Selinsgrove, PA – Susquehanna University violated NCAA terms according to a Saturday release from the school. Two alumni donors have been permanently separated from the school’s programs and a student athlete will be losing eligibility to play.
Alumni donors Nick Lopardo and Joe Palchak have been separated from SU athletics for violations of the NCAA Div III bylaws. Palchak, who is a member of the board of trustees, and Lopardo are accused of improper financial contributions.
The NCAA by-laws state “Any student‐athlete who receives financial aid other than that permitted by the Association shall not be eligible for intercollegiate athletics and it is not permissible for a donor to contribute funds to finance scholarship or gift aid for student‐ athletes.”
Lopardo was a vocal critic of the school’s 2015 decision to change mascots, using his visibility as a donor to challenge the move. Many saw the change as a way to reimburse the NCAA for appointing SU president LJ Lemons to a newly created position as Vice-Chairman for the board of governors. Ignoring award winning student created artwork Lemons secretly gave the contract for recreating the schools brand-image to a firm with strong ties to the NCAA board of governors.
The Susquehanna board of trustees Chairman and Vice-Chairman instituted self-imposed sanctions including:
- One student athlete has been declared ineligible and must complete 50 hours of community service along with a 3 game suspension (NCAA Mandate)
- All 5 victories of the 2015 football season have been vacated
- The Football team is barred from 2016 postseason play including league championship and bowl games
- The Football team has been placed on probation for 2 years
Lopardo is being forever split from the school’s athletics; SU will be removing Mr Lopardo’s name from the athletics stadium and has offered to return the financial gift he donated. Palchak has resigned his seat on the board of trustees and will be barred from contact with the river hawks for 5 years.
**Update 2:22pm** In a press conference that SCC was not invited to attend, SU president LJ Lemons said that there are no signs that a “systemic or institutional” issue existed and the NCAA has issued only a “single violation”. Also that Mr Lopardo has not responded to the school’s offer to return his donation.
**Update 2:34** “I agree with the sanctions” and “I appreciate the professionalism of everyone involved” Said head coach Tom “Perk” Perkovich who is entering his second year at the helm. When asked about inheriting such a big issue just as he joined the team, Perk said “This is what you sign up for as the head coach.” Investigators, SU officials, and the NCAA have all concluded that neither Coach Perk, any of the other members of his staff, or team were involved or had any knowledge. Coach Perk has been thanked by members of his team, parents, SU president Lemons, and staff for leading the team through the investigation.