UCF: Staff mis­tak­enly sent in­cor­rect data to NCAA

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE - By An­nie Martin

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.

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