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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Johns Hopkins University

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel” or “COI”) recently issued its findings and found that Johns Hopkins University (“institution” or “JH”) committed violations of NCAA legislation.


During the spring and summer of 2020, the institution discovered that multiple Division I financial aid violations occurred during the 2016-17 through 2019-20 academic years. First, the institution did not notify 77 men's and women's lacrosse student-athletes of the renewal, reduction or cancellation of athletics aid by the legislatively required July 1 deadline. In nearly every instance, the institution's financial aid office issued renewal letters, but did not send the letters until later in July or in early August. Second, the head men's lacrosse coach worked with multiple men's lacrosse student-athletes and/or their parents to reduce the amount of the student-athletes' athletics aid in a subsequent year. As a result, the institution did not provide 12 men's lacrosse student-athletes with written notification of the reductions to their athletics aid or information about a hearing opportunity. Third, the institution did not have an established hearing process available to student-athletes whose aid was reduced or cancelled. Finally, the men's and women's lacrosse teams exceeded the equivalency limits when the institution mistakenly used its cost-of-attendance figure for textbooks instead of the placeholder figure required by NCAA legislation during the 2016-17 through 2019-20 academic years and when it made a clerical error of transposing two digits in the athletics awards listed for two student-athletes on the 2017-18 women's lacrosse squad list.


This case was resolved through a negotiated resolution.


The Committee concluded that JH committed the following violations:


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 15.3.2.3, 15.3.5.1.1, 15.3.5.2.2, 15.3.7.1, 15.5.3.1.1, 15.5.3.1.2, 15.5.3.2 and 15.5.3.2.3-(c) (2016-17 through 2019-20) (Level II)


The institution and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that from at least the 2016-17 through 2019-20 academic years, the institution failed to provide a total of 80 men's and women's lacrosse student-athletes with timely notification of the renewal, reduction or cancellation of athletics aid and a hearing opportunity. Additionally, the men's and women's lacrosse teams exceeded maximum team grant-in-aid limitations.


The institution failed to notify 77 men's and women's lacrosse student-athletes of their renewal of institutional financial aid by July 1 and failed to notify 12 men's lacrosse student-athletes in writing that their institutional athletics aid was reduced or cancelled during the period of the award or reduced or not renewed for the following academic year. Further, the institution failed to establish hearing procedures and notify the 12 men's lacrosse student-athletes in writing of the opportunity for a hearing regarding the reduction, cancellation or nonrenewal of institutional athletics aid. NCAA Bylaws 15.3.2.3, 15.3.5.1.1, 15.3.5.2.2 and 15.3.7.1 (2016-17 through 2019-20).


The men's and women's lacrosse teams exceeded maximum team grant-in-aid limitations due to the institution's miscalculations for books and for the 2017-18 academic year, inadvertent miscalculations of the individual equivalencies for two women's lacrosse student-athletes. NCAA Bylaws 15.5.3.1.1, 15.5.3.1.2, 15.5.3.2 and 15.5.3.2.3-(c) (2016-17 through 2019-20).


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Constitution 2.8.1 (2016-17 through 2019-20) (Level II)


The institution and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that from the 2016-17 through the 2019-20 academic years, the scope and nature of the violations detailed above demonstrate that the institution violated the NCAA principle of rules compliance when it failed to adequately monitor its obligation to provide student-athletes with timely written notification of the renewal, cancellation or reduction of athletics aid and did not establish or provide hearing procedures for student-athletes whose aid was reduced or cancelled. Further, for at least the four-year period, the institution did not adequately educate the institutional staff members responsible for awarding athletics aid.


Aggravating and Mitigating Factors in accordance with NCAA Bylaws 19.9.3 and 19.9.4


Aggravating Factors for the Institution


Multiple Level II violations by the institution. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(g).


Mitigating Factors for the Institution


Prompt acknowledgment of the violation, acceptance of responsibility and imposition of meaningful corrective measures and/or penalties. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(b).


Affirmative steps to expedite final resolution of the matter. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(c).


The absence of prior conclusions of Level I, Level II or major violations. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(h).


As a result of the foregoing, the Committee penalized JH as follows:


1. Public reprimand and censure.


2. Probation: One year of probation from May 28, 2021 through May 27, 2022.


3. Financial penalty: The institution will pay a fine of $5,000 to the NCAA.


4. Scholarship Reductions: (a) The institution shall reduce the number of grants-in-aid awarded in men's lacrosse by .28 (2%) for the 2021-22 academic year. The reduction shall be based on the average amount of aid awarded in the men's lacrosse program over the past four years. Specifically, the institution shall be limited to no more than 12.32 grants-in-aid in men's lacrosse for the academic year; and (b) The institution shall reduce the number of grants-in-aid awarded in women's lacrosse by a total of .64 (5%) over the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years. The reduction shall be based on the average amount of aid awarded in the women's lacrosse program over the past four years. Specifically, the institution shall be limited to no more than 23.36 grants-in-aid in women's lacrosse for the combined 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years.

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