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Emmanuel (Massachusetts) improperly awarded financial aid

Download the November 2020 Emmanuel College Public Infractrions Decision

Incoming student-athletes at Emmanuel (Massachusetts) received financial aid at a disproportionate rate in comparison to the general student body, according to a decision by the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions.

The committee said the disparity occurred, in part, because a larger number of incoming student-athletes took advantage of a process that allowed them to appeal their initial financial aid packages. Some of the college’s coaches knew about the process and informed prospects of the opportunity to appeal. The coaches’ efforts unintentionally resulted in a larger number of prospects using the appeals process, which led to the college awarding student-athletes financial aid packages in a pattern distinguishable from all students. Division III rules do not permit financial aid packages for student-athletes to be clearly distinguishable from the general pattern of all financial aid at the school.

The committee said 45 of the 88 incoming student-athletes during the 2017-18 academic year used the appeals process, including eight of 11 incoming men’s basketball student-athletes and five of six incoming women’s basketball student-athletes. Only 126 of the 474 incoming students appealed and received additional financial aid. In total, $51,612 was disproportionately awarded to the 45 student-athletes, with $36,995 awarded to men’s and women’s basketball student-athletes, according to the decision.

The college failed to monitor the disbursement of financial aid to incoming student-athletes. The committee said the college did not provide adequate NCAA rules education to admissions and financial aid staff members and did not have the necessary monitoring systems in place to detect the disproportionate packaging and awarding of the additional financial aid following the appeals.

“In reviewing the case, the COI was concerned with the undocumented nature of the appeals process when proper monitoring protocols are not present to ensure that a school’s financial aid awards comply with Division III financial aid legislation,” the committee said in its decision. “The use of unpublished processes, even when well-intended, increases the risk of violations that run contrary to foundational principles of Division III membership.”

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 the university must agree to the facts and that the case involved major violations to use this process instead of a formal hearing.

The penalties include the following:

  • Public reprimand and censure.
  • Two years of probation.
  • During the probation period, the university must request a level II review from the NCAA Division III Committee on Financial Aid and must follow any recommendations made by the reviewer.
  • The college’s president must provide a letter to the COI affirming that the college’s current athletics policies and practices conform to all requirements of NCAA regulations prior to the conclusion of probation.

The members of the Division III Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case were Sarah Feyerherm, vice president of student affairs and dean of students at Washington College; Effel Harper, an associate professor and faculty athletics representative at Mary Hardin-Baylor; Gerald Houlihan, committee chair and attorney in private practice; Richard Lapidus, president of Fitchburg State; and Jody E. Mooradian, athletics director at Salve Regina.