AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The UMass athletic department is on probation for two years as of today, following a financial aid error involving a dozen student athletes.
“Over the course of three years, UMass provided 12 basketball and women tennis student-athletes with a total of more than $9,100 above permissible scholarship limits,” said Dave Roberts, chief hearing officer with the NCAA.
UMass Athletics is now on probation after the NCAA reported that 12 students-athletes received financial aid that exceeded the full cost of attending the university.
It’s something university officials are not happy with.
“News that was disappointing to me, to this university, given the nature of this case. How we’ve handled this case, an upstanding NCAA member and the penalties of this case that are deeply disappointing,” said UMass Athletic Director Ryan Bamford.
Along with probation, UMass will pay a $5,000 fine and have to vacate the records of any contests those 12 athletes took part in while ineligible.
UMass officials are appealing this infraction, saying they don’t think the punishment is appropriate for the violation.
“I question that and am willing to participate in the solution to correct this and hopefully be successful in the appeal and hopefully, re-center some of the decision making,” said Atlantic 10 Conference Commissioner Bernadette McGlade.
UMass sport management professor Matthew Katz told Western Mass News he agrees with the university's decision to appeal the penalty.
“That it was a small mistake made by an overworked compliance officer or bookkeeper, who can’t possibly keep up with all the rule changes and you are going to treat it like it is an intentional scandal that leads to competitive advantage,” Katz explained.
UMass officials said they admit to the mistakes, but don’t think the student-athletes should have to pay the price.
Due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the hearing for this case was held virtually.
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Western Mass News will continue to follow this story and will have more as it becomes available.