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Athletic Probation Will Not Affect Students


Photo credit: Communicator archive

Written by: Communicator StaffDecember 11, 2015

Written by Ella Norgren

IPFW is now on athletic probation, among other penalties, after self-reporting financial aid violations to the National Collegiate Athletic Association yet not to effect students.

On Nov. 24 the university was notified of the penalities for the Level II infraction by NCAA’s Division 1 Committee of Infractions. The self-imposed penalties that the comittee accepted are a $15,000 fine, NCAA rules education sessions for IPFW staff and student-atheletes and NCAA Regional Rules seminars for staff. When discovered in 2013 the university also hired a full-time staff member with experience in the field and with NCAA legislation to handle all athletic financial aid.

IPFW Athletic Director Kelly Hartley Hutton said, “Details are important. The penalties imposed do not include post season bans, scholarship reductions or recruiting restrictions.”

According to Hartley Hutton, no competitive advantage was gained, which otherwise could have led to worse outcomes.

“When it was discovered, we reported it, investigated it, and we made it right,” Hartley Hutton said. By self-reporting and making it right, neither the student-athletes, faculty, staff or regular students will notice any difference or be affected in any way, something Hartley Hutton was very clear about.

Wendy Wilson, compliance director at IPFW, discovered the mistakes when she started her job. Neither Chancellor Vicky L. Carwein or Hartley Hutton were with the university when the violations were made between 2009 and 2012.

The probation was allegedly caused by a number of misinterpretations of the NCAA rules. By applying an average number when IPFW charged by credit hour, some athletes were under- or-over-awarded. This impermissible financial aid was given to 52 student-athletes and totaled more than $42,000.

“We have a top notch compliance person here. She is very thorough, and I feel really good about her leadership … and how transparent everybody was in this process,” Hartley Hutton said.

The two-year probation period means that the insitution will be closely monitored by the NCAA to ensure that NCAA educational programs are implemented and the university will report on their compliance regarding student-athlete financial aid on a regularly basis. After self-reporting the findings in 2013, Hartley Hutton immediately made changes to prevent this in the future and keep improving.

“No one wants to hear about probation,” Hartley Hutton said. “[I’ve got] feedback from faculty on campus and fans; they are being very supportive.”

By learning from this, Hartley Hutton believes that they will have a better system in place going forward.

“[We are at a] good place moving forward,” Hartley Hutton said. “Isn’t that what we do in athletics, [look] for ways to improve and get better?”

In addition to the aforementioned violations, there were technical violations regarding meal process and improperly renewing, reducing or canceling athletically-related financial aid. The full report from NCAA the is available on gomastodons.com or ipfw.edu.