UMES tries to fix graduation rate flaw Incorrect freshman figure blamed for 5 percent grade

November 13, 1998|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore has begun attempting to show that its scholarship athletes had a graduation rate of more than 37 percent among those who entered as freshmen in 1991 rather than the 5 percent published in a nationwide study by the NCAA.

The Princess Anne school plans to provide corrected data to the NCAA, athletic director Hallie Gregory said yesterday.

In submitting data for the annual NCAA study, the university listed the total number of athletes enrolled at the school instead of the number of athletes who entered as freshmen in 1991. The misinformation was provided to a government agency that had been hired by the NCAA to collect the data.

According to the NCAA report released earlier this week, UMES graduated only three of 60 of its student-athletes who entered as freshmen in 1991 and had six years to earn their degrees. It was reported to be among the lowest graduation rates of any Division I athletic program in the country.

"We certainly did not have 60 athletes come into the school for the first time in 1991; the number we had was eight," said Gregory, in his 10th year at the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school. "How could we have 60, when a school such as Duke had 71?"

Gregory said that three of the eight graduated (37.5 percent).

Out of a student enrollment of around 3,000, there are now only 160 athletes who receive some type of athletically related aid, he said.

UMES has a program in which those who don't finish in four years can get some type of aid for a fifth year, he added.

"We do a lot of things to ensure that our kids graduate, things that some big-time programs don't do," said Gregory.

This was the first year that the Integrated Post-Secondary Education System (IPES), which is part of the National Center for Educational Statistics, collected the data from the institutions. In the past, the data was collected directly by the NCAA.

According to Maria DeJulio, a research assistant for the NCAA, the information was forwarded from IPES to the NCAA, which then sent a two-page summary to the individual schools. "In both cases, the president had to sign off on that information before it was released," DeJulio said.

University president Delores Spikes was unavailable for comment.

DeJulio said she gave the schools "two to three" weeks to respond and if the NCAA didn't receive anything back, the assumption was that the information was correct.

"Any time an institution wants to make a correction is fine, as long as the information is correct," said DeJulio.

Pub Date: 11/13/98

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