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Data at Your Fingertips

How many Division I student-athletes earned their degrees? What was the most popular field of study for Division II college athletes? How many NCAA field hockey players compete nationwide? How many Division I women’s basketball players transferred to a different school last year?

The NCAA research staff manages dozens of data sets that date back decades and inform decisions made by member-led committees. Now the research staff is moving more of its data to interactive online databases that allow the user more control and make NCAA information more accessible.

“We’re trying to be more transparent,” says Todd Petr, NCAA managing director of research. “What this software allows the end user to do is to cut the data in various ways. We have a lot of great data — now the main point is to put the power in the hands of the user.”

The databases are powered by Tableau, data visualization software that allows users to access and analyze information. Users can access the Tableau dashboards online and use them to dissect information made available through NCAA research.

The databases are intended as supplements to many of the studies the NCAA produces annually. Some of those reports, such as the NCAA Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report, can be hundreds of pages long yet still not give a particular user the exact information sought. “There were tables and tables and tables, and maybe what you needed was there — and maybe it wasn’t,” Petr says. “This software allows the end user to cut the data in various ways.”

Many data sets, including the demographics database and the latest Graduation Success Rates report, are now available as an interactive database.

“We’re trying to find a balance between telling a story in an easily digestible way versus making the data available for the power user who wants to do a lot of in-depth stuff,” says Tom Paskus, principal research scientist for the NCAA. “That’s the beauty of these tools.”

To view all the NCAA research interactive databases, visit ncaa.org/research.

About Champion

Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.

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