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Scholarship board discusses compliance

Two University Jefferson Scholars met Friday with the Alumni Association Board of Managers to discuss how to bring the scholarship program in compliance with NCAA regulations.

Third-year wrestler Jason Bernd and third-year rower Jen Blomberg were suspended from competing with their varsity teams after the Virginia Athletic Department ruled the Jefferson Scholarship to be impermissible financial aid in late January.

The scholarship was deemed non-compliant because it is run solely by the Jefferson Scholars foundation without oversight from the University Financial Aid Office.

The Board heard statements Friday from both athletes before convening to discuss proposals for modifying the Jefferson Scholars Program to meet NCAA requirements.

"The Board is seeking a way to allow Scholars to play sports while at U.Va.," said John B. Syer, Executive Director of the University Alumni Association.

Syer said the Board will announce today what proposal it will send to the NCAA for approval.

"If there's any way possible to regain compliance, we will look into it," he said.

Related Links
  • Jefferson Scholars Foundation
  • NCAA Initial Eligibility Requirements
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    "They were very respectful when we were speaking," Bernd said. "All eyes were on us. I had the feeling that they're committed to resolving this."

    Syer said the Board was moved by the students' comments. Blomberg, a third-year Commerce student, said Board members approached her at a Jefferson Scholars dinner Friday night to reiterate their support.

    "I thought they were very powerful," Syer said. "I sympathized with them before they spoke, but to hear them speak about how much they appreciated playing sports affected everyone."

    Board member William V. Daniel and Jefferson Scholars Foundation President Jimmy Wright declined to comment.

    Board president Everette Doffermyre, Jr. could not be reached for comment.

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