Emily James Potter
Associate Director of Public and Media Relations
Maine Maritime Academy failed to monitor the creation and awarding of four scholarships that considered athletics participation as a criterion, according to findings by the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions. In total, nine student-athletes received more than $5,000. NCAA rules do not allow Division III schools to consider athletics when determining a student’s financial aid. Because the school did not oversee the creation and administration of the scholarships and did not educate campus personnel about NCAA rules, Maine Maritime also failed to monitor its financial aid program. Additionally, a former director of athletics served on the school’s annual scholarship selection committee, contrary to NCAA rules.
Penalties in this case include two years of probation, a vacation of its participation in the 2009 Division III football championship and additional rules education.
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, school and involved individuals must agree to use the summary disposition process instead of having a formal hearing.
From 2007-08 through 2011-12, Maine Maritime considered athletics leadership, participation or performance as a criterion in four of its scholarship programs. Two of the scholarships gave preference to students who participated in athletics, while the other two scholarships required athletics participation before a student could be eligible for grants.
The vice president for advancement and the president, the only two individuals with the authority to accept financial gifts on behalf of the school, were unaware that the director of financial aid created one of the impermissible scholarships. Additionally, a former athletics director did not research NCAA rules before telling the vice president of advancement that one scholarship that considered athletics participation as criterion was permissible. Another scholarship that gave preference to students who participated in athletics was established in 1994, and Maine Maritime acknowledged that it did not have the protocols in place to confirm that the scholarship complied with NCAA rules. Further, Maine Maritime failed to educate campus personnel about NCAA financial aid rules. The lack of rules education and scholarship program oversight resulted in the school failing to monitor its financial aid process.
The penalties include:
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; Nancy Meyer, director of women’s athletics at Calvin College; and Garnett Purnell, director of athletics at Wittenberg University.