Director of Athletics seeks to prevent future NCAA financial aid violations
BY JALEN STUBBS
With the circumstances regarding the appropriation of financial aid in five different sports, Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics Bradford W. Edwards proposed new modifications to prevent similar situations moving forward.
For the past four years, Mason committed multiple financial aid violations when providing scholarships which ultimately exceed the full cost of attendance.
Working toward fixing the crisis, after hiring Edwards, the Athletic Department found that over the past four years, the university improperly provided scholarships on 27 occasions to 18 student athletes in four sports — women’s basketball, men’s basketball, women’s volleyball and women’s track and field.
This resulted in Mason providing a total of $35,800 in scholarships.
“We worked collaboratively with the NCAA and were commended for our prompt and thorough response to this issue,” Edwards stated.
Edwards, who recently announced a 5-year extension of partnership with Learfield, offered a new solution to the modifications that should be made.
“The modifications in both the Office of Financial Aid and in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics are centered primarily on implementing monitoring systems to adequately educate individuals in compliance and financial aid so they can appropriately monitor the administration of athletics aid and to implement monitoring systems to obtain the appropriate signatures from the institution’s regular financial aid authority or designee,” Edwards states.
These new tactics will prevent the department from experiencing further consequences such as a year of probation, a monetary fee or a reduction of scholarships.
So far, the Mason Athletic Department has been fined $5,000 and received a 10% drop in scholarships. All members of the committee are now required to attend the Regional Rules Seminar with proof of vaccination.
“The consequences are the requirement to adhere to the terms of the negotiated resolution to provide rules education, monitor athletics aid, and submit periodic reports to the NCAA,” Edwards said. “The NCAA did not impose any future penalties regarding loss of scholarships or postseason eligibility for men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, and women’s track & field although Mason men’s volleyball will have a slight reduction in scholarships during the probation period (1 year),” Edwards states.
“We have accepted the NCAA penalties regarding the procedural errors made and have increased our resources in staff and education throughout the affected departments,” Edwards said.