The NCAA has sanctioned Maine Maritime Academy for awarding scholarships to student-athletes in ways that violated NCAA bylaws, for failing to monitor its financial process to athletes, and for allowing its director of athletics to serve on a scholarship selection committee.
The NCAA specifically prohibits considering “athletics leadership, ability, participation or performance” as criterion for awarding financial aid.
Steve Peed, MMA compliance director and athletic director, discovered the violations shortly after starting his position in September 2011 and reported them to the NCAA. The violations occurred from the 2007-08 through 2011-12 academic years.
“I am proud that we identified internally the mistakes that were made in the past that violated NCAA bylaws,” said President William Brennan, in a prepared statement. “I am confident that no one at MMA intentionally violated NCAA policies.”
The sanctions imposed by the NCAA include two years of probation, from October 17, 2013 to October 16, 2015; that MMA vacate its participation in the 2009 Division III football championships; and that MMA engage a qualified outside entity to conduct a rules education session on campus.
Two self-imposed sanctions by MMA require its vice president for enrollment to attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar, and a request to the NCAA Committee on Financial Aid for a review of school policies on financial aid and their impact on aid received by student-athletes.
The academy had entered into a summary disposition process with NCAA that allowed MMA to submit the case in writing, followed by agreement of the case facts by NCAA enforcement staff, the academy and involved individuals, in lieu of a formal hearing.
The NCAA issued its report on October 17, citing three violations:
The institution considered athletics leadership, participation and/or performance as a criterion in awarding four of its scholarship programs from 2007-08 to 2011-12;
The institution’s director of athletics served on MMA’s scholarship selection committee which reviewed financial assistance awarded to athletes from 2007-08 to 2009-10;
MMA failed to monitor and educate its athletic department and financial aid personnel involved in creating and awarding four scholarships, from at least 2007-08 to 2011-12.
The total scholarship dollars awarded in violation was $6,150 to eight athletes.
A fourth award totaling $6,500 was not issued to an athlete but was considered athletics by the NCAA.
Peed described the series of events as a “life lesson,” in a prepared statement.
“Among the lessons our coaches impart upon our young people are the values of accountability and resilience. We have held ourselves accountable, and will continue to do so into the future.”