A fringe benefit program that allows NCAA employes to receive no-interest mortgage loans, and the terms of a loan to NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers by the organization's primary bank were discussed at a meeting of the NCAA executive committee yesterday in Arlington, Tex.
Some member schools had expressed concern about the fringe benefit program after a Washington Post article on Nov. 19 described how the NCAA has used some of its money to give staffers no-interest mortgage loans since 1978.
It was reviewed by the committee yesterday to clarify the issues and assure members that there was nothing improper about the program.
The executive committee is composed of 12 appointed members, plus the president and the secretary-treasurer of the NCAA.
It approves the administrative workings of the association, including the budget, and it approved the fringe benefit program.
"We had a detailed discussion," said Wilford Bailey of Auburn University, the secretary-treasurer of the NCAA.
He said the committee approved the issuing of a statement concerning the NCAA's fringe benefit program, but declined to say what it will involve. He said John R. Davis, president of the NCAA, will issue the statement at some point in the near future.
"It will not surprise anybody," he said.
The Post had disclosed that Byers, the NCAA's highest-ranking paid official, and controller Louis Spry have received loans totaling more than half a million dollars from the NCAA's primary bank, the United Missouri Bank of Kansas City.
Some bank officials and regulators said that the interest rates to Byers and other aspects of the loans may have represented preferential treatment. An NCAA spokesman said last week that the loan to Byers was fully consistent with customary banking loan practices because of Byers' and his family's longtime relationship with the bank in a personal capacity.
Byers has declined comment on his finances. Byers and Spry both discussed the loans with the committee yesterday, according to Bailey.
The loans include one of $500,000 for Byers' ranch corporation from United Missouri. United Missouri is the only bank authorized to receive unlimited deposits from the NCAA, which has an estimated annual cash flow of $40 million.
NCAA officers have said that the loan program is to help retain employes and is in keeping with fringe benefit programs for employes at many universities.