By Kelly Morgan & Kimberly Manahan (Whetstone Staff)
The NCAA put Wesley College on probation for two years after the organization discovered football players received more financial aid than other students during the 2006-2007 school year.
Division III schools such as Wesley do not allow coaches to become involved in financial aid, said Eric Nelson, vice president for finance.
The NCAA said there was no evidence to suggest that Wesley football coaches deliberately attempted to break the rules.
However, the NCAAA said the coaches were “aware of the financial aid appeals policy and throughout the recruiting process made it a point to communicate the policy to prospects.”
Athletic director and head football coach Mike Drass said no coach at Wesley has ever been involved in the financial aid process.
“As it is stated in the report,” Drass said in an e-mail, “if a student complained about their aid package they were advised to go to financial aid. Financial Aid would not know if they were an athlete or not.”
When the football coaches told the players to see financial, the NCAA said, this spiked the increase in aid to football players over other students.
“The problem was that we didn’t have [the policy] published,” Nelson said. “[It is] published on our Web site and brochures and equally given to everyone now.”
Wesley College’s financial aid appeal process allows for a possible recalculation of financial need based on special or unusual circumstances.
Financial aid is solely based academics. Athletes do not receive special financial aid.
“Financial aid is based upon your high school GPA and S.A.T. scores,” Nelson said.
The financial aid office does not know if the person appealing his or her financial aid is a sports player, Nelson said.
Wesley received a public reprimand and censure and two years of probation, which will end Sept. 9, 2011.
During both years of probation, “the director of athletics, compliance officer and financial aid personnel responsible for awarding aid to student-athletes shall attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar.”
This was done during the 2006-2007 academic year, the NCAA said.