The NCAA has placed sanctions on the University of Idaho for the second time in a year.
The NCAA announced on June 18, 2020 that the Idaho men’s basketball program allowed staff members to engage in impermissible coaching activities. On June 18, 2021, an NCAA press release said “Idaho committed multiple financial aid violations when it improperly reduced student-athlete scholarships and incorrectly calculated scholarship equivalencies.”
In the latest sanctions, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions and the University of Idaho reportedly agreed that, during a five-year stretch, the school “reduced the scholarships for student-athletes 139 times without providing notification to those student-athletes in writing or an opportunity for a hearing.”
Idaho has been hit with two years of probation to follow the current probation handed out in 2020, while the latest sanctions also included a $5,000 fine, and the school’s financial aid liaison must participate in an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar. According to the Idaho Press, the university is currently hiring a new financial aid liaison to focus more on athletics.
From fall 2016 until fall 2019, student-athletes were charged for course fees that should have been covered under their scholarship agreements. The impermissible fees amounted to a total of $7,924.
“Because the fees effectively reduced the student-athletes’ scholarships, the charges were impermissible because the school did not notify the student-athletes in writing about the reductions to their scholarships or their opportunity to have a hearing,” the NCAA’s release reads.
On 39 occasions between the 2016-17 and 2020-21 school years, the University of Idaho awarded athletic scholarships before financial aid was fully vetted.
“The school impermissibly reduced athletics scholarships to remove athletics-based aid equal to the amount of the nonathletics aid those individuals subsequently received,” the NCAA’s release reads. “The school also did not notify those student-athletes about their scholarship reductions in writing or provide an opportunity for a hearing.”
The school also incorrectly calculated scholarship equivalencies for athletes whose scholarships included housing and meals, with the school using a meal plan that cost $720 less than the maximum meal plan available to all students.
None of the violations included athletes competing while ineligible.