Education

NCAA Strips UMass Victories After Finding Athletes Were Given Excess Financial Aid

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The NCAA found that the University of Massachusetts-Amherst had given extra financial aid to 12 of athletes and stripped victories from the men’s basketball and women’s tennis teams, the association announced Friday.

The school had overpaid the athletes more than $9,100 in financial aid, a Division I Committee on Infractions found. The overpayments were a result of a misunderstanding by a former associate athletics director, according to the NCAA. (RELATED: NCAA Extends Confederate Flag Ban To Preclude Championships In States Where Flag Is Flown)

“UMass implemented reasonable monitoring practices, including real-time review and end-of-year audits,” the panel said in the press release.

“On 13 occasions involving unique circumstances, UMass failed to identify and correct financial aid overage payments,” an NCAA news release stated.

The NCAA placed the school on probation for two years and stripped victories involving the 12 athletes, which included basketball wins and an Atlantic 10 Conference championship in women’s tennis, according to The Associated Press. The school must also pay a $5,00 fine.

The NCAA did, however, find that “the school’s financial aid distribution and monitoring processes properly awarded aid in 98% of cases,” according to the news release.

UMass will appeal the decision to strip its victories, according to a press release by the college. The release noted that the overpayments were “unintentional and inadvertent” and that “UMass administrators, coaching staff and student-athletes were not aware of the violations.”

UMass, in its press release, stated that the overpayments gave it “no recruiting or competitive advantage.”

“The University of Massachusetts is committed to maintaining and ensuring the highest standards of compliance in our intercollegiate athletics program,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said in the press release.

“Our athletics leadership acted promptly and appropriately when these administrative errors were discovered,” Subbaswamy continued. “We acknowledge and accept that violations occurred, however we respectfully disagree with the sanctions issued by the NCAA as they do not align with the nature of the infraction.”

UMass Athletics Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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