The NCAA Division III membership adopted 2004 NCAA Convention Proposal No. 56, which established an annual electronic reporting process that requires all institutions to compare the financial aid packages of freshmen and transfer student-athletes with the aid packages of other freshmen and transfers. This program is rooted in NCAA Division III Bylaw 15 which not only prohibits financial aid where athletics participation, leadership, performance and ability are considered, but also establishes the equitable treatment and consistent financial aid packaging of athletes and other students as an expectation.
To meet NCAA requirements, a data file containing the required information is submitted electronically to the NCAA for a systematic review. The final submission file contains final financial aid package data on all full-time, first-time students entering the institution in the academic year requested. A student-athlete is an individual listed on the institution's official roster on or after the first scheduled contest or date of competition in the NCAA championship segment.
For a systematic review to occur, the institution’s case must meet one of the following conditions:
1. A variance estimate above 4 percent.
2. The identification of statistical outliers on any of three measures:
a. The difference in the proportion of financial need met by institutional gift aid between student-athletes and other students.
b. The proportionality test comparing the proportion of student-athletes in the cohort to the proportion of overall institutional gift aid awarded to them.
c. The proportion of financial need met by institutional gift aid for sport groups as compared to other sport groups and/or other students.
The review process involves two stages of systematic assessment: 1) an assessment of each school’s quantitative report based on submitted data, and 2) an assessment of the report as well as narrative and quantitative information provided by the school to justify any perceived inequities in financial aid packaging that benefit student-athletes.
If any indicators in a school’s financial aid report have exceeded the established criteria, a Level I review of the case ensues. The central focus of this review is for the Financial Aid Committee to determine if there is sufficient evidence to request a justification from the school for any perceived inequities that benefit student-athletes. If there is not sufficient evidence of such inequities, no further action is taken on the case. If the committee finds sufficient evidence to cause concern regarding financial aid packaging for student-athletes, a written justification is requested. The school is provided a template to guide them through the compilation of the justification materials, but the onus is on the school to provide ample evidence to mitigate the concerns identified by the committee. The focus of this review is threefold: 1) to assess the explanation provided by the school for the issues identified; 2) to ensure the school’s policies and procedures for administering student financial aid are free of athletics criterion and/or influence, and 3) to ensure that policies and procedures that appear free of athletics criteria are not providing a financial aid benefit for student-athletes.
For questions pertaining to the interpretation of reports or other general issues, please contact Eric Hartung at 317/917-6306 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions concerning the interpretation of NCAA legislation should be directed to Jeff Myers at 317/917-6222 or email@example.com.