News & Features

Fontbonne and NCAA Conclude Joint Review

Fontbonne University announced that it has been placed on probation for two years for what the NCAA terms unintentional violations. The probation will not limit Fontbonne’s current or future student-athletes’ participation in NCAA sports or championship play. Similarly, no student-athlete, coach, team or sport has been penalized by the NCAA.

This probationary action resulted from a joint cooperative review with the NCAA regarding two specific practices that were later recognized as NCAA violations.

“It was never Fontbonne’s intent to violate any NCAA rules, and upon learning last year that our practices might violate NCAA rules, we immediately modified our processes and improved our NCAA compliance through training, education and auditing,” said Dr. Dennis Golden, Fontbonne president. “We advised the NCAA of the practices found to violate the NCAA rules and cooperated with the NCAA in the investigation and the agreed resolution.
We have learned from these mistakes and are moving forward in a positive light. Fontbonne University is committed to upholding the integrity of NCAA participation and compliance.”

According to the NCAA’s report, Fontbonne was considering high school athletic participation as one of many factors for eligibility for the university’s Griffin Award. Although athletic participation was considered equally with other eligibility factors, NCAA rules for Division III schools preclude any consideration of athletic participation in awarding financial aid to student-athletes.

In addition, the NCAA found that two athletic coaches should not have been participating with other committee members in assigning initial merit ratings for financial aid eligibility for entering freshman students. Although the role of the two coaches was limited to making initial recommendations that were not binding, the NCAA determined the coaches should not have been involved in the process at all.

Due to the improper consideration of high school athletic participation over a four-year period, financial aid was awarded to 23 student-athletes and totaled $48,000, which is less than 0.9% of all financial aid awarded to freshman students between 2007 and 2010. Fontbonne officials have determined and demonstrated to the NCAA that the amounts awarded to student-athletes did not disproportionately favor student-athletes compared to the general student population.