NCAA places IPFW on probation for financial aid botches

IPFW
(WISH file photo)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The NCAA has placed IPFW athletics on probation and fined it $15,000, among other punishments, for improperly monitoring its financial aid program.

The NCAA’s Division I Committee on Infractions panel on Tuesday said the school provided financial aid higher than the value of a full scholarship to student-athletes, falsely documented nonathletic aid, failed to notify student-athletes of changes in financial aid and changed financial aid without permission.

The NCAA said the infractions centered around its financial aid and meal practices. Over four years, the school “misapplied” NCAA rules and incorrectly calculated financial aid elements, with more than $42,000 in impermissible financial aid given to 52 student-athletes, the NCAA said.

As a result, the NCAA placed IPFW on probation for two years – Tuesday through Nov. 23, 2017 – and fined it $15,000. It also issued a public reprimand and censure and ordered campus athletics scholarship staff to attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar during each year of the probation period. The penalties do not include any postseason bans, scholarship reductions, or recruiting restrictions.

In a statement, the university said those penalties were self-imposed and not strengthened by the NCAA. IPFW fully cooperated in the investigation, the statement said.

“IPFW is committed to the highest level of NCAA compliance. We made every effort to be transparent through this process,” said Chancellor Vicky L. Carwein in a statement. “I commend our athletics compliance staff for discovering these inadvertent financial aid errors and addressing them. We learned from this experience. I expect our entire university to continue its devotion to compliance in the future.”

IPFW Athletic Director Kelley Hartley Hutton said the department reported its mistakes immediately to the NCAA, and has made changes to avoid a repeat situation.

“We take full responsibility for knowing and applying NCAA rules,” said Hartley Hutton. “When we discovered mistakes, we immediately reported them, investigated them, and took action. We improved and updated our systems and brought in staff with the specialized skills needed to oversee financial aid for our student-athletes.”

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