WASHINGTON, D.C., July 12. THE College Sports Council today sent out a release refuting a Government Accountability Office report on male athlete participation rates. Here is the full text of that release:
"A report on collegiate athletic participation rates released today by the Government Accountability Office contains apparently erroneous data, according to an analysis by the College Sports Council.
Measuring a "closed group" of 750 NCAA schools, the GAO relied on data supplied by the NCAA to report that the number of male athletes for the 2004-2005 school year was 172,101. However, the participation data those same schools provided to the Department of Education as mandated by the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act shows the actual number of participants at closer to 169,798 – a discrepancy of more than 2,000 athletes in that single year.
These findings call into question the GAO's report that men's athletic participation has increased in the closed group since 1991-1992.
The College Sports Council presented these manifest discrepancies to the GAO one month ago and, despite assurances that an explanation of the NCAA's reporting methodology would be provided, the problems were disregarded.
"It is disturbing to see that the GAO has blindly trusted the NCAA and built the report around their non-verifiable data. You would think the accounting world would have learned from the lessons of Enron." said Eric Pearson, Chairman of the College Sports Council. "The NCAA is not a reliable source. It has made no secret of its alliance with groups advocating gender quotas that are hurting men's sports."
"We are calling on Congress and the Inspector General at GAO to investigate how and why this inconsistent information was presented and how far back it goes," said Jessica Gavora, CSC Vice President for Policy.
• Measurement of the EADA participation data from the 750 schools in the control group can be seen in the attached public document from the Department of Education. For the 34 schools in that group not required to submit EADA reports, the College Sports Council compiled the participation numbers from the public websites of each school.
• Individual schools are required to provide EADA annually to the Department of Education under penalty of law. Similarly, it is illegal to provide knowingly false information to Congress."
Additionally, Congressman J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) responded to the GAO report:
"It is disconcerting to see two organizations that pride themselves on integrity – the GAO and NCAA – collaborate on a report that is at best incomplete. While I appreciate the intention of this analysis, I cannot comprehend how the participation numbers submitted by the NCAA to the GAO are so dramatically higher than the figures given to the Department of Education by individual colleges and universities.
"A report is only as credible as the information on which it is based – and in this case, the discrepancy in numbers makes any conclusion less than trustworthy. I am disappointed that the GAO, a government agency charged with ensuring accuracy in reporting, would put its name on a study that ultimately raises more questions than it answers and believe that further explanation is required."