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College Sports, Division III

NCAA Division III Enforcement Review (Part I)

This past summer the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions released two decisions in the enforcement cases involving Manhattanville College and Illinois College. Today, the Buckner Law Firm will take a brief look inside the Manhattanville College case.

Manhattanville College (August 7, 2012)

Summary: The NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions found the institution had failed to monitor its financial-aid process, which led to student-athletes receiving more financial-aid awards than the general student body. Specifically, during the 2009-10 academic year, international student-athletes received an average of $8,538 more in financial aid packages than non-student-athletes. The difference was most pronounced among men’s ice hockey student-athletes, who received an average of $1,730 more than other student-athletes and $9,671 more than non-student-athletes. While student-athletes comprised 22 percent of the international student body, those individuals received 34 percent of the total amount awarded and distributed as financial-aid to international students. Because the percentages were not closely equivalent to the amount of student-athletes within the general student body, the school’s awards were in violation of Division III rules.

Takeaway Point: This is one in a long line of many recent Division III enforcement cases involving some type of financial-aid violation. Here, as in many of the cases, the violations stemmed from the institution failing to educate departments that interface with athletics regarding potential NCAA issues. It is the NCAA’s expectation that institutions “share responsibility” in terms of NCAA compliance. In order to meet this expectation, at a minimum, institutions should ensure there is an ongoing rules-education program for departments that interface with athletics. Further, institutions must ensure departments that interface with athletics have a copy of the NCAA manual, the institution’s athletics compliance manual and that the institution provides timely NCAA legislation updates via e-mail or a newsletter.

The full case report can be found here.

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About Justin P. Sievert, Esquire

Bar Admissions (North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee) Practice Area (College Sports Law)

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