PFL, JU issue joint press release; President's message on JU football

(Photo by Skip Tapp - Widespread Photography)
(Photo by Skip Tapp - Widespread Photography)

 

Pioneer Football League concludes review of Jacksonville University football program

ST. LOUIS and JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Pioneer Football League (PFL) recently concluded its review of Jacksonville University's football program's use of financial aid. In addition to accepting the school's voluntary removal from its 2010 and 2014 championships, the league has imposed a one-year ban on post-season play for the 2015 season.

In response to a league survey, a university-ordered internal review in the fall of 2014 found possible infractions of the PFL's financial aid rules. The school reported to the league its findings, that aid was inappropriately dispersed to football players, and elected to remove itself from consideration for the championships and to vacate conference wins from 2010-2014.

"The PFL Enforcement Committee, composed of three league presidents and two athletic directors, met with the university to adjudicate the case and made final decisions on the matter. The committee has fully accepted Jacksonville's self-imposed sanctions and has decided upon a ban on 2015 post-season play,'' PFL Commissioner Patty Viverito said. "Throughout the process, Jacksonville has been forthright, straight forward and a model of character and integrity.''

Although PFL rules on financial aid were not followed, no NCAA violations were found either in the school's internal review or the league's proceedings.

"We accept the league's findings and thank them for their careful review,'' JU Chief Athletics Officer/Athletic Director Donnie Horner said. "We at JU are committed to conducting ourselves honorably.''

JU President Tim Cost's letter to University Community

To members of the Jacksonville University Community:

 In November of 2014, I informed the campus of the results of an independent review of irregularities found in the awarding of financial aid with respect to our football program.  That review revealed financial aid had been awarded in the form of scholarships to football players in apparent violation of Pioneer Football League (PFL) rules and that those actions created an inherent unfairness to our competitor colleagues in the PFL. At that time, we made the difficult decision to withdraw our football team from consideration for any post-season play and the matter was referred to the PFL enforcement committee.

The Pioneer Football League (PFL) recently concluded its review of Jacksonville University's football program's use of financial aid. The PFL considered and accepted all of the corrective actions taken by the University. The committee has accepted the school's voluntary removal from its 2010 and 2014 championships, acknowledged the University as a "model of character and integrity," and imposed a one-year ban on post-season play for the 2015 season. The conclusion by all parties confirmed, I'm pleased to report, that no NCAA violations occurred. 

We feel deeply for our student-athletes and their families as they have done nothing wrong. As an institution, we must do what is right and honorable and take actions that will prevent any future students from paying for the actions of others.  To that end, I promised you in November that we were committed to putting new plans, personnel and procedures in place to make sure something like this cannot happen again and we have done that.

Since the investigation took place, and to further ensure that we can protect our students against any future harm of this kind, we have added new professional compliance personnel, redesigned our compliance operations, upgraded compliance training and education programs, and incorporated a broader group of campus staff in ongoing compliance communications to keep all informed and accountable to our student-athletes.

Our football team has been notified of the decision. I ask you to support your fellow colleagues, students and friends as we bring to a close this difficult chapter in the life of this institution. I invite you to come out to all the games this season to show your support for these tremendous young athletes. We look forward to the future as an institution and to the upcoming season. 

Thank you for your continued support of Jacksonville University.

 

Tim Cost

President

 

STAFF NOTE: JU issued a statement a 4:30 p.m. Friday announcing that the JU football team will not be eligible for post-season play this year.  If you are asked about this issue, please refer all calls and inquiries to:

 

Jim Nasella, Director of Athletic Communications, Jacksonville University - 904-382-3651