top of page

The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: University of Idaho

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


The associate director of athletics for compliance, who began employment at Idaho in the summer of 2019, began discovering red flags in the area of financial aid in the spring of 2020. This concern prompted closer scrutiny and further inquiry regarding the institution's financial aid processes. As a result, the compliance staff discovered several financial aid violations had occurred over at least the last four years. These violations occurred primarily due to previous compliance staffs' incorrect assumptions that personnel in the financial aid, student accounts and athletics business offices who had many years of experience administering athletically related financial aid did not require periodic rules education or spot checking.


The institution and NCAA enforcement staff reviewed similar case precedent to ensure a consistent assessment of the level, classification and penalties for this case. Specifically, the institution and NCAA enforcement staff noted the Purdue University Fort Wayne (Purdue Fort Wayne), formerly known as Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, November 24, 2015, infractions decision included a finding that the institution impermissibly decreased or cancelled awards and/or failed to provide the required notices or opportunities for hearings regarding the reduction or nonrenewal of awards on 130 occasions over four academic years. Additionally, and similar to this case, Purdue Fort Wayne's mitigating factors outnumbered its aggravating factors by one. The panel classified the Purdue Fort Wayne case as Level II – Standard and prescribed two years of probation, a $15,000 fine and other administrative reporting requirements.


This case was resolved through a negotiated resolution.


The Committee concluded that Idaho committed the following violations:


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 15.2.2, 15.2.2.1, 15.2.2.1.1 and 15.5.3.2-(b) (2016-17 through 2019-20) and 15.3.2.3, 15.3.4.2.1 and 15.3.4.3.2 (2016-17 through 2020-21) (Level II)


The institution and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that from at least the 2016-17 academic year through the 2020-21 academic year, the institution impermissibly reduced athletically related financial aid of student-athletes on approximately 139 occasions during the periods of the awards and failed to properly notify the involved student-athletes in writing of the reductions and opportunities for hearings. Additionally, from at least the 2016-17 academic year through the 2019-20 academic year, the institution improperly calculated equivalencies.


From at least the 2016 fall semester through the 2019 fall semester, the institution impermissibly charged student-athletes course fees covered under the student-athletes' athletics aid agreements on 100 occasions where student-athletes dropped courses on their own accord after the drop/add deadline for the term. The total amount impermissibly charged to student-athletes was approximately $7,924. Additionally, the institution failed to notify these student-athletes in writing of the reductions and opportunities for hearings. NCAA Bylaws 15.3.2.3, 15.3.4.2.1 and 15.3.4.3.2 (2016-17 through 2019-20).


From at least the 2016-17 academic year through the 2020-21 academic year, the institution impermissibly reduced student-athletes' institutional financial aid based on athletics ability on 39 occasions after award letters were signed to remove the amount of athletics aid equal to non-athletics aid subsequently received by each individual. Additionally, the institution failed to notify these student-athletes in writing of the reductions and opportunities for hearings. NCAA Bylaws 15.3.2.3, 15.3.4.2.1 and 15.3.4.3.2 (2016-17 through 2020-21).


From at least the 2016-17 academic year through the 2019-20 academic year, the institution incorrectly calculated equivalencies for student-athletes when:


From at least the 2016-17 academic year through the 2019-20 academic year, for student-athletes receiving full board scholarships, the institution failed to correctly calculate the board element. The institution utilized the cost of a meal plan that was approximately $720 less than the cost of the maximum meal plan available to all students and not equal to the cost of meals as calculated based on its policies and procedures for calculating the cost of attendance for all students. NCAA Bylaws 15.2.2, 15.2.2.1 and 15.5.3.2-(b) (2016-17 through 2019-20).


From at least the 2016-17 academic year through the 2019-20 academic year, the institution failed to correctly calculate the actual or average cost of the housing element. The institution utilized the average cost of only two on-campus dorms at the double room rate when NCAA legislation required a weighted average of all rooms on campus or the cost of room as calculated based on its policies and procedures for calculating the cost of attendance for all students. NCAA Bylaws 15.2.2.1, 15.2.2.1.1 and 15.5.3.2-(b) (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 at least the 2016 fall semester through the summer of 2020, the scope and nature of the violations detailed above demonstrate that the institution violated the NCAA principle of rules compliance when it (a) routinely reduced institutional athletics aid during the periods of the awards and failed to provide written notifications and hearing opportunities regarding the reductions, (b) improperly calculated equivalencies and failed to implement monitoring systems to discover the miscalculations and (c) failed to adequately educate and monitor institutional staff members responsible for the administration of athletics aid.


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 15.01.5 (2020-21) (Level III)


The institution and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that in the 2021 spring semester, a football student-athlete received disbursal of his off-campus room and board stipend a few days before he enrolled for the term.


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


Aggravating Factors for the Institution


A history of Level I, Level II or major violations by the institution. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(b).


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).


An established history of self-reporting Level III or secondary violations. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(d).


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


1. Public reprimand and censure.


2. Probation: Two years of probation, to run consecutively to the probation in Case No. 01020. This will extend the probation period through June 17, 2024.


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


4. The institution shall require the athletics financial aid liaison in the financial aid office to participate in a NCAA Regional Rules Seminar in June 2021.


Comments


Featured Posts
Check back soon
Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.
Recent Posts
Archive
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page