UCF: Staff mistakenly sent incorrect data to NCAA
UCF employees miscalculated numbers regarding its student-athletes’ academic performance to NCAA for four years, a university spokesman said Wednesday after an anonymous Twitter user posted allegations the school had falsified this data.
The university mistakenly used the wrong methodology to determine the Graduation Success Rate, a key measure of students’ academic progress, University of Central Florida spokesman Mark Schlueb said. As a result, the rates reported to the National Collegiate Athletic Association between 2014 and 2017 likely were inflated.
“There was no advantage to anyone by reporting it incorrectly — it was just a mistake,” Schlueb said.
No UCF employees received bonuses, raises or performance pay as a result of the incorrect data, he said.
After a different university department became responsible for calculating the rate in 2018, employees contacted NCAA to clarify the methodology to be used. But it’s unclear whether the NCAA is aware the school reported incorrect data in previous years. An NCAA spokeswoman didn’t answer the Orlando Sentinel’s questions about the matter on Wednesday afternoon. The mistake hasn’t led to sanctions for UCF, Schlueb said.
The Graduation Success Rate is based on criteria like the number of credit hours completed in a semester and students’ progress toward their degrees, according to UCF. After using the correct methodology, the university’s rate dropped from about 95 to 88.3, Schlueb said.
The Sentinel asked UCF about the matter after an unidentified person posted to Twitter that the school had “falsely” reported academic and graduation data to NCAA. But the error wasn’t intentional, Schlueb said.
“I think it’s important to know that unlike what the Twitter account said, nobody received any bonuses based on this data and there was no incentive for anybody to knowingly report a false number for the graduation success rate,” Schlueb said. “There’s no point to it.”
Some coaches’ contracts include provisions related to academic metrics like grade-point average and the Academic Progress Rate, another key NCAA measure that is based largely on the percentage of athletes remaining academically eligible and staying in school.
But UCF is confident its calculations for that rate have been correct, Schlueb said. In 2014, the university was selected by the NCAA for an audit covering three years of data and no problems were found.