By Jewell Porter
According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Denison has violated the organization’s rules in considering participation in high school sports as a factor in financial aid offered to 24 student athletes during a five-year period that ended in 2012. As a result of this violation, Denison will be on probation from the NCAA for the next two years, and they will receive a more thorough review of how financial aid is awarded for those years, the NCAA reported on June 29.
Nancy Carney-DeBord ‘80, Denison’s director of athletics, said, “Since the investigation found that an ineligible player participated in the 2011 NCAA postseason for women’s basketball, the 2011 NCAA postseason for softball and the 2012 NCAA postseason for men’s lacrosse, the NCAA ruled retroactively that Denison’s participation in those three NCAA postseason events, and only those three events, should be removed from our permanent records.”
She added that, “No intercollegiate athletics programs are excluded from any competition, period. There are no limits on any competition, including all regular-season contests, all North Coast Athletic Conference tournaments and championships, and all NCAA postseason play.”
Perry Robinson, vice president and director of admissions, said that Denison has “practiced [a] funding policy where we treat every student similarly.” Because of their emphasis on student equality, they wanted to award students financial aid for any extra-curricular involvement they participated in in high school, including sports.
“We weighed playing a sport in high school equally as activities like working on your student newspaper before college,” Robinson said. He added that the admissions staff was not aware this NCAA policy until after the allegations were made.
Robinson said that the NCAA determined “this was an inadvertent [violation] and probably should have been caught by institutional oversight.”
But after admissions discovered that they were including a fraction of credit for athletic participation, they “rectified it and removed it from the admissions decision.”
DeBord added that “staff members from admissions and athletics have been involved in mandatory NCAA rules education sessions, and the addition of an athletics compliance position has helped provide greater attention to compliance protocols.”
This is not an issue that is unique to Denison. Robinson said that over half of division-three colleges and universities in the NCAA have been reviewed, 83 percent of these have undergone second reviews and 52 percent presented financial aid violations since the NCAA began regularly auditing schools about ten years ago.