It’s a bit cold in Holland this time of year….

An East Carolina University official Monday declined to confirm or deny that the student who had received “inappropriate” financial aid from the university was Athletics Director Terry Holland’s brother.

Citing anonymous sources, The Kinston Free Press reported Monday that Holland’s brother, 51-year-old Jonathan Gregg Holland, was the student and part-time employee at the center of a university audit released Saturday. Other media outlets have since reported similar accounts, also based on unnamed sources. The audit released by the university stated that a Holland relative had received more than $25,000 in student aid and wages for working in the Athletics Department from fall 2006 to Sept. 30, 2007.

ECU spokesman John Durham would not confirm or deny the reports naming the student.

“To confirm a student’s name would be the same as providing that student’s name, and that is prohibited by FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act),” Durham said.

ECU’s online directory lists a student named Jonathan Gregg Holland.

According to a Nov. 1 report filed by Stacie Tronto, director of ECU’s internal audit office, a student relative of Holland’s received nearly $17,000 in tuition assistance while working for the Athletics Department in 2006 and 2007. As the university lacks written policies on distributing student aid outside the financial aid structure, the arrangement broke no campus rules, Tronto wrote.

It did constitute an inappropriate use of funds, she concluded.

The university severed its relationship with the employee and ended the financial assistance before Oct. 1 of this year, according to the audit. Reached at home Saturday night, Terry Holland declined to comment on the audit. He did offer some thoughts on the matter in an e-mail Sunday to editors of The Daily Reflector and the author of a letter to the editor on coverage of the audit.

“Our approach to the work agreement was a cautious one for obvious reasons and once the auditor indicated discomfort with the perception of the work agreement, it was immediately discontinued even though there had been no audit report at that time,” Holland wrote. “Up to that point, there had been no ‘red flags’ even though the work agreement and the relationship to me was pretty widely known for over a year.”

“However, I am a team player and if this is the way it needs to be handled for the benefit of ECU’s long term objectives, I am OK with that,” he added.

from the Daily Reflector at