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NAIA Breakout Session
Update on New Financial Aid Policy
(Tuesday, June 16, 10:15 - 11:00 a.m.)

Jonathon Seamon:

Lynn Adams was scheduled to be here today to give us the Financial Aid Policy update. Most of you are aware that Lynn is no longer working with the NAIA. Because of her abrupt transition, we were not able to have the flexibility to do some other things, so I've asked the national staff to provide you with a Q and A. All of those questions have appeared on the web site over the last three or four months. Most all of you here probably have any number of questions.

We will entertain your questions this morning, write them down and we'll record them at the same time. If we cannot give you a very good answer this morning, we will have the national staff, Robert Rhoads and his group in the national office, get back with you. We don't have the experts here that we hoped we would. I apologize for that, but that's where we are. I would hope that you do have some questions or concerns. We can discuss them and I'll be happy to take them back to Robert and his staff for good, solid answers.

Let me begin by asking if you have any questions on that handout that need clarification for you. Each time those questions appeared on the web site, I pulled them off and copied them for my staff. I passed them out on a weekly basis. We cannot give our coaching staffs too much information from back home because this is a very different animal that we are taking into our financial aid situation.

I am told that the forms are in our offices by now. They were mailed out about the time we came to the Convention. The report forms for the 1997-98 academic year should be in your offices. You'll recall that, along with your financial aid officer, your president and yourself have to sign off on those. The forms are virtually the same as they were a year ago.

First of all, are there any questions related to the handout?

Mike Robinson:

Mike Robinson from Birmingham Southern College. My question is on the second page, on aid for two-sport varsity athletes. Do we still divide by two if one sport they participate in does not offer scholarships on our campus? We don't offer athletics aid for cross country, but he plays basketball, will we still divide it by two?

Jonathan Seamon:

I'm going to attempt to answer that. It's my understanding that if you have a dual sport or an athlete that even plays three sports, you will divide that equally. Whatever institutional aid they are receiving from your school will be divided by however many sports they're playing. In your case, yes, you would divide that. That's my understanding. I believe that's still the way we're doing the dual and three-sport athletes.

Brian Austin:

Brian Austin from Transylvania. I have a similar question on the back of the first page concerning a dual-sport athlete who is playing a JV sport. The last sentence says the aid received for the JV sport would not count. Is that correct? If I have a basketball player who is getting $10,000 and playing varsity basketball and getting $5,000 in soccer, but he plays JV soccer, does that $5,000 not count? This doesn't make sense to me.

Jonathan Seamon:

This is financial aid whether he's getting it for soccer, tidily winks or whatever. It's institutional aid, so you're going to have to count it. You would count all $15,000 for basketball. That's the way I read that question. My understanding is for them to be a counter in a sport, obviously, they must be certified and they must play in a contest. Once they are in the contest, you must count them. I would say, no, you would not be able to count their soccer. In essence, Brian, it's a very good question and you're right, that's not the way this reads.

The question on the last page reads, does financial aid count for athletes not on the eligibility list? They must be certified, but only varsity athletes count toward sport financial aid limits. Again, they must participate. That has not changed.

We have to get all institutional aid on the table. We may not be totally there yet, but again, I'm very supportive of this plan and think that we're a lot closer than we have been. I would recommend that the next time we update this on the web site, we clarify this for all concerned because there are questions about it.

Carroll Land:

Carroll Land from the GSAC. Currently, we combine cross country and track and have since the inception of our conference. We have made no real attempt to segregate those. I'm wondering if the question/answer here that says two-sport participant automatically takes over in the reporting process. Otherwise, how do you count aid for a two-sport varsity athlete receiving athletic scholarship in both sports? Our question would be, do we automatically then, where we've given financial aid sport scholarship for cross country/track because they're expected to participate in both those areas, is this the reporting mechanism for them?

Jonathan Seamon:

There again, you would split the aid. I don't know if that's answering your question, or not, but it's my understanding that their aid is split between the two.

From the Floor:

It's my understanding that an institution still has a choice as they did under the previous plan, to either separate them out or combine them. The new limits are 12 for track, five for cross country, or you can combine them for a total of 17. We can adjust that and put that on the web site, as well. We'll clarify that with Robert Rose. We'll make sure we get that updated in the next couple of weeks.

From the Floor:

I think that even though you involve your financial aid officer, he just gives you a print out that's thick. You have to go through and separate out your athletes in their awards. It's a very time-consuming process. I don't know if a school has come up with a computer program that will do that. I'd sure be interesting in talking to them because we do a lot a hand calculating for this particular report.

Jonathan Seamon:

Peggy, I don't have as many athletes as you do, but my financial aid director takes that long list and she works it out. I don't have the problem that you do, but it's time consuming.

Bob Boerigter:

I'm Bob Boerigter from Hastings College. I have a question for the national staff. On these forms, you have a place for the roster. Do we have to type the names on that form? I know it's important to send in a roster, but we've got all of our rosters in a database. You can print them out. Is that going to be acceptable?

From the Panel:

Yes. Just attach your print out to the form.

Bob Boerigter:

Secondly, this is off the subject a little, but I've become uncomfortable when I hear rumors and stories going around. We've worked very hard to comply with the financial aid regulations. We hear, however, that there are institutions, in some cases even conferences that have been granted exceptions. Having been involved in a lot of NAIA committees, I realize that occasionally they are necessary, but I wonder if you could respond to that. Where are we at, overall within the organization, with compliance, etc., because I'm sure that many of you deal with the same challenges that we deal with? Coaches are always asking for more scholarship aid and we say, no, we cannot do so because perhaps we will not comply.

Jonathan Seamon:

Bob, I cannot answer that. Most of you are aware that the Council of Affiliated Conferences and Independents deal with those exceptions. Larry Lady could perhaps shed a little light on that in terms of where we are with those exceptions.

Larry Lady:

The Football Coaches Association presented a motion similar to what you just asked which we passed. Their request was that any exemptions that are granted be published. We passed that and that will happen for the football coaches. On the other hand, if you would wish to present such a motion that it would be required for all sports, we would entertain that.

The update on the exemptions is a little difficult because there have been some extenuating circumstances which Greg referred to a little bit in staff changes. When the policy was implemented, there were three institutions that felt they were enough different that they should be exempted. Those three are the College of the Ozarks, Alice Lloyd College and Berea College. Those three made application erroneously. As the financial aid policy dictates, exemptions are to be handled by the COP through CACI. That has always been interpreted to mean that the application should be given to CACI. CACI will deliberate and make a decision for CACI and pass that on to the COP.

We never presumed that CACI had absolute final authority on that, only that we would be able to vote on it and, obviously, the COP still runs this organization in spite of what some of us would like to think. They do.

Those three wrote a letter to Lynn Adams on the staff. Lynn, erroneously, wrote a letter back to them granting them the exemption. I didn't find that out until the COP meeting in April, when Lynn presented these to the COP for their information, really. It wasn't until this morning that we had final resolution on those three applications. Those three institutions that I named were rejected by CACI yesterday, even with the information knowing that Lynn Adams had already approved them. We rejected them.

That was passed back to the COP this morning. There are legal issues involved, as you can well imagine, now that they've been told. Those three institutions are different from two others, which I'll mention to you briefly in just a moment. We discovered in CACI, through Stan Harrison's input, this is really why the policy is written that CACI might review it first before COP sees it because the COP made a recommendation to us that all three, in their judgment, approved. Stan presented some information that caused our Council to think that at least one of them, Alice Lloyd, might not be approved. We, then, lumped those three together and, basically, rejected them.

They now, since that letter was written erroneously, will be contacted by the chair of the COP to try to negotiate a way out of that erroneous award of an exemption. I think that will happen. There is little doubt that those schools have some reason to be exempted, but we don't know that for sure. I would say that those three would have an exemption for the 98-99 year.

Barry College had the same thing happen to them. They wrote to Lynn Adams. Lynn wrote back an identical letter giving them an exemption. In essence, I provided a copy of this to the president, James Bockman. He is going to be working with Steve and the attorneys to figure out how to get us out of that jam. CACI also rejected Barry's exemption. We sent that back to the Executive Committee today. Barry College will be contacted directly by the chair of the COP, Dr. Crouch. There is a new president coming into Barry who may give us an opportunity to explain what happened and resolve that issue without great problem.

A fifth individual institution made application to me, as chair, and to CACI. Cumberland College sent me a rather complete package as to why they were asking for the exemption. The president of that college spoke with me, as well as to Dr. Crouch, indicating the only reason that he applied was because he had heard that Barry had been approved by the NAIA. He felt that if they were, certainly, Cumberland would qualify as well. Again, that's just information. Don't kill the messenger. I'm just telling you what happened there. That was rejected and turned back to the COP.

The Heart of Athletic America Conference, of which I am the commissioner, about a year ago, applied for, in the proper manner, to CACI with presentation made by one of its presidents. That was approved and is in effect for a two-year period, 97-98 and 98-99. The Heart of America applied for an extension to that exemption. CACI rejected that and sent that back to the COP. The COP concurs with that further exemption should not be granted.

Jonathan Seamon:

Thank you Larry. I think what is important is that we see a process and at least we've got a group that is screening those. For all of us, that's the important thing. We know we've got some bridges to cross and some other things to take care of. I think we're on our way. We are very appreciative of the work Larry is doing in that regard.

We'll take a short break. Dr. Yandell is here and we'll begin our Business Session in about five or six minutes.