Baldwin Wallace, a Division III school in suburban Cleveland, has self-imposed a postseason ban for all 23 of its varsity teams due to financial aid violations involving “a small percentage” of its athletes. From Baldwin Wallace’s president Dr. Robert C. Helmer:
“The University is obligated as an NCAA member to examine any possible failure to maintain full compliance and to take appropriate corrective action. Over the coming months, we will work cooperatively with the NCAA to determine a final resolution of the situation.”
Imposing postseason bans midyear is a drastic step. Doing it for every team suggests a large, systematic problem, and one that the administration will not be able to get a handle on for some time. A widespread cheating ring amongst athletes that the university knows involves every team but they have no idea exactly how many athletes is an example.
But with Division III financial aid violations, once you know you have a problem, it is relatively easy to isolate exactly which student-athletes are involved. DIII financial aid violations either involve athletics being used in financial aid decisions or athletes receiving a disproportionate amount of aid from a given program.
The violations normally involve individual financial aid administrators or individual funds. Student-athletes with financial aid decisions from those administrators or who received aid from those funds should be withheld from competition until cleared or reinstated. A postseason ban, which is probably coming, can be imposed for the 2013-14 academic year, lessening the impact on all student-athletes.