Challenges and Risks in the NCAA and EADA Reporting Processes

The annual NCAA and EADA reporting processes are critical for ensuring transparency in collegiate athletics. Because these reports are publicly accessible, they can also impact a school’s reputation, recruitment, and funding.

However, compiling accurate data each year can be a time-consuming process, made even more challenging by the reliance on manual methods in many business offices.

Key obstacles include accessing and reconciling data across various campus entities and departments, translating data into NCAA and EADA-accepted formats, time-intensive validation processes, audit obligations, and staying up-to-date on complex regulatory requirements regarding funding allocations.

Automation can reduce or eliminate many of these hurdles. However, many programs have yet to adopt it due to concerns about compatibility, fear of losing institutional knowledge, or a lack of awareness.

An experienced firm like James Moore can tailor automation solutions to any system and circumstance.

This article explores common challenges that university business office teams face during the NCAA and EADA reporting cycle and discusses how automation can help mitigate these challenges.

What Makes the NCAA and EADA Reporting Process So Important?

While the NCAA and EADA reports are a compliance requirement, they also impact two key areas: funding and public image. First, the data in these reports directly influence the institution’s revenue distribution from the NCAA for the subsequent year. Any errors or omissions can lead to inaccurate funding.

Moreover, these reports are publicly available and are sometimes scrutinized by stakeholders like campus groups, media outlets and donors. Inaccurate or ambiguous information can breed misunderstandings about the department’s financial management and operations, potentially resulting in negative publicity and reputational damage.

While the media reviews the reports, they often lack comprehensive context around the nuances involved in the NCAA reporting framework. This underscores the importance of athletic departments providing clear explanations and narratives, particularly in their required Agreed-Upon Procedures (AUP) Report. This report allows for clarification and contextualization of unique situations presented in the data that makes up the NCAA report.

By proactively addressing intricate matters, institutions can help frame the narrative and ensure a fair representation of their athletics programs. Transparent reporting paired with a clear narrative helps mitigate misunderstandings that could adversely impact donor relations and recruiting efforts.

These reports heavily influence funding and public perception, so athletics departments must navigate the reporting process diligently and accurately.

5 Key Challenges in the NCAA and EADA Reporting Processes

While the NCAA and EADA reports are critical for funding and public perception, compiling the required data presents many obstacles for athletics departments. The reporting process demands significant time and resources, from gathering information across campus entities to interpreting reporting guidelines. Proactively identifying and addressing these key challenges can streamline efforts, reduce risks and ensure comprehensive, audit-ready reporting.

Below, we’ll explore five hurdles departments commonly face during the NCAA and EADA reporting cycle.

Challenge 1: Accessing Data from Affiliated Campus Organizations

One of the primary challenges in compiling the NCAA report is accessing and consolidating data from various affiliated organizations on campus. These include foundations, booster clubs and campus finance departments.

Because this data is spread across these organizations, many of which have their own accounting systems and general ledgers, collecting this data often relies on time-intensive, manual data entry.

Implementing automated data collection can reduce the burden on athletics staff and other university organizations while minimizing the potential for inaccuracies.

Challenge 2: Translating and Validating Data

Once data is collected from affiliated organizations, it must be translated into a format that:

  • Aligns with the athletics department’s general ledger, and
  • Adheres to NCAA reporting categories and definitions.

This process can involve extensive manual data validation, which is not only inefficient but also prone to human error.

Implementing robust data validation processes in partnership with experienced advisors like the James Moore Digital team can reduce risks and improve data accuracy without burdening your staff. Additionally, comprehensive training on NCAA reporting nuances can help ensure accurate categorization.

Challenge 3: The Agreed-Upon Procedures Engagement

In addition to preparing the NCAA and EADA reports, Division I institutions must undergo an annual NCAA agreed-upon procedures (AUP) engagement. This process involves extensive independent testing and review by an external auditor. For Division II schools, an AUP engagement is required at least once every three years.

The AUP engagement adds another layer of complexity and scrutiny, further straining the business office’s resources. Institutions must be well-prepared to provide comprehensive supporting documentation and facilitate testing procedures required by the NCAA. Failure to do so increases the risk of findings or deficiencies.

Partner with a firm specializing in collegiate athletics reporting and with extensive AUP engagement experience to better position your program to navigate this requirement. At James Moore, our professionals have worked with over 30 universities in 10 conferences. Our team understands common pitfalls and is well-equipped to ensure institutions are audit ready, mitigating risks associated with the AUP process.

Challenge 4: Understanding NCAA Revenue Distribution Rules

The NCAA’s intricate revenue distribution policies directly impact funding allocations. These rules involve numerous nuanced variables and criteria in complex revenue distribution calculations. Understanding and adhering to them presents a notable challenge for university business teams.

Even slight reporting errors or deviations from NCAA definitions can result in a reduced revenue share from the NCAA for the subsequent fiscal year. As a result, getting the numbers and classifications correct is of vital financial importance.

Invest in comprehensive training from an experienced firm like James Moore to develop a thorough understanding of all components within the revenue distribution formulas. By leveraging external expertise, you can provide your team with invaluable guidance, helping you comply with complex revenue distribution rules.

Challenge 5: Working with the Wrong Firm

While many firms offer basic reporting and compliance services, partnering with one that lacks significant experience and specialization in collegiate athletics reporting can be detrimental.

Inexperienced providers may take a rudimentary “check-the-box” approach focused solely on meeting minimum requirements. But this approach doesn’t provide value-added insights, best practice guidance or tailored solutions for the complexities inherent to athletic programs.

Experienced providers like James Moore possess a deep understanding of the challenges, requirements and potential pitfalls of the NCAA and EADA reporting processes. So they’re able to optimize reporting efforts and avoid critical errors. They can also offer strategic recommendations beyond simple compliance, enhancing the overall process.

Here’s what Brandon Maddux, Associate AD Business and Human Resources at the University of Houston has to say:

“Speaking from experience, having a partner with other collegiate clients and specific athletic experience is invaluable. This is true more so now than ever with the constantly evolving landscape. James Moore having a dedicated athletics group ticks that box in a big way… I highly recommend them”

Overcome These Challenges with an Experienced Collegiate Athletics CPA Firm: James Moore

Navigating the NCAA and EADA reporting landscape is paramount for athletics departments. But mistakes can compromise accuracy, compliance, and funding. From cross-campus data consolidation to interpreting complex revenue distribution rules, the risks of human error are substantial.

Don’t settle for generalist firms or local providers who rarely handle these engagements. Leverage the expertise of a firm like James Moore, well-versed in managing collegiate athletics data analytics and streamlining EADA and NCAA reporting.

James Moore’s tech-forward approach leverages automation to drive efficiencies, reduce errors, and alleviate administrative burdens. Unlike other firms, who often don’t focus on this type of reporting, our specialization enables continuous refinement, keeping you ahead of evolving regulations with future-focused guidance.

To learn more about how James Moore can help you establish a strong reporting foundation for long-term success, contact an advisor today.


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