Budget numbers can be misleading

Monday, January 30, 2006

If you think the numbers reported to the U.S. Department of Education for the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act reports are the gospel, you're in for a surprise.

An investigative report by USA Today in October of 2005 found mistakes in more than one-third of all the Division I-A reports, which are posted on a Web site for the Department's Office of Postsecondary Education.

The USA Today report found a $34-million data-entry error in one school's report.

In addition, USA Today reported that schools have a hard time classifying data for the reports, which are required by law.

Schools may differ in how they report costs related to athletics. Eastern Illinois, for example, did not include coaches' salaries and scholarship expenses in its 2002-03 data that the Southeast Missourian used for its report in July of 2004.

-- Southeast Missourian

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