Automating NCAA & EADA Reporting Processes: A CFO’s Perspective

Transparency and equity are crucial to maintaining a successful university athletics program.

Transparency in financial reporting supports compliance monitoring, cultivates public trust and shows the public — including potential donors — that the program is managed responsibly.

Equitable policies support institutional integrity, protect against risk (such as discrimination lawsuits) and keep your program compliant with federal regulations like Title IX.

But it’s one thing to say a program is transparent and equitable and quite another to prove it with data. That’s where the NCAA and EADA reporting processes come in.

The NCAA requires its member universities to submit annual financial reports detailing revenue, expenses, donor contributions and athletic scholarships (referred to in the report as “student athletics aid”).

The Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) is a US federal law stipulating that all co-ed universities that a.) receive federal student aid and b.) have intercollegiate athletics programs submit a detailed report on participation, staffing and revenue across both men’s and women’s teams. The annual reporting of this data is known as the EADA Survey.

This critical oversight helps ensure equitable treatment of teams in areas like participation opportunities, scholarships and financial support (or how much the university invests in each team).

Meet the Author: Beth West

Beth West, a Senior Accountant at James Moore, spent nine years helping lead the business office at the University of Northern Iowa, an NCAA Division I school, ultimately serving as Senior Associate Athletic Director for five years.

During her time at the University of Northern Iowa, Beth played a key role in helping the university fulfill its NCAA and EADA reporting requirements. Today, Beth is a valued member of the James Moore Higher Education team, where she serves a wide variety of collegiate athletics departments across the country.

Exploring the Challenges of NCAA & EADA Reporting

Accurate and timely NCAA and EADA reports are undeniably important for transparency and oversight. However, the process of compiling the information every year presents significant challenges for many university athletics programs.

The specific difficulties and their impact vary from institution to institution, hinging on factors such as:

  • The efficiency of the program’s financial reporting and documentation processes
  • The resources available to the business office
  • The experience and perspective of university leaders
  • The availability and timeliness of data from campus partners

One of the biggest hurdles to reporting efficiency is resistance to change. While automated data collection and reporting solutions exist (and are effective for many institutions), many departments find themselves holding on to manual, labor-intensive methods that increase the scope and difficulty of reporting.

With no experience implementing automation technologies, it can be difficult for administrators to conceive how such a solution could integrate into their program’s unique financial systems and processes.

Most administrators know there’s a better way to manage their reporting processes. They simply lack the resources, expertise or institutional support to identify a solution and implement it. It can be a frustrating situation; valuable time is consumed by tasks that could be completed faster and more accurately with the right technologies.

With expertise and a tailored approach, automation can become a reality even for seemingly complex environments.

This solution is worth the investment. Programs that recognize the competitive advantage of streamlined reporting can shift to a better way of operating that allows them to maintain compliance and promote accuracy in financial reporting, while also creating capacity that can be leveraged for more strategic or value-accretive tasks.

As a result, universities will be better positioned to navigate challenges, ensure equity and optimize resources to succeed in their core mission of serving student-athletes.

Toward a Better Future: Overcoming Adoption Barriers

When universities automate the NCAA and EADA reporting processes, they can boost efficiency, use fewer resources and ensure accuracy and consistency in their reporting. However, the process of adopting automated reporting solutions can come with several important barriers that must be proactively addressed.

Let’s address three of the most common challenges faced when implementing automation solutions.

Challenge 1: Budget Constraints

Many university programs struggle to find room in their annual budgets for these types of investments. Finding the budget and staff time to support implementation can be a major challenge.

However, dedicating this time and effort upfront can pay off significantly in the long term.

Without automation, university business offices may spend up to 500 hours tediously sourcing and categorizing the data they need for EADA and NCAA reports. By automating the process, administrators can significantly streamline this annual activity. This frees up staff to prioritize high-impact initiatives that support student-athletes and grow the university athletics program.

Challenge 2: Change Management

Change management can also be a concern. Some administrators might be wary of the work involved in finding the right vendor, onboarding them, testing solutions and integrating new technology into old processes.

But the benefits would ultimately outweigh these temporary inconveniences. More accurate reports would be completed more quickly and easily, significantly reducing the burden the team was accustomed to.

An experienced partner can make a university’s transition to a new technology a seamless experience. At James Moore, our professionals work closely with stakeholders across universities, from those in the business office to the IT professionals managing day-to-day integrations. With plenty of experience managing automation projects, our team understands how to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Challenge 3: Customization

Every university and every athletics department has distinct processes and challenges. Because of this, many believe that technological solutions (such as automating their annual NCAA and EADA reports) would not accommodate their specific accounting environment. Often, these accounting environments rely on institutional knowledge built over years of preparing these types of reports.

For example, many universities record individual transactions in a way that does not align with NCAA reporting requirements. They rely on institutional knowledge to reconcile the two. For example, a university incorporates NCAA travel reimbursements into team travel expenses per university guidelines rather than categorizing it as revenue per NCAA guidelines. The team would need to know to search for these transactions and recategorize them for NCAA reporting purposes.

But with an experienced provider like James Moore Digital, automation solutions can be tailored to the university’s unique needs.

From a technological perspective, automation solutions can be customized and integrated with the team’s existing accounting processes and technology suites for minimal interruptions.

And by working closely with in-house experts, a James Moore advisor can ensure that institutional knowledge — like unique expense categorization — is captured by automated workflows.

Benefits of Automating NCAA and EADA Reporting Processes

While the process may appear challenging at the outset, automating NCAA and EADA financial reporting results in numerous benefits for university athletics programs.

Automation can:

  • Reduce dependency on key individuals, ensuring smoother transitions
  • Streamline the audit process through transparent documentation and reconciliation
  • Boost efficiency by eliminating time-consuming manual data processing
  • Ensure consistent, accurate reporting every year

As a result, collegiate athletics departments will have more resources to dedicate to forward-thinking strategies, positioning the athletics program for continuous growth.

Build Your Team a Better Financial Reporting Process

NCAA and EADA reporting is detailed and time-consuming, especially when the team compiles and reconciles all the data manually, a process prone to human error.

Automating can save university athletics programs hundreds of hours of work. It also results in consistent, high-quality annual reports and makes data easier to find. As a result, university and athletic department leaders can make more informed strategic decisions, further strengthening your program.

James Moore’s dedicated Collegiate Athletics Data Analytics team can help you construct a tailored, custom automation solution, eliminating the most tedious aspects of financial reporting and ensuring complete data visibility.


All content provided in this article is for informational purposes only. Matters discussed in this article are subject to change. For up-to-date information on this subject please contact a James Moore professionalJames Moore will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within these pages or any information accessed through this site.