Utica College Athletics in violation of NCAA financial aid regulations

Utica College Athletics in violation of NCAA financial aid regulations

The Utica College Athletic Program is facing a number of penalties, due to findings by the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions.
The Utica College Athletic Program violated an NCAA rule, according to findings by the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions.

According to the committee, Utica College failed to monitor its Canadian International Student Award program, which led to Canadian student-athletes receiving more financial aid than the general Canadian student body.

According to the NCAA, penalties typically include two years of probation, a postseason ban for any teams with student-athletes receiving the financial aid, and increased oversight requirements.

The men's hockey team - - fresh of its first ever NCAA Division III tournament appearance - - women's hockey team, and baseball team are all named by the NCAA.

The Utica College Athletic department, however, tells Eyewitness News that no sports team will face a postseason ban because the college stopped using the Canadian International Student Award program in 2011, meaning no current student-athlete is receiving financial aid under the CISA program.  The athletic department will serve a two year probation, starting today.

For the NCAA's complete report on Utica College Athletics, click here.

Utica College President Todd S. Hutton, released the following statement this morning, in response to the NCAA's findings:

"During the 2009-2010 academic year, Utica College undertook an initiative to
increase its enrollment of Canadian students, as part of a larger effort to
further expand the College's growing geographic footprint. The College was
strongly positioned in regards to its academic and extracurricular programs to
meet particular needs and interests of Canadian students, and allocated
additional financial aid specifically targeting Canadian students in select
degree programs. The College recognized at that time that this initiative, if
not implemented and administered properly, placed the institution at possible
risk of falling out of compliance with NCAA regulations concerning financial aid
for student-athletes. For this reason, the College sought advice from NCAA
compliance officials and other sources when structuring this initiative so to
address this risk and provide safeguards we believed then were sufficient.
Regretfully, these safeguards were not sufficient.

From 2009 to 2011, the College awarded a small number of institutional grants to
Canadian students, a disproportionate number of which were awarded to students
participating in intercollegiate athletics. While this activity was
non-deliberate, we nevertheless take full responsibility, and do not take our
shortcoming lightly.

The College proactively ceased this initiative in 2011, including grants
previously awarded. For the past two years we have been working closely with the
NCAA to re-examine our financial aid award activity during the period in which
the initiative was in effect. Utica College remains committed to expanding
access to Canadian students, a population the College remains uniquely
positioned to serve. However, we will consider resuming this initiative only at
such time that we are confident that our processes have been unequivocally
corrected. The sanctions imposed today by the NCAA and the measures the College
has previously adopted to ensure a more efficient monitoring system are
components of that corrective process.

As an institution that has taken extraordinary pride in fostering and promoting
the values of Division III athletics, we remain unswerving in our dedication to
the highest principles of fair play. As such, we do not challenge these
corrective sanctions; rather, we view them as an opportunity for improvement."
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