of women’s athletics at Calvin College.